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Better Fishing at Lake Taneycomo

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

as in the early '70s.

The problem with Lake Taneycomo was overfishing. Because fishing had increased over the years, more and more trout were stocked each year. Although fishing for stocked-size rainbow trout was still good at Taneycomo, few were surviving to the larger sizes preferred by many. The rainbow fishery had become "put-and-take," in contrast to the "put-grow and-take" fishery of the 1970s.

In response to this new information, the Conservation Department changed management strategies at Lake Taneycomo. Because Lake Taneycomo can still grow large trout, the Conservation Department is enhancing the "put grow-and-take" portion of the fishery. To improve rainbow trout growth, we reduced the number stocked to 750,000 yearly, and now stock more trout during the heavily fished summer months and fewer in the winter. This new stocking schedule should prevent trout from "overgrazing" the lake's food supply during the winter. However, for fishing to improve, trout must have a chance to grow.

Changes in fishing regulations at Lake Taneycomo should help fish survive longer.

  • Beginning March 1, 1997 anglers fishing between the mouth of Fall Creek and Table Rock Dam must release all 12- to 20-inch rainbow trout and use artificial lures and flies only.
  • Natural and prepared baits, including soft plastic lures, will be specifically prohibited in this zone.
  • The lake-wide 20-inch length limit on brown trout and the current rainbow trout regulations downlake from Fall Creek will remain unchanged.

The elimination of natural and prepared baits in the new regulation zone is necessary to make the program work. Studies show that trout caught on natural and prepared baits and then released are about five times more likely to die than those caught on artificials and released. In other words, one trout out of every five you catch and release using bait will die.

These deaths would multiply in the new regulation zone where we expect each trout will be caught and released several times as it grows to 20 inches. Anglers fishing this zone should also practice good fish handling techniques, so these fish have the best chance to survive and grow larger.

What can anglers expect?

Anglers interested in catching a limit of 10- to 12-inch stocked-size trout can still fish throughout the lake. Those who like to pit their skills against larger rainbow trout can fish the zone from Fall Creek to Table Rock Dam. Also, big browns will still be available throughout the lake. All this means more and better trout

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