Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

Driving Directions

From Branson, take Highway 165 southwest 6 miles to the hatchery near Table Rock Dam.


Facilities/features: boat ramp (onto Lake Taneycomo), picnic areas and a pavilion, hiking trails, two viewing blinds, two viewing decks, nature center, hatchery tours, and exhibits.

About This Area

Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is the largest trout-rearing facility operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It is located six miles southwest of Branson on Highway 165 just below Table Rock Dam. The hatchery produces between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds of trout each year. Both rainbow and brown trout are raised at the hatchery with 80 percent of production going into Lake Taneycomo. The remainder of the fish is stocked into other Missouri trout management areas. Construction of the hatchery began in 1957 and production of trout in 1958 with the completion of Table Rock Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This dam created a large, deep lake that varies in water temperature from surface to bottom. The water near the bottom stays cool, averaging 48 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. During hydroelectric generation, this cold water is released into Lake Taneycomo. Although the cold water release caused the loss of the native warm-water fishery, it created the ideal environment for trout, a fish that thrives at lower water temperatures.    

The hatchery includes a free conservation center, where the public can learn more about trout culture, aquatic life, fishing and the Missouri Department of Conservation's role in aquatic resource management. Its hours are: September through May: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Open Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and all state holidays.
June, July, August: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open seven (7) days a week. Closed all state holidays.  For a list of state holidays go to -

Trails are available near the hatchery for hiking and wildlife viewing. They also provide fishing access to Lake Taneycomo.

General Information





  • This property is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and maintained by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Three-and-one-half acre waterfowl pool and along Lake Taneycomo. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Fishing - Trout Good population. Boat access and wade fishing. Special regulations apply. See Area Regulations. 
Highlighted Activities  Vulture Venture (Vulture Roost Viewing), Family Fishing Fair 
Hiking  Four hiking trails  
Tours  Seasonal hatchery tours, call for information 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Concrete   Lake Taneycomo  
Fish Hatcheryaccessible  Fishing is not allowed in the Hatchery facility or outlets. Shepherd of the Hills hatchery is the only facility that raises brown trout for distribution statewide. Brown trout broodstock are taken each year from Taneycomo via fish ladder.  
Parking Lotaccessible  One gravel parking lot with a concrete pad.  
Picnic Tableaccessible   
Staffed Office    
Visitor Centeraccessible  Staffed center with exhibits/displays. Auditorium seats 50 visitors.  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake - Shoreline Lake Taneycomo 0.75 miles Good access to lake Taneycomo by boat, shoreline or wading. Excellent fishing opportunities primarily for rainbow and brown trout. Check regulations.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 127.00  
Other 82.00  
Glade 2.00  
Total Area Acres:155.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
White River Corridor Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Interpretive) 0.40 
Fisherman's Trail (Easy) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.40 
Canebrake Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 0.30 
White River Bluffs Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.60 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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