by Larry Whiteley


For those who enjoy the beauty of autumn there may be no better place in America to visit than the Ozark Mountain Region of southwestern Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. From awe-inspiring forested hills covered in a kaleidoscope of colors, stunning vistas, sparkling rivers, to fish-filled lakes, hiking and biking trails, camping opportunities, and many other outdoor adventures, there are unforgettable experiences for those of all ages. The breathtaking fall color change is like a painter's pallet and by all indications this year will be a very colorful time to visit. 


Fall colors bring couples and families here today, but fishing was what first brought visitors to the Ozarks. They came to enjoy float fishing down the White River. In the 1930s, Branson's Jim Owens brought celebrities, businessmen, and politicians to fish the untamed White River for the fighting smallmouth bass. Later, the Army Corps of Engineers would dam the river to help provide electricity for the area. Doing so also created Lake Taneycomo, Table Rock Lake, and Bull Shoals Lake making traveling to the Ozarks for fishing very popular. 

Today these three lakes provide some of the best freshwater fishing available anywhere. Not many places can boast the diverse fisheries available in the Branson area: bass, walleye, striper, crappie, perch, and catfish prowl the waters of Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lakes. Lake Taneycomo is recognized as one of the finest trout fisheries anywhere with rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout all making this cold-water lake home. 

Fall is a great time to fish any of these lakes as all species are feeding heavily preparing for the winter season. There's just something special about sitting in a boat and reeling in a fish with an eagle flying through the sky, with the cooler temperatures of fall providing new energy. 

Photography : Branson

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