I don't think a single day had went by since my last trip to Taneycomo that I didn't think about getting back on the water and chasing those big browns again. After checking the generation schedules and patterns every day for a week it looked like the stars might align and give me an opportunity for another day on the water. My only free day was Friday and SWPA was predicted to keep water off at Taney until 4:00 according to the posted schedule. That was all I needed to make plans for a return trip. I called up a good friend that I knew had been wanting to get the opportunity at a big brown, I told him things looked promising and I'd pick him up at 5:00 am on Friday.
Despite the prediction of rain the weather turned out to be perfect, which coupled with the low water prediction made for quite a crowd below the dam. I was a little surprised at the numbers of people for a weekday , but the brown trout run gets some serious notoriety on the White River tailwaters these days and you can expect to have some company on about any day. Rob and I rigged up in the parking lot , both using the same setup of a soft-shelled scud trailed by a bit scud on 5x tippet. This setup is by far my favorite rig for sight fishing to tailwater browns and has accounted for more nice fish than any other fly combination. We scouted the North Bank for a while before deciding on a good position to present our flies to the pods of browns that we could see moving through occasionally. Rob hooked into the first fish of the day within the first 15 minutes, landing a very nice brown on the black soft-shell I had given him to start with.
This was what we had driven 4 hours one way for and it made the trip a success in our eyes with that one fish landed. We stuck with the North Bank all morning with Rob landing another really nice brown and myself losing a good fish right at the net.
We weren't catching any numbers of fish but this was the trade-off we were willing to make for the opportunity at a trophy brown. Several pig rainbows were caught but we didn't pursue the idea of switching tactics and probably landing good numbers of nice rainbows, opting to stick to our guns and sight fish to the browns we could see.
We broke for lunch and ate a quick sandwich in the parking lot while discussing our plans for after lunch. Just as we were finishing up, the inevitable happened , that damned horn began blowing the sound all wade fishermen have grown to despise. Two long blasts told us that they were starting up two generators and our wading opportunities were about to become much more restricted. We hurriedly threw our gear back on and headed for a spot I thought might still give us a good opoortunity at some quality fish even with the generation. Within just a few casts the decision was paying off as I landed the first of several more nice browns we would do battle with before the afternoon was over.
We decided to call it a day sometime around 4:00, as Rob released another beautiful rainbow that just seemed like a good one to quit on.
Another day when the fishing gods were smiling on my partner and myself , a spectacular day in even the most jaded fishermans mind I would have to think, but most certainly a day to remember for both of us.
This is the kind of trip that will keep you up at night thinking about the bend in that 5 weight as another nice brown takes off upstream with your soft-shelled scud securely in his upper lip. This is the kind of trip that has us thinking about when we can get back down here before we've even pulled out of the parking lot. This is the kind of trip that keeps me flyfishing every chance I get.......chasing trout in another beautiful ozarks river.