March 16 fishing report

Spring isn’t here yet, but the rain has arrived in the Lake Taneycomo area. Moderate showers continue to move through our area the past four days, bringing our lake up after a week of dropping levels. We’re not in trouble — not even close. But that does mean heavy generation for the next week or more.

At Table Rock Dam, one unit is still not able to be operated so the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers is spilling water over five gates at 1,000 cubic feet per second each presently. With three full units running that’s 15,000 c.f.s. total, equal to four full units. Table Rock’s lake level is at 916.7 feet and rising.

Ronnie Ethridge

On Sunday, Duane Doty and I boated to the dam to see whether our trout would bite a white jig. With the increase of flow over the gates, we were hoping threadfin shad were being washed from Table Rock into Lake Taneycomo. We didn’t do that well. Monday morning, though, Duane said he saw several shad in the water below the dam while on a guide trip. So I ran up there to give it a try.

While doing One Cast, my first drift down only yielded one rainbow, but it was very fat. On my second drift, I saw several shad in the water, plus I figured out what I think I doing wrong. Using an 1/8th-ounce white jig, I threw out to the side while drifting and let the jig just drift, not working it at all. If I felt it hit the bottom, I’d jerk like setting the hook. Sometimes it was the bottom ,but six times it was a rainbow. And these rainbows were all great trout, measuring between 16 and 19 inches. I needed to get and keep the jig on the bottom since that’s where they are.

On a really good shad bite, those trout will come all the way to the surface for a threadfin. It’s crazy good. But I guess they haven’t seen enough shad to make the switch. But we’re grateful they’re seeing any at all right now.

We’ve been having a terrible time with moss on the bottom of the lake, especially in the Trophy Area. About anything you drift with, if it’s on the bottom, gets covered up and the fish won’t bite. But with this bigger flow, you can hear the gravel on the bottom of the lake turning and churning in the current, so I guess the moss is all broken free, which is much better for fishing.

Captain Tony Weldele, reported that drifting a scud and egg fly from Andy’s house down to Fall Creek was excellent Monday afternoon with no problem with moss on the flies. That’s huge for drift fishing! We should start seeing less moss below Fall Creek very soon because the gravel will shift with this much flow.

The creeks have been on fire lately, with the exception of the periods after these rains. Monday morning and into the afternoon, the creeks flowing into upper Lake Taneycomo were all blown out, but should all be fine and excellent for fishing today. Captain Duane said his clients caught more than a hundred rainbows the other day in Roark Creek, mostly on the Berkley Pink Worm under a float. Captain Steve Dickey said the same thing. You can also catch them on a Berkley’s Gulp egg on a small jig head under a float, too.

Drifting Berkley’s Power Bait eggs or Gulp eggs on the bottom from our place down is producing good catches.  We saw several boats drift by Monday with fish on the line.  Drifting from Scotty’s Trout Dock to Kanakuk Camp has been good, too.  Night crawlers are always good after a rain ,so don’t forget about them.

There are some good places to anchor out of the current and fish with either minnows or worms.  The inside bend above our place is a good place as well as well below Cooper Creek by the water fall coming off the bluff and even further down on that east side.  Just be very careful to anchor off the very front of the boat in slow current.  Be mindful that the anchor could catch and get caught on a tree on the bottom — you might have to cut the rope and lose the anchor.  You’ll fish with a tight line behind the boat in the slower current using minnows or night crawlers.

All images credited to Captain Duane Doty, Ozark Trout Runners.

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