Network TV has filmed the Lake of the Ozarks, highlighting tales of man-eating fish and piranha-infested waters. Myths and legends about Lake of the Ozarks abound, so we contacted the experts to find out what's true and what is not. What we found out might surprise you!

#1 The Lake is stocked with fish every year
True. According to Greg Stoner, Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries management biologist, the Lake of the Ozarks is regularly stocked with some species of fish, primarily because the creation of Truman Dam affected the fishes’ spawning habitat, especially for those fish that spawn in streams. Paddlefish are released into the Lake every year. Walleye and hybrid striped bass are released every other year and the Lake is stocked with striped bass every fifth year (which next occurs in 2015). All of these fish are spawned in hatcheries and released when they reach a desired length. We wouldn’t find these fish at the Lake if they were not stocked, Stoner says.
To help create a bonus trophy fishery and to help utilize abundant large gizzard shad,  hybrid bass and striped bass are stocked. The striped bass are ocean fish that got trapped in freshwater reservoirs years ago and are now highly sought after by fishermen. Hybrid striped bass are stocked more often than striped bass because they better tolerate the hot summer temperatures at Lake of the Ozarks.
About 10,000 paddlefish are released each fall once they reach 10 to 14 inches at the hatchery. Walleye are let go in June when they are about two inches long. Stoner says 330,000 walleye are stocked every other year, which averages out to close to six fish per acre.
Other lakes around the state, including Truman and Pomme de Terre, are also stocked with fish.

#2 There are 200 to 250 pound catfish in the Lake
Probably not. Stoner says the biggest catfish he’s ever seen was a 92 pound blue catfish. The state record is about 130 pounds. He says it is possible that there are 100 pound catfish in the Lake ... so keep looking!
 
#3 There are jellyfish in the Lake
True. Look closely the next time you go swimming. You might just spot a freshwater jellyfish. They’re about the size of a dime, look just like ocean jellyfish — complete with tentacles — but they don’t sting. You have to be at the right place at the right time to spot them, Stoner says.
“I've seen them in this Lake,” Stoner says. “But I haven’t seen many.” If you want to see hundreds,  if not thousands of these jellyfish, Stoner says you can check out Pomme de Terre — in the fall, in a quiet cove with no wind.  

#4 There are piranha in the Lake
True. But rare. By now, probably everyone has heard of the occasional piranha being caught at Lake of the Ozarks. Finding one, however, is extremely rare. Stoner says piranha don’t spawn in the Ha Ha Tonka Spring like some rumors would have you believe. The fish end up in the Lake because they are dumped there by aquarium owners. While piranha won’t establish a population, Stoner says, he advises that people never release an exotic fish or any other animal into native waters — it messes with the ecosystem. Bottom line? Keep the fish in the aquarium.

#5 A man was buried alive in Bagnell Dam while it was under construction
False. Alan Sullivan, consulting engineer with Ameren Missouri, has a long family history at the Lake. His uncle and grandfather helped build Bagnell Dam so, over the years, he’s heard the many rumors about Bagnell Dam. Growing up, Sullivan heard the story this way: while pouring concrete to build the dam, a man was covered up and never removed because it was “cheaper than pulling him out.”
Sullivan says not so. “We have never found any evidence of that.”

#6 There are cracks in the dam
True. Sullivan started working at Ameren Missouri in 1977 as a mechanical engineer. One of his jobs was to supervise a diver that conducted underwater inspections, searching for cracks and other structural issues. All concrete has cracks, he says. Some leak water by design as part of a network of drains. Workers collect and measure how much water is being released and inspections are performed regularly on the dam.  
Sullivan assures, when it comes to the dam, everything is safe and sound and operating as intended.

#7 The Lake will be lowered 30 feet
False. People often ask why the Lake is down so low, especially in the winter. It’s true that Lake levels fluctuate depending on the time of year. But it’s not by much. And while some government lakes vary by 30 feet, Lake of the Ozarks does not. It is true that in the winter, the Lake level is dropped about six feet. That’s to allow for spring rains and to lesson the chances of flooding both on the Lake and on the Osage River.

#8 There is a window in the dam where you can look out into the Lake and see fish
False. There are no underwater windows, Sullivan says. There are none on the Lake side or on the side facing the Osage River. Visibility far below the water surface is an issue — a window would be useless. But there are office windows that face down the river that offer a heck of a view.