Branson Area Lakes Can Change Lives
In his five years as a fishing guide on Table Rock Lake, Chris Tetrick has a good record.
"I've still never done a trip where at least one person didn't catch a bass," Tetrick said.
Fishing is one of Branson's many choices for active relaxation that can create lasting memories for vacationers. And sometimes, the magic of Branson's pristine lakes make residents out of those visitors.
This year, fishing will be especially good, said Tetrick, who operates Mid Lakes Guide Service.
"I'd rate it as a very good year," he said. After this spring's rains, the water is less clear than it will be later in the season, so fish tend to feed closer to the surface. Higher lake levels also give fish more habitats closer to shore."
Tetrick is a 28-year-old Branson native who started fishing with his dad at an early age.
"Probably still in diapers," he said.
Now, the lakes are his workplace, and he expects to be especially busy over the long Memorial Day weekend. Many of his clients are couples, a mix of veteran fishers who want help finding the best locations, and novices who want another excuse to be out on the lakes, he said.
But his favorite times are taking out a father and son, he said.
"If the kid catches one, he's so excited," Tetrick said. "It’s fun to see."
Fishing For Supper
Jim Slagter, who works at The Vacation Channel, also began fishing early in life. Ten years ago -after vacationing in Branson for years - his family moved to Branson from Iowa because of the fishing.
"They'd take a pontoon boat out and catch dinner," Slagter said.
Branson is an especially great fishing destination because Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo provide different environments.
"There are very few places I know of that you can go and bass fish and catch trout the same day," Slagter said. "The year-round trout fishing here is incredible."
That diversity was created in 1958 when Table Rock Dam was built. Bass thrive in Table Rock Lake where the water is deep and there are many craggy nooks for spawning.
Below the dam, Lake Taneycomo is fed by the colder water coming from the bottom of Table Rock, making a perfect environment for trout. To create recreation in Lake Taneycomo, the U.S. Corps of Engineers raises and stocks more than 750,000 10-to-12-inch rainbow and brown trout into the lake each year. Visitors can see the trout at various stages of growth at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, a fun and educational destination for children and adults.
In downtown Branson, visitors may rent equipment and fish along the Taneycomo lakeshore at public docks near Branson Landing, the town's newest shopping, dining and boardwalk attraction. There's also a Bass Pro Shops store there.
"For a woman to go shopping, and a guy to rent a boat down there, it's perfect," Slagter said.
New Life On The Lakes
Bert Lehman, the owner of Artilla Cove Resort on Indian Point, also expects a busy spring season. He is one of several resort owners who send people to Tetrick for their fishing trips.
Lehman and his wife, Gwen, bought the resort on Table Rock Lake in 1995 and moved here from Raleigh, N.C. where he was a business consultant. They've completely remodeled the 10 units, with upgrades including WiFi. They also have a boat dock and rent boats.
In an article in Midwest Living, Artilla Cove was called "cozy and immaculate" with "tasteful touches inside."
The resort also was designated as a "Value Pick" by Arthur Frommer's publication "Branson." Frommer described the "knock-your-socks-off-view" driving down to the resort at the end of the road, and the "beautifully maintained homelike cottages."
A lot of their customers return to the resort year-after-year, and some move to Branson, he said.
Firefighter Finds New Job
One regular guest was Charlie Neubert, who lived in St. Louis County and was a career firefighter. Neubert began as a volunteer firefighter when he was 14 years old, he said. Neubert, now 51, said he and his wife, Marge, started coming to Artilla Cove 20 years ago.
While visiting, he met a volunteer firefighter with the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District. The district is now the fourth largest district in the state with 15 fire stations.
Neubert started volunteering with the district eight years ago during his summer trips to Branson. The couple bought a boat, hauled it down for a few years, but eventually started storing it here. Next, they bought a condominium on Indian Point. Last year, Neubert retired from his job of 30 years and became the district’s full-time fire chief.
Now, the Neuberts own a 30-foot cruiser on Table Rock Lake. Sometimes, St. Louis firefighters come to visit.
"We go out on in a cove, and just throw out the anchor, and relax," he said.
Sometimes they cruise to a lakefront restaurant for dinner. And they may go to Big Cedar Lodge or the Chateau on the Lake Resort for dinner. They also enjoy the annual Fourth of July fireworks display from their boat, and are among the volunteers who organize the big event.
"I've always enjoyed being out on the water," Neubert said. "I'm fortunate. I feel like I'm a kid."
For additional information about Branson, its shows, live entertainment, theme parks, lakes, golf courses, family attractions, shopping and other features, or to order a free Branson Vacation Guide, call the Branson/Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-214-3661 or visit our website at www.explorebranson.com.
Also check out Branson.net, another great site about Branson.