And catch fish we did. Too many to keep track of in all honesty. But for me, this off time of year for the big ones, actually produced my biggest Taneycomo trout to date. The 23-inch kype lipped male rainbow came on a fly rod. Making it all that much sweeter. It was a perfect exclamation point on my Taneycomo retirement trip.
Tiring of fishing during retirement isn’t something I figured would happen, and I was right. After fishing the secret creek, Meramec River and Current River, Shags and I packed our bags and headed out of Shannon County for a long and winding jaunt across the Missouri Ozarks to the crown jewel of our state’s trout waters – Lake Taneycomo.
No matter how many times I visit Lilleys’ Landing Resort and Marina, I’ll never lose my enthusiasm for the place. It’s such a special fishing destination. Every time I turn off the main drag and crest the hill before dropping down to the resort, I feel like a kid again on my way to a magical place. The amenities are as first class as the hospitality Phil Lilley and his family provide. And the fishing for trout is simply spectacular all year round.
This trip to Lilleys’ was a little bittersweet for me because it was to attend the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s annual Media Camp. An event I created along with Phil five years ago. It all started while Phil and I were fishing one morning. I told him about a similar event that used to happen at Gaston’s down in Arkansas. I explained my belief we could create an equally good, or maybe even better, event at his resort. He said let’s do it, so we did. And it really has turned into a special reunion of sorts.
To attend as a guest and not the host was little strange at first, but once I was there, I quickly saw that my good friend and current CFM interim executive director, Tyler Schwartze, had it all under control. Then it really felt great to know this event and so much more has been placed in good hands.
I only had one day to fish Taneycomo during the two day event, so when the guide pairings were being figured out, I quickly put in my request to fish with longtime Taneycomo trout guru, and the only man I know who kisses every single fish he releases, Chuck Gries, owner of Anglers Outfitters.
Chuck and his wife, Lynn, moved to Branson in the mid-1980’s from Northwest Iowa. He became hooked on the area during frequent vacations, and when he realized he wanted to make a living helping folks catch fish, he knew there was no better place to do so than in Branson on Lake Taneycomo. A quick look at his website (www.bransonanglersoutfitters.com) provides all the proof you need of just how good Chuck is at his job.
There are certain times of year when the giant trout lurking in Taneycomo are easier to target. February is not one of those times. So when Chuck asked Shags and me what we wanted to do, we simply said catch fish. Chuck said, “I’ve never been skunked yet.” That’s quite a testament to 30 years of guiding. And catch fish we did. Too many to keep track of in all honesty. But for me, this off time of year for the big ones, actually produced my biggest Taneycomo trout to date. The 23-inch kype lipped male rainbow came on a fly rod. Making it all that much sweeter. It was a perfect exclamation point on my Taneycomo retirement trip.
See you down the trail…