Fishing and Boating in the Ozarks
With all the lakes and rivers that define this region, it's easy to spend an entire vacation enjoying watersports of all kinds. The real question is where to go.
For a "touristy" lake with lots of amenities, Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is perfect. Table Rock Lake, close to Branson and Eureka Springs, has lots of quiet coves for serious fishing. Taneycomo and Bull Shoals are rustic, and an easy drive to Branson. Stockton, Pomme de Terre and Truman Lakes in Missouri are small, rustic lakes, perfect when you're looking to get away from it all for a few days.
Arkansas's Beaver Lake has more accomodations and attractions on the east side of the lake, but in general, the lake is not overcrowded.The White River offers the most spectacular fishing, but smaller rivers provide equally satisfying fishing trips, as well as canoe and kayak adventures. You'll find full descriptions on the regional fishing pages.
Rutlege-Wilson Farm Community Park Pond stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. $3/hr includes tackle and bait.
Lake Springfield 318 acres of water with bass, channel cats, panfish. 6 HP motors or less; kayaks, canoes (You can rent kayaks and canoes there).
Fellows Lake 820-acre reservoir 4 miles north of Springfield. 40 HP or lower motorboats, kayaks, canoes. Bass, catfish, muskie, panfish.
Finley River-James River Access near Ozark and Nixa, best fishing said to be downriver from the dam at Ozark. Bass, bluegill, perch and catfish.
McDaniel Lake 300-acre reservoir north of Springfield. Bank fishing permitted upstream from the Grant St. Bridge. No other water activity allowed. Carp, bass, channel cats, sunfish.
Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park 17-acre lake with bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and the occasional crappie. No boating, no swimming.
Table Rock Lake Missouri's deepest, clearest reservoir. Bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie. Nearly 68 sq miles of water and 857 miles of shoreline.
Lake Taneycomo 2,000 acre cold water lake; 3/4 of a million rainbow trout and plenty of brownies stocked annually. Other species in warmer lake sections.
Bull Shoals Rustic, with steep bluffs along much of the 1,200 miles of shoreline. Bass, crappie, bream, catfish and stripers.(Some over 50 lbs.)
Lake Leatherwood West of town on Hwy 62. 85-acre city park with spring-fed lake. Paved boat ramp;handicapped-accessible kayak and canoe launch. Blue gill, crappie, bream, bass, channel catfish.
Black Bass Lake Fish from the banks, or put in at the non-motorized boat launch. No swimming.
Beaver Lake On US 62 west of town, below Beaver Dam. Bass, bream, white bass,crappie, catfish and striper. Swimming, boat launch areas.
Table Rock Lake Starts below Table Rock Dam at Branson; navigable for 95 miles to Holiday Island, AR, where there is a full-service marina. Bass, walleye, crappie, catfish.
The White River The 13-mile stretch of water from the Beaver Dam to Beaver Town, AR, still called the White River. Excellent boating and fishing from four public access areas.
The Kings River One of only five north-flowing rivers in the continental U.S. Floating, canoeing, kayaking. Rock bass, channel catfish , smallmouth bass. A few miles east of Eureka Springs.
Roaring River State Park Cassville, MO. (1/2 hr north of Eureka Springs.) World class trout fishing. Fishing licenses, tags, equipment and tackle available at park store.
War Eagle Creek Flows through Withrow State Park Huntsville, AR, south of Eureka Springs. Float fish for catfish, bream, perch or bass. Canoe and kayak rentals available.
Lake Sequoya, Fayetteville 160-acre tributary of Beaver Lake with its own marina. Bass, catfish, crappie or bream.
Lake Fayetteville Fishing and boating on 194 acres of water. Bass, panfish. Boat dock,marina.
Lake Wilson, Fayetteville. Kayak or canoe. Bluegill, bass.
Lake Elmdale 200 acres of water west of Springdale. Bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, carp, sunfish and warmouth. Concrete boat ramps; good bank fishing.
Lake Atalanta, Rogers Rent paddle boats, canoes,fishing boats at the Bait Shop. Bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, heavily fished by locals.
Lake Bentonville Catfish up to 35 lbs, bass, bluegill, crappie, carp, sunfish, by rod or pole, only from the bank or fishing pier.
Bella Vista Lake, Bentonville. Small lake. Kayaking, fishing.
The White River of NW Arkansas The source of Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake in AR. Below Beaver Dam fish for bass, catfish and sunfish. Above the dam, angle for rainbows and brown trout.
The Mulberry River Spectacular 55-mile long Mulberry is one of the state's wildest rivers in spring. Starts in the Ozarks. Class ll/lll rating. In drier times, good swimming and fishing spots all along the river.
Bull Shoals Lake A 1940's reservoir project of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Bull Shoals Lake begins at a dam on the White River. 730 miles of shoreline, roughly 45,400 acres of water. Black, largemouth, small mouth, white and spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, walleye, trout and catfish.
Because the lake is in both MO and AR, you will need fishing licenses from both states if you fish near state lines. Regulations differ by states. There are five marinas on the lake.
The White River Headwaters near Fayetteville area, heads north into Missouri, reenters Arkansas below Bull Shoals Lake. Flyfish it in low water season. A popular river for kayaking, canoeing, rafting.
The Buffalo National River Bass, perch and catfish all swim in this beautiful river. Wade fishing accesses available, or fish from your canoe all along the river.
Lake Norfork and the Norfork River
Lake Norfork has numerous recreation areas, most with at least primitive camping, and all with fishing access for crappie, bass and walleye. 30,000 acres of clear, clean water.
The Norfork River is a 5-mile stretch of water between the lake and the White River, known for world-class trout fishing. Wade fish, bank fish or boat fish. The world record brown trout - a whopping 38 pounds --was pulled from the Norfork.
Stockton Lake Area
Stockton Lake, MO 25,000 pristine acres of water with 300 miles of rustic shoreline for all boating and watersports. Exceptional sailing lake. Walleye, crappie, bass, catfish, bluegill.
Pomme de Terre Lake 7,820 acres, two public beaches, fishing anywhere on the lake. Muskellunge, bass, walleye, catfish and crappie.
Truman Reservoir 55,600 acres of water. Crappie, catfish, bass. Two State Park boat-launching ramps; public ramp near marina is four-lane and open year-round. No motor restrictions.
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Fisherman's paradise: bass, crappie, catfish, stripers, paddlefish, walleye, bluegill. Good fishing year 'round, with some record-breakers hooked in winter. Fishing tournaments - BASS, FLW and scores of smaller local competitions. Bait shops and marinas around the lake. Boat docks at lodgings, many marinas.