Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Taneycomo 10/09 - 10/11 "Early Autumn Browns"
It's already that time of year again, the leaves are just beginning to show a hint of fall, there's a brisk touch to the morning air that will soon require a more substantial piece of outerwear, and most importantly the autumn browns are beginning to show up below the ozarks tailwaters in all their fall splendor.
It had been way too long since I'd visited my favorite tailwater for a weekend of fishing and the recent cool mornings had me itching to get down to Taney and check things out.
After talking to Kevin it was decided that he, myself , Don and Terry would camp at Table Rock state park for three nights and fish Taney Saturday through Monday, maybe getting the chance at a few browns if we were lucky.
Our first opportunity to get on the water was Saturday morning. After checking the generation schedule and seeing that a mild two units was online (tailwater level of 704.7) we headed down to the first parking lot on the south side of the river to start our day fishing around the island.
Their were several people already fishing the lower end of the island so I headed up top to hit one of my favorite holes which was still open. I rigged up with a two nymph rig consisting of a #16 bit scud trailed by a #16 g-bug, this fly tandem in various sizes and color patterns is pretty much unbeatable in my opinion on the area tailwaters where we have an abundance of scuds and sowbugs. Today was no exception and it wasn't long before I was hooking up with some nice rainbows.
The fishing was good and lots of rainbows were caught including a couple fish pushing 18 inches. Having fished the island area pretty well and seeing that it was almost noon I suggested to Kevin that we drive over to the North side of the river and check out some areas for browns before heading back to camp for a quick lunch. There was a parking lot full of cars when we arrived, but the vast majority of fisherman were crowded into the three hatchery outlets as usual, leaving plenty of river for us to prospect.
My first two spots weren't holding fish of any size but the third area we checked seemed to have some larger fish moving through. I switched my fly setup over to a #16 soft-shelled scud trailed by a #16 g-bug and made a couple casts before hooking up a nice brown.
Kevin and I each caught several nice browns pushing the 18 inch mark before the hunger pains in our guts forced us to head back for lunch.
A quick sandwich at camp and we were back on the water again. It seemed that more browns were migrating up through the area as the day went on and we began seeing and hooking up more fish after lunch. Fishing the same soft-shell scud / g-bug setup all afternoon I caught a couple of very nice fish that were pushing the 25 inch mark and several others over 20.
All three of the biggest browns came on a soft-shell scud pattern from Chartered Waters, by far my number one fly choice when chasing big tailwater browns. Kevin was having a great day as well, staying hooked up pretty regularly with some very nice fish.
It was one of those times when you just pick the right day to be on the water and it all comes together for you , I guess that's what they call being lucky. Regardless, it was one of "those" days , and for me they don't come often enough so I was definitely savoring the success.
Sometime around 6:00 in the evening, after having just released another hefty brown, we decided to call it a day , a great day for sure, and go celebrate with a few cold beers and a good dinner.
As good as the fishing was over the weekend , it might have been surpassed by the campfire cooking we got to enjoy.
Terry didn't spend much time fishing and instead opted to hang around camp and prepare some of the best cast iron campfire meals I've ever had. We had everything from dutch oven homemade biscuits and gravy for breakfast to beef stew and dumplings for dinner.
I was glad someone was taking the time to cook meals because if the task had been left to me the guys would have been eating granola bars for breakfast and sandwiches again for dinner. When the fishing is good I'm like an addict needing a fix , I just can't get enough of that shit. Thanks again to Terry for all his work in keeping my ass fed.
Saturday night Kevin and I decided to set our alarms and get up early for some night fishing. We got on the water about 3:30 AM and found the tailwater dead low with no generation. Perfect conditions which unfortunately had attracted several other night owls , there were six cars in the lot when we pulled in. After rigging up some streamers we started up by outlet #1 and worked our way downstream towards the big hole, having to skip around several other anglers in the process. Fishing was about average for me at night, probably landed 12-15 rainbows and lost just as many.
I think Kevin did about the same or a little better. None of the big boys we were looking for though, and all rainbows. Around 6:30, as the fog was beginning to roll in, we decided to head back to camp for a quick nap before breakfast and then hit it hard again afterwards.
Generation was scheduled to be off all day on Sunday and this brought out the crowds in full force. Some of the areas that we wanted to fish were simply too overrun to even attempt so we focused on some areas further downstream with less pressure. We found lots of willing rainbows , a couple of them over 20 inches , and even landed one or two respectable browns but nothing the size of Saturdays fish.
I spent a little more time looking for fish on Sunday than actually fishing , hoping that come Monday morning when the crowds were gone I might have a couple of spots already pinpointed. Another great day on the water followed up by an even better meal and a cooler full of cold ones , life is good for sure.
Monday morning dawned cloudy with a brisk North breeze that smelled of rain. We cooked breakfast, hash with chorizo sausage, and then began taking down camp, hoping to beat the rain. Generation had started sometime during the night and the corps was again running two units with a tailwater level of around 705'. The talk around camp after breakfast was that most everyone was going to head back towards home , wherever that might be, and call it a weekend. I had other plans and wanted to stop by my buddy Brett's fly shop, Chartered Waters , and pick up a few more soft-shelled scuds and then hit the river again for a few hours before making the 4 hour trek back to KC. After dropping a dime or two at the shop and catching up on fishing stories with Brett I headed back down to the water. Water levels were slowly rising and hovered around 705.5'. I spent several hours plying the same areas that had held nice fish the day before but with the higher water levels the fish were much more difficult to spot. Several rainbows came to hand but I couldn't raise any of the browns I knew were there.
I finally gave in , knowing that today was a different day and those fish just weren't eating like they were less than 48 hours ago. That's just fishing. I ended up finishing my morning over on the South side around the islands again , catching enough rainbows to almost make me forget about those autumn browns I came to chase.
It was a great weekend spent with good friends , good food and rounded off with some great fishing. Does it get any better?? We'll have to wait until the next trip to find out!
Posted by HighPlainsFlyFisher