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12 Best Lakes in Missouri for Fishing – Complete Guide

12 Best Lakes in Missouri for Fishing – Complete Guide

Missouri is a state with an abundance of natural beauty that extends to its many lakes. Here we have listed some of the best fishing lakes in the state that are also perfect for anyone who loves spending time outdoors enjoying the peacefulness of nature. So whether you’re looking for a place to catch some big bass or want to relax by the water, be sure to check out these great spots!

1. Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake is an excellent lake that offers incredible visibility and a wide variety of fish species to catch. The lake was created in 1951 by damming the Upper White River Basin and has since become a popular destination for anglers looking to catch black and white crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and more. Anglers can also enjoy spearfishing in clear water that doesn’t freeze year-round.

Bull Shoals Lake is located deep in the Ozark Mountains near the border of Arkansas and Missouri, with over 700 miles of shoreline. It has a maximum depth of 210 feet and an average depth of around 75 at the normal pool level. There are also many creek arms called hollows located within Missouri that feed into Bull Shoals Lake’s waters, such as Bratton Spring Creek, which adds even more fish habitat opportunities for anglers seeking trophy catches like walleye or white bass.

Bull Shoals Lake

Clearwater Lake

Clearwater Lake is one of the best lakes for fishing because it offers a wide variety of species, including largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, white bass, and spotted bass. Gizzard shad are in large numbers in the lake, providing an essential source of forage for largemouth bass. Additionally, Clearwater Lake is located near Piedmont, providing easy access and three parks surrounding it.

Clearwater Lake is a 1,650-acre reservoir on the Black River south of St Louis near Piedmont in southeastern Missouri. The lake is surrounded by three parks providing plenty of opportunities to fish or enjoy other outdoor activities like canoeing or boating during your visit! Access can be found on the Southeast side of the lake, and there are no vacation rentals available on its shores due to fluctuations in water levels between June and September.

Clearwater Lake

3. Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks is an excellent lake for fishing because it offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the area. The lake is 54,000 acres in size with a maximum depth of 130 feet and has camping, boating, and docks available, and swimming is allowed. It also has a unique serpentine shape that makes it stand out from other lakes in the area. Furthermore, several species of fish can be caught here, including black bass, largemouth bass, Kentucky spotted bass, white crappie, black crappie, channel catfish, blue catfish, white bass, and walleye.

Lake Of The Ozarks State Park is located in central Missouri within the Ozark Mountains near Branson. Sioux Harbor is on the Missouri River outside of Branson and offers anglers an opportunity to catch catfish, carp, and drum from shore or by boat.

Lake of the Ozarks

4. Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is one of the best bass lakes in the country due to its large surface area, abundant fish species, and endless opportunities for fishing. Largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, and white bass is all present in Table Rock’s about 50,000-acre waters, which also offer over 800 miles of shoreline. In addition, late spring and early summer offer peak fishing opportunities as these are the times when fish will congregate in shallower areas looking for warm water or be found deeper down on the lake where marine electronics can help locate ledges and submerged structures such as brush piles.

Table Rock Lake is located primarily in Missouri, with portions reaching into Arkansas along Long Creek, Kings River, and White River arms. Therefore, anglers should be aware of their licensing requirements if they plan on fishing these additional sections of waterway surrounding the main body of water.

Table Rock Lake

5. Pomme de Terre Lake

Pomme de Terre Lake is one of the best lake in Missouri that offers a large surface area, depth, and abundance of fish species. It provides 651 campsites, two public swimming beaches, and a variety of amenities, making it an ideal destination for both locals and visitors.

The lake is known for its largemouth bass, crappie, and white bass and its nationally renowned muskie population, which has been stocked since 1966. Pomme de Terre Lake also provides plenty of opportunities for birdwatching with commonly spotted species such as snow geese, wood duck, mallard, northern bobwhite, common goldeneye, wild turkey rock pigeon ruby-throated hummingbird, great blue heron black vulture house wren barred owl.

Pomme de Terre Lake covers just shy of 8,000 acres making it a good-sized lake that still has plenty to offer anglers looking for their next big catch. The Lost Valley Fish Hatchery manages the muskie reproduction and stocking, keeping an ample supply available at all times, so there’s no need to worry about not being able to find one when you need it most!

 Pomme de Terre Lake

6. Smithville Lake

Smithville Lake is one of the best lakes in Missouri for fishing due to its abundant fish species and excellent facilities. The lake is stocked regularly with bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth bass, making it an excellent destination for anglers. In addition, Smithville Lake has two full-service marinas with boat rentals and camping and overnight facilities, making it an ideal destination for families or individuals who want to enjoy the beauty of nature while catching some fish.

Smithville Lake is located in northwestern Missouri near the Nebraska border and has a surface area of 7190 acres with depths reaching up to 60 feet. Several amenities are available at the lake, including golf courses, campgrounds, picnic shelters, and trails for horseback riding or hiking – all within five thousand acres surrounding Smithville Lake itself.

Smithville Lake

7. Stockton Lake

Stockton Lake is one of Missouri’s seven major lakes and offers exceptional sailing opportunities with three marinas and ten public-use areas. It is also a popular wakeboarding spot due to its serene, nature-filled environment and strong winds from as far away as Oklahoma and Kansas. Moreover, Stockton Lake provides plenty of opportunities to catch bass, white bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, and bluegill.

Stockton Lake is located in southwestern Missouri about 80 miles north of Table Rock Lake; it has an area of 24900 acres with a maximum depth of 100 feet; camping/overnight available; boating/docks available; swimming permitted; fishing permitted; best for one of Missouri’s seven major lakes s sailing governor cup regatta Stockton yacht club water source for Springfield.

Stockton Lake

8. Mark Twain Lake

Mark Twain Lake offers a large size, abundant fish species, and full-service recreation amenities. The lake was created to assist with flood control and prevention as part of the Flood Control Act of October 1962. It is now famous for family outdoor recreation, including boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and hunting. Its 54000 acres offer plenty of opportunities to catch bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, sunfish, and other varieties of fish. Additionally, the Clarence Cannon Dam provides an ideal habitat for white bass, which can be found busting shad near the surface in low water clarity conditions similar to Truman Reservoir.

Mark Twain Lake is located between Kansas City and St Louis with a maximum depth of 85 feet, making it perfect for those who love spending time on or underwater. It also has various camping/overnight facilities and docks for boaters who wish to explore this beautiful lake further. Swimming is also permitted so visitors can take advantage of all that Mark Twain has to offer during their visit!

Mark Twain Lake

9. Lake Wappapello

Lake Wappapello is an excellent lake for fishing that offers visitors access to 25 boat ramps, two campgrounds, and trails for hiking, biking, backpacking, and horseback riding. The lake is also known for its abundant fish species, such as white bass, largemouth bass, and bluegill, which attract anglers from all over the state.

Lake Wappapello is located in southeastern Missouri in the foothills of the Ozarks at an elevation of about 450 feet above sea level. It has a surface area of 8400 acres with a maximum depth of 47 feet, making it ideal for all types of outdoor recreation activities, including boating/docks available, swimming permitted, and fishing permitted.

Lake Wappapello

10. Lake Jacomo

Lake Jacomo is one of the best lakes in Missouri due to its size, location, and abundant resources. The 970-acre lake provides an ideal environment for largemouth bass fishing due to its peaceful atmosphere and lush shoreline. Anglers have access to mooring buoys at Sail Boat Cove and a dry sail lot for multiple boats at this marina. Additionally, the lake is close to Kansas City, which provides access to more resources such as food, gas stations, camping sites, and more.

Lake Jacomo is situated in Fleming Park, northwest Missouri, roughly 15 miles from Kansas City. It has a maximum depth of around 35 feet, with many coves providing shelter for largemouth bass near shorelines and wooded areas along its shores, making it ideal for exploring in kayaks or canoes.

Lake Jacomo

11. Norfork Lake

Norfork Lake is one of the best lake to fish in as it offers a wide variety of fish to catch. Its 550 miles of densely forested shoreline makes it ideal for swimming, hiking, and boating, while its healthy population of black bass, stripers, white bass, crappie walleye, and catfish makes it an excellent destination for anglers. The lake is also great for enjoying other outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, and camping.

Norfork Lake is located in north-central Missouri, with a significant portion of the water residing in bordering Arkansas. The Norfork Dam, which impounds the North Fork River, creates Norfolk Lake, which provides camping opportunities at 19 recreational parks and excellent fishing opportunities at both sides of the lake, including trout species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout.

Norfork Lake

12. Fellows Lake

Fellows Lake is one of the best lakes in Missouri for fishing because it is conveniently located near Springfield and provides plenty of opportunities to catch different types of fish. White bass, muskie, catfish, walleye, black and white crappie, and largemouth bass are among the fish that anglers can catch. There are two larger boat docks and a marina for boat storage, so it’s easy to access the lake’s waters. There are also basic and electric campsites and three hotels seven miles away from Kirksville if you don’t want to camp overnight.

Fellows Lake


What is the most beautiful Lake in Missouri?

The most beautiful lake in Missouri is undoubtedly Table Rock Lake. Located in the Ozarks, this man-made reservoir boasts stunning limestone cliffs, clear blue waters, and ample fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, camping, and picnicking in the nearby state park.

Does Missouri have good fishing?

Yes, Missouri has excellent fishing opportunities. The state features several reservoirs teeming with thriving populations of multiple species, such as largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, white and black crappie, white bass, and flathead blue and channel catfish. Moreover, the state offers an online license for those who want to enjoy their favorite sport even more.

Do you need a fishing license in Missouri?

Yes, all anglers 16 years and older must have a valid Missouri fishing license to fish in the state. You can purchase a license online or from a licensed vendor.

What fish species can be caught in Missouri lakes?

You can catch various fish species in Missouri, including largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, white and black crappie, white bass, flathead, and blue channel catfish. Crappie is known for their bright colors and tasty flesh, while smallmouth bass is known for their aggressive nature when hooked. White bass has a milder flavor than other species but still makes for an excellent meal. Flatheads are known to be challenging to catch but have delicious meat that makes an effort worthwhile.

What is the most sought-after fish in Missouri?

Anglers prize blue catfish due to their size (they can reach up to 100 lbs) as well as the excellent taste of their meat. Channel catfish also have great flavor but tend to be smaller than blue catfish; they also breed quickly, making them ideal for stocking purposes in reservoirs across Missouri.