January Trout Fishing
Low rainfall affects so many aspects of our lives from farming to fishing. Here on Taneycomo, as a tailwater, water moves and flows less during these times, which in return affects our food base and trout growth. During low-flow periods, freshwater shrimp don't do as well, and, thus, our trout don't grow as fast as they would if the water were running. We're hope we are on the tail end of a long drought and will see lake-filling rains this spring.
Winter time is usually the best time to fish for Taneycomo trout, but this winter has been the exception. We've had nice, calm days, with no wind and high sun -- not the best conditions for catching any fish. We are also not seeing the nice, medium-sized rainbows we saw last winter. Instead our rainbows have been on the small side. Even in the lower trophy area, the average size of rainbows has been quite a bit smaller even as closer to the dam we've seen much bigger trout.
Fly fishing below the dam with the water off has yielded some of the best fishing on the lake recently. If there's a chop on the water, strip woolies, cracklebacks and soft hackles. Also strip a sculpin, crawling it on the bottom. If there's trout midging or feeding on midges in the film or on the surface, use a dry as in indicator (adams, renegade) with a zebra midge (rusty, p&p) as a dropper 6 to 18 inches deep. Around the outlets and at the rebar chute, drift a sow bug, scud, egg fly or a san juan worm.
Down further from the dam (from the conservation department boat ramp to Fall Creek), zebra midge under an indicator fished a little deeper has been working very well, hitting pockets of rainbows and a few browns in this stretch. Also try a miracle fly under an indicator, as well as a micro jig (olive, black, tan). Some of the guys are using 7x when the sun is out, but 6x tippet should catch trout if you don't want to go that light.
Below Fall Creek, use a white Power Bait Gulp egg above a night crawler. This was a good technique yesterday when no water was running and should continue to be good without generation. Air-injected night crawlers are always good. Jig and float using either a micro jig or marabou jig. Marabou colors are brown/orange head, sculpin/orange head, sculpin/ginger, black or pink.
If water is running, throw an 1/8th-ounce jig and work it off the bottom. White is working well in the trophy area as well as brown/orange, sculpin or black and below Fall Creek use sculpin/ginger, brown, black and pink. Again, if water is running, throw a stick bait, medium size in silver, gold or rainbow style against bluff banks and around docks.
Here are a couple of videos I shot this week while the water was running: