January 17 fishing report

We’re back to full generation after three days of steady rain last week.  Our upper lakes only rose about a foot each, but it was enough for the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers to spring into action.   Officials are keeping to the schedule to lower lakes down to power pool before the next rains arrive.

The last time they ran four units our trout seemed to lapse into a coma.  But this time it’s not as bad.  Anglers are still catching trout drifting bait and lures on the bottom.  I wouldn’t call it good catching, but here on Lake Taneycomo we’re pretty spoiled.  If we’re not catching four to five fish an hour, we feel like we’ve been robbed.

I’ve been getting out and trying minnows, drifting them on the bottom using either a drift rig or just a split shot to drop it to the bottom.  I’m also trying to drift on the inside of the bends where the current is slower, but not too close to the bank because there’s trees that will eat my minnows . . . and everything else on my line.  Now while I’m getting a lot of bites — and I am getting lots of bites — I’m not hooking many trout.  I’ve tried hooking the minnow in the nose and in the back, and the back location is doing a little better.  But they’re getting my minnow more times than I’m getting them.  But! I feel like I have a better chance at a bigger, more mature trout including a big brown.

Here’s the 3 videos from One Cast where I drifted minnows:

While I haven’t tried night crawlers, I know they’d do just as well — AND — I bet my hooking/miss ratio would be better.  I would advise hooking the worm in the collar one time, letting the worm hang off both sides of the hook.  And I would, while getting a bite, give the fish my rod, or extend the rod tip towards the biting fish, so that he should get more of the hook in his mouth before I set the hook.  That’s the idea anyhow.

I’ve seen fish caught out in front of our dock by people drifting by using PowerEggs, too.  The key in drifting is to get to the bottom, definitely bouncing on the bottom.  If you’re not bouncing, you’re not catching.  That’s T-Shirt material!

We haven’t been throwing jigs much lately but when anglers did last weekend (before all four turbines came on), there were some good colors the trout snatched.  White/gray and black/chartreuse were the best producers.  The white/gray was very good up close to the dam in the trophy area, specifically Lilleys’ jig, 1/8th ounce.  Remember, our jigs are heavier by size than PJ’s jigs, so I’d go with the heavier of the two.  I’d still throw a sculpin or brown jig because they are our staple colors.

No shad to report coming through the turbines.  The fact that white jigs are starting to draw bites is a good sign, but no one has literally seen threadfin shad in the lake.

Guide Steve Dickey is still reporting fair numbers of rainbows caught drifting a pink or orange PowerWorm on the bottom, hooking the worm “wacky style” or in the middle of the worm and using a drift rig to get it to the bottom.

Now I’ve been drifting the minnow from just above the Riverpoint Ramp down past Short Creek. That area does have good numbers of trout, but the current is faster there than, say, down past our place (Lilleys’ Landing.)  I would still suggest keeping the boat on the inside of the bend where the current is slower.  It’s not that there’s more fish there — it’s a matter of ease, keeping the bait or lure on the bottom.

While we’re seeing heavy generation, it’s a good time to get out the bigger baits and cast for big browns.  Jerk baits, the MegaBass 110+1 in the bone and pearl, have been the best, working the banks and even out in the middle.  While we haven’t done it a whole lot, running a crank bait across the bottom has worked in the past.  It’s best to use a white crank that gets down seven to 10 feet and just drift it on the bottom.  Of course, after you cast it out upstream of the boat, crank it down fast, then slowly until you feel the lure ticking the bottom.  Then it should stay on the bottom as you drift down.

Fly fishing is pretty tough in this kind of flow, but I did see a couple of people drifting down lake in an inflatable raft yesterday along the opposite bluff catching fish.  One guy rowed, keeping the boat in a good position, while the other guy was casting something under a float and fishing the slack water along the bluff.  I’d say it was a jig under a float, but he was fishing it only about four- to five-feet deep.

We are still seeing fish caught drifting a scud on the bottom from the dam down past Fall Creek.  Again, if you’re drifting from Lookout down, I’d stay on the inside of the bend in slower current.

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