Table Rock Lake


Posted by Phil Lilley on October 7th, 2011
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Table Rock Lake was named from the large, table-like rocks along its shores.  Limestone bluffs tower high over the rivers that flow into this beautiful lake in Southwest Missouri.  The main tributary is the White River, but other rivers such as the James, Kings and Long have their own distinct characteristics, but most still have these bluffs along their banks.

Because of the rocky bottom of the lake and its tributaries, Table Rock’s water stays very clear.  That can be  unnerving to some anglers who are not used to fishing in such transparent water.  Lighter line and other techniques are needed to fool the lake’s wily bass and other sport fish.

The “Rock” is well known for its smallmouth, as well as spotted and largemouth.  It is an annual stop for the top professional bass circuits including the FLW Outdoors and the Bassmasters.  Actually, you can find a bass tournament on Table Rock about every weekend of the year, if you look.

The lake is also home to other fish more suitable for table fare such as white bass, walleye, crappie, goggleye and blue gill.  Spoonbill make their run up the Kings and James rivers each spring where men in boats wait with big treble hooks.  And those who like to set limb lines and trot lines for catfish will enjoy the river and creek arms of Table Rock where channel and flathead cats roam.

Table Rock is a “Corps lake,”  meaning its shores are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers up to a certain elevation or “take” line.  The dam was constructed  in the late 1950’s and the lake was filled in 1958.  The deepest part of the lake is more than 200 feet deep, but most of the fishing is done on points, in coves and on flats in less than 50 feet of water.

Missouri Department of Conservation Fish Structure Map (Interactive)


table rock report 2017 Table Rock Lake Annual Lake Report (PDF)


US Army Corp of Engineers – Table Rock Lake Map

Fun Facts

  • Table Rock Dam is the second oldest dam on the White River, completed in 1958.  Later, Bull Shoals and Beaver dams would be built creating four lakes in the White River Chain of Lakes.
  • Table Rock Dam was constructed primarily for flood control, hydroelectric power and water supply.
  • “Table Rock got its name, from an actual rock formation that, today, is the scenic overlook on Highway 165. It is a large, flat rock that was to be the original dam site. “The Army Corps of Engineers, after drilling and taking core samples, learned the ground below Table Rock was too unstable for a dam of that size. There are caves and sinkholes in the immediate area. “The dam site was moved a mile and a half upstream to its present location near Braid Mountain. The lake filled to capacity in 1961 — almost a year ahead of schedule.” — from John Fullerton, Branson historian, September 17, 2008
  • Electricity generated here at Table Rock Dam is used to meet peak energy demands. Table Rock is a link in a chain of power-producing stations that provide about seven million end-use customers in six states (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas) with power to meet peak demand periods. The Southwest Power Administration is our governing agency, and it sells and delivers this power to about 100 electric cooperative systems in these six states.
  • Table Rock is loved by many people for a variety of reasons.  Its clear water makes it popular among scuba divers for deep dives, and its cleanliness makes it perfect for swimming, skiing, tubing, and kayaking along it shores, camping on its rocky banks, cliff diving and just cruising.  Then there’s the fishermen!

State Record Fish on Table Rock Lake:

Hybrid Black Bass – Five pounds, 10 ounces, caught March 17, 2004, by  Mark Fann of Nixa, MO.
Spotted Bass (Kentucky) – Seven pounds, eight ounces, caught April 6, 1966, by  Gene Arnaud  of Branson, MO.
White Bass -Five pounds, six ounces, caught March 19, 2002, by  Scott Flood  of Billings, MO.

Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!

Bass Clubs

Table Rock Bass Masters


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