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.