Since Phil’s last report on October 15th, we’ve had yet a few more changes to our water. Gates closed shortly after, and now they’re open yet again. With more rain systems passing through with these last cold fronts, lake levels have certainly not decreased. Simply put, weather has just been damp and cold. We’ve seen five flood gates (open a foot each), plus a couple units generating, varying between 10,000 12,000 cubic feet per second for about a week.
Ryan took dissolved oxygen readings last Sunday, October 27, and found the following temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels:
Spill side, dam – 10.1-3 ppm. 65 degrees
Turbine, dam side 4.4-4.6 ppm. 58.7 degrees
Boat ramp (ramp side) 4.8-5.0 ppm. 59 degrees
Short Creek, channel, 7.6 ppm. 62 degrees
Lilleys’ Landing, channel, 7.6 ppm. 62 degrees
So, there seems to be some slight improvement with the dissolved oxygen mix since Oct 15, and just a little variance for temperature overall. Over the past couple days since these readings, we’ve seen some fairly dramatic air temperature drops; some people reported snow flurries just a few minutes north of us last night. At the time of writing Thursday afternoon, Table Rock’s elevation was at 918.04 feet above sea level, a gradual climb over the last couple days. With Beaver now risen to 1129.36, we will most likely see these water conditions on Taneycomo continue for some time (Beaver top flood pool is 1130).
Our scud population continues to explode, and our trout are hitting them hard. We are fishing them the same way: drifting along the bottom without a float. This seems to work well throughout most of the trophy area, and Guide Duane Doty said they have worked great from Andy’s through the Narrows. He drifted dark gray and UV light gray scuds. Larger sizes, 8-10, seem to be catching more trout. Switch up by adding a red San Juan worm or egg fly above a scud. Four-pound line is still fine for drifting.
Drifting white shad flies (aka pine squirrels) from the cable to the ramp has been a good option, too. They are rigged the same way as the scuds, but guides have been only using one shad fly versus two scuds tied in tandem.
According to our dockhand Blake, white jigs throughout the trophy area have been a popular and successful option. Using a one-eighth ounce head, cast out and let the jig hit the bottom. Drift a jig almost the same way, but ever so slightly work it while it’s drifting. Take sculpin and ginger jigs with you up there, too.
Cranks have still been working, particularly deep diving shad colors. We have plenty of current. As Phil noted a couple weeks ago, “We use the Bomber Fat Free Shad Fingerling in shad flavors. You need to throw it out toward the dam and crank it down until you feel it ticking on the bottom, then let it ride.”
While out fishing, several people have seen some top water action, so dry fly lovers could still try their favorite dry flies along the banks.
Below the Fall Creek, night crawlers have been bringing in fish, along with a few Powerbait eggs. Quarter-ounce weights are still recommended. Dock fishing requires even more weight, and fewer results, but a few people have reeled trout in using night crawlers on a Carolina rig. Use an egg sinker, stop it with a barrel swivel then tie a leader of four-pound line to a size 8-10 hook. This allows you to feel the bite a little better with so much weight on your line. Our drift rigs are working better from boats.
All images above are from Duane Doty’s Facebook Page, Ozark Trout Runners. Information provided by our One Cast crew: Ryan Titus, Duane Doty, Blake Wilson, and Victor Jantz
A note from Phil: (copied from last report). We always have a big holding tank with lake water running through it for big fish that are brought into the dock. Because of the seasonal low D.O. conditions, we added an oxygen tank and a diffuser stone to add more O2 to the water in the tank. Now that we (Lilley’s Landing) have become known for this service, we do get a lot of big trout brought in for weighing and pictures. But please consider this: If you catch a big fish miles from our dock, you may put the fish in peril if you bring it in instead of just releasing it immediately. Consider the size of your live well, whether it is big enough for your fish? If you’re running a long distance, you won’t be adding fresh water to the live well on your run, with the lake water already low in O2.
I would ask you to consider pulling over to the bank (where it is safe to anchor) and take your time, letting the fish rest in the live well or even in the net in the lake. Wait 10 or 15 minutes and let the fish recover before getting pictures. I caught a very nice rainbow once and pulled over to the side, got out of the boat with the fish in the net so I could just lift it out of the water for a few seconds for pictures, then after I made sure it was strong enough, released it. Yes, I got my feet wet, but it was well worth it.