Top 10 Best Missouri Lakes for Unforgettable Adventures

Lakes ★★★★★ 4.9 3508 reviews
5 1

Are you looking for the best Missouri lakes for your next outdoor adventure? Whether you’re into fishing, water sports, diving, or simply enjoying breathtaking views, Missouri’s diverse landscape offers some of the most spectacular lakes in the country. This guide cuts through the clutter to present you with a curated list of the finest lakes that Missouri has to offer for every type of adventure. Dive in to discover where you can catch trophy-sized bass, glide on crystal-clear waters, or soak in serene beauty—all within the Show-Me State.

Key Takeaways

  • Missouri offers diverse fishing opportunities for species like largemouth bass at Table Rock Lake, crappie at Truman Lake, and walleye at Mark Twain Lake, catering to both expert anglers and beginners.

  • Bull Shoals Lake and Clearwater Lake in Missouri provide excellent conditions for underwater activities such as diving and snorkeling, thanks to their crystal-clear waters and diverse underwater terrain.

  • Missouri’s lakes, including Stockton Lake and Lake of the Ozarks, are ideal for a range of water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing, with equipment rentals and guided experiences available for visitors of all skill levels.

Best Missouri Lakes – #1 Lakes in Missouri?



Aerojet Canal Angler - Florida Lakes








Dead Lakes Angler - Florida Lakes




East Lake Toho Angler - Florida Lakes










Lake Haines Angling - Florida Lakes




No Florida Lakes Angler




Lake Jackson - Florida Lakes




No Florida Lakes Angler








Newmans Lake - Florida Lakes






No Florida Lakes Angler




Lake Reedy Angler






No Florida Lakes Angler




Lake Reedy Angler






Lake Parker Angler




No Florida Lakes Angler




Lake Reedy Angler


+Discovering Missouri’s Top Fishing Destinations

In the heartland of America, the state of Missouri is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the challenge of reeling in a largemouth bass at Table Rock Lake, the joy of landing a large crappie at Truman Lake, or the thrill of hooking a walleye in Mark Twain Lake, the Show-Me State offers an abundance of fishing adventures that are sure to captivate and inspire, including those along the Missouri River.

Largemouth Bass at Table Rock Lake

Located in the beautiful Ozarks of southwestern Missouri, Table Rock Lake is a paradise for anglers. The lake’s clear waters offer an abundance of largemouth bass, which are known to grow to impressive sizes. According to research, approximately 27 percent of the largemouth bass population in Table Rock Lake measures 15 inches in length or more, making it a rewarding experience for anglers seeking larger catches at Table Rock State Park.

During the spawn, topwater lures like buzzbaits and poppers are particularly successful in inducing strikes from the largemouth bass. As the summer heat intensifies, the bass migrates to cooler, oxygen-rich deeper waters. Armed with fishfinders, anglers then set their sights to target these fish at depths ranging from 30 to 70 feet. Sits on the border between Missouri and Arkansas.

Largemouth Bass at Table Rock Lake Mo

Crappie Galore at Truman Lake

Truman Lake, located in the heart of Missouri, is a beloved destination among local anglers. This lake is particularly celebrated for its large sizes of crappie, making it a must-visit location for crappie enthusiasts. The lake’s accessible fishing conditions, with numerous boat ramps and access points, make it even more appealing.

What truly sets Truman Lake apart is the sheer abundance of crappie. With the right gear and a bit of patience, anglers can look forward to a rewarding fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, Truman Lake offers a fishing adventure that’s hard to resist.

South Grand River Lake Truman Mo

Walleye Wonders of Mark Twain Lake

Nestled within the scenic Salt River Hills of north-central Missouri, Mark Twain State Park provides a spectacular backdrop for an unforgettable fishing expedition at Mark Twain Lake. Spanning over 7,500 hectares, this lake boasts ample space for anglers seeking to catch walleye.

Fishing for walleye at Mark Twain Lake offers:

  • A vast area and natural beauty that enhances the thrill of the catch
  • A top choice for walleye enthusiasts
  • An experience that’s sure to captivate both experienced anglers and beginners

Mark Twain Lake Mo

Missouri’s Crystal-Clear Waters: Lakes with Visually Stunning Underwater Clarity

For those who appreciate the beauty beneath the surface, Missouri’s crystal-clear lakes offer a whole new perspective. Lakes like Bull Shoals Lake and Clearwater Lake are renowned for their visually stunning underwater clarity, making them perfect for activities like snorkeling and diving.

Imagine exploring the underwater world, teeming with a plethora of aquatic life, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Dive into Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake, located along the Missouri-Arkansas border, is a diver’s dream come true. The lake provides diverse underwater terrain ranging from 20 to 85 feet deep, including wall dives and swim-throughs. These features make Bull Shoals Lake an exciting destination for exploratory dives.

What truly sets Bull Shoals Lake apart from other diving destinations is its extraordinary clarity. This feature allows divers to enjoy a clear view of the underwater environment, making each dive a unique experience. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a novice, Bull Shoals Lake promises an underwater adventure that you won’t soon forget.

Dive into Bull Shoals Lake Mo

The Transparent Treasure of Clearwater Lake

Clearwater Lake is aptly named, as it boasts some of the clearest waters in Missouri. The lake’s transparent waters make it an ideal spot for aquatic exploration. Although specific underwater photography opportunities are not mentioned, the lake’s clarity makes it a perfect setting for capturing stunning underwater shots.

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a hobbyist photographer, Clearwater Lake offers a unique venue for your aquatic adventures. The crystal-clear waters present endless opportunities for unforgettable experiences, making Clearwater Lake a must-visit destination for water enthusiasts.

Clearwater Lake Mo

Missouri’s Aquatic Playgrounds: Best Lakes for Water Sports

If thrilling water sports are more your speed, Missouri’s lakes have got you covered. With their clear and pristine waters, Stockton Lake and Lake of the Ozarks offer an extensive aquatic playground for sports like jet skiing and parasailing. Best of all, these lakes provide options for water sports equipment rentals and guided experiences, catering to visitors of different skill levels.

High-Speed Fun on Stockton Lake

When it comes to water sports, few locations can match the offerings of Stockton Lake. This beautiful lake offers a variety of watercraft rental services, including jet skis suitable for all ages. Whether you’re looking to race across the water at high speeds or simply enjoy a leisurely ride, Stockton Lake has something for everyone.

But the fun doesn’t stop at jet skiing. Stockton Lake also offers additional water sports gear like water trampolines, flyboards, and stand-up paddleboards. So whether you prefer high-speed thrills or peaceful paddling, Stockton Lake has the gear and the environment to make your water sports adventure unforgettable.

High-Speed Fun on Stockton Lake Mo

Ultimate Entertainment at Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks is more than just a lake; it’s an extensive aquatic playground that caters to a wide range of preferences. Known for its expansive surface area, the lake offers a plethora of water-based activities such as:

  • Boat tours
  • Wakeboarding
  • Water skiing
  • Kneeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Wake surfing

Ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

For those seeking a more exhilarating experience, parasailing at Lake of the Ozarks offers an adrenaline-pumping aerial activity, complete with certified and experienced guides to ensure your safety. And, if you’re looking to explore at your own pace, you can rent various types of boats and gear from the Lake of the Ozarks State Park Marina, allowing you to tailor your adventure to your preferences and budget.

Lake of the Ozark Mo

Missouri’s Scenic Wonders: Lakes with Breathtaking Views

Missouri’s lakes are known for their aquatic adventures and breathtaking views. Two such scenic wonders are Pomme de Terre Lake and Lake Taneycomo.

Surrounded by the beauty of the Ozarks and boasting clear, tranquil waters, these lakes offer a feast for the eyes as much as they do for the adventurous spirit seeking nearby hiking trails.

Serene Beauty at Pomme de Terre Lake

Pomme de Terre Lake, located in southwest Missouri, is a haven of serene natural beauty. Rolling hills and lush greenery surround the lake, creating a tranquil setting that’s perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat.

But the beauty of Pomme de Terre Lake is not limited to its natural surroundings. The lake itself offers stunning views, especially when explored through the trails that wind through lush forests and culminate in scenic overlooks. Whether you’re dining at a lakeside picnic site or hiking along the trails, Pomme de Terre Lake offers a serene beauty that’s sure to captivate you.

Missouri Department of Pomme De Terre Lake Mo

Picturesque Charm of Lake Taneycomo

Lake Taneycomo, nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, offers a picturesque charm that’s hard to resist. With its clear water, beautiful mountains, and diverse wildlife, Lake Taneycomo is a sight to behold.

But the charm of Lake Taneycomo extends beyond its natural beauty. The bustling Historic Downtown Branson, with its lighted boardwalk and captivating fountain show, adds an element of excitement to the tranquil setting. And for those seeking adventure, the lake offers a variety of water activities, including nationally renowned fishing experiences.

Lake Taneycomo Mo

Seasonal Splendor: The Best Times to Visit Missouri Lakes

Each season in Missouri brings its unique charm and experiences, offering a different perspective of the lakes. From the blooming landscapes of spring, vibrant fall foliage, to the icy charm of winter, there’s always a reason to visit Missouri lakes.

Summer Sunshine at Smithville Lake

Smithville Lake Mo

Summer at Smithville Lake brings with it a host of exciting activities. With over 7,200 acres of water and more than 175 miles of shoreline, the lake offers ample space to enjoy:

  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Horse-back riding
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Kayaking

Just 20 miles from Kansas City, Smithville Lake offers a quick getaway for city dwellers. With amenities like:

  • campsites
  • shelters
  • full-service marinas
  • boat rentals
  • golf courses
  • equestrian trails

Smithville Lake is your ultimate summer sunshine destination in Missouri.

Autumn Colors at Lake Wappapello

As summer fades and autumn arrives, Lake Wappapello transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors. The fall foliage reflects off the water, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that draws in numerous visitors each year.

Along with the visual spectacle, autumn at Lake Wappapello offers cooler temperatures perfect for camping and hiking. Whether you’re exploring the colorful landscape or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the lake, autumn at Lake Wappapello is a season of splendor that’s not to be missed.

Sail Away: Missouri’s Premier Boating and Sailing Lakes

For those with a love for boating and sailing, Missouri’s lakes offer the perfect escape. With full-service marinas and a host of sailing events, lakes like Lake Ozark and Truman Reservoir are prime destinations for boating enthusiasts.

Leisure and Luxury at Lake Ozark

Lake Ozark is more than just a boating destination; it’s a gateway to a luxurious experience on the water. Home to yacht clubs and upscale boating experiences, Lake Ozark offers a touch of leisure and luxury that sets it apart.

The Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks, which is fed by the Osage River, extends into Benton County, providing expansive waters for boating activities. Whether you’re captaining a luxury yacht or a small sailboat, Lake Ozark offers the space, the amenities, and the beauty to make your boating experience unforgettable.

Adventurous Outings on Truman Reservoir

Truman Reservoir is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts. Known for hosting a variety of sailing events and regattas throughout the year, Truman Reservoir offers an adventurous outing for those with a passion for sailing.

The Truman State Park Marina serves as a pivotal hub for sailors and offers access to the expansive waters of Truman Reservoir. With a range of amenities, including boat and slip rentals, Truman Reservoir ensures that sailors have everything they need for a day out on the water.


From the thrill of catching a largemouth bass at Table Rock Lake to the serenity of sailing on Lake Ozark, from witnessing the picturesque charm of Lake Taneycomo to exploring the crystal-clear waters of Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri’s lakes offer a plethora of unforgettable experiences. Each season brings its unique charm, and each lake offers its unique adventures. So, whether you’re a fishing enthusiast, a water sports lover, a nature photographer, or simply someone seeking tranquility, the Show-Me State’s lakes promise an adventure that will captivate and inspire you.

Reviews of Missouri Lakes

Great Place and Lake

Lake Apopka
This place is a well hidden secret. A huge variety of fish, birds, bunnies and not to forget big bass and lots of alligators in every size can be seen. No fences in their natural habitat.
- Torsten Dreier

Great experience!

Richard Hernandez
Had a great time fishing with Capt Richard, we caught so many fish we couldn't keep up with all the action and I wish I paid for the longer session. Will definitely fish again with him.
- Marcos

Great experience!

Miami Guides
Had a great time fishing with Capt Richard, we caught so many fish we couldn't keep up with all the action and I wish I paid for the longer session. Will definitely fish again with him.
- Marcos
Review Title
Review Content

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top fishing destinations in Missouri?

Missouri’s top fishing destinations are Table Rock Lake for largemouth bass, Truman Lake for crappie, and Mark Twain Lake for walleye. Happy fishing!

Which lakes in Missouri offer the best underwater clarity?

Bull Shoals Lake and Clearwater Lake in Missouri offer the best underwater clarity. Ideal for diving and snorkeling.

What water sports can I enjoy at Stockton Lake and Lake of the Ozarks?

You can enjoy water skiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, and parasailing at Stockton Lake and Lake of the Ozarks. These are popular water sports activities available at these locations.

Which are the most scenic lakes in Missouri?

In Missouri, Pomme de Terre Lake and Lake Taneycomo are highly regarded for their stunning scenery and peaceful atmosphere.

When is the best time to visit Missouri lakes?

The best time to visit Missouri lakes depends on your preferred activities. Spring is great for fishing and nature walks, while summer is perfect for water activities, autumn for enjoying fall foliage, and winter for ice fishing opportunities.