Taneycomo Hot After High Water

Content Image


Cast a white jig, let it sink to the bottom, start reeling, catch a trout and repeat. That scenario played out too many times to count over the course of three days of fishing the first week of February on Lake Taneycomo in Branson.

After record flooding in December, one might think Lake Taneycomo would be experiencing negative after effects. In regards to fishing, nothing could be further from the truth.

To help shed light on the fact that Taneycomo is fishing as well as ever, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Bass Pro Shops, G3 Boats, Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau and Lilleys’ Landing Resort and Marina hosted a media event that brought a dozen outdoor communicators together a few days of fishing and exploring Branson area attractions.

Phil Lilley says the fishing on Taneycomo is always good after floodwaters recede. A lot of baitfish spill in through the dam and other forage enters the lake from tributaries. Judging by number of trout we fileted and fried, Phil sure knows what he’s talking about.

On the first night of the trip, our group toured the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. This behind the scenes look at how trout are produced for stocking all over the state was a scientific treat. As Missourians, we are blessed to have top-notch fisheries biologists working for the Department of Conservation who spend their days making sure there are plenty of fish in our lakes and rivers. The highlight of the hatchery tour for me was seeing hundreds of Ozark hellbenders being raised for release into the wild. These strictly aquatic amphibians are an endangered species. It was so cool to see work being done to increase their dwindling numbers.

Monday found myself, my daughter Annabel and Nathan “Shags” McLeod, co-host of The Morning Shag on 96.7 in Columbia, in the boat of expert guide, Chuck Gries. As the owner of Anglers Outfitters, along with his wife Lynn, Chuck spends an estimated 250 days a year fishing Lake Taneycomo. To say he knows how to catch trout from this lake under any conditions is an understatement.

When I have the chance to fish with a guide, I really hope they are as enjoyable to be around as they are proficient at putting me on fish, and Chuck absolutely is. He’s an all around great guy who treats you as much like a friend as a customer. Hiring him for a day is a great investment because what he can teach you about Taneycomo in 8-hours would take you many, many days on the water to learn on your own.

After a long day of hauling in too many trout to count, our group headed to Top of the Rock to experience some of the finest dining you can find in Missouri. We feasted on family style fajitas in Arnie’s Barn, which is actually a barn from the property professional golfer Arnold Palmer who grew up on in Pennsylvania. Bass Pro Shop founder Johnny Morris, brought the barn to Missouri and reassembled it as a restaurant. The food is incredible on its own, but when coupled with the atmosphere, Top of the Rock is truly one of the most magnificent dining destinations I’ve ever visited.

Each time I visit Branson, I love it a little more. From the excitement of the strip to the ambiance of little hole in the wall locations, Branson has something to offer everyone. As I return again and again to Lilleys’ Landing Resort, it has become a home away from home, and that’s exactly how Phil and Marsha Lilley make all their guests feel.

If you have been wondering if the flooding has negatively affected the fishing on Taneycomo, the answer is absolutely not. There are as many fish as ever, and they are eager to bite. So head down there now and avoid the crowds of summer. You might luck out like we did and find yourself fishing in 65 degree winter weather.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler


Read about a once in a lifetime fishing trip to a legendary bass angler’s private lake.


Previous Post
CFM Stance on SJR 19


Next Post
CFM Unveils New...