Lake Taneycomo, May 29, 2015
Lots of reports this week . . . lots of water and good trout caught. After big rains in the upper White River Basin, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers opened flood gates at Beaver and Table Rock dams. Beaver Lake's level is inching back up to 1129 feet even with big releases and Table Rock's level remains close to 918 feet. Table Rock is releasing the equivalent of four units plus a little with two units running as well as 10 flood gates opened reportedly one inch. It's hard to imagine that much water pouring in through that small one-inch space, but that's what I've been told.
How long will that much water be run through Table Rock Dam? With the water that's in the system as I type, I'd say we're looking at another four to seven days. But there's rain in the forecast -- even this evening and tonight we're looking at a couple of inches in the basin. This weather pattern hasn't changed in a few weeks, with systems moving from south to north, slowly moving through to the east. This is why each system is dumping so much rain -- they don't just move through to the northeast as they used to.
The heavy flows have given a lot of anglers trouble. Fishing off the docks or the shore has been very tough, if not impossible. The flows are just too fast and the water too deep. There's a little fly fishing at outlets #1 and #2 but room for only a few anglers. Getting out in a boat is about the only way to be successful.
Yesterday I videoed some techniques I found to catch trout. Here's the video:
I tried to show several possibilities for a variety of angling tastes and talents from drifting flies below the dam to Gulp Eggs below Cooper Creek. I will expound.
Starting down lake, I followed up on a rumor. I'd heard that some guides were fishing down at the Missouri Department of Conservation Branson dock (where the fish stocking boat is kept) and catching rainbows on every cast. When I pulled up to the dock I saw trout jumping -- that's a good sign. There's a boat ramp just below the dock and that's where MDC sometimes stocks the trout. I think that's the case because there's thousands of rainbows there right now. They will spread out and head up lake at some point.
I threw a jig and caught three or four before heading back up. I stopped and told a few people about the opportunity, so I hope they found them.
I didn't fish this area but did see people doing very well drifting from Scotty's down to the bridges. One pontoon boat with five people fishing off of it had a triple on when I passed. They were having fun! I'm sure they were using Berkeley's Powerbait of some kind.
I caught rainbows from the power lines above Monkey Island down to the Highway 65 bridge on white/chartreuse Gulp Eggs. The current isn't fast at all in this area, but you just need to make sure to sink your bait to the bottom.
I've also seen people catching rainbows drifting in front of the resort on Gulp Eggs. Jig fishing is slow in this area.
The Ungashik family from the KC area drifted night crawlers on the bottom from Fall Creek to Trout Hollow yesterday and caught some very impressive rainbows.
Duane and I caught a few 15-inch rainbows on white 1/8th ounce jigs working the inside bend back yesterday, all very fat and spitting up scuds (freshwater shrimp). This is a very good sign of the good health of our lake right now.
Drifting from Lookout down to Fall Creek, staying in the middle, and using a #12 gray or orange scud and a red San Juan worm is probably the most productive way to catch trout on the lake right now. Using a simple drift rig (four-pound line), 1/4 ounce bell weight, replace the plain hook with the first fly, then tie on the other fly 12 inches below it. You don't have to use two flies--one is just fine. Make sure you keep in contact with the bottom, though. If you don't feel the weight bumping the bottom, you won't get bite.
This works below the dam, too. I'd drift from the cable down to Trophy Run, staying in the middle of the lake. Add a white shad fly to the list of flies that are working. Egg flies are not working as well as they did a couple weeks ago.
White marabou jigs are still catching some really nice rainbows. With the heavy current, keep the jig down by not reeling as much when working the jig. I tend to not reel at all most of the time, lifting the jig to make sure the turbulent currents aren't bending my line and losing track of the jig altogether.
I personally haven't caught any browns below the dam since the gates have opened back up, which is surprising. But Guide Chuck Gries said his client caught a 19-inch brown drifting a fly in the area of outlet #3 this morning, so they are up there.