The wife and I took an extended weekend trip to Branson, MO where in exchange for watching some of the shows with her she would go fishing with me. I had read up on fishing Lake Taneycomo so I loaded up with scuds, size 18-20 zebra midges, small soft hackles, and size 8-12 wooly buggers. I had never fished a tailwater before so I wasn't sure what to expect. We put in at the the Table Rock dam which is the upper end of Taneycomo and we were fortunate as the generators were scheduled to be off Friday through Sunday.
After we parked, got rigged up and found out that zero generators operating it was very wadeable. When we entered the water I was able to get a glimpse of the Table Rock dam.
Being from the flatlands of the midwest a dam like this is a rare sight. To me it was an extremely impressive sight. We arrived around 8 am or so and were surprised that there were so few people. We had almost the whole place to ourselves.
Fishing a tailwater is certainly different than the small stream fishing I was used to. First of all there were fish everywhere, some sporadically rising to some unseen insect or cruising. We did not get any strikes on our woolies or softhackles. And they didn't seem to spook very easily. I learned later that was because there were so many other anglers wading around. Soon more anglers began to show up and I could see some catching fish.
There was a nice riffle downstream of us so I decided to try it. I tried to get my wife to come but, she was too busy working a pod of fish. As I was making my way to the riffle I met an angler who helped me rig up with a size 14 scud as the point fly a size 12 partridge and yellow soft hackle as the dropper. I added a strike indicator on the second pass through the riffle the indicator stopped, briefly moved up stream and went straight down. Fish on! And soon this stocker was brought to net.
I went back upstream to let my wife know that I finally caught one. When I looked back the riffle was being fished by two anglers. So no going back. I rigged my wife up with a scud and a size 20 zebra midge but, she is still very new at fly fishing and it didn't work out well for her. So she decided that while I fished she be the designated photographer. I worked my way a little farther out and began casting the nymph rig and while the fishing wasn't fast and furious I was catching fish.
This was a typical fish caught.
I took off the indicator and tried nymphing without it and to my surprise I was able to take some fish. Most of the strikes consisted of seeing the line tip move and feeling the fish almost simultaneously. Like I said the fishing wasn't fast and furious but, I did catch a fair number of fish.
One thing i did learn today was those stockers were not easy fish to catch, you had to work for them.
Wife felt a little frustrated so I told her let's get up early go to the riffle where you can swing a softhackle and I bet you will catch a fish. So I was going to play guide for the day. I told her to swing the fly by the tailout of the riffle. Any fish that is there is going to be a hungry fish. My wife's casting skills need some work but, she was able to put the fly in the tail out and as the fly swung through the tailout I could see the flash of a fish and her line tighten as the fish hooked itself and my wife had her first fly hooked fish on. And after a few minutes her first fish caught on a fly.
Because my landing net was on a magnetic cord it was hard to get a good picture of her and the fish. She proceeded to catch 4 more rainbows like this one.
Then the rain came and chased us out and so we ended up going antiquing. Before I go I just wanted to thank my wife for her iPhone pictures.
All the way she kept talking about how much fun she had and how she wants to really practice her fly casting. Looks I may have a fishing partner.