Table Rock Lake
The deep waters of Table Rock Lake are a popular spot for scuba diving. That's right; you don't have to go to Aruba to enjoy underwater wonders. Just head eight miles west of Branson to Table Rock, and enjoy what some describe as gin-clear visibility. Divers are drawn to the sunken remains of the old Kimberling City Bridge, which was supposed to be dismantled prior to the flooding of the lake in 1954. The old bridge was not removed, and it stands submerged only to lure divers and anglers. A new Kimberling City Bridge was built above the old one.
At one time 43,100-acre Table Rock was the No. 1 big bass lake in the United States. It was fished to death, but it has since been restocked and is still acclaimed as one of the best bass fishing lakes. The Corps provides a four-looped nature trail with one loop paved for wheelchair accessibility. Table Rock boasts a showboat, parasailing, and a chartered catamaran.
Corps: (417) 334-4101 Branson/Lakes Area Chamber: 800-214-3661
Made in 1913, Lake Taneycomo is the oldest of Missouri's major man-made lakes. This lake, named after Taney County, looks and feels more like a river than a lake. Because Taneycomo's water flows from the depths of Table Rock Lake down to Bull Shoals, it is cold and does not lend itself to many water sports, but there are no mosquitoes either. Visitors can walk along the developed lake front in Branson, take advantage of the exceptional trout fishing, or take a ride on the 70-minute narrated tour aboard the Main Street Lake Cruises "Lake Queen."
If you prefer to cruise on your own, there are other chartered cruises, or you can rent fishing and pontoon boats to explore the 2,080-acre lake. The trout fishing is superior because of the cold water and the hatchery. A world record-breaking 25-pound brown trout was captured in September 1998. Maybe your catch will be next.
Branson/Lakes Area Chamber: 800-214-3661
Bull Shoals Lake
Bull Shoals grants its visitors a little more solitude than nearby Taneycomo and Table Rock. Kissee Mills Park, which is part of Bull Shoals, has a walkway and viewing blind to observe a pond with muskrat, beaver, and mink. You could also spy great blue herons, egrets, little blue herons, and belted kingfish around the lake. At sunrise and sunset, white-tailed deer, red fox, bobcat, and wild turkey might roam nearby.
Bull Shoals, which is shared with Arkansas, was completed by the Corps in 1951. If you happen to float down into our neighboring state to the south, never fear: There are activities to keep you entertained in Arkansas' 39,000 acres of Bull Shoals, such as a ferry ride and a dam tour. Anglers should take note of Arkansas fishing permit requirements.
Corps (in Arkansas): (870) 425-2700 Branson/Lakes Area Chamber: 800-214-3661