March 9 Fishing Report

At the beginning of each of my fishing reports for Lake Taneycomo, I start with lake conditions of the lakes above and below us because their levels dictate, in some degree, the generation patterns we might see.  But at the time of this writing, we’re looking at rain almost every day for the next 10 days in our area so conditions on Lake Taneycomo might change; hence, the ways I talk about fishing might change, too.  We will see.

Beaver Lake, the upper most lake in our White River Chain of Lakes, is now being dropped from its high mark of 1,127.8 feet, 7.8 feet above its seasonal power pool.  Dam operators are running about 3,900 cubic feet of water per second around the clock, and the lake is dropping about .4 inches per day.  Table Rock Lake is holding at 915.5 feet, and the release rate from Table Rock Dam into Lake Taneycomo is 10,000 cubic feet per second.

Wow — I haven’t even finished my report and Beaver has opened spill gates to the tune of 4,000 c.f.s..  Monday alone the lake dropped a whopping six inches in a 24-hour period.

Bull Shoals Lake’s level is now just above its seasonal power pool after two weeks of full generation at its dam.  Its level is at 659.8 feet and dam operators there are still running 16,000 c.f.s. round the clock, dropping the lake about .2 of a foot per day.

The seven-day forecast is calling for two to four inches of rain in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, but that forecast changes on a daily basis.  It does look like we should receive at least a solid two inches, so that will raise all our of lakes a couple of feet.  All this means continued generation here on Lake Taneycomo.

If Table Rock Lake jumps past 917 feet again, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start running about 15,000 c.f.s. of water from its dam.  One of our four turbines has not been in operation lately, and operators have been spilling water over the spill gates to make up for the turbine flow.  If the turbine cannot be used, then we might see water released again over the spill gates.  This would bring more warm water fish into the lake and probably a good push of threadfin shad.

I posted a video on March 10th of last year while fishing below Table Rock Dam with the spill gates open.  We were catching big, fat rainbows on white jigs because threadfin shad had been washing into the lake through the spill gates.  We might see a replay of this very soon.

As I said, we’re seeing three full units running 24/7 right now on Taneycomo, and trout fishing has been pretty good.  With the flow increasing from two to three units, our trout are back to taking bigger scuds and fatter San Juan Worms as they did several week ago when generation was heavier.  We expect that with more flow, the freshwater shrimp will be more active and move up out of the gravel,  then carried by the current to become easy prey for fish.  That seems to be the pattern anyhow.  Faster current means  flies will move past the fish more quickly with less time to react and inspect the offering.  So bigger sizes are permissible, it seems.

Our rainbows are still in spawning mode and are taking egg flies, too.  So what most of our fishing guides are doing is running flies in tandem — two flies tied about 18 inches apart, usually with a scud/egg or a scud/San Juan worm.  Four-pound line is fine.  Use just enough weight to drop your fly to the lake bottom, probably a 3/16-ounce bell weight.  Early, fishing guide Steve Dickey reports he’s drifting a #12 scud with an egg fly in the trophy area.  But later in the day he’s switched to a duo scud and downsizing to a #14 or #16.  Colors on the scuds are gray, olive or tan and peach on the egg fly.

There’s some algae on the bottom of the lake in the trophy area, so if you tire of fighting it, use a float and fish your flies about seven- to nine-feet deep.

David English

David English, long time Taney trout angler, caught this personal best, 23-inch brown Monday on a Lilleys’ white jig while drifting right at the trophy area line  by Fall Creek. It was released after a quick picture.

Marabou jigs are working fairly well in the trophy area, working both banks, and the middle on the bottom.  If you use four-pound line, I’d suggest using a 3/32nd- or a 1/8th-ounce jig.  With two-pound line, you could switch to a 1/16th-ounce jig if the wind isn’t too bad.  Best colors are white (red or white thread), white/blue if you’re fishing up close to the dam, then sculpin/peach, black/yellow or brown/orange.

Fishing Guide Duane Doty reports rainbows have moved up in the creeks down in the Branson area.  The water temperature in Turkey, Coon and Roark creeks is about six degrees warmer than the lake right now, and our trout are seeking out that warmer water.  Anglers are catching them on the Berkley Pink Powerworm under a float five-  to six-feet deep — and throwing spoons and rooster tails.

Drifting minnows, worms and Gulp Power Bait Eggs from Cooper Creek down through Monkey Island is working pretty well.  Down here, the water is moving pretty slowly, so I’d use a 1/8th-ounce bell weight with four-pound line.

Duane is still catching some nicer rainbows on his signature series jerk baits early in the mornings, but the bite is short.  You can use a Rapala, Rouge or a MegaBass 110+ in shad colors, but make sure you use a suspending jerk bait.  Work both the shallow and deep banks from the dam down past our place, Lilleys’ Landing.

Images:  Credit Duane Doty, Ozark Trout Runners

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