Freezing on Taneycomo

March 18, 2014

Taneycomo rainbow

Warm, temperate, Missouri-springweather was hardly what we got on our day on Taneycomo. Really, it was more like hand-numbing, shivering, freeze-your-waders-off kind of weather. But it sure beats snow and negative fifty-something like we’ve had back home.

We stopped in Branson on the way back from Texas and hit Taneycomo. Braden and I stuck it out for most of the day despite rain and temps in the 40’s. I figured the miserable weather would discourage most anglers from fishing today, but I failed to calculate the horrible affects that cabin fever has on a fly fisher’s restless mind – there were still plenty of anglers plying the frigid waters with flies.

We followed the typical ritual that we perform each time we hit Taneycomo. Grab a few layers of clothes (which happened to be quite a bit this time around), stop at River Run Outfitters for licenses (an awesome shop right by the river), muse on the generation (didn’t exist today!!), find a likely spot (pretty close to anywhere on Taneycomo), and toss a midge at some trout.

The fishing wasn’t spectacular, but Braden and I each put some fish in the net. I managed to stick a nice rainbow (pictured above) on a tan #20 thread midge. He taped somewhere around eighteen to twenty inches and FAT, a good fish and definitely one of the bigger ‘bows I’ve caught on a fly. It was far too cold to take pictures, so the grip-n-grin will have to do for this trip. Fish were eating the typical stuff – midges, scuds, worms at high generation, and streamers (you can check out a few of our favorite flies for Taneycomo here). A few fish were even rising somewhat consistently to little midges, which was a beautiful sight for a few fly fishers that have looked at frozen lakes and snow for the past few months. Despite the rain, it was an awesome day on the water. Taneycomo is always a fun place to fish, and it was a good bridge to spring trout fishing in Minnesota. 

Tight lines,


Fly Fishing in Colorado

The crew just got back from a great week of fishing and hanging out in Steamboat Springs Colorado. The Yampa River flows right through town, and though the weather was a bit tough, we had lots of great opportunities to fish. I’ll post a full report soon, but meanwhile here are a few pics from the trip…..

Mountain Whitefish! Noah stuck this whitey on a midge that he tied while fishing the Elk River.

Mountain Whitefish! Noah stuck this whitey on a midge that he tied while fishing the Elk River.

mountain lake in colorado


10-26…White River Brown Trout

Today Braden and I hit Lake Taneycomo, Missouri’s portion of the legendary White River system. If you’re not familiar with Taneycomo, the “lake” is actually a tailwater flowing from the massive Table Rock Lake. Taneycomo is famous for its monster browns and rainbows, but is subject to an unpredictable generation schedule from Table Rock Dam. High generation makes wade fishing very difficult, if not impossible. We passed up the “combat” fishing at the hatchery outlets and found some solitude further downstream. We were greeted by a gentle Taneycomo at low generation and a multitude of visible trout.

Table Rock Dam

I started by tossing some streamers. I tied on a small beadhead chickabou bugger style fly and quickly found a willing rainbow. It wasn’t a bad fish at around twelve inches, but it was nowhere near the size Taneycomo is famous for. I played with a few different nymph rigs and hooked a few fish, but didn’t land any. A few midges started hatching later in the afternoon. Midges are the bread and butter on Taneycomo, which gets midge hatches almost every day.  Braden tied on a cdc midge and nailed a nice rainbow around the same size as mine.

Taneycomo rainbow on a dry fly

They started running water on us later in the afternoon, so we packed up and hit the outlets, which had emptied out a bit by then. Surprisingly, I got old outlet number three all to myself. I hooked a few rainbows on a scud, but nothing stuck. Braden caught the fish of the day, landing two nice browns in the fifteen inch range on a hare and copper.

Taneycomo brown trout

Today was tough, but fishing on the White is always a fun experience. Next up we are headed east for some mountain fly fishing to wild rainbow trout in the Smoky Mountains.

3-31…A New Fly Fisher

Today we took a friend down to the Driftless Area in search of some trout. It was his first time fly fishing. It was a little chilly, forty five degrees, when we arrived at the stream at 9:30. It definitely felt like March today, unlike two weeks ago when it was in the eighties. I took our friend David upstream while the rest of the guys stayed back and fished another hole. Fishing was slow for the first couple hours. David was casting and mending pretty well by the end of the morning, but the fish just wouldn’t cooperate, so we headed back. Same story for Braden, Noah and Dad. I was hoping for a BWO hatch once it warmed up, but it stayed right around forty five almost the whole day.

Me fighting a nice brown

However, some midges started hatching around noon, which got the fish active. David caught his first trout on a fly, a little brown that ate a copper john. It was such a cool feeling knowing that you put someone on their first trout! I tied on an ausable bomber followed by a hare and copper and a black beauty midge. Two small browns took the midge and a brown in the thirteen inch range came up and slammed the bomber. Braden had a few hits on a streamer, but couldn’t coax any to the net. The fishing slowed down after that, so we ate a quick lunch and headed to another spot. I fished this spot last fall and had some decent luck, so I was excited to explore more of it. Almost immediately David got into a nice brown right under the bridge.

David took this beautiful wild brown on a hare and copper

This creek was quite sandy, and it took a bit of walking in between pools, but it was worth it. The bluffs made for some picturesque pools and runs cutting through the valley. The fish had moved into the shallow riffles and indicator nymphing worked nicely. I caught four browns up to around eleven inches on a hare and copper. I was fishing downstream when I heard David yelling with excitement. I turned to see his rod doubled over with a nice brown on the other end. Fly fishing is so much fun. Only about three casts later his indicator dove again and he was into a good fish. It gave him a good fight on his four weight. This was definitely the fish of the day, around fifteen inches, not bad for your first day fly fishing:) As Noah said, “I think he will be doing this again.”

Fish of the day

Best flies for the day:  #14 hare and coppers, #20 black beauty and miracle midges.

David's first trout on a fly

David fishing a productive hole






Irish Trout

This winter has been very mild to say the least. Although it is technically still winter trout season here in Minnesota, the weather is anything but that. Over the weekend, we camped at one of our favorite trout streams. Temps crept into the eighties, bringing out the trout and the bugs.

Braden and I were on the water as the morning sun crept over the bluffs. We headed downstream to a long, slow run where a few trout were rising sporadically to midges. Braden crawled out on a log jam and after several attempts delivered a difficult cast to a riser. The trout gulped his cdc midge, only to hopelessly tangle himself in the logs before Braden could do anything. That was about it for a while. While Braden hiked back to camp for some breakfast, I explored some water I hadn’t fished before. I found a great pool with some good cover and brought the first trout of the day to hand, a little ten inch brown that took a #14 hare and copper. I caught one more little brown in that pool and kept going downstream. My indicator dove as it drifted along a log, and I tied into a decent rainbow. The last rainbow we caught out of this stream last season was a fresh stocker that barely put up any fight, but this holdover had some nice spots and fought pretty well.

Braden's first trout on the new rod.

Around nine or ten some bugs started coming off and the trout started rising. Braden and Noah came down and got in the action. Fish were holding in faster water and steadily rising to the now thick mayflies. A#16 quill gordon was a decent match. Braden pulled in a nice brown, the first on his new rod. Noah caught the biggest brown of the morning, a nice fish around fourteen inches. I caught six on the morning, not bad for St. Patricks Day.

Biggest of the morning.

On of the best things about the weekend was we got the river practically to ourselves. I saw only two other anglers way upstream. The water was more like it is in the middle of summer or the fall, not high and stained like it usually is this time of year. The high temps definitely kept the trout moving. Anyway, Noah and I hit a slow section in the evening hoping for a hatch or spinner fall. A few trout were rising, but not like we were hoping for. I caught two little browns in the last light of the day.

Same fish, with the fisherman

Baby brown showing off some nice red spots

The next morning found Braden and I on the water early again. I was fishing with a three fly dry dropper rig consisting of a #12 Ausable Bomber dry with a #14 hare and copper and #20 black beauty midge dropper. A few trout were rising to the hatching midges. I was nymphing the head of a deep cliff pool when the Bomber plunged into the depths. I hooked into a good sixteen inch rainbow, one of the best fish of the trip. Unfortunately, the camera battery died so I didn’t get a picture. Braden switched to the same rig and we headed upstream with Noah and did quite well with the shallow water nymphing. Most people overlook this water with the deep pools nearby, but it holds lots of fish, including some bigger ones. A lot of the fish took the midge, but a few ate the hare and copper. Braden and I combined caught nineteen trout, mostly browns in the ten to fourteen inch range, and another good rainbow I caught in skinny water. Noah caught two, one on a cdc dry and the other on a hare and copper. With a bit of help from me, Mom caught her first trout on a fly, a healthy twelve inch brown. It was her first time fly fishing, and she improved alot over the morning. It was great to be camping and fishing in mid March!

Cdc BWO Comparadun

The Cdc Bwo Comparadun is great for imitating small mayflies and midges. Often the only thing a trout will take when rising to midges is a well presented tiny cdc pattern. The cdc gives it a good silhouette and lots of movement. It is durable and relatively easy to tie, and you can crank out a bunch of these in a half hour. Tie them in a variety of colors to match your local midge and mayfly hatches. It fooled plenty of trout for me on a trip to the Ozarks, including a 16″ rainbow. Ok, enough talk, here’s the recipe:

Hook: #16-20 dry

Thread: Black 8/0 UNI

Tail:Grizzly hackle fibers

Body: Olive superfine dubbing

Wing: Natural gray cdc, tied comparadun style

Check out our Fly Box page, which contains many more fly patterns that we tie and fish.

Happy Tying!



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