Plan B as they say…happens when your first plan, Taneycomo, encounters 4 plus inches of rain in one afternoon. If you don’t know what I am talking about then you haven’t been to Branson, Missouri…and shame on you! You might associate Branson with country music shows, restaurants, The Branson Belle, etc…but you should be familiar with it for the awesome trout fishing that takes place below Table Rock Lake. The cold 48 degree water that flows through the bottom of the dam is one of the finest tailwaters around…the problem being that the Corps may decide at any point to run or generate and if they day…it greatly affects the trout fishing below. Table Rock has four generators and if all four are running, the flow below moves along at an astonishing rate and the level of water goes up 9 feet. Let me better explain; at zero generation the level is a trickle and the fishing can be quite extraordinary…you will find a large number of folks on the stream and it is pretty impressive. At one generator the flow is up and resembles a free stone stream…wading can be done safely and it is my favorite time to fish Taneycomo. When generation moves to two…the level is now about 4-5 feet higher, with flow and wading can only be done along the edges of the stream. If generation goes above 3…you need to be in a boat as wading isn’t possible and frankly becomes un-safe!
On my first couple of days in the Branson area…generation was at one for just a short period of time. In fact, this short period of time proved beneficial as I caught a pair of nice rainbows and one big, beefy brown trout on Taneycomo. Unfortunately, along came four inches of rain and along with warmer temperatures…generation was needed and the units running went up to two for the rest of the week. So, plan B for me was a short 45 minute drive west from Table Rock State Park to Roaring River State Park to fish Roaring River itself.
Roaring River is one of the Missouri’s 4 trout parks. It is located in the southwest corner of Missouri. Like the others…you will need a Missouri license, a trout permit and a daily trout tag ($3) to fish the park. My wife Vickie was along…so I found a nice place to park and took a few steps down into the stream in section two; section two is catch and release for flies only. It didn’t take long for me to find a pattern that worked…a crème colored trout candy would indeed be the answer for the day. By casting across and upstream I was able to pull trout out from behind rocks and other structure. Over the next hour and fifteen minutes I was able to land 18 nice rainbows…a few were of some healthy size.
One note about section three of Roaring River…it has a section of water that doesn’t allow for wading. I find this odd…but due to the steep bank understand the necessity of the rule. I also found out that a couple of older spin casting fisherman were quick to make sure I knew the rules…that wading wasn’t allowed. My guess, since one of them told me…was that because I still had waders on, they thought I needed to know the rules. Frankly…I can read and just wish others would go about their business…minding your own business is sometimes a skill lost in translation!
The bottom line is simple, Roaring River is a beautiful place with lots of nice water. I would highly recommend a visit if in this corner of the state; certainly it makes for a nice plan B when things at Taneycomo don’t go as expected. The drive from Branson over to Roaring River is also appealing…with The Ozarks in full regalia. So, grab your gear, a few dollars and see if you can find a few hungry trout in Missouri’s Roaring River State Park.