I know it’s only been two days since my last report, but conditions have change so much that hardly none of the June 26 report holds true for fishing Lake Taneycomo. Here’s why.
The short answer is that the spill gates at Table Rock Dam were closed yesterday morning.
In just a matter of a few days, Beaver Lake was dropped from a high of 1,131.5 feet above sea level to its present level of 1,129.1 feet I think the release was about 25,000 cubic feet per second of water at the heaviest flow. This was in response to a four-inch rain over the weekend that sent the upper White River and other feeder streams out of their banks. Just north of the basin, flash floods sadly inundated the towns of Anderson and Cassville, Missouri, as well as other communities in the area.
All of this runoff water eventually feeds Table Rock and that sent its level from 917 to 921 feet — its present level. When Table Rock hit 920 feet, 10 spill gates were opened to allow a little more than 20,000 c.f.s. of water to pass through to Lake Taneycomo. Only after a few days, the inflow of water into both lakes became manageable through only turbine releases, so spill gates on both dams were closed (Thursday morning.)
Presently, Table Rock is releasing 6,000 c.f.s. (two units) of water in the mornings and 10,000 c.f.s. (three units) of water in the afternoons. Water temperature is about 47 degrees and clear. And with little to no rain in the seven-day forecast, I believe this is the most water we’ll see for a while. We may see even slower generation in the near future.
One other thing about lake levels. Note that Bull Shoals is now at 687.9 feet and rising. Beaver and Bull Shoals are being held at high levels because of the flooding on the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. Once these rivers can take water releases from the White River basin, both our tail water, Beaver’s tail water and the White River tail water will see heavy flows, probably through the month of August.
When the spill gates at Table Rock Dam were open, we saw an influx of warm water that affected our scud population (freshwater shrimp.) They had babies basically . . . lots of babies. It’s amazing how fast they multiply given the right environment. We also saw a pretty good flow of small threadfin shad and other small forage fish. Yes, the “white bite” was on! And so was the scud bite. And boy was it good!! And it still is.
We are seeing some of the most beefed up rainbows in all my years of fishing this lake. We are catching 17- to 19-inch rainbows that weigh three to four pounds, in some cases, and it’s not all just big bellies either. These fish are brutes — big shoulders — just big. And fight . . . I’ve always said the Alaskan rainbows we catch fight harder than any trout I know, but these are giving them a run for their money. It’s exciting.
Fishing from the cable below the dam down to Trophy Run, stay in the middle and drift, using a drift rig, 1/8th-ounce bell weight, four-pound line and either a single or double fly rig — #12 or #14 scud in dark gray, olive or brown. You can run it with an egg, shad fly or San Juan Worm as the second fly also. Some are using a white or cream Mega Worm and catching fish.
You can drift these flies all the way down to Trout Hollow but stay either in the middle of the lake or on the inside bend — stay off the bluff side.
Jigs – white, of course, have been working, but as the “white bite” lessens, switch to a sculpin, olive, sculpin/ginger or peach, brown/orange or black jig. Use four-pound line when throwing 1/8th- or 3/32nd- ounce jigs and two-pound line when throwing smaller jigs. Try a smaller jig under a float.
Drifting night crawlers or orange PowerEggs from Fall Creek down to Short Creek has been good. I’ve been fishing the inside bank from Cooper Creek down to Monkey Island throwing a variety of jigs and catching some real nice rainbows.