July 15th fishing report
This weather is pretty sweet, isn't it?! We keep thinking that any day now it's going to turn into a "normal" summer and become blazing hot, but it hasn't yet! One real nice thing about this cooler, drier weather is that there's no fog on Lake Taneycomo early and late in the day. Some like the fog, but I like to fish early and late and don't like driving through a wet, cold fog. That's just me!
Generation hasn't changed much over the last couple of weeks. If anything, the volume of water run in the afternoons changes. On hotter days there is more generation, and cooler days less, but always some into the evenings. Most of the time, the water is off by the 10 p.m. The water temperature is still hovering around 47 degrees, but the lake itself warms up as you get farther down lake, into the 70s below Rockaway Beach.
Trout fishing this week has improved much in our area, and I think it's because the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery folk have stocked rainbows a little closer to home. We saw quite a few small rainbows caught off the dock this morning and others brought in from boaters to be cleaned and processed. Should be some fish fryers going the next few evenings here at the resort!
The best bite of the day has been early in the morning before the sun comes up. When the sun hits the water, fish go deeper and are less likely to bite. That's why most of our guides insist starting their day at 5:30 a.m. It's not that you can't catch fish in the middle of a sunny day, it's just that it will be much slower than mornings and evenings.
My two-pound line rule still applies. If you want to get more bites, use two-pound line, or 7x if you're fly fishing. Our water is still very clear, and with the water running every day, the fresh water coming in the lake keeps it clear. The only time four-pound line is okay to use is when generation starts in the afternoons and you're drifting in current. Fish have less reaction time to strike your bait, less time to notice the line.
I took Lincoln Hunt out a couple of mornings last week jig fishing. Linc is a long time friend of Lilleys' Landing since he started coming as a youth with his family from Dallas. Now he's a teacher in the Dallas area and spends several weeks in Branson during his summer break hanging out at the resort, sometimes working for us while also playing golf and fishing. He's a fly fishermen at heart, but I forced a spinning rod in his hands and told him to cast a jig for a while.
We started at Short Creek and worked our way to Fall Creek, staying on the shallow side of the lake and throwing to the middle. Using two-pound line and 1/16th ounce olive jigs, we caught a total of 34 rainbows in a couple of hours. It was the best jig fishing trip Linc had ever experienced, he said.
Fishing guide Bill Babler took some clients down to the Branson Landing area a few mornings ago, and they caught 38 rainbows on a pink/white Trout Magnet under a float six-feet deep. He also uses two-pound Vanish line when fishing with Trout Magnets.
There does seem to be an abundance of rainbows from Rockaway Beach through the Landing up to Monkey Island. It was pointed out to me that Scotty's Trout Dock has reported trout fishing to be "excellent" in that part of the lake (K.C. Star newspaper).
Gulp Powerbait Eggs in white, orange and pink have been catching fish pretty well in these areas, either plain or a hook and fished on the bottom or put on a jig hook and fished under a float four- to six-feet deep. Air-injected night crawlers have been doing really well off our dock the last couple of days, so I'm sure they'll work up and down from the dock ,also.
Tom Burckhardt of St Charles, MO, celebrated his 60th birthday this week at the resort with family -- and some great fishing. He texted me a picture of a rainbow he caught this morning on "his first cast." He was throwing a sculpin 1/16th -ounce jig against the bluff bank across from the resort.
Then he called me as I was typing this report and asked if I wanted to see a big brown he had just caught. Sure! He brought it in...
What a beautiful brown! He caught it in the Trout Hollow area on a 1/32nd-ounce sculpin jig under a float 10-feet deep. I told Tom I wasn't surprised at all by his catch, but I was surprised at how he caught it. The water was running at barely a half unit, so there was current. He took his trout back up to the spot where he had caught it and released it.
He's back out searching for more big trout, so we might get another story and fish pic inserted in this report.
A lot of the rainbows being caught above Short Creek are full of scuds (freshwater shrimp). That's an excellent indicator of our lake's health. Scuds are the best food a fish can have with high protein content. When we have a lot of scuds, we soon have lots of big fish!
So drifting a fly that looks like a scud is a good thing to do! Try a #10 gray or orange scud tied on either a drift rig of just at the end of your line with a split shot to push the fly down to the bottom. Drift it down the middle of the lake when the water is running. Of course, you can use this above and below the mouth of Fall Creek.