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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Taneycomo a trout mecca

August 15, 2010 at 01:26 AM

Illinois hunting and fishing

Loving info

Buster Loving guides year-round at Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals for trout, bass and crappie.

E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call (417) 335-0357.



In early May the water of Lake Taneycomo was a chilly 53 degrees.

Last Thursday despite a blistering heat wave, the water of that Missouri lake had actually dipped below 50.

No wonder Lake Taneycomo offers memorable trout fishing on a year-round basis.

Trout need cool water to survive and in Taneycomo they’ve found a suitable home. Water released during power generation at the Table Rock Dam flows into Taneycomo from the bottom of Table Rock, which keeps temperatures down and trout active.

That also keeps fishing guides like Buster Loving of Rockaway Beach, Mo. in business. Earlier this spring during a visit to Branson I joined Loving and fellow outdoor writer Darrell Taylor for an afternoon outing on famed Taneycomo.

Since singing and dancing shows aren’t my thing, I had come to Branson reluctantly. But I was happy to learn the Branson area also offers plenty of outdoors opportunities.

Enough opportunities that Loving, 42, has for the past 18 years made a full-time living as a guide. “Down here the water is always cold and the fish are always biting,” he said.

While that’s a questionable statement most places, it’s pretty accurate at Taneycomo whether you fish in August or April. Last Thursday evening Loving and clients caught 30 fish in a few hours.

“The biggest we had was 18 inches,” he said. “A few months ago I had a guy that hooked into one that was 9 pounds.”Illinois hunting and fishing

We didn’t come close to that during our trip and we never hooked into anything near the 18-pound brown trout Loving once caught or the 12-pound rainbow trout on display at his home.

Yet we caught several trout while floating the upper reaches of this 22-mile lake that more closely resembles a river. Now and then I saw big fish dart off through the clear water, their thick sides showing off against the rocky bottom.

No surprise there. The upper 3 miles of Taneycomo are a trophy zone, in which anglers must release all fish of 12-20 inches. Elsewhere the daily limit is four fish of any size per angler.

Then too, the state periodically includes big brooder fish in its stockings of trout raised at a hatchery at the base of Table Rock Dam. Some of those fish stick around and grow, as in the case of the 28-pound, 12-ounce state record brown trout caught last Nov. 20 by Scott Sandusky of Arnold, Mo.

Most of our trout came on small jigs, though we also had a few bites on Berkley Gulp eggs on drift rigs and on nightcrawlers. To make worms float better in the current, Loving injected each one with air from a syringe.

While drifting along, Taylor took time to recall past visits to Taneycomo. “When we started coming down here in the 1970s there would be cattle in the lake getting water,” he said. “Not any more.”

Now fancy houses line much of the shoreline, including one owned by Branson performer Andy Williams.

Even so, wildlife abounds. Loving said he sees bald eagles now and then and during our trip, a blue heron snatched a small trout from the lake and headed for shore.
There the big bird gulped the fish down in one smooth motion.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Later this fall, that might not be so easy for the heron, since big brown trout start running when the leaves fall and air temperatures cool.
Loving said that’s his favorite time on Taneycomo.

“There’s not near as much pressure here and there’s a lot of big fish caught from about the first of November until the end of February,” Loving said. “Most of the time they release the big brooders in the winter.”


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Hatchery trout, worms and power-bait. Yippee

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/16 at 11:44 AM
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