Table Rock Lake
Share this story
1 2 3 4

Hook, Line & Sinker

Plan a reely awesome fishing trip at Table Rock Lake

By John Neporadny

With excellent year-round fishing and the rare opportunity to catch the Triple Crown of bass, Table Rock Lake is the premier destination for your next fishing trip during any season.

Winter and spring offer the best chance for you to catch that once-in-a-lifetime bass, while summer vacation is a great time to take the family fishing to Table Rock Lake. In the fall, fish in cool, crisp weather surrounded by colorful foliage to completely immerse yourself in the season.

With boatloads of amenities available, planning where to fish, sleep, and eat during your trip is a breeze.

What to expect fishing year-round

If you are visiting the lake for the first time, hiring a local guide is recommended to learn the hot spots on the lake and the lures and tactics that work best. Guides will supply you with all the gear, tackle, and bait you need for a full or half day of fishing at Table Rock Lake. The reservoir’s vast size allows you to fish three distinct sections: the shallower upper arms, the mid-lake area, and the clear, deep waters in the dam area.

The 45,000-acre lake features thriving populations of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, which give you a chance to catch all three species in one day. Table Rock Lake’s reputation for excellent bass fishing is bolstered by its annual ranking as one of Bassmaster Magazine’s “Top 100 Bass Lakes” in the United States. The crystal-clear water of the lake is also loaded with a smorgasbord of gamefish species including crappie, bluegill, goggle-eye, white bass, catfish, and walleye.

Getting ready to fish with a fishing rod at Table Rock Lake, MO


Table Rock Lake’s wintertime fishing is a peaceful time of quiet and solitude, and when the biggest bass of the year are usually caught. Fishing deep with jigging spoons and plastic grubs in the standing timber just might produce a trophy bass for you. Even during the dead of winter, the lake’s moderate temperatures keep the lake ice-free.


Many anglers flock to Table Rock Lake to enjoy the nice weather, luscious green landscape, and plenty of active fish. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the prime lures to catch prespawn largemouth bass in the springtime. During the spawning season from mid-March to mid-April, local guides say a variety of soft plastic finesse worms, tube baits, and creature baits will trigger strikes from all three bass species. The spawning runs of white bass up the James and Kings rivers deliver some action-packed days of fishing and also offer some great fishing for crappie, especially in the James, Kings, and Long Creek arms.


Table Rock Lake fishing trips become a family affair in the summertime when the weather and fishing action are both hot. The local guides set up parents and kids with live night crawlers rigged with a split-shot weight and a worm hook. These laid-back trips give families that special time together of catching fish and taking photos of their prized catches. The live bait tactic provides plenty of action for bass, bluegill, and catfish.

Plenty of opportunities to fish year-round at Table Rock Lake
Getting ready to fish with a fishing rod at Table Rock Lake, MO


When fall arrives and the trees on the surrounding hills at Table Rock Lake display brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange, you can catch bass on the same crankbaits and spinnerbaits that produced in the springtime.


Spotted bass remain deep so local guides tie on drop-shot rigs with small plastic worms to probe the depths for these fish. Three-inch plastic swimbait on a 1/4-ounce jighead and a Chompers finesse rig (a lightweight jighead combined with a plastic finesse worm) will catch loads of smallmouth bass.

During your visit, you can drop by OTM Bait & Tackle or Extreme Outdoors to buy everything you need for your fishing trip. The stores are stocked with a full line of name-brand tackle and lures for all skill levels of anglers, from beginners to the pros. Fishing licenses and a variety of live and frozen bait are also available at the stores.

Where to stay

You have plenty of options to choose from when setting up lodging reservations. You can stay at luxury hotels, such as Rock Lane Resort & Marina, Chateau on the Lake, or Big Cedar Lodge. Located near the famed Silver Dollar City amusement park at Indian Point, Rock Lane caters to your fishing vacation with a full-service marina, hotel rooms, condo rentals, and a restaurant. Cozy accommodations close to the water’s edge are also available at Big Cedar Lodge. The premier wilderness resort will accommodate you with contemporary luxury rooms or rustic log cabins and a full-service marina. Cabins are available at The Cottages at Fair Haven Cove, Lunker Landing Resort, Happy Hollow Resort, and Mill Creek Resort.

Multiple options for lodging are available near the lake
A marina on the lake at Table Rock Lake, MO

Some of the resorts also feature RV/campground sites if you prefer camping instead. You can reserve a tent or RV campsite at Bar M Resort and Campground or Compton Ridge Campground and Lodge.

Spread throughout the lake are a host of full-service marinas where you can buy fuel for your boat, rent a fishing boat, or load up on ice, drinks, and snacks for your day on the water. Cape Fair Marina also features Flat Creek Resort Bar & Grill, where you can take a break from fishing and enjoy a meal on the water. The Port of Kimberling Marina complex includes a luxury hotel and suites along with a large RV campground with cabins, should you choose to spend the night close to the water. If you prefer fishing from your own boat, you can launch from the marina ramps and rent a dock slip to keep your boat on the water overnight.

Where to eat

After a great day of catching fish, you can satisfy your hunger at a multitude of eateries.

Casual dining options include pizza joints such as Ozark Mountain Pizza, Parmesan’s Pizzeria, or Reeds Spring Pizza Company, and family-style restaurants like the Fillin’ Station or Ma’s Place. You can order a succulent steak from Montana Mike’s Steakhouse, taste Italian cuisine at Florentina’s Italian Restorante, or a delicious Mexican entrée from El Lago’s Mexican Restaurant. For fine dining, you can enjoy a meal at the luxurious Ledgestone Country Club or the Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks.

Finally, delight in a cold dessert treat from Andy’s Frozen Custard before returning to the lodge and getting your tackle ready for the next action-packed day of fishing at Table Rock.

Several restaurants around the lake also have great lakefront views. Click here to find out which ones.

An awesome angling adventure awaits you at Table Rock Lake. All you have to do is book it.