Category Archives: Lake Taneycomo

It’s a breathtakingly unique Branson experience your family will not want to miss

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen

“A scenic sightseeing cruise on beautiful Lake Taneycomo, aboard Main Street Lake Cruises’ 84-foot-long riverboat replica Lake Queen, is truly a one of a kind experience that will become one of your family’s most treasured Branson memories,” said Allison Jussel, the administrative assistant for Main Street Lakes Cruises. “A cruise aboard the Lake Queen is an experience reminiscent of the boats and the White River that played such an important part in Branson’s early history and is one of Branson’s most magnificent shows produced by Mother Nature herself,” she added.

Here’s some things to consider about this amazing 1.5 hour Branson adventure aboard the Lake Queen:

New Easy Accessible Location: With the move earlier this year, of Main Street Marina, the 428-foot-long and 112-foot-wide home of Main Street Lake Cruises, to its new Branson Landing location off the Bass Pro parking lot at 9 South Boardwalk, passengers can park right in front of the Marina.

See Sights Not Seen by the Vast Majority of Branson’s Visitors: These sights include one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries; amazing bluffs carved naturally by Mother Nature over the centuries; spectacular Ozark vistas; a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain with its spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show; and much more.

This Bald Eagle is just one of the different types of birds and wildlife commonly seen on cruises.

This Bald Eagle is just one of the different types of birds and wildlife commonly seen on cruises.

Experience Ozarks’ Birds and Other Wildlife: From your vantage point aboard the Lake Queen you’ll come upon the birds and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline.  You could see deer, mink, river otters, the great blue heron, bald eagles, various species of ducks, Canadian geese and other geese, as well as many other species.

Tastefully Narrated: Although there is plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the serenity of being on the lake, at key points, the Captain will provide a live, interesting narrative of what you’ll be seeing, both fixed and spontaneous sights … a bald eagle sitting in a tree, or a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or any number of things that just can’t be planned!

Relax: Whether in the fresh air of the open top deck, or inside the climate controlled lower deck, it’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than cruising on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen while enjoying the peace and serenity of the Ozarks.

Safety: The safety of you and your family is foremost.  The Lake Queen and its crew are licensed, and the boat is inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard on a regular basis.

Enjoy Full Modern Amenities: The Lake Queen is fully handicap accessible and offers modern amenities including full-sized modern restrooms, a well-stocked bar, snack food service, a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck and an open-air upper deck.

Special Moonlight Cruise: Starting June 3, there will be a 7:45 PM moon light cruise which provides a whole new experience of sights and sounds as night descends over the lake, the stars sparkle in the clear Ozarks sky, and you are treated to the full brilliance and majesty of the Branson Landing Fire and Light Fountain show against the backdrop of the Ozarks night. It is something that will not soon be forgotten!

Main Street Lake Cruises’ Aussel also points out that the 100-foot luxury yacht Landing Princess offers a scenic dinner cruise boarding at 4:15 and leaving at 4:45 PM. The cruise arrives back at 6:15 PM leaving plenty of time to enjoy one of Branson’s great shows after a relaxing cruise and great dinner.

The delicious, plated and served, dinner includes a mixed Garden Salad, 4 ounces of Texas Beef Brisket, Slow Roasted Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Country Style Green Beans, Cornbread Muffin, and Bread Pudding for dessert. Coffee, Water or Tea is included with meal and a cash bar available. Gluten free, vegetarian, and other special dietary needs can be accommodated provided they are requested prior to 3:00 PM.

For additional information or tickets for a cruise aboard the Lake Queen or Landing Princess please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Exciting move increases access to Lake Taneycomo cruises aboard Main Street Lake Cruises

Portion of Main Street Marina and entrance to Main Street Lake Cruises awaiting installation of ramps and final adjustments.

Portion of Main Street Marina and entrance to Main Street Lake Cruises awaiting installation of ramps and final adjustments.

After many months of planning and effort, many of those walking along the Branson Landing Boardwalk on Sunday, February 21, 2016 were astounded to see the largest structure ever floated on Lake Taneycomo in the middle of the lake and moving ever so slowly and carefully upstream. The amazing sight was the Main Street Marina, at 428-foot-long and 112-foot-wide, being moved from its old home at 7 North Boardwalk on Branson Landing, to its new location at 9 South Boardwalk.

Main Street Marina is a multi-function facility; home to Main Street Lake Cruises, as well as restaurant and retail facilities. “This is a game changer,” said Larry Milton, the co-owner of Main Street Marina with his wife Lianne. “The marina’s new prime location, along the shoreline of the Bass Pro Parking lot, provides not only increased visibility, but drive-up parking and immediate access to our main entrance from a flat parking lot, all of which will enhance the experience of our guests,” he added.

Main Street Lake Cruises offers Lake Taneycomo sightseeing and dinner cruises aboard its two vessels, the 140 passenger riverboat replica Lake Queen, and the 100-foot luxury yacht, the Landing Princess. 2016 cruises from the new location are scheduled to begin on May 1. “Our goal is to provide our passengers with a unique, exciting, and unforgettable experience that will become a special part of their favorite Branson memories,” said Steve Johnson, the General Manager of Main Street Lake Cruises. “A cruise aboard the 84-foot-long riverboat replica Lake Queen is reminiscent of the travel on the White River that played such an important part in Branson’s early history, and each cruise is truly a living, one-of-a-kind adventure show with the sights, sounds, and excitement produced daily by Mother Nature.” he added

Johnson says that although there is plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the serenity of being on the lake, the Captain will provide a live, interesting narrative of what you’ll likely see, both fixed and spontaneous sights. How can you plan for a bald eagle sitting in a tree, a great blue heron soaring overhead, a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or any number of the amazing things that just happen daily along the lake shore?

Fixed sights include a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain, a spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show; one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries; amazing bluffs carved naturally by Mother Nature over the centuries; spectacular Ozark vistas; and much more. In addition, from the comfort of your vantage point aboard the Lake Queen or the Landing Princess, you’ll come upon the birds and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline such as deer, mink, river otters, the great blue heron, bald eagles, various species of ducks, Canada geese, and much more. Although there are fixed elements in each cruise, each cruise experience can be as different as a snowflake when it comes to the wonders that Mother Nature will reveal.

Both of Main Street Lake Cruises’ boats and their crews are licensed, and the boats are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard on a regular basis. In addition, they are fully accessible to the disabled and offer a full complement of modern amenities, including full-sized modern restrooms, a well-stocked bar, as well as snack and food service, as appropriate. The Lake Queen has a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck and an open-air upper deck, while both the decks of the Landing Princess are fully enclosed and environmentally conditioned.

For additional information on sightseeing cruises on the Lake Queen, or dinner cruises on the Landing Princess or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Johnson points out that there are also opportunities to lease the marina’s restaurant and retail space at the exciting new prime location. Anyone interested in any of these leasing opportunities should contact him at 417-239-3980

Six great reasons why you should take your family on a one-of-a-kind Lake Taneycomo sightseeing cruise aboard the Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises "Lake Queen" cruising Lake Taneycomo.

Main Street Lake Cruises “Lake Queen” cruising Lake Taneycomo.

“Our goal is to provide our passengers with a unique, exciting, and unforgettable experience that will become a special part of their favorite Branson memories,” said Steve Johnson, the General Manager of Main Street Lake Cruises. “A cruise aboard the 84 foot long riverboat replica Lake Queen is reminiscent of the boats and the White River that played such an important part in Branson’s early history; it’s truly a one of a kind adventure produced by Mother Nature,” he added.

Here are some things you should know about taking your family on an amazing sightseeing cruise aboard the Lake Queen:

1. It’s Safe: The safety of you and your family is foremost. The Lake Queen and its crew are licensed, and the boat is inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard on a regular basis.

2. Full Modern Amenities: The Lake Queen is fully handicap accessible and offers modern amenities including full-sized modern restrooms, a well-stocked bar, snack food service, a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck and an open-air upper deck.

3. Enjoy Sights Never Seen by the Vast Majority of Branson’s Millions of Visitors Each Year: These sights include a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain, a spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show; one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries; amazing bluffs carved naturally by Mother Nature over the centuries; spectacular Ozark vistas; and much more.

4. See Ozarks’ Birds and Other Wildlife: From your vantage point aboard the Lake Queen you’ll come upon the birds and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline. You could see deer, mink, river otters, the great blue heron, bald eagles, various species of ducks, Canada geese and other geese, as well as many other species.

5. Fully Narrated: Although there is plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the serenity of being on the lake, the Captain will provide a live, interesting narrative of what you’ll be seeing, both fixed and spontaneous sights … a bald eagle sitting in a tree, or a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or any number of things that just can’t be planned!

6. Relaxing: Whether you enjoy it inside the climate controlled lower deck, or in the fresh air of the open top deck, it’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than cruising on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen while enjoying the peace and serenity of the Ozarks.

For additional information or tickets for a cruise aboard the Lake Queen, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Did you know this about fly fishing in Branson?

River Run Drift Boat

River Run McKenzie style drift boat coming out of early morning fog.

Many fishermen are aware of two of Branson’s Tri Lakes, Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake because of the great world class bass and crappie fishing they offer. Still others, although not nearly as many, are aware that Lake Taneycomo, flowing 23 miles from Table Rock Dam to Powersite Dam, before forming the headwaters for Bull Shoals Lake, offers great Rainbow and Brown Trout fishing. Still fewer know that, in terms of numbers of trout and accessibility, it is one of the finest trout fisheries in the country and that it offers, year round, great fly fishing.

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 lake. That results from its topography, which, particularly when they are not running water through the dam, is shallow enough and has enough public access to permit excellent wade fishing.

“It’s an awesome Tailwater fishery,” said Carolyn Parker, the co-owner of River Run Outfitters, who operates a full service fly shop and the only Orvis Endorsed Guide Service in Branson. How awesome? In 2006 out of all the Orvis Outfitters in the nation, River Run won the “Orvis Outfitter of the Year” award over many of the excellent “Orvis Outfitters” located throughout the United States and has been a finalist the last four consecutive years. That says a lot about the quality the experience their customers have in their fly shop; while on guide trips, primarily using non-motorized McKenzie style drift boats, and the quality of the fly fishing on Lake Taneycomo.

Being a Tailwater fishery, Lake Taneycomo is dramatically impacted when water is being run through the dam to generate electricity. When they are not generating electricity, the lake, particularly the first two miles offers great wading. When they are generating electricity, usually preceded by the blowing of a horn, the water level and speed of the current increases quickly in proportion to the amount of water they are releasing. This makes it, for all practical purposes, accessible only to boat fishing if they are generating at a rate of much more than 1300 cubic feet (cfs) per second.

From a safety perspective, the best advice, if wade fishing and the horn blows, is to get out of the water as quickly as possible and assess the situation. Calling 417-336-5083 will provide information on the current generation conditions including how many cfs they are running.

The "CQ" Streamer is a great fly to use on Lake Taneycomo Trout.

The “CQ” Streamer is a great fly to use on Lake Taneycomo Trout.

Typically the “hatches” that other trout fisheries are noted for do not play a big part in fly fishing on Lake Taneycomo. On a day to day basis, midges such as the P & P, Copper Dunn, Black Zebra and others in sizes 12 through 20, depending on how much water is being run, fished under an indicator, catch a lot of fish. When using an indicator normally 6x fluorocarbon is sufficient, but on sunny days in shallow water with no wind 7x wouldn’t hurt.

For those who like to strip “streamers,” the size 12 olive CQ or Wolly Bugger would be a good place to start. Both come weighted and un-weighted. My favorite method of fishing is to attach a 7 foot, 1.5 ips, sinking Rio Versi leader with about 5 feet of 5x Trout Hunter tippet to one of those flies and have at it. I use this system because it permits me to both indicator fish and streamer fish with the same rod and line simply by changing the loop to loop leader and adding a few feet of tippet.

The good news is that there are two excellent fly shops on Highway 165 just south of the entry to the hatchery that will be delighted to give you the very latest information on what is working. They are “River Run Outfitters” and “Anglers and Archery Outfitters.”

In terms of places to stay, the fishery is within ten minutes of the vast majority of hotels and resorts in Branson. One of the closest full service resorts is the Welk Resort, located just across the street from the Pointe Royale Golf Course, which has an indoor water park and a complete slate of activities that the non-fishing members of the family can enjoy.

“And there’s one other thing that fly fishing in Branson offers, that virtually no other trout fishery in the nation can offer,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center; “the shows, attractions, shopping and other fun filled exciting things that Branson is noted for, all within a ten minute drive of one of the best fly fishing experiences in America.”

Did you know this about Branson’s Lake Taneycomo?

 

One of Lake Taneycomo's scenic vistas.

One of Lake Taneycomo’s scenic vistas.

Branson has two main lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. Of the two, Table Rock Lake is the most well-known because its 43,000 plus surface acres of fishing and aquatic fun has been one of the finest bass fisheries in the nation and a draw for Branson tourists since the lake first filled up in 1959. Yet, although both are impoundments of the White River, Lake Taneycomo is the oldest, filled in 1913; had its very character changed as the result of the completion of Table Rock Dam and the formation of Table Rock Lake and is the featured “crown jewel” of Branson Landing. Here are a few facts about Lake Taneycomo that you might find interesting:

1. Lake Taneycomo’s Relationship to Branson Landing: It makes up the eastern boarder of the city of Branson and is a featured integral part of Branson Landing with a 1.5 mile board walk running the entire length of The Landing.

 2. Branson Landing: The largest development in Branson’s history, Branson Landing opened on May 25, 2006. It is a 95-acre, $435 million public/private multiuse project that spans 1.5 miles of waterfront on Lake Taneycomo, and is conveniently located adjacent to historic downtown Branson. It’s combination of luxury condos and over 120 retail stores and restaurants including “eclectic shops, national retailers, fine dining, intimate cafes and nightspots,” Main Street Lake Cruises, two “floating restaurants and the spectacular free Branson Landing Fountains makes it one of the most popular attractions in Branson.

3. Branson Landing Fountains: Located in the heart of Branson Landing on the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo, the fountains are the centerpiece of a $7.5 million spectacular water attraction featuring the first-ever merging of water, fire, light and music with water fountains shooting 120-foot geysers into the air and “fire cannons,” all choreographed to lights and music.

4. Lake Taneycomo Formation & Powersite Dam: “Lake Taneycomo” was formed in 1913with the completion of the 1200 foot long 70 foot tall “Powersite Dam,” across the White River at a cost of $3.2 Million. Prior to that time the “White River” ran unimpeded from its point of origin, in the Boston Mountains, 734 miles to the Mississippi River.

5. Lake Taneycomo’s Name: Its name “Taney” “Co” “MO” comes from the fact that it’s located in “Taney County, Missouri.”

6. Lake Taneycomo Info: Lake Taneycomo is 23 miles long running from White River Mile Marker 506.1 to 528.8 at the foot of Table Rock Dam. It has over 52 miles of shore line and covers over 2050 surface acres.

7. Originally a Warm Water Lake: When originally formed Lake Taneycomo was a “warm water” lake which was ideal for bass and crappie fishing and other aquatic activities like swimming and waterskiing. The quite little town of Rockaway Beach, located on one of the widest portions of the Lake, soon became one of the premier vacation destinations in the Ozarks, much more so than Branson at that time, but all of that dramatically changed with the completion of the Table Rock Dam and the formation of Table Rock Lake in 1959

8. Impact of Table Rock’s Electrical Generation on Lake Taneycomo: Primarily constructed as part of the flood control system on the White River and for the generation of hydroelectric power, it is the day to day generation of electricity through Table Rock Dam’s four 50 megawatt generators that impacts Lake Taneycomo the most. The water that is used to generate the electricity is drawn from Table Rock Lake at a depth of about 140 feet which, without sunlight penetration, has a constant temperature of about 45 degrees F year round. This results in an average temperature of about 48 degree Ftemperature near Table Rock Dam and changed a warm water lake into a cold water lake virtually overnight.

9. Lake Taneycomo’s “River Lake” Characteristics: “Lake Taneycomo” is an artificial “lake” in terms of being “a large body of impounded water surrounded by land except for the waters flowing into and out of it.” However, it still retains many of the characteristics of its “White River” heritage such as its extremely narrow shore line and current. Although perhaps not apparent in the deeper water lower half of the lake, its current, depth and average 48 degree temperature are controlled day to day by hydroelectric discharges through the dam making it, “for all practical purposes, a deep, cold, fast-running river… dependent on the number of turbines generating and the volume of discharge from each.”

10. Bass to Trout: The Missouri Department of Conservation, anticipating that the colder temperatures of Lake Taneycomo caused by the generation of hydroelectric power would decimate the warm water species of fish such as bass and crappie in the main lake, built the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery at the foot of, and in conjunction with the building of, Table Rock Dam. This decision, and the introduction of a small fresh water shrimp food supply, has made Lake Taneycomo one of the finest trout fisheries in the nation. Currently about 700,000 thousand Rainbow and 10,000 Brown Trout per year are stocked into the Lake.

 

A cruise on Lake Taneycomo with some absolutely awesome teens

"Operation Liftoff "teens and caregivers on bow of "Lake Queen" as they boarded.

BRANSON, MO, June 28, 2013 — I have been on many cruises aboard Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen, but none was more special or personally significant than yesterday. I had the opportunity to cruise with 10 awesome courageous teenagers who are fighting Cancer and were in Branson on an “Operation Liftoff Teen Trip” with their seven care givers.

Randi McCormick, a Sales Manager with the Group Sales Division of Branson Tourism Center, said that she was contacted by John McLaughlin of Operation Liftoff through the BTC website, www.Branson Tourism Center.Com about setting up a Branson trip for the teenagers, each of whom is fighting Cancer. McCormick explained that from a logistical and processing perspective the planning of the group’s itinerary and Branson activities was routine and was designed to help the Group Leader, in whatever way possible, to plan and provide their group with a great Branson experience. From a personal perspective however, it was much different.

McCormick said that both of her parents are fighting Cancer. “The planning of this trip was very near and dear to my heart, but this group just kind of touched us all and brought us all together as we thought about what these kids are going through and fighting; we just wanted to do a little extra.” The result was a number of surprises for the kids from a brownie and ice cream party provided by Branson Landing, a pool side pizza party hosted by the Hilton Promenade Hotel as well as other surprises from Dixie Stampede, Branson Tourism Center and Main Street Lake Cruises.

John McLaughlin, the Group Leader, said that he has been involved with Operation Liftoff for over 20 years in different capacities. Currently he is a board member who heads up its “Teen Trip Program” which is the part of Operation Liftoff that provide trips for teenagers who are currently fighting Cancer and could not otherwise afford to make a trip like this on their own. McLaughlin pointed out that in addition to the fun, one of the primary benefits that a trip like this offers is a chance for the kids to get together with other kids who are in similar circumstances.

Bald Eagle just prior to launching into flight.

Just about every teen on the trip, under the watchful eye of Captain Brian Ayers, took advantage of the opportunity to sit in the Captain’s Chair and steer the Lake Queen on her return trip from Rockaway Beach. Although it was one of the hottest days of the year, as is normally the case, the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo mitigated the heat. In addition to the spectacular rock formations downstream from Branson, panoramic vistas and the beauty of Lake Taneycomo’s shore line, the group was treated to a show by a Bald Eagle who posed from its perch and preened itself prior to launching itself into flight from its lakeside perch.

The group had a full itinerary on their trip in addition to their cruise on the Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen including Dixie Stampede, Silver Dollar City and the Showboat Branson Belle. I had a short interview with three of the teens from the group, none of whom had been to Branson before, about the cruise and what they thought of Branson.

Miss NM* said that the cruise was “awesome,” extremely relaxing, that she had never seen an Eagle in the wild before and would definitely recommend the cruise to other teenagers, a sentiment echoed by Misters CJ* and RR.* RR said “you will never get bored in Branson” and all three spoke about the great time they had at Dixie Stampede the night before and of how eager they were to go to Silver Dollar City. Even with another day and a half in Branson ahead of them, all three expressed their eagerness to come back to Branson. RR said that he would live in Branson if he could.

Each year, groups of all sizes come to Branson for many reasons from reunions, meetings, competitions and conventions etc. because of all that it has to offer. How special is it that what Branson offers was able, even if only temporarily, to offer respite, fun and relief to these special teens from the daily challenges that their battle with Cancer presents?

* Initials used to protect the privacy of these teenagers.

 

Western style drift boats provide unique Lake Taneycomo Branson fly fishing experience

Looking upstream on Lake Taneycomo to Table Rock Lake Dam from boat launching ramp.

BRANSON, MO, May 21, 2013 – The words of Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center came to mind last week as I stood on the banks of Lake Taneycomo within sight of Table Rock Dam. She had said, “Branson’s shows, attractions, shopping, lakes and other activities provide a broad choice of things for its visitors to do, but what’s really great is the different specific options visitors have within those general choices.”

Take fishing for example, Branson’s two warm water lakes Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lakes are world class bass fisheries and the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo offer some of the finest Brown and Rainbow Trout fishing anywhere. Within the general category of trout fishing, Lake Taneycomo offers a variety of ways to fish from fishing off one of the fishing docks in downtown Branson, wading at Table Rock Dam or fishing from a boat to guided trout fishing trips of every kind.

I was brought out of my reverie as Carolyn Parker, who, in my opinion is one of the best fly fishers around, male or female, and the co-owner of River Run Outfitters with her husband Stan, who is no mean shake of a fly fisher himself, walked up. She had been kind enough to offer to take me fishing as she went out on her day off to continue the eternal quest of exploring for new “layups.” No, not the basketball shot, but a place where their guides can position their boats, either with oars or an anchor so that their clients can fly fish efficiently.

And that brings us to one of the most unique fishing opportunities available in Branson and one of the most peaceful and serene ways to view the beauty of upper Lake Taneycomo. It’s hard to imagine a better way to do that than by taking a guided River Run Outfitters fly fishing trip in one of their McKenzie western style drift boats that have no motors and are powered by, as Parker says, “‘people power’ rowing them.”

That’s right, shades of the trout fisheries of Montana and Wyoming, visitors to Branson can actually enjoy a “western style” drift trip within ten minutes of the shows, shopping, attractions and everything else Branson has to offer. And it’s the “real deal, River Run Outfitters has been an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter since 2000, won the prestigious “Orvis Outfitter of the Year award for 2006 and has been finalists for a number of years including the last three years.

River Run OUtfitters' Carolyn Parker ready for another fly fishing trip on Lake Taneycomo.

Some might ask, “They won over some of the big outfitters from out west?” Absolutely, the combination of the beauty of Lake Taneycomo, the service provided by River Run Outfitters and the quality of the fishery are simply amazing. Parker is a member of the International Women Fly Fishers (IWFF), has completed the “Fly Casting Instructors Course” given by Joan Wulff and, when she’s not managing River Run Outfitters full service Orvis fly shop or guiding clients, is probably fly fishing Lake Taneycomo.

She has had the opportunity to fly fish around the country in fisheries such as Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Utah and others. When asked how she would rate Lake Taneycomo as a trout fishery she said that both in terms of the quantity of fish caught and the total fly fishing experience, it is one of the best fisheries she has every fished particularly so in the “Trophy” or “Special Regulations of the lake in the upper three miles of the Lake starting at Table Rock Dam.

She did point out however, that if they are running water through Table Rock Dam for the generation of power, that wade fly fishing near the dam becomes increasingly more difficult, in terms of the space available to fish, water depth and the speed of the current as they increase the amount of generation and becomes just about impossible if they are generating more than 3,000 cfs. “Our drift boats are specifically designed for those conditions and provide fly fishers a way to have a great fly fishing experience regardless of whether or not power is being generated and in the vast majority of cases catch trout.”

They were generating about 6,000 cfs when Parker launched the boat and rowed us to our first layup which was actually upstream a bit from where we launched. Because of the unique style of the boat and its limited draft, the guides have extreme flexibility and can maneuver the boats, drop their anchor and position them on a current break, the edge of an eddy or just about anywhere else they want to position the boat and can even row against the current for short distances.

During our five hour trip we caught and released over 30 Rainbow Trout with the largest being 16 inches, had about 12 “rodeo fish,” on for less than 8 seconds, and missed easily twice that many, but that’s what makes it fishing. Our primary setup was a tandem rig consisting of a size 12 Big Ruby and a size 16 Red Ribbed Midge tied about 12 inches below the Big Ruby and fished under an indicator. We also got to do some stripping with intermediate sink tip line using the CQ Streamer. What a great time fishing, just being outdoors and spending time with and getting to watch one of the best fly fishers on Lake Taneycomo do her magic.

Another neat thing about a fly fishing trip on Lake Taneycomo with River Run Outfitters it that you can have a great time whether you are an expert fly fisherman or have never fly fished before. Their guides will tailor the trip to fit your level of expertise or desires and everything, except the fishing license and trout permit, is furnished including top of the line Orvis fly fishing equipment.

River Run Outfitters is open from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily and is located at 2626 Missouri 165, Branson, MO, just north of the Shepherd of the Hill Trout Hatchery. For further information please call 417-332-0460 or visit their website www.RiverRunOutfitters.com.

Main Street Lake Cruises featured by CNN as 1 of 8 spectacular fall-foliage cruises

Taken today, this picture shows that Lake Taneycomo's foliage is into its "Color turn" and headed towards its anticipated "peak" within the next two weeks

BRANSON, Mo., October 14, 2012 — Like the quality of its many entertaining live shows, Branson is also known for the natural beauty that surrounds it. From its pristine lakes to the scenic splendor of the Ozark Mountains within which it is set, Branson’s natural beauty presents itself like an infinite variety of snowflakes on a day by day basis.

Nowhere is it more obvious, or well known, than in the Fall of each year as its trees and foliage put on one of the best shows in Branson. Perhaps not as well known, until now, was one of the best and most spectacular ways to see this show, but that changed recently when CNN Travel published an online article entitled, 8 spectacular fall-foliage cruises. The article said, “As the masses descend on America’s most colorful country roads this season, why not try an alternate route? Autumn’s gold-and-yellow leaf show is just as breathtaking from the deck of a boat…” and went on to list Branson’s Lake Taneycomo as “…a perfect place to revel in it” and a cruise aboard one of Main Street Lake Cruises two boats, the Lake Queen or Landing Princess as one of its “8 spectacular fall-foliage cruises.”

The article points out that Main Street Lake Cruises two boats, the Lake Queen, a replica of the historic paddle wheel riverboats that used to ply the waters of the White River and the Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht, offer different options including dinner cruises, and sightseeing itineraries on a scheduled basis throughout the day. Larry Milton, one of the principals of Main Street Lake Cruises said, “A cruise on one of our boats is always a unique fun filled adventure offering beautiful scenic panoramic views of the Ozarks not available anywhere else which become even more spectacular with the beauty and color of the Fall foliage. We are honored that our cruises were chosen as one of ‘8 spectacular fall-foliage cruises’ in the article.”

As the accompanying picture, taken today shows, Lake Taneycomo’s foliage is into its “color turn.” It is anticipated that it will “peak” within the  next two weeks if the colder nights persist. For information about Main Street Lake Cruises sightseeing, dinner or charter cruises please contact them either by phone at 417-239-3980 or via their website www.MainStreetLakeCruises.com.

A tale of contrasts, what a difference a few months makes

Lake Taneycomo facing downstream from lake bed on July 24 during one of the very infrequent "board" draw downs that brings the lake down to its lowest level.

BRANSON, Mo. Powersite Dam, also known as “Ozark Beach Dam,” near Forsyth, Missouri was completed in 1913. It was the first impoundment of the “White River,” the first hydroelectric dam in Missouri, provided economic stability and income for the developing new town of “Branson” a few miles upstream, and formed Lake Taneycomo.

When they are not generating power or discharging water through the flood gates at Table Rock Dam, 22 miles upstream, the depth of Lake Taneycomo is controlled by the Powersite Dam. In addition to the water it runs through its generators the lakes depth is controlled by wooden “boards” inserted in the top of the dam to raise the water level of the lake.

Picture taken during the record high water levels of Easter week.

During periods of high water on Table Rock Lake requiring the release of water through flood gates of its dam, the boards either get damaged or have to be removed to minimize the flooding to low lying areas on Lake Taneycomo or its tributaries. When this happens Lake Taneycomo is drawn down to its lowest levels so they can work on or replace the “boards.”

Such a draw down took place over the weekend of July 23 and provided the opportunity to take a picture providing a comparison of Lake Taneycomo at its lowest level and its highest level. Both were taken off the River Point Road launch ramp. The first, upper right,  was taken July 24 from the lake bed, centered on the ramp, about 20 feet from the normal shoreline and is a downstream shot. The second was taken from the entrance to the boat ramp looking down into the lake during the record high water of Easter week.

To put things into perspective, the rushing water near the trees in the second photo is actually at the top of the boat ramp. The spot of the July 24 picture is actually 40 feet farther out into the lake. During the flood the water level would have been at least 12 to 14 feet over the top of my head standing in the spot from which the picture was taken.

Branson’s Tri-Lakes add to the uniqueness that is Branson

Table Rock Lake's Still Waters Lakeside Resort on Indian Point.

The Branson area is oft times referred to as the “Tri-Lakes” area because of its three lakes Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo and Bull Shoals Lake. Together they provide fishermen, boaters and water sports enthusiasts with a year round selection of activities of every type from swimming, scuba diving and fishing to boating, wakeboarding, water skiing, parasailing and just about any other water sport or fun type of activity.

Of the three lakes, the two most often used by Branson visitors would be Table Rock Lake with its 741 miles of shore line and the 22 mile long Lake Taneycomo. Both are situated within less than 10 minutes of the famed Branson Strip, with all its fabulous live shows, attractions, thousands of hotel and motel rooms of every type, shopping and everything else that makes Branson the popular vacation destination that it is.

The 43,100 surface acre Table Rock Lake is the “crown jewel” of Branson’s water related recreational activities. Its warm waters provide the source for the majority of the water related sports activities in the Tri-Lakes and some of the finest bass fishing in the United States. Convenient public access to Table Rock Lake, from Branson, is available through the State Park Marina located just south of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramps located at Moon Shine Beach, immediately north of the Table Rock Dam on Highway 165 and Indian Point Park located 8 miles west of Branson on State Highway 76, and about two miles south on Indian Point Road.

Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, points out that there are a variety of campgrounds and other lodging facilities located right on the shores and within minutes of the lake. “Two properties that immediately come to mind,” she said. “is the iconic Chateau on the Lake standing high above the lake near the dam and the Still Waters Lakeside Resort located right on the lake on  Indian Point.” She also points out that one of the most popular camping areas on Table Rock Lake is the “State Park Campground” located along with the State Park Marina just south of Table Rock Dam on State Highway 165.

Lake Taneycomo is a long narrow lake that runs from the foot of Table Rock Dam to the Power Site Dam, and the headwaters of Bull Shoals Lake, 22 mile downstream. It is a cold water lake due to the temperature of the water being discharged into the lake through power generation at the Table Rock Dam. In terms of the number of fish caught, Lake Taneycomo is one of the finest Rainbow and Brown Trout fisheries in the country.

Its cold water is not conducive to the same type of water activities as are the warm waters of Table Rock Lake. Although there is some excellent bass fishing available toward its lower end and in its creeks, Lake Taneycomo’s primary water activity is boating and trout fishing.

Lake Taneycomo has a number of lakeside resorts such as Trout Hollow and Lilley’s Landing and the city of Branson operates a lakeside campground with full facilities just south of Branson Landing on Box Car Willie Drive. Convenient access to the lake is provided at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, the Cooper Creek Launch Area and the south end of the city of Branson’s campground. Scotty’s Trout Dock, located near the public launch area in the city campground is a great source of information, boat rentals, bait, and guide services.

Bull Shoals Lake, a 45, 000 thousand acre impoundment, with over 1050 miles of shoreline, offers the same type of boating and fishing as does Table Rock Lake. Except for fishermen and probably because of the closeness of Table Rock Lake to Branson, Bull Shoals Lake does not play a major role in the water activities of most Branson visitors even though it is but 20 minutes away.

Branson’s “Tri-Lakes” not only provide a variety of water sports and activities, but in offering it so close to everything else that Branson offers they provide an element of uniqueness that helps make Branson such a special place.