With so much water surrounded by public land, Table Rock offers recreational opportunities for everyone who enjoys spending time outdoors, but the fishing is hard to beat.

With 43,100 acres of surface water and approximately 750 miles of natural shoreline, Table Rock Lake has both the size and scenery to make this special lake one of the premier outdoors destinations in America. With so much water surrounded by public land, Table Rock offers recreational opportunities for everyone who enjoys spending time outdoors, but the fishing is hard to beat.

No matter where you are on the lake, you’re surrounded by natural scenery. There are countless coves and deep pockets for boaters to explore. It’s easy to find your own perfect secluded place to anchor and swim, or pull over on the shore and set up a picnic in a relaxing spot under a shade tree or stretch a hammock for a nap. At any time, a white-tailed deer, wild turkey or bald eagle may make an appearance, as wildlife is very abundant.

Table Rock Lake is an incredible fishing destination. But because it is so large and the water is so clear, it can be an intimidating lake to fish for the first time. Hiring one of the many local professional fishing guides is a great way to learn a few secret spots and pick up on tactics to set yourself up for success on your own. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are abundant, and the crappie fishing is excellent.

Nathan McLeod and his fiancé, Savannah Light, recently joined me for a fishing trip on Table Rock with Captain Rick LaPoint of Captain Rick’s Guide Service. We had a great day on the lake, catching smallmouth bass, Kentucky bass, walleye and even an accidental gar.

We fished out of Holiday Hideaway Resort, which is a great place to stay. It reminds me of a northern fish camp with nice cabins right on the water. There are many resorts in the area, and also numerous public and privately-owned campgrounds. Table Rock State Park has two beautiful campgrounds, which offer all sorts of campsites, from primitive to full hook-up. The park also has family campsites for hosting larger groups. Big Cedar Lodge offers an array of accommodations from spectacular multi-room log lodges to much simpler lakeside fisherman cabins.

One unique and exciting way to experience the best of both worlds is to rent a houseboat on Table Rock. Imagine yourself sunbathing on a hot summer afternoon on the upper deck far from the stresses of everyday life. You’re reading a good book and enjoying a cold drink. After awhile, you slip off your sunglasses and step out of your flip flops. You stroll to the edge, pause briefly to look down, then dive off into crystal clear refreshing water. Five Star Houseboat Vacations offers luxury houseboats with all the amenities you need to enjoy an on-the-water camping experience. Wheel your luggage across the dock onto your floating abode and set sail for an adventure the entire family will remember forever.

Even if you’re more of a land-lover, there are plenty of trail opportunities around the Table Rock Lake. Miles and miles of trail offer walkers, runners, bikers and hikers the opportunity to stretch their legs. Bird watching is popular in the around the lake, with bald eagles sighted frequently. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is paved and courses through flat terrain. It’s a perfect trail for a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. It’s a wonderful nature trail for individuals requiring a wheelchair. Chinquapin Trail is a natural surface trail of moderate difficulty running through Ozark woodlands and glades.

Nothing helps you unwind after a long day on the water or the trail, like a glass of wine, good meal and great view. Top of the Rock, a property developed by Bass Pro Shop’s founder Johnny Morris, offers an extensive wine list and some of the finest dining you can find in Missouri. All of the restaurants and bars onsite are fantastic.

If you’re ready to hit the road for a fishing trip or outdoor adventure, Table Rock Lake is a destination you won’t soon forget. Look up Captain Rick at www.strikebass.com. I hope you have as much fun and success on the water with him as we did.

See you down the trail…

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