Home to one of the best trout fisheries in the Midwest, two gorgeous lakes, and droves of fish, Branson is a great place to cast your line. Whether you’re an amateur or an expert, you are sure to enjoy your day on the water. All you need is a little skill and a little luck. So in between entertaining live shows, delicious meals, and rounds of golf, check out the best places to fish in Branson. A large part of the game is knowing where to go, after all. Use the tips and tricks below for help.
Best Places to Fish in Branson
Looking more like a river than a lake in parts, Lake Taneycomo sidles up alongside the city of Branson. In fact, you can enjoy it from the shopping center Branson Landing, which is located downtown amongst the city’s many restaurants and theaters. You could even watch the fountain show at Branson Landing whilst fishing in Lake Taneycomo. The lake was created in 1913, but it didn’t become a “cold water” lake until Table Rock Dam began feeding into Taneycomo in 1958. Embracing the change of temperature, the Missouri Department of Conservation created the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery at the foot of the dam.
When Table Rock Lake Dam is generating power, the current of the lake is strong and, in essence, it becomes a deep and cold running river. This is important for anglers to note, because if you’re fishing along the shore and you hear a horn blow, the dam is about to start running. The sudden increase in the water’s depth and current can be startling.
The clear, cold waters of Lake Taneycomo include some of the best places to fish in Branson. Filled with rainbow and brown trout, the lake offers an exciting fishing experience all year round. In fact, many Missouri fishing records have been earned by anglers in Lake Taneycomo. Check out these great fishing spots on Lake Taneycomo:
- The Upper Lake: The first six miles below the dam have been deemed the lake’s most productive fishing area. The first mile is shallow, making it great for fly fishing. Use skipping woollies and drifting nymphs in the riffles and large pools.
- Lookout Hole: You can spot this location easily because it is marked by an island. It is a deep hole known for big trout. Be sure to work the bait quickly, jerking, stopping, and then jerking again, to catch the aggressive brown trout.
- Fall Creek Area: This creek enters the lake about 3.5 miles from the dam, and a marina is located near the mouth of the creek. Although trout often hang around this area (the lure fishing is fantastic), the water is shallow, so be careful with your boat.
- Short Creek Area: About a mile below Fall Creek, you’ll find Short Creek, which enters on the opposite side of the lake. This is a popular fishing spot, but it is also quite shallow, especially when the dam isn’t running.
- Lilleys’ Landing’s Stretch: Another fishing hotspot, Lilleys’ Landing’s Stretch is home to many huge brown trout. Black bass stop by during the summertime as well, but these are quite tricky to catch.
- Cooper Creek Area: Below the Cooper Creek Resort, try drifting or still fishing. When the water is off and you’re in a shallow area, you might try jig or float fishing as well.
To learn more about the current fishing situation in Lake Taneycomo, check out the Annual Report created by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The page is updated weekly from the start of April to the end of September, and you can sign up for a weekly fishing report sent on Thursdays. Finally, keep in mind that most of Lake Taneycomo is composed of private property, so be careful where you fish. On the shoreline, you can only fish on the public land in state and municipal parks. There are also trout docks located on the lake, but we encourage you to call the specific resort/dock to check their availability before you head out.
TABLE ROCK LAKE
One of the top attractions in the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake features tree-lined shores and clear waters. In addition to being a popular place to boat, waterski, wakeboard, camp, hike, and sightsee, the waters of Table Rock Lake are also great for fishing. Stop by the State Park Marina or Indian Point Marina to rent a fishing boat and enjoy the 750+ miles of shoreline. The lake boasts a variety of fish, including bass, white bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill and provides some of the best places to fish in Branson.
Table Rock Lake was created in 1958 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (who still manage the lake today) with the construction of the Table Rock Dam across the White River. The dam provides hydroelectric power to the Ozarks, and a fish hatchery was constructed underneath it to stock the trout in Lake Taneycomo. There is an aggressive management program in place to maintain the fish in Table Rock Lake. To learn more about the marinas located on the lake, please view this previous blog post.
If you would like to fish on Table Rock Lake, you have several options. First, you could use one of the 25+ boat ramps to enter the water. Second, you could fish on the shore at one of the Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, Cape Fair Park, the Old Highway 86 Park, or Campbell Point. Third, you could fish at one of the resorts on the lake, like Trace Hollow Resort or Antlers Resort. Once you’re on the lake, explore some of the best places to fish in Branson on Table Rock Lake:
- Check out the King’s River in spring, because it warms up first. In areas with shallow wood and less than eight feet of water, you can find largemouth bass. In clearer water near the dam, there will be smallmouth and spotted bass. After spawning, fish will move to points, bluff ends, and drop offs.
- In summer, your best chance at success will take place off the shore. The fish often hang out on the sides of deep holes, about 30-70 feet below the surface.
- Autumn sees fish leaving the depths of the lake, heading to smaller creeks and channels. You might have luck with bass or shad, as they often cluster together in the fall.
- If you’re on the hunt for spotted and smallmouth bass, winter is a great time to hit Table Rock Lake. Look in major creek arms and drop your hook quite deep. A sonar unit and quality bait will greatly increase the likelihood that you will catch impressive fish.
To learn more about the current fishing situation in Table Rock Lake, check out the Annual Report created by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Like the Lake Taneycomo report, the page is updated weekly from the start of April to the end of September, and you can sign up for a weekly fishing report sent on Thursdays.
Even if you know the best places to fish in Branson, actually catching a trout or bass can still be tricky without the proper equipment and skills. For help, try hiring a guide like John Sappington or Branson Guided Fishing Trips. Finally, remember that a Missouri fishing license is required to fish any lake, river, or stream in Branson. In addition, a trout permit is required to fish in Lake Taneycomo between Table Rock Dam and the U.S. Highway 65 bridges. For more information, explore the Missouri Department of Conservation website.
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