Hello Everyone. I have actually been out fishing a few times over the last week, including spending a good chunk of time on Lake Taneycomo yesterday. The equivalent of one and a half generators was running, which is a great flow for both wading and drifting. I decided to use my motorized Jon boat so that I could repeatedly hit the productive spots. The bite was a little slower than I had expected, especially considering that we hammered some fish a few days earlier.
I started out trying all types of shad patterns and different presentation techniques. Dead-drifting non-weighted marabou flies was not drawing much attention, and the fish wouldn’t chase a stripped pattern very aggressively. Before I switched to a different strategy, I tried one of Davy Wotton’s floating shad flies to no avail. It seems to me that the shad bite is still a few weeks out, but you never know – things could change tomorrow. Right now, the flow is not high enough to pull shad through the dam, and it appears that most of the fish have not seen any shad recently. There are reports from the White and Norfork that claim that the trout are hitting shad patterns pretty hard on those rivers. As of this writing, no one has actually seen any shad down there. I will keep my reports updated, and when the shad kill officially kicks off, all of the important information can be found on this page.
After working shad patterns for a good while, I switched to a more subtle olive streamer and started catching fish right away. This just goes to show that the trout tell us what to do – it is never the other way around. My goal was to try out several different flies and techniques on this day, just to get an idea of what exactly is happening. Midges were productive behind the islands in some very slow water, and I also picked up a few nice rainbows while drifting a scud.
It is hard to say how much longer water flows will remain so up and down. Beaver Lake is still a week (or more)away from being drawn down to power pool, so look for more one or two unit days on Lake Taneycomo for a little while. The current flows are excellent for fishing out of a boat, and there are also plenty of good places to wade up near the dam.
Both Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes are just a foot or two above pool, but recent rains have caused the lakes to hold steady for a few days. Both the White and Norfork have seen flows cut in half over the last week, but today they cranked the water back up to near full power. Hopefully, we will get some low water down there soon. Of course, we also want to see brief periods of power generation with shad pouring through. Rarely can you get everything you want on these rivers, but whether the water is high or low, fishing will be excellent over the next four weeks. I will be on the water quite a bit during the month of February, so check this page frequently for new reports.
I also wanted to let everyone know that I will be down on the White for the opening of the catch and release area below the dam on February 1st. It should be a great time, as I am meeting up with a fly club out of Oklahoma for an introduction and some camaraderie. These guys are big fans of the Web site, and they are interested in learning more about White River fly fishing. I will be fishing and socializing on the 1st, but I am open for guiding on the 2nd and 3rd, if anyone is interested. If a guide trip is not in the cards, but you are still going to be fishing the area on the 1st of February, please say ‘hi’ if you see me out there. If the water is up, I will likely be in my short all black Supreme. The fishing over first few days that the upper White opens back up can be hit or miss, as the trout often get put down quickly if the pressure is heavy. Still, these fish are fresh and haven’t seen a fly in three months, so there will definitely be some hot periods, but it is hard to say how it will all play out.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the upcoming fishing forecast, fly tying or anything else. It appears that many people are enjoying my new site, and be assured that Taneycomo Trout is devoted to creating one of the best fly fishing informational resources available on the Web. I am open to any comments or suggestions.
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With all this talk of the shad kill and how amazing the fly fishing can be when everything comes together, I dug up this footage from New Zealand that I remember coming across – it shows what happens when there are tons of mice near a river loaded with big trout. This short video is very entertaining, and I was amazed at how these big fish will just gently slurp the mice down like they are a mayfly – the bites can get deliberate during the shad kill as well, especially once the trout become accustomed to feeding on the newly available food source. Hopefully, everyone will enjoy seeing this, and keep in mind that shad kill fishing can be similar to what has been chronicled in this film. There is no feeling like fishing a river full of aggressively opportunistic trout. I cannot wait for the shad kill to start – it could be happening any day now. And I would plan a trip around that “mouse hatch” if I could find out exactly where this video was shot.