Depending on which angler you talk to, trout fishing on Lake Taneycomo has been pretty good lately. One of our guides, Bill Babler, said his clients caught 77 trout during a four-hour trip yesterday, using both the Berkley’s Pink Power Worm and night crawlers. I’d say that’s pretty good “catching.”
Our generation schedule has been consistent, too, with no generation at night through the morning, then moderate flow in the afternoons ending about sundown. But that changed Saturday when problems at Bull Shoals Dam caused a shift in providing power from the group of hydro dams in our grid.
Here’s the jest of what happened, from an email forwarded to me Friday morning from Southwest Power Administration via Missouri Department of Conservation, Fisheries Division. “Bull Shoals regulation stopped working yesterday, and the plant was placed in manual mode.” Regulation means, “running water round the clock to adjust for the small fluctuations in power demand.” One dam in the system must be running water, generating power all the time, so there’s no interruption of power when there are fluctuations in the grid. Regulating shifted to Table Rock Dam, so now Table Rock has to keep running at least 35 megawatts (maybe less, I don’t know for sure) of power 24 hours a day until something changes.
This minimum flow isn’t much water. It’s less than one full unit. The current at our dock is barely noticeable, and it doesn’t affect dock fishing at all. It does, though, affect wading below the dam, and there is pretty good current down through Short Creek to Trout Hollow. For the bottom line, we like this minimum flow because it helps trout eat more and eat more often. When food is moving down with the current, fish can’t help themselves — they eat.
We’re still on two-pound line watch! We’re telling as many people as we can that it makes a big difference!
Blake, one of our dock hands, told me yesterday that he’s converted many guests fishing off the dock to two-pound line. After not getting a bite, he will offer to tie a short piece of light line onto their line, retie the hook and let them try again with two-pound tippet. Voila! They start catching trout. All it takes is about 24 inches.
Why two-pound line? Our lake water is very clear and trout see the line.
I know I sound like a broken record in some fishing reports, but I’m not going to lie, or try to sell you a different lure or bait just to sound different. The Berkley Pink Worm is still catching most of the fish for guides, and second best bait is night crawlers.
The go-to jig color last weekend at the Branson Firemen’s Benefit was black and brown. Just ask Gerry Dwiggins, long-time trout tournament fisherman, who landed the winning trout — a 23.65 pound brown trout! He hooked it below the Branson Landing and took 45 minutes to land. He was using a 3/32nd-ounce jig and two-pound line.
Our brown trout do make a run to the dam area in the fall to spawn, although they are not actually successful creating any young trout. They go through the actions and lay eggs, but because of water flow and temperature, none hatch. Some browns are showing up early and are being caught on small scud and midge patterns.
Anglers are seeing some nice rainbows up there, too, but wade fishing will for now be limited to close by the shore because of the minimum flows.
Boating to the dam, though, should be easy. There’s plenty of water to boat to at least the Big Hole and fish the area from a boat. I’d throw a variety of jigs colors starting with black/brown, sculpin and even white. Again I’d use two-pound line and either 1/32nd- or 1/16th-ounce jigs.
Fishing prospects for September look very good to me. Our lakes are in great shape level-wise, so we should see lots of no generation or low generation periods all month. That bodes well for fly fishing or jig fishing. Our lake water quality is pretty good, although it’s a degree warmer than last year. But the last fall season, water quality stayed consistently good. and there were no visible effects from low oxygen flow coming from Table Rock Lake.