Thursday June 7th 2018
It was another day with above normal temperatures. The temperature peaked in the low 90s with high, but not oppressive humidity. It was hot in the sun which wasn’t blocked by any clouds.
Just below the Table Rock Dam is a power plant and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. I spent some time touring the hatchery this afternoon. Built at the same time as the dam and power plant, it uses the cold water from Table Rock Lake that passes through the hydro electric plant to raise trout.
It takes from sixteen to twenty months for the fish to grow from egg to eleven or twelve inches in size. The hatchery can produce around 800,000 fish in each “crop”. Most of the fish are released into the area below the Table Rock Dam. This body of water called Lake Taneycomo stretches from the Table Rock Dam to the next dam the other side of Branson on the White River. The hatchery has made Lake Taneycomo one of the best trout fishing lakes in the country. It was interesting to know that trout are not native to Missouri. They are only here because of the hatchery and the cold water produced by the depth of Table Rock Lake.
There is a conservation center at the hatchery that describes the trout growing process. It has a fish tank with some really big Brown and Rainbow Trout. Today the center was busy with a group of school age kids and signing up people for a trout fishing derby this weekend. After passing through the conservation center you can wander through all of the long concrete “Raceways” full of trout in various sizes. If you stand beside one of the raceways the fish will swim toward you and make the water appear to boil. They are expecting to be fed.
Behind the hatchery is an access area for the Lake Taneycomo. Several people and a few birds were fishing. I watched for several minutes, but didn’t see anyone catch a trout. Clearly trout fishing is a very popular in the lake.