Fall has officially descended on the Ozarks area after September stayed unseasonably warm. A recent front has brought the desirable fall temperatures with a two-week forecast of lows at night in the 40s. We should expect to see the leaves make their beautiful color transition in the middle of October.
Fishing for the month of September was still on par with August. There were still days where the trout just did not want to eat, accompanied by days when they ate well.
Water temperature is still holding at 51 to 52 degrees early morning, rising to 54 or so by the end of the day. Oxygen levels are being well-maintained, with an average of four parts per million most of the time. There have been some nights that the records show lower than that, but for the most part, they were good for this time of the year.
While there were not quite as many trophy catch & release certificates issued in September, that did not stop some very impressive browns from making the trophy board. Featured in photos here are two 30-plus browns caught in one night of fishing with Leonard Keeney and his sculpin patterns. Since the browns have moved up for their annual mating pattern, many big ones are being spotted and caught both day and night wading below the dam.
Capt. Brett Rader of Chartered Waters Guide Service reported that he has switched from his small mini-jigs to fishing a double scud rig in the shallow water of the trophy area in the last week or two.
Nightcrawlers are still reigning supreme in the bait world here on Lake Taneycomo. I have also had success recently adding yellow PowerBait with nightcrawlers. Others, too, have reported success with just the yellow PowerBait.
The 1/32-ounce Lilleys jig in black combinations and sculpin has continued to catch fish consistently, day and night. Capt. Steve Dickey and other guides also indicate that first thing in the morning the bite is still the best.
Keeney’s sculpin streamers have been working round the clock, producing both numbers and quality fish below the dam when the water is off. The late evening and night bites have been good on jerkbaits and 1/32-ounce jigs over the last few weeks, with the jigs surpassing at night; however, both have been successful.
As the temperatures drop, we should expect to see less water generation in the afternoons — and potentially days in a row with no generation at all.
Please don’t forget good fish handling techniques this time of year! Keep your fish in the water following their fight so they have ample time to recover before you release them.
Blake Wilson | October 5, 2023