October 20 fishing report

Time is flying . . . it’s fall and fall weather is here!  Rain and barely 50 degrees Monday with 6,200 cubic feet per second of water, which is different.  They ran one unit all day, again a break from the pattern.  Today (10/20), they are running some water later in the day.  This was the pattern a couple of weeks ago.  We’ll see what they do the rest of the week.  It’s hard to say at this point in time.

Trout fishing this past week has been fairly slow for most anglers.  Not sure why since the dissolved oxygen content in the lake has been normal for this time of year.  Weather has been seasonal with some wind and mild temperatures.  But we see this all the time here on this tail water fishery.  Our trout seem like they “get smart” every once in a while and decline what we have to offer.

The best thing that’s been working this past week has been night crawlers, fished on the bottom with a little air injected in them to float off the bottom.  The fish will see them easier, quicker and then bite.  Four-pound line is still fine. Our water clarity is still a little turbid so they don’t see the line.  Normally this time of year we’re going to two-pound line because the water is much clearer, but not this year.

The best areas to fish have been from Fall Creek to Trout Hollow, but there are a lot of rainbows holding in the stretch above our dock here at Lilleys’ Landing.

Trout have been midging quite a bit, but it’s been hard to catch them with the usual flies.  I’ve done fairly well using a black Zebra Midge or a Rusty Zebra, sizes 16 and 18.  I’m using 6x tippet and fishing the midges under a small indicator 12 to 36 inches deep.  Sunday I added a trailer midge with the first about two feet deep and the second about five feet deep.  I caught a couple on the deeper and one rainbow on the shallow fly.

I’ve been fishing the Mega Worm with some success.  I’m using the white mainly but also fishing the chartreuse and peach under a float three- to five-feet deep depending on the depth of water.  Using 6x tippet, I’m fishing in the trophy area as well as just below Fall Creek.  I’m getting a lot of short strikes and missing fish lately.  As I instruct those who watch One Cast, keep an eye on the yarn — make sure it hangs straight off the hook and does not ball up.

The Mega Worm comes in two sizes — 1/80th- and 1/100th-ounce.  And it’s tied in several colors — white, peach, pink, yellow and brown.  If the water is off, we use the smaller jig head, and if the water is running, the 1/80th-ounce.  If the Mega doesn’t seem to be staying down in current, add a split shot.  You may have to go to a bigger float, too.

Use this rig on a fly rod or a spin rod.  But the most important thing with using either is keeping up with the slack between the rod tip and float.  If the trout bites, you have to be quick on the hook set.  And if you have a lot of line out off your rod tip, all you’ll be doing is pulling line and not setting the hook.

We’re throwing marabou jigs with good success, using white, sculpin, sculpin/peach and black.  Now that the water is running, we switch to heavier jigs depending on how much water is running.

On Monday (10/19), Duane and I boated to the dam to do One Cast.  They were running the 6,200 c.f.s. of water I mentioned before.  We threw white jigs and did pretty well.

Later in the day, I went up and fished a white 1/16th-ounce jig, four-pound line, and caught more nice rainbows.  Fishing was actually much better, almost like it was in the spring and summer.  At one point I had  four casts and four rainbows to the boat.  I did catch a couple of warm water species, too — a nice smallmouth and a really fat spotted bass. 

Blake was up fishing with Levi late in the day.  They were throwing jerk baits and having little success.  They also tried a white jig under a float, as did I, again with little luck.  These fish were wanting to chase — we had several follows to the boat.  But why white jigs this time of year?  It’s almost like they’re seeing shad or some other small forage fish.  If there’s a population of warm water fish taking up year-round residence below the dam (bass, walleye) then it’s plausible to think there’s shad or another small minnow species up there, too, besides sculpin which have always lived lake wide.

So if the water is running — enough to get a boat up to the cable — you really ought to run up and throw white jigs.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Angel Wintrode

    Are you still seeing otter activity at the marina? We happen to be visiting branson next week and would love to watch the otters. Maybe you can suggest a good spot to get a glimpse?

    1. Nathan Bolerjack

      Our otter activity is drastically down this year, though some have been seen by our dock staff in the early evening just before sunset. You’re welcome to come try and spot one, but just know that your chances are slim and our dock closes to non-guests at 5:30pm.

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