Lake Taneycomo is “back to normal” again after Powersite Dam repairs were completed Monday from damage in a high water event back in the spring. An airline was severed by floating debris that connected to one of the gates across the top of the dam. That caused the gate to remain in the down position, putting Taneycomo’s lake level about four feet lower than normal. Many areas on the lake were impacted, including Rockaway Beach and the very upper end of the lake. But now the lake is back to normal with docks that were grounded on mud now floating and stumps and rocks now covered again.
Today, our generation pattern is the same it has been these past few weeks: A half unit running during the night and through the morning with up to three units coming online after noon and staying on into the evening. We had anticipated some periods of no generation after the lower dam was fixed — and we still might see that in the near future — but not yet.
Trout fishing pretty much remains the same as it has been, minus the stress of navigating a boat in certain areas of the lake. If you’re in a boat, with the present water running in the mornings, you can boat all the way up to Fall Creek, running mid-lake, with no problems. You can continue all the way to Lookout Island the same way as long as you stay on plain. But going up past Lookout, you’ll need to stay in the channel and avoid some boulders up above the Missouri Department of Conservation boat ramp to the cable below the dam. If you don’t know this area, I would suggest not venturing past Lookout Island.
Our water temperature is holding at about 51 degrees and clarity is very good. There has been some discussion on social media about low dissolved oxygen affecting fishing, but that is not the case at all. Our trout are very active and fight extremely hard when hooked. Here is a chart from the U.S Army Corps of Engineer’s site showing real time D.O. levels and water temperature.
Fishing off our dock continues to be slow, but if you get out in a boat in front of the dock and up and down our area of the lake, fishing is pretty good. I’m not sure why that is, but it could change at any time. There’s one thing we’ve learned about trout and fishing Lake Taneycomo is that good fishing areas change and move on a daily basis because schools of rainbows move up and down the lake all the time. Freshly stocked rainbows will generally stay together in a big school and eventually break off into smaller schools as time goes on. Trout are stocked on a weekly basis either by truck off a boat ramp or by pontoon boat in various areas of the lake. I believe most of the rainbows stocked are released in the Branson area while some are stocked down at Rockaway Beach and others at Ozark Beach when water temperatures allow it.
When fishing from the bank or dock, morning is the only good time due to generation in the afternoons. After the water starts running, it’s almost impossible to catch fish in a stationary position. The best fishing starts at daybreak.
A boat ride last week proved there are good numbers of rainbows in all these areas as I saw dozens of trout rising to the surface feeding. And throwing a 1/32nd-ounce small black jig around these rising trout produced strikes and hookups — yes, even down at Ozark Beach at the very lower end of Lake Taneycomo. The water temperature was quite cold even down there.
If you’re new at catching trout on Taneycomo, one of several easy ways to fish and catch rainbows, from the bank or from a boat, is to fish with a float and something below it. Line is very important – add a two-pound piece of “tippet” to the line on your reel. Our trout will see heavy line and will not bite. Use a small jig head and a Berkley’s pink powerworm under the float. That’s what most of our guides use to catch trout for their clients. Early, when the sun is not up over the water, they’re fishing it four- to five-feet deep. Then when it gets lighter outside, they’ll go deeper — up to nine-feet deep.
Night crawlers are still the hot bait for either still fishing or drifting. Two-pound line is again essential for anything fished while the water is slow or off. When drifting, four-pound is okay to use. Use only a half worm at a time and hook it once, letting it hang off the hook naturally. Don’t ball it up on the hook — make it look like a worm. Inject air into the worm using a fill needle. That will float it off the bottom making it more visible to the trout.
We continue to catch a lot of trout on our marabou jigs, throwing them straight or using them under a float. Black is still the best color but white, sculpin, brown, sculpin/peach have also been hot. When the water is slow, we’re throwing 1/32nd- and 1/16th-ounce using two-pound line. Work the jig close to the surface and half way down early when you’re in the shade — and on the bottom when the sun is over the surface. Do the same when fishing under a float.
The Turner Micro Jig is working as well, under a float using two-pound line. Good colors have been olive and brown in the half-micro.
In the trophy area, jigs are working very well. In the mornings, drift a scud under a float and set the float at least as deep as the water is — even deeper. The scud needs to be fished on the bottom since that is where the scuds live. You can use this technique either with a fly rod or spin rod.
If we get any time in the near future when the water is not running, I would try fishing a zebra midge under a float in and below the trophy area. I can’t say for sure what color and size, but I would try several different flies to see what they like. Red, black, green and brown with copper or black bead heads are staple flies to use on Taneycomo. I’d stay with small sizes — #16 and #18 should work. And you may have to go to 7x to get bit . . . I don’t like using 7x, but if the fish are that picky, then you must try it. 7x takes way too long to land a fish; I don’t like to tire them out like that.