Generation has been fairly consistent for the last six days. Table Rock Dam has been running water 24 hours a day at about 2,200 cubic feet per second at a lake level of 704 feet, generating 40-50 megawatts of power from midnight until noon to 2 p.m., then building it up to three units (not full), almost 6,000 to 8,500 cfs at a lake level of 708 feet. But it goes back down to 704 feet by 8-10 p.m.
Summer is still hanging around with high humidity and mid 80's in the near forecast. And rain! We have been very dry, so the rain is needed.
Catching trout this week has picked up with a few exceptions. Seems like we have had two goods days of fishing for evey slow day.
With a lake level of 704 feet, boating to the dam is tricky, even for us locals! But if you can motor up there to the cable below the dam, fishing has been pretty good.
First for fly fishing tips. Hoppers thrown against the banks are catching bigger than normal rainbows and a few browns. Also other dries like beetles, ants and stimulators are working. You won't catch a lot of fishing, but if you love dry fly fishing, a few bites are worth trying. Drop a #16 or #18 red zebra midge under the dry about 18 inches for an additional chance.
The white Mega Worm is also catching trout. Use it tied on a small jig head under a float and make sure you have enough line below the indicator to get it to the bottom. The water is clear enough to visually follow the white worm. If it disappears, set the hook because it's probably in a fish's mouth.
Stripping an olive, brown or black-beaded wooly bugger is pretty productive. I caught several nice rainbows stripping an olive wooly bugger against the bluff bank from Lookout through the Narrows. They like to chase!
Duane is still throwing the MegaBass 110+1 Ozark Shad stick bait up below the dam (from a boat) while the dam is running that big water in the late afternoons. He has caught some nice trout including browns and rainbows longer than 20 inches (all released.) He's hooked some really big fish but those have slipped away -- so far.
Guide Tracy Frenzel showed me that he's catching trout drifting beads. This is something we do up in Alaska to catch big rainbows feeding on salmon eggs. Trout beads come in many colors and sizes. Tracy was using a pinkish 12mm bead (yes that's a big bead) pegged with a toothpick about two inches above the hook. He said it actually catches less moss than using just bait on a hook. Yes, we do carry beads in our fly shop. And, yes, you can use these in the trophy area. I'd think they'd work well up close to the dam where browns should be ready to spawn soon.
Marabou jigs are working really well. Depending on the flow and conditions, I've been throwing two- and four-pound line and 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th-ounce jigs in several colors. The best is still the sculpin/ginger 1/16th ounce with two-pound line -- but that's probably because I'm throwing it 80% of the time. When the water is running harder, I go to four-pound line and 1/8th- ounce jigs.
One guest Tuesday said they were catching good rainbows up close to Short Creek on 1/8th-ounce sculpin jigs. They're throwing them in this slower generation. He asked if that was okay. I responded with "If you're catching fish, it's perfect!"
Tracy also told me that he was catching good numbers of rainbows from Cooper Creek down into a section of about a quarter mile. His clients were fishing the pink Berkley Power worm.
These fish are staying together, maybe following the midge hatches morning and evening. There's usually a crud line in the lake -- floating leaves and stuff that clumps up from wind and boat traffic. That's where these trout are coming up and midging (dimpling) the surface.
There are several ways to target these fish. Throw something and run it through them like a spinner or a spoon. Cast a small jig, like a 1/16th, and wiggle it through the schooling trout. Or use a small jig or fly under a tiny float (fly or spin rod) and fish it pretty shallow, just 18 to 24 inches deep.
The pink worm is still a guide's best friend -- and it can be yours, too. For whatever reason, this bait has been a fish's favorite for well over a year now.