The month of November is at its end. It has brought us cooler weather, and with that, more generation. On Lake Taneycomo these last few weeks, typically 50 to 75% of most days saw some type of flow. Generally only a few hours in the daylight experienced the water off. There were even a few days last week with some very slow flow, as little as five megawatts at 1,200 cubic feet per second. It was quite interesting. Phil’s theory is that something broke, and the U.S.Corps of Army Engineers was not able to shut a turbine completely down. This happened a couple of years ago. But everything is back to normal.
Fishing has been above par for me in terms of numbers of trout, and I’ve heard the same from other anglers. With flowing water it is easier to get a bite and catch more fish. Nathan Bolerjack, marketing manager here at Lilleys, reported 22 trophies were caught and released in November, about average compared to past years for the month.
On the live bait side of the spectrum, the night crawler reigns supreme. There are periods of the year our trout lose their appetite for worms for whatever reason, but for the most part, they are the go-to bait for big and little trout. Use four-pound line, #8 short shank bait holder hook and a small split shot to get the worm down to the bottom. Inject the worm with a little air using a hypodermic needle to float it off the bottom or use a floating jig head. If the water is running, use a half crawler, same rig or drift rig, and drift it on the bottom.
On the artificial side of the spectrum, a variety of things have been working. During generation, especially with two or more units, drifting a scud and egg on a drift rig has been great through the trophy area clear down to Short Creek. The egg fly seems to be more productive early in the morning than the scud does better later in the day. I have been primarily using a size 14 in gray, tan, olive or crystal gray colors. The egg of choice has been the eggstacy orange, or a 6mm orange bead pegged on the line 2-3 inches above a scud fly.
When the water is moving slower, one unit or less, or when it’s off completely, a number of lures and flies used under a float are working. Below the trophy area, the pink worm under a float is good before the sun gets up over the water. Use four-pound line and fish it four- to seven-feet deep. Black or tan micro jigs, as well as the megaworm, under a float are producing trout. You might consider going to two-pound line if you’re not getting bit, especially on very still and sunny days.
Captain Brett Rader has been very successful with his softshell scuds, his coral megaworm variation and a white micro jig.
Here at Lilleys’ Landing, we are currently in production of a new sculpin jig style streamer. It’s a football style jig tied as a sculpin using rabbit fur strips. The football jig construction allows the jig to be retrieved hook up so it can be hopped or drug on the bottom without getting snagged on the rocks. In bass fishing, this jig is used to imitate crawfish. It’s tied using the same colors we offer now in our fly section, namely the Leonard Keeney sculpin. The main difference is the football- shaped head is poured lead like a jig. It weighs much more than the Keeney sculpin and can be thrown using spin cast equipment.
If you watch One Cast, you’ve seen us using this jig quite a bit lately, experimenting with the best ways to use it. Darin Schildknecht, our fly shop manager, told me that his first time fishing the jig was the most fun he’s had fishing for six years! So far the jig has worked best in fairly shallow water where trout are actively feeding, worked about the same as you would fly fishing and stripping a sculpin fly. This is gravel flats in no more than three to four feet of water. Work it using quick, darting and fast movements, stopping and letting it lie on the bottom a few seconds.
The Branson Landing area is holding quite a few trout including a lot of brown trout. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocked about 4,000 browns in early November below the Landing, and they’ve seemed to have found a home in that area. These aren’t the normal stocker size of 9 to 11 inches. These actually are a year older and average 14 to 18 inches in length. They’re chasing lures like spoons, spinners and jerk baits, as well as the other baits like worms and Powerbait.
If you fish this area, stick to the deep side away from the Landing and fish Power Eggs, worms and the pink worm under a float. Trolling lures should also work well down there.