As far as trout fishing goes Kansas is about as bad as it gets. So when I found myself needing a “trout fix” and a little time away from home, Branson Missouri was my best choice. It’s only a 5 and a half hour drive to plenty of fish and entertainment!
The best thing about Branson is I can take the family and they will never complain because there is so much stuff to keep them busy. Lake Taneycomo is a tailwater fishery listed in the 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish book so the fishing has to be good right?
We arrived late friday night and checked into the Taneycomo Lakefront Resort. While not a fancy place, it was clean, inexpensive, and had access to the water. Perfect for someone on a tight budget.
Before we left the resort Saturday morning we walked out on the resort docks to check out the water. We were suprised when a hot air balloon came drifting by. There were a few people fishing with bait off the dock and catching some decent rainbow trout. To please the family the rest of the morning was going to be spent doing tourist stuff so we headed into town. I found out from a local that the best breakfast in town is at a small place called Clockers Cafe. He wasn’t wrong either… the food was amazing!
One thing we just had to do was Ride the Ducks. Not only would it show us around town but would also give us a ride on the water. It is something I would recommend to anyone. They give a great tour!
After the ride we did some exploring around town and decided to have a late lunch (time went by so fast) at Dixie Stampede. While I was against it at first due to the price, I was talked into it by the wife and daughter. It turned out to be great! I chose to be on the South side and we won! They put on a wonderful show and the food is great too. Oh and you don’t get no silverware so I hope you don’t mind eating with your hands.
After all that fun it was finally time for me to go fishing! I decided that since my time was limited I would try fishing the section near the hatchery on Lake Taneycomo. I was expecting it to be busy, but I didn’t expect it to be the zoo it was. I was told they had 25 percent generation and that’s why the water was up so high. I didn’t even bother taking my camera with me as I didn’t expect to catch anything. I fished for about an hour bouncing between open spots. There were quite a few fish being caught in the hatchery outflow. I managed to catch one rainbow about 8″ long and was told by the guy next to me “you caught a keeper because its below the 12″-20″ protected slot”. I did learn that the only thing people were catching them on was a tan scud in 18 or smaller.
Before we ended the night my daughter talked me into a stop at Lost Treasure mini-golf. What set it apart from the other 100 mini-golf locations around is that you ride a train to the top and play your way back down to the bottom of the course.
Sunday we didn’t have much time to do things as I wanted to get home at a decent time. We decided to check out the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery and then I could do some more fishing.
I left the girls to look at the fish and went down to the water to see if I could catch some. They were not generating and the water was down so there was much more room to wade. It was still more crowded than I like but I didn’t have much time so I found a spot and waded in. Most of the fish (and people)were stacked up near the outlets of the hatchery. I waded in a little below them. I was amazed at the number of fish! There were fish everywhere. It didn’t take long and I was hooked up. A nice 12″ rainbow. I realized that I once again left my phone and camera in the car. A few more fish followed but nothing spectacular, just a fun time catching fish.
As I’m standing there I noticed something slip into the low spot in front of me. It was a very large brown trout with a beautiful red and yellow belly. He had a large kype jaw and I would guess to be every bit of 30″. It looked very similar to the one in the picture above. I heard that some big fish were moving up to spawn already, but I wasn’t expecting to have one 3 feet in front of me. I drifted my fly right in front of him a few times but he wasn’t interested and finally swam away.
On the drive home all I could think of was that next time I am going to have to try throwing some big streamers after dark to see what happens. Maybe I can get hooked up to one of those giant browns?
Overall we had a great weekend and I finally caught some trout! The Branson area is a great family destination with something for everyone. I’m looking forward to going back again soon!