Winter Trout Fishing - One of Branson's Best Kept Secrets
Lake Taneycomo Tournaments Keep Cabin Fever at Bay
Branson, Mo. -- Lake Taneycomo, that runs through the heart of Branson, is one of the best trout fisheries in the Midwest. Winter is often the best season for trout fishing on Taneycomo. During late fall Table Rock Lake, which feeds Taneycomo, turns over, inverting the waters. This, in turn, causes the water flowing into Taneycomo to hold more oxygen for trout.
January 29 and February 26 fishermen will take off at 8 a.m. from Lilleys' Landing to try their luck and skill for cash prizes and trophies in two public tournaments. The entry fee is $50 per each two-man team. Both tournaments are catch-and-release and anglers can only use artificial baits. All entrants and spectators are invited to a free meal immediately following the weigh-in at 4 p.m.
In the 30-plus years of annual winter tournaments on Lake Taneycomo, anglers have learned to prepare for a wide range of weather. Some years, the high temperature has reached 70; others have dipped to below freezing with snow and sleet. But the weather is all part of the outdoor adventure, contestants say, as they just add layers and pack hand and feet warmers. "The weather doesn't matter," said Bob Dwiggins of St. Louis, who plans to spend about five weekends fishing at Lilleys' Landing this winter. "It's always fun here."
Marabou jigs have long proved to be a mainstay on the lake, because they are cheap at $1 each, and can last through a dozen or more fish. Lilleys' Landing tackle shop carries jigs in several different size of weights to vary with Taneycomo's generation schedule. Scuds and midges are also great to try in the upper lake, sometimes with a tandem rig tied with an egg fly or a San Juan worm 18 inches below the scud. Phil Lilley of Lilleys' Landing, said,"We see midge hatches almost every day in the winter here on the lake, and that means our rainbows are ready and waiting to munch on little flies swimming up from the bottom and hatching on the surface."
For current fishing tips, anglers can go to Lilleys' sister website, www.Ozarkanglers.com to find articles, ask questions in a forum and read reports.