The best advice that anyone can give someone who has not fly fished Lake Taneycomo for trout, water running heavy or not, is to get advice from those who have. On line advice is available in the Branson Courier’s Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report found in the “Outdoor” section. Both on line and phone advice is available from these sources with which this writer has personally fished: River Run Outfitters, 877-699-3474 or Chartered Waters Guide Service 866-862-1928. (Note: River Run Outfitters has recently moved from its downtown location to a location closer to the dam at
How drastically? The water raises very rapidly from the normal no generation level of about 701.5 to elevations in excess of 710 or more with a current velocity to match. “Don’t scorn the horn,” when it sounds get out of the water immediately! Let the water stabilize then make the decision whether or not to reenter.
Many a day this writer has sat in the fly shop and heard fly fishers lament because they had traveled hundreds of miles to fly fish and couldn’t because of the high water. When they are generating more than one generator at Table Rock Dam, and even one if they are running it hard, except for limited space near the chutes by the hatchery, wade fishing is difficult and becomes increasingly more so as the number of generators increases.
Although one can call 417-336-5083 and get the latest information on what is currently being generated that could change ten seconds after the call. Many is the morning that this writer has called and got the report that the “number of units generating at Table Rock Dam is zero” only to get in his boat, head up the Lake and have one or more generators on by the time he is ready to fish some 15 minutes later.
Based on fishing Lake Taneycomo for over 30 years and living on her banks for just about 20 of those years, this writer feels confident in saying that there is absolutely no way to know with any certainty what the generation status will be five minutes from any given point in time. No big problem for those living in the area but quite a dilemma for those who are traveling great distances to fly fish.
In the opinion of this writer, the only way a fly fisher can be just about guaranteed that they will be able to fly fish on a certain day during a certain period of time is if they are fishing from a boat. Boats can be rented from Scotty’s Trout Dock in downtown Branson 417-334-4288 or from Lilly’s Landing, 417-334-6380.
Although a boat makes fly fishing possible, fly fishing effectively under high water conditions is another matter. What to use, depths, lay ups, seams, and the many other variable that come into play under high water conditions present a daunting challenge which is further compounded by trying to control a boat in the fast moving water.
The best advice that anyone can give someone who has not fly fished Lake Taneycomo for trout when they are running the water heavy, is to fly fish from a boat with an experienced fly fishing guide. This solves three major problems, accessibility to fishable water, boat control issues, and the expertise necessary to catch fish while fly fishing under high water conditions.
From personal experience, one could not go wrong with either River Run Outfitters or Chartered Waters Guide Service. River Run Outfitters uses the classic style “western” drift boat float, rowed by the guide, with no motor, and Chartered Waters Guide Service uses a motor powered bass boat.
Speaking from personal experience in fishing with them, Stan and Carolyn Parker and their “lead guide,” Jim Lund, from River Run Outfitters and Brett Radar of Chartered Waters Guide Service are some of the best fly fishers on Lake Taneycomo. The guides of River Run use, primarily, the classic fly fishing approach. Brett, from Chartered Waters uses some additional techniques that he has refined for high water situations, such as “flat line casting,” etc. In either case expect a great fishing experience.
Originally Published In the Branson Courier on Mar. 3, 2005.