MO Ozarks Lake Taneycomo for Trout

Taneycomo, Table Rock and Bull Shoals are certainly the three biggest attractions in the Branson area.

The dancing water fountains at the Landing. In the background lake Taneycomo. photo:PBH

Three Lakes –- Branson first gained recognition for fishing, float trips, and hunting. While Taneycomo is best known for it’s prize winning trout, the cold water lake is home to some of the best family resorts and fishing cabins. Table Rock and Bull Shoals are the place to go if you prefer to water ski, wakeboard, tube, boat, sail, scuba dive, jet ski, parasail, kayak, and of course, fish.

Taneycomo Lake – This cold water lake is best known for trout. You will find some of the best fishing and the biggest trout anywhere. The source of those rainbow and brown trout is the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery just below the Table Rock Dam*.

Lake History – Lake Taneycomo’s name is a conglomeration of Taney, County, MO (Missouri). Taneycomo was created in 1913, when the White River was captured by the newly constructed “Power Site” Dam, near Forsyth, Missouri. It still has that look and feel of a river today. Table Rock dam, created in 1958, forms the southern boundary of Table Rock Lake. Below the dam, these Ozarks waters dramatically change.

From 1913 until 1958 Taneycomo was a “warm water” lake, but when Table Rock Dam started feeding Taneycomo, the water coming through the “power generators” was significantly lower in temperature.

Virtually overnight, a “cold water” fishery was created. To take advantage of this change, the Missouri Department of Conservation constructed the “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery” at the foot of the Dam.

The very load horn means take care, the water is rising high and fast. photo PBH

Trip Tip – If you are fishing near the dam, pay attention to the big loud horn. This is a warning. The dam is going to start generating power. There is about to be a sudden increase in the speed of the current and depth of the water. The water rises very quickly.

Taneycomo is accessible from historic downtown Branson and at several points east including the communities of Rockaway Beach, Forsyth and Powersite, Hollister and the Fall Creek area.

The Taneycomo lakefront in historic downtown Branson is home to the Branson Landing, which includes shopping, dining, lake excursions, boat rentals, all along a 1-mile lighted boardwalk. Many of the Branson Landing restaurants offer lakeside or lakeview dining.

If you prefer your trout on a plate, stop by White River Fish House, 1 Bass Pro Drive, phone: 417-243-5100. The restaurant is literally on the water. Call for reservations, especially during the summer. Have the Ozarks Trout Almondine. Featuring their signature almond crust with a dollop of creamy almond butter. (13.95)

Shepeherd Of The Hills Hatchery rainbow trout nearly ready for release. photo DOC

Fishing Lake Taneycomo – More than 750,000 rainbow and brown trout are stocked in Taneycomo every year. The cooler uppermost portion of the lake is reserved for artificial lures, such as tiny jigs and crankbaits.

Upper Lake headwaters are also ideal for fly fishing with flies that imitate the freshwater shrimp and other natural bait that the rainbow and brown trout feed upon. Try fly fishing and artificial-only fishing in the Trophy Trout Area near the lake’s headwaters, or bait fishing outside of the Trophy area. Many of the state records have been earned in Taneycomo’s waters.

Experienced anglers will tell you the best way to catch trout is by drifting salmon eggs or angleworms. Affix the eggs or worms to a small hook and cast into holes with an ultra light rod and reel. Use this from a drifting boat or a dock if you plan to eat trout for dinner tonight.

Lower Lake Taneycomo harbors a well-kept secret: The downstream area closer to Powersite and Forsyth offers considerably warmer water and many different species of fish such as large and small mouth bass, blue gill, crappie, and catfish to name a few.

A trout permit is required to possess trout, except in areas where a daily trout-fishing tag is required. Anglers must also have a fishing permit or qualify for an exemption.

Purchase a permit

Trout Regulations and Permits
All trout-fishing areas require anglers to have a Missouri fishing permit or exemption.
Permit prices vary. Go online for more information and to purchase your permit.
Resident (ages 16-64) $12 (residents 65 and older and younger than 16 are exempt)
Nonresident (age 16 and up) $42
Daily Fishing Permit $7
Trout Permit $7

Area resorts and marinas can hook you up with an experienced guide to help make the most of your Lake Taneycomo fishing experience.

Above the dam is Table Rock and below the dam is the much cooler Taneycomo. photo Branson cvb

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* Branson’s Table Rock Lake

For more Branson information – The Welcome Center is at the intersection of U.S. 65 and Highway 248 (Red Route). Make this your first stop in Branson for friendly faces, free maps, brochures with coupons, Branson Vacation Guides, coffee and clean restrooms. Branson activities and accommodations: Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.