Lake Taneycomo, May 16, 2015
Generation has been interesting this week. And for that reason, I have delayed writing my report because as soon as I get one written, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers turns on eight flood gates and everything changes. So I'm going to try to get it all in before the next change.
Lake water temperature is 45.7 degrees which is up from the 43-degree water we've been seeing for most of the winter and spring. That's good for our trout and for catching fish.
The Corps ran eight flood gates earlier this week to stabilize Table Rock after a big rain sent both Beaver and Table Rock shooting up. At Table Rock Dam, two turbines are down (not able to generate) leaving only two units to control water flow from the lake above. This isn't a problem unless there's a need to move more than 6,500 cubic feet per second of water through the system. This is when the flood gates have to opened to make up for loss of the two broken turbines.
When the flood gates were opened, the water over the top was about 59 degrees and cloudy compared to 45 degree clear water coming from the turbines. The first time up there to fish, I thought for sure I'd find trout on the warm water side, thinking they like the 58 verses 45 degree water. I was wrong. We caught fish in the middle to over to the cold side of the lake, not many on the warm side.
I'm reporting this because we're only one rain away from flood gates again.
Personally, I get real excited when flood gates are open on Taneycomo, especially in the spring. The fresh, warm water seems to bring up the big trout. No telling what is washed into the lake, but my guess is small shad, minnows and other warm water fish. One thing is clear -- our trout start looking for and hitting about anything white after flood gates are opened.
Last week, we caught quite a few rainbows in the 15- to 19-inch range but we just couldn't break that 20-inch mark. Other anglers did ,including Steven Stammer with a 22-inch brown and Steve Bartholomew with a 21-inch rainbow. These trophies were caught on jigs and both released.
I was lucky enough to land this 23.5-inch rainbow on an 1/8th-ounce sculpin/ginger jig Saturday morning. He was on the inside bank across the lake from Trout Hollow.
Steve Dickey's clients did well while the gates were open, landing these two rainbows coming on shad flies.
After the gates closed, back to two units 24/7, trout fishing continued to be good. Marabou jigs from the dam to the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp, both white and darker colors, still caught some nice rainbows and a few browns. We were also back to drifting a scud/San Juan worm or scud/egg fly combos.
But the other day Steve Dickey told me his clients were having trouble hooking their trout using the drift rigs and flies. He said he picked up a rod and tried it himself. He felt the bites and set the hook but missed every one. He thought if he couldn't hook the fish, his clients didn't have a chance. So he rigged them up with a float and ran the same flies 12 feet under the float with a couple of #4 fly shot to get the flies to the bottom. They started catching fish immediately.
There has been no dry bite yet. I predict that this may be, should be, a big cicada year. Every spring, I'm hopeful we're covered up by the big, noisy bugs because fish love them. When there's a bunch in the trees along the lake and they start falling in the water, we'll throw a cicada fly. That's a blast! But we'll see what kind of numbers there are. The prime time is in late May to early June.
Below Fall Creek, I've seen some real nice rainbows brought in, caught on night crawlers and Gulp Eggs, drifting from the mouth of Fall Creek down past our place.
There doesn't seem to be any big schools of freshly stocked rainbows anywhere, but we're still looking.