It is definitely spring time here on Lake Taneyomo! Spring rain has fallen and our water is running hard. We’ve seen spill gates open for most of the month of March which makes fishing both hard and good. It, of course, makes fishing off the bank or docks very hard because of the speed and depth of the water. And some anglers find the big, fast water even difficult for boat fishing. But for those who have tried, some are rewarded with great catches.
When the current is fast on any body of water, food is dislodged and moved. In our case, the bugs that live on the bottom of the lake in the algae and gravel and rocks, get kicked up and washed downstream.
Our trout position themselves to benefit in this scenario, holding in eddies, behind rocks and logs and in low spots in the lake. Ideally, what we do as anglers is drift something that looks like these bugs in the current and put it where the fish hold up waiting for bugs to drift by.
I wish I had a Gopro video of a trout holding on the bottom, watching him move and pick off scuds drifting by. I can see it in my mind’s eye. He doesn’t have much time to react or he’ll miss his chance. Does the color and size of the scud make a difference? Do our trout have the ability to make a split second decision to refuse a bug that doesn’t look quite right? It seems so. Our guides tell me that when it’s slow, they’ll change one little thing — the size or color of the fly which will trigger a good drift of catching fish. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Those fish can tell!
Another thing. Is the way we rig the flies and weight important when drifting? It seems so. Our guides rig one of two ways (that I know of.) They use a “Euro-style” rig and a traditional drift rig.
This is the slip-bobber rig most guides are using. But others, Like Tony Weldele, use a straight line rig with the flies tied on the end of the line and the weight tied on a snap swivel sliding on the line above the flies. Both are catching fish, but Tony’s technique is much easier to rig/tie and user friendly.
I’m spending a lot of time in the report talking about rigging because it is very important if you want successful fishing on Taneycomo during this high water, spring season.
Flies– scuds, of course, are the best flies to use because that’s what the trout are eating the most of, but pairing a scud with another fly can help attract more strikes. A lot of our guides use a bright-colored egg as an attractor fly, tying it above the scud. You can also use a bright, big San Juan Worm as a second fly.
With this release (15,000 to 20,000 cubic feet per second), we’re using size 10 and 12 scuds and in various gray, brown and olive colors. Line size is mostly four pound but if you like using two pound, of course, that’s fine, too.
The best drift has been from Fall Creek to Short Creek, staying in the middle to the inside of the bend. Drifting from the dam down to Fall Creek has been productive, too, but the numbers aren’t quite as good. Some have been drifting on down from Short Creek to our place (Lilleys’ Landing) and catching fish on scuds. Even some of the bigger browns have been caught in this area.
The “white bite” is hit-and-miss at best. This has been confusing for me and others because we have seen a good number of thread fin shad wash into the lake from the spill gates. Yet our trout have not been very responsive to shad imitations. It’s not that we’re not catching any trout on white jigs and shad flies. . . we’re just not catching them as well as we think we should be. But we continue to try and to instruct anglers to try them, too, because you never know when our fish will start feeding again on white. When they do, you really want to be armed with a pocket full of white jigs!