Generation Report / Future rain and how it can effect fishing on Ozark’s Tailwaters

Reports From The Field - Flys

March 29, 2015

Norfork Tailwater 2015 - MarchThis report will go into detail about what to expect in the upcoming months; as far as, generation and how you should plan your trip if you are coming to the Ozark’s to do some fly fishing either with me or on your own. I will also discuss my most recent trips as far as what I’m doing to make my guide trips more successful and enjoyable.

Some of you who have been with me know my style of guiding and being flexible is key if you want more bang for your buck. I always emphasize that when I talk to people. Tailwaters are a sort of science and without understanding how generation works; you could drive along way and have a bad trip.  We just encountered some heavy amounts of rainfall in a relatively short period of time, which has turned our low water conditions into some serious high water. The way it’s looking I’m starting to wonder if we might be in another high water year. As of right now Taneycomo is up two feet above power pool. Just a week ago we were five feet below power pool. It doesn’t take much rain to throw everything off.

Tailwater levels as of right now

Beaver Tailwater ss of now; 1120. 59   Level Power Pool 1120.43    Top Power Pool 1130.0 (Can only take 10 feet before opening flood gates)
Taneycomo Tailwater as of now; 916.67  Level Power Pool 915.0    Top Power Pool 931.0 (Can only go up 16 feet before opening flood gates)
White River Tailwater as of now; 663.41  Level Power Pool 659.0    Top Power Pool 695.0 (Can only go up 36 feet before opening up flood gates)
Norfork Tailwater as of now; 557.70   Level Power Pool 553.75    Top Power Pool 580.0 (Can only go up 27 feet before opening up flood gates)

When looking at this you can see which lakes take on more water and which ones really can’t. Beaver and Taneycomo are the first to dump water for two reasons, one is they can’t keep the water because they are the first of the two dams that release into the White River which can hold twice the amount of water than other lakes. You will see lower water right now because they will store the water for minimal flow throughout the summer. Beaver is the first of the dams and they usually don’t get all the drainage from the tributaries and runoff like Table Rock after a rain. Table Rock will continue to fill up even after the rains subside. Depending on the amount of rainfall, levels can continue to rise for days or weeks. In other words….Taneycomo will by generate more than the other four dams in the area.

The Corp is doing a way better job of getting rid of the water faster than in the past. They want to do all they can to prevent the lake to flood stage, which will be detrimental to home owners that live along the lake. When looking at the power pools and what lakes can take on how many feet of water you can clearly see that Table Rock is the one that is filling up the fastest. It is only up a few feet, but it’s still filling up and they are generating 200 megawatts which is max before they need to open the flood gates. For every inch of rain the lake fills up a foot. It will take anywhere from two weeks to a month to dump that amount through generation ay additional rainfall will result in continued generation and high water.  I don’t see that happening, just by the way we have started out our spring. That tells me that we will have around the clock generation until the rain lets up and the lakes are back down to power pool going into the summer months. If we don’t get any more rain by the time they drop the lake back down to 915.0 then you will start seeing lower flows and some low water.


When planning a trip it’s very important to understand how all this works, especially in March and April when we are subject to heavy amounts of rainfall. If we don’t get heavy rainfalls, March can be a low water month with plenty of fish to be caught, but it’s always a gamble when planning a trip this time of year.  I try to tell people to stay flexible and we will find low water somewhere. For the average Branson family vacationer acceptance that traveling to Arkansas in search of better water conditions, is often key for a successful trip. Some guides will just take your money regardless of water conditions leaving you with nothing more than a scenic Branson float down beautiful Lake Taneycomo.  I always try and give you options; we never want you to have a horrible fishing trip. You spend a lot of money just to get here and at Fly’s and Guides we want you justify that trip with some quality fishing.


All that being said, the fishing isn’t over, it just requires chucking big streamers in search of fewer but bigger fish depending on your skill level.  If you’re a rookie to fly fishing then this kind of water can and will be frustrating. The willingness to drive a little in search for the right water can be found on the White River and Beaver tailwaters. Three days ago the Norfork was off, expect continued generation with the lake a little above power pool, due to the recent flooding on the North Fork of the White in Missouri. It’s about planning the right trip so you have a better trip depending on your level. We try really hard to put you in the right situations so you have the best trip you can possibly have.  I am always willing to drive and work a little harder and cater to your needs to try and figure out what type of trip you want.  Whether it’s streamers, hoppers, night fishing or indicator fishing we can find the trip you are looking for.

If you would like to know more about fishing on Lake Taneycomo or Norfork & the White River in Arkansas and how they work well during certain times of the year you can send me a email directly to [email protected] if you are interested in booking a guide trip. Feel free to visit us on Facebook, If you really liked this article, +1 above – check us out at +flysandguides (Google+) or send us a tweet with a question or just to say hi. Check out the Fly of the Month!

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