Fishing Report by Lilley's Landing.
With the turning over of Table Rock Lake, we’re looking forward to some fantastic winter fishing. It is, though, starting out pretty slow.
The turnover gave us much needed, oxygen rich water last week. This is a seasonal occurrence. For a quick explanation: water in Table Rock Lake stratifies during the spring, summer and fall, dividing in to layers as to temperature, density and dissolved oxygen. That forces colder water towards the bottom of the lake where we get our water (Taneycomo).
As summer moves along, water is drawn from Table Rock through turbines, generating electricity to power our air conditioners. But this water is the cold water, rich in oxygen, we need for our trout. Towards the end of summer, this good water runs out and what’s left is almost void of oxygen. It’s so bad that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then has to inject liquid oxygen into the flow when water is run.
Then something special happens. Cold weather moves in and cools the surface of Table Rock. Then cold water flows in and temps really start dropping. Cold water is heavier than warm water, so surface water starts to sink to the bottom. At some point, all the layers disappear and the water at 130 feet deep on Table Rock becomes high in oxygen and cooler. Through winter and spring, our water on Taneycomo, from Table Rock, gets colder and colder.
Then the cycles starts again.
A guy made a comment about our weather today — it’s crazy! Sunday was freezing in the morning at 18 degrees. The wind started blowing, maximizing the feel of the cold, but it warmed up late in the afternoon. Monday was warmer but windy. Tuesday should be sunny and cold again with Wednesday, warm again. Sounds like autumn! And, yes, I know it’s not winter until December 21st, but it should look more like winter by now.
I think it’s affecting our catching of fish.
Fishing isn’t bad. . . it’s just not as good as it should be after the lake turns over. They aren’t jumping in the boat. The high winds aren’t helping, though, since they make it tough to fish everything is catching fish and handle a boat.
There’s not one thing that’s working better than others. Jigs, flies, spoons, spinners and bait are all producing bites, just not in big numbers.
The dam operators are running water almost every morning and evening at least–the pattern is–no pattern during the daytime. Last week, they gave us no generation during the day but this week has started out with 35 megawatts running, or a half unit. With warmer weather later, we should see more periods of no generation.
We’ve caught rainbows, boating up to the cable when the water is high enough, throwing 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th ounce in dark colors mainly, but a few on white. Also tried a jig- and- float using a 1/16th-ounce sculpin jig with an orange head and did pretty well. Still catching warmwater species of fish up there, smallmouth bass mainly, which is crazy.
Personally, I’m still not doing very well fishing from Lookout down to the Narrows. I’m not saying to skip that area, but I’ll let you decide.
The Narrows are still fishing very well, holding good numbers of rainbows. Trout there are taking scuds, egg flys, San Juan Worm (I still like the white chamois worm) drifted on the bottom. If the water is off, use midges under an indicator. Most of the trout are towards the bottom of the Narrows when the water is running.
Here’s fishing guide, Bill Babler’s report. He shines more light on his fishing sucess.
I fished Friday, Saturday and Monday. Restricted zone. Egg fly in twin colors either pink/salmon or pink/yellow. Micro eggs are working best for me size 16. Grey or grey/orange size 16 scud on a drift rig. Fly or spin cast, beaded egg same size or a beaded pink San Juan Worm. Depending on current 7 to 9 ft. 6X leader. Drift the reef above the Fall Creek ramp through the reef at Fall Creek Dock.
Outside of the restricted zone, pink Power Worm on the inside bend from Fall Creek to Short Creek and then a short stretch of gravel directly across from Short Creek to Trout Hollow’s dock or the drop off just above their dock. Monkey Island down stream side in the slack water off the point has been really good for numbers but mostly small males.
I agree with Bill, we’re catching a lot of male rainbows, which is normal for this time of year.
The one hot spot seems to be from Short Creek to Trout Hollow. This area has become one of our guide’s go-to spots. It’s filled in with gravel, not very deep. Where the pile of dead trees is in the water, there’s a drop off where the water goes from 5 to 10 feet deep. This is another place where fish gather.