The Branson Tri-Lakes area gets its name from three bodies of water: Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo. Ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and other aquatic activities attract thousands of visitors to the shores of these lakes every year. To learn about the best spots for swimming, fishing, water skiing, or just relaxing in the sand, keep reading for comprehensive Branson lake information.
General Branson Lake Information
Branson is famous for its entertainment and nightlife, but many people also love this part of the country for its natural beauty. After all, there aren’t many other places in the region where you can spend all day water skiing and then catch a dinner show downtown in the evening. The most popular time of year to visit is during the summer because of the many outdoor offerings. If you wish to go boating or fishing, be sure to check the lakes’ water levels before you plan your visit. View the city’s official website for more Branson lake information, including a detailed history of the Tri-Lakes area.
Table Rock Lake
The shoreline of Table Rock Lake stretches more than 800 miles, so there’s plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Nestled in the magnificent Ozark Mountains, Table Rock is a popular camping location because it is only a short distance away from the city of Branson. The lake is best known to fishermen as the top spot for bass fishing in America, but you can catch dozens of other species here as well, including bluegills, crappie, and catfish. If you prefer hunting, the nearby Mark Twain National Forest is home to turkeys, deer, bobcats, coyotes, and other wild game.
Table Rock is actually a man-made reservoir. It was formed during the late 1950s when the U.S. Army Corps constructed Table Rock Dam across the White River to generate hydroelectric power for the Ozarks (source). A fish hatchery operates under the dam collecting trout to supply Lake Taneycomo.
In addition to campgrounds and picnic areas, Table Rock Lake boasts a number of boat launch sites and marinas. There are also more than 100 private resorts, many of which provide equipment rentals for various water activities and general Branson lake information (source). If you don’t have a boat of your own, you can tour the lake via one of the many cruises that operate throughout the year.
The name Taneycomo is a portmanteau of “Taney County, Missouri.” The lake was formed in 1913 due to the construction of the Power Site Dam, which is currently operated by Empire Electric Company. Located 22 miles downstream from Table Rock Dam, Lake Taneycomo covers 2,080 acres of land (source)
Although most of Lake Taneycomo’s shore is privately owned, shore fishing is permitted on the public portions. There are also several trout docks around the lake that provide everything you need for a full day of fishing. In fact, some of the largest trout ever recorded were caught in these waters. The biggest fish conglomerate around the headwaters area, which is appropriately called the Trophy Trout Area, but you may come across a coveted rainbow trout anywhere in Lake Taneycomo (source).
The Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery, which is managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, makes the lake very popular among fishermen. At mile marker 22, near the junction of Highways 165 and 265, you can wade in the shallow waters and fish from the bank. The current speeds up and temperatures plummet whenever the dams are generating power, so Lake Taneycomo effectively turns into a rapidly flowing river.
Speaking of which, a word of warning: when you’re on the lake, listen carefully for the sound of a horn, which means the dams are about to be activated. Seek higher ground as quickly as you can, because water levels can rise several feet within just a few minutes.
Bull Shoals Lake
Dense forests line the thousand-mile shoreline of Bull Shoals Lake, which covers more than 45,000 acres of northern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri. Like Table Rock and Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals is a man-made lake that was formed after the construction of a dam. The Bull Shoals Dam was built during the 1950s to generate hydroelectric energy and prevent flooding from nearby rivers (source).
If you’re looking for largemouth bass or walleyes, Bull Shoals is the place to go. Thanks to programs aimed at restoring the habitat, numerous fishing records have been set here. If you travel just a few miles downstream from the dam, you can try your luck in the White River, the hottest spot for trout fishing in the central U.S. (source).
The area around the lake boasts 19 different parks with their own separate pavilions, picnic sites, campgrounds, docks, and marinas (source). There is no need to bring anything except your bathing suit, as there are plenty of places where you can buy or rent supplies for skiing, tubing, boarding, and diving. If you don’t want to get too wet, at least partake in a guided fishing tour or rent a boat to be your own captain for the day.