Lake Taneycomo fishing report, January 29
On Tuesday of this week, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers shut our flood gates off, ending almost a month of high water on Lake Taneycomo. We went from moderate flows in December to flood conditions and a record breaking 73,000 c.f.s. flow in just a couple of days. As flood water moved through the system and lake levels dropped, that flow dropped to its present level. Our release has been about 6,500 c.f.s. or two units of water since the first of the week.
Personally, I'm keeping an eye on Beaver Lake, the lake above Table Rock. It has not budged in weeks, holding at 1128.5 feet, eight feet over its winter power pool. I would think officials would go ahead and drop it, making room for the next rain. Not sure why they're holding it so high.
Our trout saw a steady stream of threadfin shad flowing into Taneycomo from Table Rock, coming over the gates. Now that the gates are closed, the shad have stopped, and fish have started to look for them. They're nipping at anything white and shiny right now -- small stick and crank baits, spoons, jigs and shad flies.
The closer to dam the better, too. Best area to drift and fish these lures is from the dam to Lookout Island. Personally, I haven't done any good at all from Lookout to the Narrows -- and I'm not sure why. But for now, I wouldn't suggest spending much time in that area.
I've ventured out a few times this week since the gates were shut down and caught some nice rainbows on an 1/8th-ounce white jig. Now as the week wore on, I did better. I think the reason is that the fish are starting to get hungry.
Today, I boated to the dam with friend and guide Steve Dickey. He wanted to test the waters a bit for a fly fishing guide trip he has Saturday. I tagged a long with my spin cast rig and white jig. I had time for one drift from the dam to Lookout Island since we fished between 1 and 2 p.m. I had two-pound line on (Trilene XL clear) and my jig. He fished with a fly rod, shad fly and split shot, playing around with different depths because a lot of the bottom has changed since the high flows.
I landed about 14 trout, 12 rainbows and two browns. Nothing longer than 16 inches, but they were big and chunky. He boated about eight rainbows. Not bad for one drift in the middle of a bright and sunny day.
Bill Babler, another one of our guides, had a trip today, and he also took his client up to fish the trophy area. They dragged shad flies and caught dozens of nice rainbows and a few browns.
Bill said another guide drifting up there was using a big red San Juan Worm and did just as well as they did. I guess they were just hungry today and not too picky.
Below Fall Creek, we've been watching people drift by the resort the last couple of days who are catching fish. We've been telling anglers who come in the shop that white and orange has been working good in Powerbait, but chartreuse is another good color that's been working. You don't have to use much weight to sink the bait down, especially if there's not a whole lot of wind, which there hasn't been.
Drifting with minnows and night crawlers is catching bigger trout. Minnows will catch more brown trout. I usually hook them in the lips or the top of the back.
I've had some guys say they've been working bigger stick baits but with no luck. It might be because of the off-color water we have right now. I've been told bass fishing on Table Rock is off because of turbid water conditions up there, but since I'm not a regular bass fisherman I couldn't tell you!
The future prospect for our fishing on Taneycomo is very good, as long as the water keeps running. Some might be surprised at that -- or even disagree. But if you're fishing out of a boat, you want the water running.
These fish are used to running water. Even before the high water, there wasn't much down water at all. Now if the pattern changes and we see a lot of days without generation, then the fish will adapt to that and continue to feed with no water running. But initially, they won't like the lack of current.
With the higher lake levels above us and cold weather in the forecast, my guess is that we'll continue to see some generation most days. It seems like we've settled into a pattern of two units running 24/7 -- which is okay with me!!