Lake Taneycomo Branson’s Original Lake Destination
Lake Taneycomo Branson began on a rainy day nearly 100 years ago. It was raining hard when the gates of Powersite Dam were closed for the first time on the free-flowing White River, May 9, 1913. Lake Taneycomo filled in less than two days; Engineers had thought it would take two months. Since that fast start Lake Taneycomo Branson has been bringing visitors to the Lake Taneycomo area.
For those who don’t know, Lake Taneycomo in Branson got its name from Taney County Missouri which contains the entirety of the lake. In the 46 years between Lake Taneycomo’s creation by a private hydroelectric company and the completion of Table Rock Dam by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1959, America would fight two world wars, suffer a Great Depression, nearly double its population, and become a global superpower. The farms and small towns carved from the wilderness would themselves diminish drastically. Cities and the suburbs would prosper and grow. Machinery would do the labor once done by men, horses and mules. Not only did the country change, but the tourists at Lake Taneycomo Branson would change.
Originally the tourists would detrain at Branson or Hollister and not only float fish but could explore Branson’s Lake Taneycomo and Shepherd of the Hills country. Visitors could also take a short passenger cruise to the new resort village of Rockaway Beach. Of course today’s trout fisherman may forget the Lake Taneycomo was once a warm-water lake teeming with bass, crappie and catfish. Since completion of Table Rock Dam, Branson Taneycomo is now a cold water lake. The Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery Conservation Center raises 1,125,000 catchable trout annually, weighing a total of 301,000 pounds. Lake Taneycomo receives 700,000 catchable trout per year with 225,000 of these coming from Neosho National Fish Hatchery in Southwest Missouri. The primary role for the hatchery is the production of rainbow and brown trout to meet the Conservation Departments management.
From the free flowing and often flooded White River valley to the calm Lake Taneycomo Branson the tri-lakes area has changed immensely in the last 100 years. Visitors often don’t realize the history that took place to make the Lake Taneycomo area the tourist mecca that it is today!