Fishing Report by Lilley's Landing.
Generation has been consistent the past few weeks. Dam officials have run “fish water” from about midnight until noon each day and then up to three or four units until late at night. With temperatures in the mid 90’s, Table Rock’s turbines are turning out much needed electricity.I call “fish water” the generation to the tune of 20 megawatts, or less than one unit. The top of the spillway at Powersite Dam is still damaged from the May flood, so it’s letting more water through than normal, dropping Taneycomo’s level below 701.3 feet. This causes major problems, exposing a lot of gravel flats uplake that normally are covered with water, so the water is run to keep them covered until the dam is fixed.
Navigating the lake above Fall Creek is extremely tricky, so much so that a lot of our guides can’t get their boats above the Narrows, a shallow, narrow spot in the lake about three-fourths a mile above Fall Creek. But it’s makes for some interesting wading and fly fishing!
The cars . . . the drama of the cars in the lake continues. But there is word that they are to be pulled out Friday and Saturday morning, July 21 and 22. Long story short, a local wrecker service is pulling them out at no charge. We’ll see if he gets it done since it won’t be easy.
Our lake temperature is holding at 57 degrees, not increasing for a month now. Dissolved oxygen levels remain at good levels, too. There is some concern about the amount of water moved out of Table Rock over the last three months due to the flood in May. Cold water is pulled out of Table Rock at 130 feet, and when too much is pulled out too early in the summer/fall season, the water that’s left becomes stagnate, not good for our trout. So we are thankful the water is looking pretty good in this hot part of the summer.
We’ve seen and heard of a lot of big trout reports all this week, both browns and rainbows. Most have been caught on bait but some on jigs. Almost all have been released to be caught again.
Night crawlers has been the hot bait all summer. I took a couple of friends and their kids out this morning fishing. They were running less than one unit as we headed up to Fall Creek, mainly to see the cars in the lake. But that’s where we started drifting.
I had four-pound line on the reels, using a small #7/0 split shot (about 1/16th ounce) 18 inches above a #8 short shank hook. I wanted to use the smallest weight needed to throw out the line, letting the bait sink to the bottom. The kids were novice anglers, so I didn’t want them confused between the feel of bites and the feel of bumping the bottom. I pinched a worm in half and hooked it once in the middle, letting it hand off each side (I don’t hide the hook).
It didn’t take long to hear, “Fish on!” Lily hooked her first trout! Gavin was the second, but his attention turned to being the net man for the rest of the morning. Keagan wasn’t far behind, catching two in a row. It was hard keeping all the lines in the water. All and all, they caught their limits plus a couple and kept four for lunch.
Randy and Tracy Kemp are regular guests of ours who have been here all week. Randy started fishing with jigs a few summers ago — may have been last summer when he started. He told me he showed Tracy how to use them this trip and she’s been out fishing him. “She hasn’t asked to use Powerbait at all this week.” And they’ve caught some nice trout. Below is a brown she caught on a sculpin jig.
The stretch from Fall Creek to Short Creek has been pretty good, but a lot of people have been going down as far as the Branson Landing and doing well. Beside night crawlers, orange and chartreuse Powerbait Gulp Eggs have been enticing bites.
The size of rainbows has been up this summer, too. We’re not seeing many really small rainbows as we did in summers past.
Above Fall Creek, if you can get above the Narrows in the morning, trout are really starting to take zebra midges under an indicator early, before the sun hits the water. Also working are fishing a Miracle Fly (egg fly on a jig head) and a San Juan Worm dropper (bacon and eggs as Duane calls it) under an indicator six- to seven-feet deep.
I’ve been testing out my dry flies fairly often — a beetle, ant or a hopper — with limited success. It may be too early, but they should be producing bites shortly.
In the afternoons, fishing has been tough with three units running. I’ve tried throwing jigs with limited success. I did find some warm water species in slack water close to the dam. Yes, they’re still up there. Crappie, red ears, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. I’m catching them on a sculpin 1/8th-ounce jigs. Also catching a few nice rainbows in the same places.