Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (2022)

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Head to the Ozark Mountains, where Missouri and Arkansas meet, and you’ll find an incredible fishery nestled among this overlooked pocket of nature. There’s a mix of world-famous fish to target, and a whole host of activities (both land and water-based) to keep you busy. Yep, we’re talking about embarking on a Table Rock Lake fishing adventure!

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (1)

Technically a reservoir, this man-made lake was initially constructed as a dam to control the fluctuating water levels of the White River. It covers over a whopping 43,000 acres, with the majority of its waters being located in Missouri – although it does reach into Arkansas, too!

The lake isn’t just limited to angling aficionados, either. There are over 100 resorts nearby. This means there are plenty of opportunities to try out a range of activities such as boating, sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, camping, hiking and, of course, sightseeing. But we’d be lying if we said that the fishing on offer here isn’t a huge plus!

We’ve outlined the top species you’ll come across on Table Rock Lake, how to cast your line and catch them, and our favorite fish-filled hotspots in the area…

Top Catches in Table Rock Lake

One of the main reasons why Table Rock Lake has stood the test of time as a nationally-renowned fishing destination is because of the variety of species that live here.

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (2)

Thanks to the variety of waterways that feed into it, including Long Creek and the White, Kings, and James Rivers, Table Rock Lake is the perfect habitat for a whole host of freshwater fish. From gigantic Catfish, to tasty Bass species, to prehistoric Paddlefish – they all call these waters home!

Read on for a breakdown of the top species that no visit to Table Rock Lake would be complete without.

Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass

When it comes to Table Rock Lake’s angling opportunities, chasing Bass species has to come out on top. This fishery’s incredible year-round abundance of Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass means you have a solid chance of hooking all three game fish on the very same trip!

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (3)

Often described as a haven for Bass fishermen and women, Table Rock Lake is home to winding creeks, shallow coves, and deep channels. These are all Bass-favored hotspots.

(Video) Table Rock Lake For Beginners #tablerockfishing

Depending on when you visit, the exact areas you should cast your line in for a fruitful day will differ. Make sure you’re aware of this species’ spawning habits, as this has an impact on where you can find them. You don’t want to venture all the way to the far reaches of the lake, only to find the Bass have moved!

Although you can target all three Bass throughout the year, the pre-spawn and spawning months between March and May are particularly plentiful.

You’ll find Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass in the lake’s shallowest, clearest waters, which means you don’t have to travel far to hook them. The waters around Table Rock Dam are especially fish-filled. You’ll even find trophy sizes showing up!

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (4)

In fall, you can stick to the shallows as these Bass species follow their food through Table Rock Lake’s skinny “fingers” of water. Largemouth Bass in particular are huge fans of these sheltered locations!

In both summer and winter, Bass flock to the lake’s deeper waters, meaning it can be harder to bring ‘em out. If you’re an angler who likes a challenge, however, you’ll be able to test your skills as you go after the “Big Three.”

Crappie

Although it’s most famous for its Bass-fishing opportunities, Table Rock Lake also offers up some pretty impressive Crappie action. Contrary to its name, casting your line for this Panfish on Table Rock Lake is an exciting event that anglers of all ages and skill levels will enjoy!

You can catch both black and white varieties of this underrated fish on Table Rock Lake. Like Bass, they’re a year-round species, but one of the best times to target them might surprise you – winter!

Table Rock Lake has a plethora of docks surrounding it, and Crappie love lurking in the brush piles underneath these structures during the colder months.

Throughout the rest of the year, Crappie are abundant in the James River and Long Creek arms of the lake. You’ll also find them in the Shell Knob area, especially where the Kings River feeds into the lake. These waters are full of submerged cedar trees. It’s the perfect location to cast your line for a tasty Crappie haul.

(Video) Table Rock Lake Video Fishing Report July 20, 2022

Paddlefish

So we’ve covered Table Rock Lake’s game fishing opportunities, as well as giving mention to some tasty Panfish. For those of you who want to hook something a little out of the ordinary, however, there’s one fish that has to be at the top of your list: Paddlefish!

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (6)

You’re in luck. Table Rock Lake is the perfect habitat for this species! So much so that the Missouri state record was hooked here in 2015, weighing a whopping 140 pounds.

While there’s no guarantee you’ll come face-to-gills with a fish quite that large, heading to parts of the James River around the Highway 76 bridge and towards Galena will give you a fighting chance at hooking one of these prehistoric beasts.

Something to be aware of, however, is that there are strict regulations in place when it comes to Paddlefish fishing. You can only target this species from March 15 through April 30. Make sure you plan your visit accordingly to help conserve these ancient fish for generations to come!

Lastly, take advice from local anglers, and bring a big net along just in case you encounter a record-breaker!

…And the Rest!

Table Rock Lake’s fishing population is so plentiful that we could spend this entire blog writing about the species on offer. As well as the fish above, other popular fish you’ll be able to cast for are Bluegill and Catfish.

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (7)

Bluegill are feisty fish that are also pretty easy and fun to reel in. If you’re planning to visit Table Rock Lake with the family, this is a great “first catch” to target.

You can find them around the entire shoreline, and they’re especially plentiful when it comes to those hot summer months. This is perfect for lining up a vacation with the kids!

Although you can cast your line from the bank, the best way to ensure a productive day on the water is by traveling with a local fishing guide. They’re sure to take you to the best spots around!

(Video) Branson Fishing Guide - Larry Seger Premier Table Rock Lake Fishing Guide

Table Rock Lake is also home to both Flathead and Channel Catfish. These freshwater favorites are a great option for night owls or visitors who want to explore these waters when they’re quieter – under the cover of darkness! This is because, when the sun sets, Catfish species move to shallow waters.

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (8)

You’ll find them lurking in the brush-filled waters around Indian Point, as well as where Flat Creek joins James River. These fish are especially popular with bank fishermen and women. But there are also charter companies dotted around that are happy to take new visitors Catfishing.

Casting Your Line: How and Where to Fish in Table Rock Lake

So now you know all about the fantastic fish that Table Rock Lake holds. But how should you go about reeling them in, and where? Well, this depends on a variety of factors, including your previous angling experience and the species you’d like to target.

If you want to hook a huge Paddlefish, for example, you’ll need a pretty big boat! Chasing Bass? A smaller, speedy vessel is probably your best bet. Catfish fanatics will yield good results from the banks or the docks. For a more comprehensive overview of ways to fish here, as well as where to go, read on…

On a Charter

This is how most anglers choose to explore Table Rock Lake. Why? Because it’s a relatively simple and stress-free way of fishing – whether you’re a total newbie or have some experience under your belt.

Your charter captain will usually provide all the gear you need, and will know the lake’s rules and regulations, as well as the best spots to cast your line. We’d especially recommend traveling with a charter company if you’re new to angling, or have never freshwater fished before.

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (10)

The main downside to charter fishing is the price. However, as you’ll generally be provided with equipment and your captain’s knowledge, this will be reflected in how much you pay.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your time on the lake, however, nothing quite beats casting your line alongside someone who has plenty of proven knowledge and experience to share with you.

(Video) 5 Fish Lures with Table Rock Lake fishing guide Pete Wenners talks about the lures and Brian Snowden

When it comes to picking a spot to start your charter fishing adventure, Branson stands head and shoulders above the rest of the locations that surround Table Rock Lake.

Table Rock State Park, located at the southern point of Branson, has plenty of fishing guides to pick from!

On Your Own

When it comes to fishing on foot, Table Rock Lake’s shoreline opportunities are definitely something to write home about.

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (11)

Although this method of fishing means that you can’t reach some of the lake’s deeper spots, it does have its benefits. Namely, it’s a lot cheaper than casting off on a vessel, and you can come and go as you please!

If you’re a more experienced angler who revels in the peaceful nature of this sport, wetting your line for some huge Catfish or spring Bass from this lake’s bank could be just what you’re looking for.

The main obstacle when it comes to Table Rock Lake’s bank fishing opportunities is experience. This method of fishing relies heavily on your own angling know-how. If you’ve never fished the lake before, trying to locate the best hotspots can be intimidating. You’ll also have to make sure you’re up-to-date with all the local rules and regulations.

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Branson remains a strong contender for the best place to start your bank fishing trip, as well as the small town of West Branson, located…well, west of Branson! This location provides access to Aunts Creek, located along the James River arm of the lake, which is a particularly productive shore fishing spot.

Head further west to Shell Knob’s Campbell Point Campground – a wooded area with a long section of shore. You’ll also find plenty of amenities here, such as a campsite and park. Want to travel alone but don’t fancy fishing by foot? You can rent kayaks from this location, too!

Table Rock Lake’s Rules and Regulations

By now, Table Rock Lake’s excellent angling opportunities are hopefully clearly laid out on the table (we’re sorry!) for you. You know what you want to catch, when, how, and where you should go to cast your line. But before you set off on your adventure, it’s important that you have the proper fishing license!

Fishing on Table Rock Lake: Everything You Need to Know (13)

As Table Rock Lake spans both Missouri and Arkansas, many anglers want to know: Which license do I need? The simplest explanation is that you need a license that covers that section of lake you’d like to fish in.

As most of the lake is in Missouri, this means you’ll just need to purchase a MO license, right? Well, yes, if you plan to stay in this section of the lake. However, we’d strongly recommend purchasing a Missouri Fishing Permit with a “White River Border Permit.” This means that you won’t get in trouble for accidentally straying into the Arkansas section of the lake!

(Video) What Has Happened To All The Big Bass In Table Rock Lake?

Something else to be aware of when casting your line here is “limiting out.” There’s a limit to how many fish you can take home, and they all have to measure a certain length. These regulations are applicable year-round, except for Paddlefish, which can only be hooked from March 15 to April 30.

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Table Rock Lake: The Best of the Midwest!

Although the Midwest is home to some pretty impressive fisheries, we think that Table Rock Lake is up there with the best of ‘em. Where else can you chase three species of Bass, battle prehistoric Paddlefish, and take home some tasty Panfish, too? Even better, you’ll get to do all of this surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the Ozark Mountains. Come hook yourself a slice of old-school Americana, as well as some world-famous freshwater fish!

Have you ever explored the waters of Table Rock Lake? What did you catch, and how did you catch it? Any local tips and tricks you’d like to share with us? Let us know all about your experience in the comments below. We can’t wait to hear from you!

FAQs

What is best time to fish on Table Rock Lake? ›

For experienced bluegill anglers, Table Rock Lake can provide quality fishing. Good numbers of quality sized fish in the 7"- 9" range exist. The best time to catch bluegill is late May through early July. Look for gravel areas, points, and pockets in 10-20 feet of water.

Is Table Rock Lake good for fishing? ›

Table Rock Lake offers Branson Fishing Guide Clients unparalleled scenery and fantastic fishing. While the lake boasts an abundance of bass, crappie, white bass, catfish, and bluegill, Table Rock is acclaimed as one of the best bass fishing lakes in this hemisphere.

Where is the best fishing on Table Rock Lake? ›

A Guide to the Top 5 Areas to Fish on Table Rock Lake
  • James River /Aunts Creek area. From the Cape Fair Bridge to the mouth of Aunts Creek, largemouth bass, crappie and catfish are abundant. ...
  • Long Creek / Highway 86 Bridge area. ...
  • Kimberling City / Mill Creek area.

Are there alligators in Table Rock Lake? ›

STONE COUNTY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation is clearing the air following a Facebook hoax that claimed it was releasing alligators into Table Rock Lake.

What is the biggest fish caught in Table Rock Lake? ›

Paddlefish. Also known as spoonbill because of the shape of the snout, this species has a short season and yields the biggest fish in the lake. The Missouri Department of Conservation certified the state record snagged at Table Rock Lake as weighing in at a whopping 140 pounds, 9 ounces.

How deep is the deepest part of Table Rock Lake? ›

Table Rock Lake is located in Taney County, Missouri. This lake is 43,100 acres in size. It is approximately 220 feet deep at its deepest point.

What is the biggest bass caught in Table Rock Lake? ›

Despite modern advances in fishing equipment, no one has come close to matching that mark over the years. The spotted bass record of 7 pounds, 8 ounces was caught in April 1966 on Table Rock Lake. That reservoir has been hit by thousands of bass fishermen since then, but the record has survived.

How do you catch bass on Table Rock? ›

Catching GIANT Bass at Table Rock Lake - YouTube

Where is the best crappie fishing on Table Rock Lake? ›

Note that three river arms of Table Rock Lake – James River, Long Creek and Kings River – hold the majority of the crappie population in the lake. Crappie can be caught in a variety of ways, including small jigs, minnows, artificial lures, bobbers or spinnerbaits.

How do you catch walleye on Table Rock Lake? ›

Minnows, nightcrawlers and leeches are definitely the best live baits for walleye. While most anglers will just use live baits, many anglers will also target walleye with lures as well. Crankbaits and soft plastics are the best lures for walleye, however, you can catch walleye with a variety of different lures.

Are there blue catfish in Table Rock Lake? ›

Table Rock Lake produces some big blue catfish while other area lakes including Pomme de Terre, Stockton and the Lake of the Ozarks have good populations of channel cats. Many serious cat fishermen say that their favorite lake for catching catfish is Truman, where the water tends to be dingier and murky.

Do you need a fishing license to fish at Table Rock Lake? ›

Make sure you are properly licensed for the water you are fishing. All anglers, except Missouri residents 65 years of age or older, or any person (resident or nonresident) 15 years of age or younger, must possess a valid fishing license.

Are there leeches in Table Rock Lake? ›

Research on the Area

You certainly don't have to worry about jellyfish but you might encounter the occasional snakes or leeches. Sometimes, they are only found in deep water, so as long as you are obeying the signs, you will not have to worry about anything.

Is Table Rock Lake clean? ›

Table Rock Lake - A Branson Jewel! Table Rock Lake's clear, fresh water spans more than 43 thousand acres, and incorporates more than 750 miles of shoreline in Missouri and Arkansas. Its clean, warm water makes it perfect for hosting a wide range of water sports and activities, including: Boating.

What animals live in Table Rock Lake? ›

A variety of wildlife inhabits Table Rock State Park. Animals such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, red fox, gray fox, tarantulas, songbirds and glade wildlife live in and around the state park. There are also many native plants including glade plants, wildflowers and riparian plants.

What type of gar are in Table Rock Lake? ›

CATCH-OF-THE-DAY: Record Longnose Gar caught in Table Rock Lake. PHOTO: MDC congratulates Anthony Schnur, Jr. on reeling in a record-breaking 32-pound, 10-ounce longnose gar from Table Rock Lake. Holding the gar is local fishing guide and Schnur's girlfriend, Cindy Dennison.

Are there paddlefish in Table Rock Lake? ›

Paddlefish are stocked annually in Truman Lake, Lake of the Ozarks, and Table Rock Lake.

What is underneath Table Rock Lake? ›

Oasis currently rests under 100 feet of water near the bottom of Table Rock Lake. The underwater village is a popular technical dive for scuba divers.

Is Lake of the Ozarks bigger than Table Rock Lake? ›

This lake came into existence by impounding the great Osage River in 1931. This lake has a surface area of 54,000 acres. Hence, you can easily see that it's much bigger than Table Rock Lake.

Can you swim in Table Rock Lake? ›

Enjoy the clear waters of the Table Rock Lake for swimming and other water activities. There is no designated swimming beach; however, several shoreline areas offer ample swimming opportunities. Swimming is not allowed near the marina or boat launch areas. Restroom facilities are available near the picnic area.

Are there trout in Table Rock Lake? ›

"There are several ways trout can get into Table Rock Lake," said Shane Bush, fisheries biologist at the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery below Table Rock Lake dam. "It's not common, but it's not uncommon to hear of people catching trout, especially near those areas."

What is a Carolina rig in fishing? ›

The Carolina rig is a plastic bait rig similar to the Texas rig, but with the weight fixed above the hook, instead of sliding down to it. The Carolina rig is suitable for beginning fishers. This specific rig is designed to help fishermen catch bottom feeding fish, particularly bass fish.

How do you split a shot rig? ›

Split Shot Rig for Largemouth Bass Fishing - YouTube

Where is the best walleye fishing in Missouri? ›

The Black River is the best walleye fishing stream in the state of Missouri. The lower Black River, where the best walleye fishing is found, is a large, off-color Ozark foothills river, with many deep, rocky pools that are perfect walleye habitat.

Are private docks allowed on Table Rock Lake? ›

Yes. It is possible, if certain criteria are met. The Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan approved in 1976 and last reviewed in 1996 regulates placement of docks. Boat docks are permitted only in areas designated for limited development use.

Can you fly fish on Table Rock Lake? ›

Although, all 23 miles offer great trout fishing using a variety of methods, it is the area that the locals call the “Trophy Area,” starting with the “tail waters” just below Table Rock Dam and running for three miles downstream to the opening of Fall Creek that is generally considered the prime fly fishing area on the ...

How deep is the deepest part of Table Rock Lake? ›

Table Rock Lake is located in Taney County, Missouri. This lake is 43,100 acres in size. It is approximately 220 feet deep at its deepest point.

How do you catch bass on Table Rock? ›

When the summertime heat is on, night fishing with spinnerbaits and plastic worms is a popular tactic for Table Rock bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a variety of topwater lures work great for all three species of bass in the fall. Table Rock lake's winter bass fishing sets it apart from other Midwestern lakes.

How do you catch walleye on Table Rock Lake? ›

Minnows, nightcrawlers and leeches are definitely the best live baits for walleye. While most anglers will just use live baits, many anglers will also target walleye with lures as well. Crankbaits and soft plastics are the best lures for walleye, however, you can catch walleye with a variety of different lures.

Do you need a fishing license to fish at Table Rock Lake? ›

Make sure you are properly licensed for the water you are fishing. All anglers, except Missouri residents 65 years of age or older, or any person (resident or nonresident) 15 years of age or younger, must possess a valid fishing license.

What is underneath Table Rock Lake? ›

Oasis currently rests under 100 feet of water near the bottom of Table Rock Lake. The underwater village is a popular technical dive for scuba divers.

Is Table Rock Lake clean? ›

Table Rock Lake - A Branson Jewel! Table Rock Lake's clear, fresh water spans more than 43 thousand acres, and incorporates more than 750 miles of shoreline in Missouri and Arkansas. Its clean, warm water makes it perfect for hosting a wide range of water sports and activities, including: Boating.

Is Lake of the Ozarks bigger than Table Rock Lake? ›

This lake came into existence by impounding the great Osage River in 1931. This lake has a surface area of 54,000 acres. Hence, you can easily see that it's much bigger than Table Rock Lake.

What is the biggest bass caught in Table Rock Lake? ›

Despite modern advances in fishing equipment, no one has come close to matching that mark over the years. The spotted bass record of 7 pounds, 8 ounces was caught in April 1966 on Table Rock Lake. That reservoir has been hit by thousands of bass fishermen since then, but the record has survived.

Are crappie biting at Table Rock Lake? ›

Although crappie can definitely be caught at Table Rock Lake year-round, spring is always the best time to go crappie fishing here (for the record, fall is the second best season for crappie fishing). One of the best times to fish for crappie during the spring is in April when crappie spawn at Table Rock Lake.

Are there leeches in Table Rock Lake? ›

Research on the Area

You certainly don't have to worry about jellyfish but you might encounter the occasional snakes or leeches. Sometimes, they are only found in deep water, so as long as you are obeying the signs, you will not have to worry about anything.

Are there blue catfish in Table Rock Lake? ›

Table Rock Lake produces some big blue catfish while other area lakes including Pomme de Terre, Stockton and the Lake of the Ozarks have good populations of channel cats. Many serious cat fishermen say that their favorite lake for catching catfish is Truman, where the water tends to be dingier and murky.

Can I fish Table Rock Lake with an Arkansas fishing license? ›

If you plan to fish in the Arkansas jurisdiction of Table Rock Lake, you will need to purchase either a Missouri Fishing Permit with a “White River Border Permit” or an Arkansas Fishing License.

How much is fishing license in Missouri? ›

Nonresident hunting and fishing permits
Nonresident permitCurrent priceNeighboring states price
Daily Fishing (1 Day)$7$15
Daily Fishing (3 Days)$21$27
NR Annual Fishing$42$49
NR Furbearer Hunting/Trapping$130$257
9 more rows
Aug 26, 2019

Can you fish in Missouri without a license? ›

Missouri Fishing Licenses Requirements

In Missouri, you'll need a permit to fish in the state unless you qualify for an exemption. The fishing permit is good for fish, frogs, mussels, clams, turtles, crayfish and live bait. Besides the general fishing permit, you may also need a permit to fish a particular species.

Videos

1. Table rock lake fishing report 7-21-22
(Harkey Fishing)
2. 5 Spring Patterns That Work (Table Rock Lake)
(The Tin Horse Monty)
3. Table Rock Lake Video Fishing Report July 13, 2022
(Focused Fishing)
4. Table Rock Lake Fishing Guide - We'll Take You Wherever The Fish Bite.
(Larry Seger)
5. Table Rock Bass Fishing E.1 - SUMMER TACTICS
(USA MADE OUTDOORS)
6. Bass Fishing on Table Rock Lake!!
(Mike Iaconelli Fishing)

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