We’re heading into the fall season here on Lake Taneycomo, and trout fishing has been fairly decent for the most part. It does seem like there are days when they just don’t eat and then there are days they can’t get enough food. Who knows what triggers either mood, but it’s sheer fun when they do bite.
I’m not going to harp on the hot weather. Everyone has been in the same boat. Venturing out on our lake on these hot days has been pretty tough, even when the water is 51 degrees. But we hope those days are about behind us — at least enduring triple digits every day for a week or more.
The high humidity has caused the lake to fog up mornings and evenings, which has made navigating a boat difficult. But that should improve with milder temps and lower humidity.
The last few days of August we enjoyed cooler days, so the generation pattern has changed up a bit. Cooler days means less water flow. The generation has started later in the afternoon and stopped about dark. As the days cool, my guess is that we’ll see less and less generation. Less power demand and low lake levels spell less water flow.
Mornings should see no real change since there has been no generation in the mornings all summer long. Operators have run water most afternoons and evenings, so that is when we’ll see the changes.
Black seems to be the color of choice, when it comes to jigs at least. I’ve done very well using black, combining it with olive, sculpin and purple. We’ve also had some reports that sculpin/peach is working pretty well, too.
I’ve been on a quest to fish areas of the lake that I don’t routinely fish. I started in the Cooper Creek Flats area and have worked my way down to Monkey Island, which is just above Branson/Hollister proper and the U.S. 65 Highway bridge. The other part of my quest has been to use the lightest jig possible, which is a 1/32nd-ounce most of the time. Of course, I’m had to use two-pound line ( Trilene Sensation ) to throw and drop the small jig down to the bottom, sometimes in as much as 24 feet of water.
I have rediscovered the Monkey Island Flats, an area just above the island that extends almost 500 yards. The lake is about 20- to 24-feet deep before you get to the flat, where it shallows up to 7 to 10 feet. Both rainbows and browns are schooling on those flats, and they really bite when the water is running. I’ve found two big browns there, caught a couple of days apart.
I’m wanting to work my way down to the Branson Landing using this technique, as well as work bigger jigs around the docks. You never know what I might find! Maybe even a big bass!
There’s a lot of pond weed breaking up and flowing down lake when the water starts running in the afternoons. This can be pretty frustrating, especially when you’re fishing off of a dock. The best time to fish from a dock or the bank, of course, is when the water is not running. Otherwise, take a nap! Or tie jigs.
Night crawlers have been good for catching trout. If the water is off, pump some air in them to float them off the bottom. If it’s running, no need. I’d also suggest using two-pound line if the water is off. Our water isn’t real clear, but fishing something stationary in the water means the fish get a good look at what you’re using. Two-pound line will give you a better chance at getting bit.
Guide Steve Dickey is putting his clients on fish early in the day by using a black micro jig under a float in the trophy area. He’s using 6x tippet. I don’t know that he’s using our micro jig, but I’d think ours would work fine.
Also working early in the mornings is the white mega worm under a float. It caught this nice brown trout the other day. The mega is made of a fluffy yarn material that really breathes and moves with the slightest touch. That’s why it works well when there’s no water moving.
And the pink Berkley’s power worm under a float is working below Fall Creek. I’ve said this many times — our guides make their living on the pink worm. It flat catches trout on Taney!
When using these baits under a float, start by fishing them about four-feet deep. Move the bait deeper when needed.
With the weather changing somewhat, cooler and less humid evenings mean less fog and enjoyable, short trips out jig fishing. There are a lot of trout just below Fall Creek down to Short Creek, and I have been catching them on 1/32nd-ounce, two-pound line or 1/16th-ounce , four-pound line black jigs. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether the jig is on the bottom or not.
“Where have all the browns come from? ” is a question we’re hearing a lot last month. On some of my evening trips, I’m catching as many brown trout as rainbows. There does seem to be an abundance of smaller browns between 11- and 13-inches long. They are aggressive and fight really hard! Last evening I caught one that had its adipose fin clipped, identifying it as a triploid. That’s a trout that was artificially made sterile to enhance its growth rate.
Remember, going into the fall season, dissolved oxygen levels are low on our tailwater, although the lake water temperature is a little cooler than normal at 51.5 degrees. Fish, especially big fish, will get stressed by long fights and time out of the water. It is most important that you KEEP YOUR CATCH IN THE WATER immediately after being caught. Don’t take it out to unhook it, admire it, photo it. Leave it in the net, take it out to get a quick photo, put it back in the net till it’s ready to swim off.
Some photos courtesy of Facebook/Ozark Trout Runners.