Midging Like Crazy!
I apologize for my lapse in reporting – Summer and I welcomed our new son into the world right after Christmas. His name is Fischer, and he is very healthy. We are extremely proud of this blessing in our lives.
There has finally been some low water on Lake Taneycomo and the fishing has been fantastic. Typically, this time of year is characterized by long stints of zero-generation, and this trend should continue for the next few weeks. Beaver Lake is still high, and the Corp keeps waffling on their dates to commence draining the reservoir. Considering that Table Rock Lake is approaching four feet below power pool, it is unlikely that water flows will change drastically as a result of the influx of water from Beaver. We will see what happens, but barring heavy rains, I look for low water conditions to prevail most days with generation limited to the early morning and dinnertime hours.
On New Year’s Day I attended the annual OzarkAnglers.com get-together near the hatchery below Table Rock Dam. It was a fun event with great food and plenty of camaraderie – it is nice to finally be able to put faces with the names I have become familiar with. What made this gathering perfect was the fact that we had low water and the fish were really biting. I really enjoyed meeting everyone, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will attend this function every year.
During the winter, our trout really key in on midges, and this has definitely been the case during the recent low-flow periods. Any type of bead head zebra-style midge has been killing the trout, and it really does not matter what depth you set the fly. Scuds are also working well, especially when there is a little wind-chop on the surface of the water. I’ve developed a new Ultra Violet (UV) dubbing blend, and this color seems to really produce when the sun is shining. This material is very visible, and I think the scud patterns I tie with it are functioning as more of an attractor type of fly. Dry fly fishing has also been pretty good considering the fact that it is January, and the best patterns for this bite have been Big Ugly’s and Cracklebacks. Who knows what the trout think these flies are, but the fact that they are working is all that matters. The best dry fly bite has involved twitching the flies while stripping them in very slowly. This added movement will cause the fly to sink slightly into the surface film, and for this reason, I think emergers like soft-hackles would have also been effective. If you are suffering from cabin-fever, now is the time to get out on Lake Taneycomo and experience the best winter fly fishing currently available in the Ozarks.
|Don’s catch of the day! These rainbows are plentyiful on Taneycomo|
Streamer fishing has also been decent, and I had the opportunity to fish one unit a few days ago. I tried a myriad of different patterns, mostly of the “articulated” variety, and the “Peanut Envy” was by far the most productive. What I find so promising is the sheer number of 20”-22” rainbows I’m seeing. These true trophies have not been prevalent over the last few years, and the return of healthy fish should make for a very exciting year – let’s hope this trend continues.
After the heavy rains that fell around Christmas, the White and Norfork also had some low water days. Because I was so busy with the birth of my new child, I did not get a chance to get down there and fish, but I heard it was great. Unfortunately, that brief window has quickly shut, and now they are running heavy water once again. There have not been any reports of shad coming through the dams, but red variations of San Juan worms are producing lots of fish. If the region stays dry, we could see lower water within a couple of weeks, so keep your fingers crossed. Both the Norfork and the White are loaded with nice fish right now and there is very little pressure.
My guide schedule is starting to fill in for late February, but until then, I am wide open. Please check out my newsletter on the Web site for current specials. The persistent high water of the last three years has left all of the Ozark Tailwaters in great shape, and trophy fishing will be as good as it gets over the next two months. Winter is a great time to experience these rivers – most locals consider this season their favorite.
|Another rainbow fooled by the “big ugly”|