It’s been a very unique summer fishing season so far. Different in the sense of our lake condition. Because the spillway at our lower day (Powersite Dam) is “broken,” our lake level is much lower than normal. Our lake from Lilleys’ Landing up looks even more like a river than a lake. This isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s taken some figuring out, but our fishing fun has really been delightful!
The generation pattern has been very consistent, with a half unit running from 10 at night until noon the next day, then three units from then into the evening.
Water temperature is holding at 50 degrees coming out of Table Rock Dam, which is about normal — may be on the cool side. The water quality is very good, evidenced by the fight we’ve experienced from the trout we’re catching. Water clarity is very clear, which is a problem for those using heavier line. When the water is off, we’re using two-pound line exclusively, either stringing on two-pound or tying a short leader onto our four-pound. If the water is running, you can get away with using four-pound when drifting or throwing a jig, but even then, you’re going to get more bites using two-pound.
I personally don’t remember seeing so many good quality rainbows in our lake during the summer season. I mean overall, they are in great shape, bulked up with beautiful colors. We’re finding this in and out of the trophy area. Usually we’ll find a lot of them above Fall Creek, but while throwing jigs the last couple of weeks we’re seeing dozens of nice rainbows over 15 inches caught.
We’re still saying the early and late bite is the best. You’ll catch more trout before 7 a.m. than after 7 a.m.. And stay in the shade as long as possible . . . trout like the shade.
Night crawlers are still the hottest live bait, with the Pink Powerworm a close second. Our guides are heading down lake now, finding freshly stocked rainbows around Monkey Island and the Branson Landing area. Randy and Tracy Kemp of St.Clair, MO, longtime guests here at Lilleys, caught one after the other Monday evening using the Pink Worm under a float seven-feet deep with two-pound line, down below Cooper Creek. This was while three units were running. Randy said he used a heavier jig head to get the lure down in the current — a 1/32nd ounce.
Guide Duane Doty has been taking clients out on early trips and doing well throwing his custom painted jerk baits. Tuesday morning he took a dad and his two boys. Son Jackson landing a trophy 23 inch-rainbow on his last cast of the trip.
I’ve been having a lot of luck throwing our 1/32nd-ounce jigs using two-pound line early in the mornings. Location — just about anywhere on the lake has been good. We started using black jigs after a friend and frequent Taney angler Kelly Hines reported he had been catching dozens of trout on black. We have been throwing other colors, too, with success, but the trout definitely go for the black!
When the water is running in the afternoons and evening, we’re casting 3/32nd- and 1/8th-ounce jigs in sculpin, white, black and olive colors.