Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo Trout Fishing Journal – October 20

171020 lilleys journal big rainbow 1 - Lilley’s Lake Taneycomo Trout Fishing Journal - October 20
Phil’s 28.25 inch Rainbow Trout.

[Publisher’s Note: Phil Lilley, Lilley’s Landing Resort and Marina and Ozark Anglers, submits this information to the Branson Register as “fishing report.” The typical “fishing report” info, relatively speaking, is not time sensitive and doesn’t change much when fishing for trout on Lake Taneycomo. Phil’s tips and commentary however, do change, are very insightful, interesting and well worth the read for anyone who fishes Lake Taneycomo for trout!]

Reports from our guests are fishing is slow.  They’re catching a few trout off the dock but not many.  Night crawlers are the best.

Out in the boats it’s better.  Most are coming back with limits but it’s taking some work to get there.  Again, worms are best but Gulp eggs are good too – orange and pink.  Four-pound line is ok.  Water clarity is still murky.

Bill Babler says when the water is off, fishing is very good using the Berkley Pink Powerworm.  Best to use 2-pound here but 4-pound is ok.  You will do better using 2-pound though.  He said the best area is from our dock to the bend and from Trout Hollow to Fall Creek.  He’s also using black or olive Turner’s half-micro jigs under an indicator 5-6 feet deep and again, using 2-pound line.

When the water is running, he says it slows down for him.  He’s drifting a night crawler using an 1/8th ounce weight on a drift rig.

The Sweeso guys are here this weekend.  They just brought their limit in for the day, drifting from Cooper Creek down and using a variety of Powerbaits.  They said it’s spotty, catching a fish here and a fish there.

Since my last report, not much has changed in the jig world.  We’re still doing pretty good using black or black/olive jigs.  We’re throwing 1/16th, 3/32nd and 1/8th depending on water generation, as well as when we’re fishing.  If the current it heavy, 1/8th or 3/32nd is better.  Need to get the jig down and heavier is better.  If there’s not a whole lot or no current, then a 1/16th ounce is best.

There’s been a good amount of top water action this week.  From Lookout Island down through the Narrows, trout have been looking up!  They’re taking mostly small midges but anything that hits the water is getting a good look.  They are mainly hanging close to the bluff bank.  I’ve haven’t been hooking a lot of them yet but plan to work on it in the coming days.

Throw small dries at them — elk hair caddis, ants and beetles.  Number 16 and smaller is best.  I haven’t seen many trophy fish rising — lots of smaller rainbows but there are some 15-inch-plus trout lurking around.

Now for the big fish story.

Went out this morning to get a baseline for a fishing report – try some things.  They are running one unit of water, lake level 705.3 feet.  I didn’t get out till about 9 a.m. – boated up to just above the Narrows in the trophy area.

I threw some jigs — black, sculpin and olive — with only a couple of bites.  The midges were hatching in clouds and rainbows were taking them along the current edges close to the bluff bank.  I didn’t have my fly rod in the boat or I would have been throwing a small dry.

I wanted to try one more thing before heading back — a bead.  We use beads in Alaska to catch big rainbows during the salmon spawning season and I’d been experiment with them here.

You peg the bead, which comes in various sizes and colors, to your line about 2 inches above a small hook.  Then you pinch a small split shot above the bead about 2 feet.  I was using 4 pound line.  Throw it out and drift it like you would any fly or bait.  Bump it on the bottom. [Click here for more info on the bead technique.]

I picked up 2 small rainbows and had 3 more good strikes.  Both rainbows had the hook in its mouth, not outside of it.

Then I thought, let’s do a comparison.  So I boated back up to the top of the Narrows and drifted a #12 grey scud (200R hook) using the same split shot.  Caught one small rainbow right off the bat.  Then got a good strike, then another.  I thought it would be about the same result.  But towards the end of the faster water, I hooked something that surprised me.

Why surprise?  Well, I wasn’t ready for something to pull hard enough to break my line, plus my drag wasn’t set for it either.  Nor did I have my anti-reel switched so I couldn’t reel backwards like I usually do.  Luckily, my line held up as the drag started to slip a little.  Then I was able to flip the switch and reel backwards.

It was a good fish but the hard fast run fooled me.  I didn’t think it was as big as it was.  It stayed deep for almost the entire fight, making 3 long runs and fought hard close to the boat to stay down.

I grabbed the Gopro, turned it on and set it up on the bar.  The video shows the fight towards the middle to the end, not the long runs.

I netted the fish but kept it in the water.  I called Duane at the resort and asked him to come up with the camera to take some pics.  He was on a room repair mission so it took a while for him to boat up to where I was.  I drifted down to a spot on the bank where I could get out with the fish.  It’s way too hard to get good, SAFE pics of a trophy trout while in a boat.  I say safe for the fish, not me.  I didn’t want to raise the rainbow out of the water unless it was for a few quick pictures.

The color of this big sow was incredible!  I was blessed to have landed and released.  I did get a measurement, marking my spinning rod against her length while in the net.  I set it on a measuring board and was surprised to see it was 28.25 inches long.  It didn’t seem that long in the water.