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Branson, Missouri area fishing

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Branson, Missouri area fishing.Visitors to the Branson/ Tri Lakes Area will discover some of the best freshwater fishing in North America. Trout, Bass, Crappie, Catfish, Blue Gills - it's as simple as dropping a line for a trophy catch on any of our three thriving lakes. Fishing tournaments sponsors by America's top sports organizations as well as local chapters are regular events throughout the year.

FISHING REGULATIONS:

  • DAILY FISHING PERMIT: $7.00
    May be purchased by residents and nonresidents for multiple days.
  • RESIDENT YEARLY FISHING PERMIT: $12
  • RESIDENT HUNTING AND FISHING PERMIT: $19
    For fish, frogs, mussels, clams, turtles, crayfish and live bait, birds except turkey, mammals except deer, and to sell furbearers taken by hunting. (The hunting regulations booklet outlines additional permits needed to hunt migratory birds.)
  • NONRESIDENT FISHING PERMIT: $42
  • TROUT STAMP: $7, YOUTH (6 - 15): $3.50
    You must also have a fishing permit. A trout permit is not needed where a daily trout tag is required.

If you are between the age of 16 and 65, you need a Missouri fishing license before you can legally catch fish. A license is also required for non-residents of Missouri over 65 years of age.

There are more than 200 species of fish that can be found in Branson/Lakes Area and Missouri Lakes. In Branson, trout and bass fishing are the very best. Anyone who fishes here must have the appropriate lifetime, annual or daily fishing permit, or qualify for an exemption.

To get a copy of the Missouri Fishing Regulations booklet from the Missouri Department of Conservation, call 1-800-781-1989.


TABLE ROCK LAKE

From novice to expert anglers, Table Rock Lake is a fisherman's dream come true and a great fishing experience. This lake is nationally recognized as a top bass fishing lake. The action in this lake is fast and furious with the large numbers of Kentucky spotted bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and white bass. Early spring and late fall are the best times to catch what is known as a lunker bass. Crappie of about 15 inches can also be caught during these seasons.

During the summer months, catfish of all sizes scour the bottom of the lake looking for food, your will also find at this time that large bluegill, bass and crappie are in abundance. A real thrill for anglers of any skill level.

SEASONAL PATTERNS OF FISH IN TABLE ROCK LAKE

LARGEMOUTH BASS: The Largemouth is an excellent sporting fish, and fish in excess of 5 pounds are abundant. You will find them widely distributed around and throughout the lake.

  • Spring: Largemouths are spring spawners and shoreline dwellers. With these guys you have to pick what you want. If you want size, the best time to fish is in March. If you want large catches, the best time is in April and May.

  • Summer: The fish tend to go deeper looking for cooler water and can be found congregating around submerged logs about 30 feet deep during the day. Some will move closer to the shore as night falls to around the 10 - 20 foot mark, still sticking to the cool waters.

  • Fall: As the water temperature cools down the fish move into the shallows. September and October are the best times for night fishing. You will find that November is the best time to go day fishing.

  • Winter: The action is excellent during mild winters since the fish locate themselves along the treelines and coves of the main lake.

SMALLMOUTH BASS: You will find these fish located at the lower lake and upper reaches of the main tributaries. This breed is also considered the best battler once hooked.

  • Spring: Smallmouths are spring spawners and shoreline dwellers. With these guys you have to pick what you want. If you want size, the best time to fish is in March. If you want large catches, the best time is in April and May.

  • Summer: The fish tend to go deeper looking for cooler water and can be found congregating around submerged logs about 30 feet deep during the day. Some will move closer to the shore as night falls to around the 10 - 20 foot mark, still sticking to the cool waters.

  • Fall: As the water temperature cool down the fish move into the shallows. You will find that a lot of them tend to stay in the deep waters though. September and October are the best times for night fishing. You will find that November is the best time to go day fishing.

  • Winter: The action is excellent during mild winters as the fish locate themselves among the rocks and coves more so than the treelines of the main lake.

KENTUCKY (SPOTTED) BASS: Are to be found abundantly along the entire lake and main tributaries. They are schooling fish during summer and fall and are also considered real fighters once hooked.

  • Spring: Kentucky bass are spring spawners and shoreline dwellers. The best time to fish is in March if you're looking for size. If you want large catches, the best time is in April and May.

  • Summer: The fish locate themselves on main lake points in large schools in about 20 - 30 feet of water. The action is usually very consistent during this season.

  • Fall: As the water temperature cools down the fish move into the shallows. You will find that a lot of them tend to stay in the deep waters. September and October are the best times for night fishing. You will find that November is the best time to go day fishing. This season will yield a high catch rate.

  • Winter: Most will remain in 30 feet of water near bluffs and other main lake points, while others will chase shade covering the surface of the water.

WHITE BASS: Tremendous schools of white bass make annual runs to the upper reaches of main tributaries each spring.

  • Spring: Schooling spring spawners run back into major creeks and rivers after their spawning run. You will be able to tell that the fish are present by how many boats you see gathered over one spot!

  • Summer: To find them during the summer months, just look for large schools on the surface of the water chasing minnows and shade.

  • Fall: There is still some surface activity during early fall but they tend to frequent deep flats during late fall. Though they are still in large schools, they may be difficult to locate at times.

  • Winter: You will find some of the fish are located in deep main lake points during early and mid-winter. If the weather is mild during late winter they will move to the mud flats.

ROCK BASS (GOGGLE EYE): The Schooling fish are usually located in coves and creeks and are very good to eat.

  • Spring: They are late spring spawners, and you will find schooling fish ripe for the taking in May on the shallow structure of the main lake and the mouths of coves. They are also live creek dwellers.

  • Summer: The fish move to deeper waters of the main lake and mouths of coves, about 20 - 30 feet deep. They also have a preference for holes in the creeks.

  • Fall: You will find schooling fish ripe for the taking on the shallow structure of the main lake and the mouths of coves. They are also live creek dwellers.

  • Winter: They are dormant during the winter months.

CATFISH (CHANNEL & FLATHEAD): What can I say, everyone loves catfish and these guys are no exception. Your best bet when chasing these table delicacies is to look in coves, creeks and main lake pockets. They are also basically a nocturnal fish, so don't forget to bring light, nobody likes wet feet at night.

  • Spring: As these fish are slow starters and spawn in late spring, the fish don't really start to move until April, and that's if they have a mild winter.

  • Summer: Now is about the time when your trotline fishing catch will increase. You will also get some pretty exciting rod and reel fishing at night on the main lake and flats. Timber coves are another good spot to check out.

  • Fall: Still OK fishing, but their feeding activity tends to drop off with change in water temperature. As it gets a little cold for them they start getting ready for winter.

  • Winter: They are dormant during the winter months.

BLUEGILL: Located all over the lake with a partiality to boat docks, this fish is not hard to find. A great piece of fish for the family dinner, big slabs over 3/4 pounds are not an uncommon occurrence.

  • Spring: Becoming sluggish in the late winter months, these fish are also late starters, spawning in late spring. They like to congregate in timber and brush in April & May.

  • Summer: A few of the fish continue to spawn into June and you will find that the fish are present near almost every tree and dock. The larger ones are in deeper water.

  • Fall: You will find lots of big fish on top of submerged timber, about 20 - 40 feet down.

  • Winter: In early and mid-winter you will find some fish are located on deep main lake points. In late winter they move to mud flats if the winter is mild.

CRAPPIE (BLACK & WHITE): Due to the 10-inch minimum limit, the average crappie is fairly large. It can also be credited to the lake's immense forage base. These fish also make an excellent meal.

  • Spring: Spawning early in Spring, you will find April and March the best fishing months. Great spots to check out are wooded coves and main lake pockets that have a nice brush cover.

  • Summer: For best results in summer you will want to fish under lights at night as the fish go deeper and scatter during the summer months to escape the heat.

  • Fall: During fall the best way to find these guys is to look for drop-offs with timber in coves and upper tributaries.

  • Winter: You will get fantastic action during winter if you get several days of mild temperatures. Check out wooded areas of the upper tributaries for great spots to pass the time.

LAKE TANEYCOMO

Lake Taneycomo is the ideal habitat to grow record sized trout (rainbow and brown variety in particular), in September, 1998 a local to the area caught a whopping world record 25-pound brown trout in this very lake! Word of mouth around here is that the best way to catch trout is by drifting angle worms or salmon eggs. The headwaters in the uppermost section of the lake are ideal for fly fishing, this section of the lake is also reserved for artificial lures such as tiny jigs and crankbaits. This lake is an absolute must for any avid fisherman, keep the camera handy, you just may snag yourself into the records books too! What a vacation that would be!

Missouri and Branson/Lakes Area fishing is full of action and excitement all year round, there is plenty of game out there to be caught. It all depends on how game you are to go get it (That water tends to get a little cold towards the end of the year.)

LAKE TANEYCOMO'S TROUT FISHERY

There are four trout hatcheries and one trout rearing area operated by the Missouri Department Of Conservation, and they all play a vital role in the management of fishery resources in Missouri. Trout are not native to Missouri. They were introduced around 100 years ago, and since they do not breed naturally on there own with significant numbers to maintain the population and meet the demand of anglers coming into the area, hatcheries make up the difference by rearing and stocking catchable size trout.

Due to the volatility and time it takes to keep up the supply of trout in the Branson/Lakes area, there are a few unspoken rules that are greatly appreciated by all locals and those dedicated to the survival of trout in Lake Taneycomo and other lakes and streams in the area. For example, shorten the length of time you play a fish by selecting the heaviest tackle necessary for conditions you will be fishing in. Use needle-nose pliers or hemostats to back the hook out of the trout's jaw. NEVER pull the hook from a deeply-hooked fish that you wish to release. If the fish is too deeply-hooked, cut the line and leave the hook in the fish (Barbless hooks or hooks with the barb squeezed flat make it faster and easier to release the fish.)

Handle trout gently and please release them as quickly as possible. If you really have to handle the fish, please remember to cradle it upside down in your hand as you remove the hook. If the fish appears to be exhausted, hold it gently facing upstream in the water until it swims out of your hands. By doing all these things you will increase the survival rate of all gaming fish in the Branson/Lakes Area, and help preserve a fantastic recreational sport enjoyed by many other visitors to Branson.

SEASONAL PATTERNS OF FISH IN LAKE TANEYCOMO

RAINBOW TROUT: Are aggressive sight feeders with high concentrations all along the lake, they will take a variety of artificial lures and flies and are equally responsive to live bait.

  • Spring: Trout feed very actively during the spring months due to the high content of oxygen in the water. Drift fishing from a boat usually produces the best catches since the current is swift.

  • Summer: You will find the best fishing is done early and late in the day and late at night. It's not too bad to fish during the day if the current picks up, but as it is usually a lot slower and sometimes ceases, you will find you get excellent results from bank and boat fishing during the recommended times.

  • Fall: You will find that the fish's patterns are similar to how they were in summer. Their mid-day activity picks up and improves in the late fall.

  • Winter: The current is generally moderate to swift during the winter months, causing an increase in the amount of oxygen in the water. This means MORE FISH! This is the trout's peek feeding time. The higher oxygen levels means a higher lake turnover and you will find mid-day fishing is an excellent way to spend a rewarding afternoon.

BROWN TROUT: Some these babies are rumored to be in excess of 20 pounds, so chasing these could turn into a record setting day. They are very aggressive and carnivorous, you will find the largest gatherings in the first several miles below the dam.

  • Spring: They will eagerly take live bait drifted along the bottom, but will chase jerk baits that imitate minnows. During the spring months the trout will locate being gravel bars and undercut banks.

  • Summer: Best Time to go night fishing. The fish seek out deep holes so live night crawlers make the best bait. Flies can be good too.

  • Fall: Ahhh, the annual spawning run occurs in October in the headwaters, making this the best time of year to fish. You will probably end up catching at the very least a 5-pounder. A light line is important.

  • Winter: During this time of year the fish will relocate back to the gravel bars and undercut banks. They also tend to spread out a bit after spawning. Feeding and habitual patterns return back to how they were in spring.

BULL SHOALS LAKE

This lake is a really popular as a tournament lake and has a reputation for producing huge fish of several varieties. Bull Shoals Lake has a surface area of 71,240 acres at its highest levels. Smallmouth and spotted bass, along with crappie bream and catfish of all sizes can be found in the lake. Make sure you check fishing requirements first, some portions of this lake are located both in Missouri and Arkansas, each state's law governs the section of lake that falls within their territory. The last thing you want is a huge fish you hooked in Missouri to tow you right into Arkansas where you can be fined for fishing illegally!

Five state record bass catches have come out of Bull Shoals Lake - small mouth (7lb, 5oz.), spotted (7lb. 15oz.), striped (53lb.), hybrid striped (22lb. 4oz.), and white (5lb. 4oz.) - making it the leading lake for state record fishing. A new record striped bass was caught July 13, 2008 weighing 56.35 pounds!  Better fishing is hard to come by than this amazing lake.

We hope this has given you a taste of what the fishing is like here in Branson, Missouri and we hope to see you soon. We can think of nothing better than a vacation to Branson to see the shows, fish the lakes and take in the scenery, perhaps even do a bit of hunting on the side.

Table Rock Lake Resorts


 
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