February 26 fishing report

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We've had lots of excitement on Taneycomo the last few days.  Here at Lilleys' Landing we have had a fun time keeping up with all the social and news media coverage and comments about "Frank," the new brown trout state record caught by Paul Crews of Neosho, MO, on Saturday.  I know Paul, a quiet, mild-mannered person, is not accustomed to all the attention, calls and interviews, but he's handled it all with great grace, knowing the publicity just comes with the territory of breaking an almost 10-year record, especially with a fish that many have sighted but never enticed.

This fun fish story has so many facets that it's hard to cover them all at one time.  Paul used one jig -- all day -- including the last fish he landed, the state record brown.  The wind was gusting up to 40 mph that afternoon.  Catching anything by throwing a jig  should have been nearly impossible.  I could go on and on

Of the trout brought in for the weigh-in on  Saturday, the brown, of course, took the spotlight.  As for the other trout, we didn't see any of the good two-pound-plus rainbows that have been caught in previous contests this winter, only one weighing 2.25-pounds.  But the rest were  solid one-pound to 1.5-pounders.  Even the Crews/Rayfield's seve-rainbow weight was impressive at 7.84 pounds (minus the brown trout).Most of those fish were caught on spoons and jigs.  And most of the teams fished down lake, from Monkey Island down past the Branson Landing.  For two weeks  now, the area in front of the Branson Landing has been holding a lot of trout, most of which were probably recently stocked either down at the Missouri Department of Conservation ramp/dock or by boat in that area.  These stocker rainbows are good sized, most approaching a pound each.

Some of our guides have been fishing down there, throwing the Berkley's pink Powerworm under a float five- to seven- feet deep.  Again, that's one of the best lures used to catch rainbows on this lake in years.  They're using four-pound line.Anglers are drifting Powerbait and doing very well, too.  Use the smallest weight to get to the bottom.  We're suggesting an 1/8th- ounce bell on the drift rigs because dam operators have only been  running two units all the time now.  That's pretty slow current, especially down towards the bridges downtown.  Night crawler and minnows are catching fish, too, and you'll have a better chance catching a bigger trout using natural baits like these.

I fished yesterday with local Pastor Richard Marks, boating to the dam and throwing jigs, straight, with no float.  We used white and white/gray for the first drift from the cable down to Lookout Island and only caught a handful of trout (and one smallmouth bass.) We made a second drift and switched to darker colored jigs, a black and a sculpin/ginger 3/32nd-ounce jig.  The fish liked these jigs better!  We caught quadruple the number of fish and missed many more strikes.  The difference was amazing!

So with only two units of water running, we're not seeing any shad come through the turbines, no sign of any fish eating them.  It's been my experience that shad come through when four units are running rather than with less generation.  I think the power or flow of the current on the topside of the dam pulls more baitfish into the intake, and that's why we see shad during heavy generation rather than during slow generation.  So will we see shad when they crank up the flow from Table Rock Dam?  I hope so.

Fly fishing has been pretty good.  A group here now from St Louis are fly fishing out of our boats, drifting mainly in the trophy area and doing pretty well.  They are drifting scuds, San Juan worms and egg flies under an indicators four- to six-feet deep, staying on the inside bends and drifting over shallow flats, trying to stay away from the deeper channel.

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