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Lake of the Ozarks
One of the prettiest places to visit in the United States.. Great values on Hotels, Condos and Resorts year round. A nature lovers paradise. Something for everyone, Perfect for inexpensive weekend getaways or extended family vacations. This is a must location!
Lake of the Ozarks
Lake of the Ozarks, lake is located in south-central Missouri, U.S., in the scenic Ozark Mountains about 42 miles southwest of Jefferson City. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, its contained by Bagnell Dam, built (1929–31) across the Osage River to provide hydroelectric power for the St. Louis area. This mighty body of water is approximately 90 miles long and has a shoreline of more than 1,100 miles.
The lake, with facilities for fishing and aquatic sports, is a popular recreation and resort area. There are several limestone caverns nearby. Lake of the Ozarks State Park includes most of the Grand Glaize arm of the lake, with 90 miles of shoreline.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is on the Niangua arm, to the south. The Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir began operation in 1979 and impounds the Osage and Grand rivers to extend facilities at the lake’s western end.
Attractions & Things to Do at Lake of the Ozarks
Since 1931 this beautiful American treasure has catered to great American travel experiences. Whether it’s golfing within view of the water, camping next to the shore, or renting a boat for the day, there are many reasons Midwesterners and others flock to the Lake of the Ozarks for long weekends and extended family vacations. You’ll find plenty of space thanks to the lake’s serpentine shape and branching tributaries.
One of the central hubs for activity is the city of Osage Beach, located just south of the Osage River impoundment, the Bagnell Dam. Farther south, Camdenton also provides plenty of adventure, including subterranean exploration of Bridal Cave. Or get married in Bridal Cave. Hundreds of couples do this every year!
To explore another defining feature of Missouri, Bridal Cave is great for young explorers and seasoned adventurers alike. Located near the city of Camdenton, Bridal Cave has a long history in the area, dating back for centuries before the lake was created. Bridal Cave notably served an important role in the Osage Native American culture and folklore, lending this deep cave its current name and story. More information on Bridal Cave’s history can be acquired on any one of the hour-long guided tours offered throughout the day. Along the guided route, visitors to Bridal Cave witness for themselves the giant columns, sensitive soda straws, and mysterious lakes that make Bridal Cave one of the best year-round attractions at Lake of the Ozarks.
Address: 526 Bridal Cave Road, Camdenton, Missouri
Surrounding the lake in every direction, fun things are waiting to be explored, including castle ruins, swinging bridges, and three-story waterslides, all lending to fun family traditions for years to come.
No one visits Lake of the Ozarks without experiencing the water. Whether it’s navigating the lake on a boat, fishing from the shore, or enjoying the aquatic views from a cozy residence, the Lake of the Ozarks is the focal point. Boating is made easy through boat rentals from outfitters and from a wide range of public access boating ramps for personal watercraft. Fishing and swimming are also easily accessible at Lake of the Ozarks, with two sandy beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park and different types of fishing for every month of the year.
One of the best ways to enjoy the water at Lake of the Ozarks is to spend the night at one of the beautiful resorts at Lake of the Ozarks and waking up to a lakeside view. For an even more natural approach, nearly all the best campgrounds at the Lake of the Ozarks lend quick access to the water and other area attractions.
Nice Affordable Accommodations Around the Lake
Spread throughout the sprawling arms and areas touched by the lake, including the attraction-oriented Osage Beach and the cities of Lake Ozark and Camdenton, different resorts provide overnight accommodations with style. Whether you are looking to play a round of golf at Tan-Tar-A Resort or you want the modern décor provided by Camden on the Lake, you’ll find quick access to the water at all these top-rated resorts. While you’re here, it’s easy to discover the many other reasons why Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation getaway.
Located near the shores of mile marker eight of the lake, Camden on the Lake offers great views and is one of the best overnight stays in Missouri.
From the friendly service to the spacious rooms and the engaging activities offered by the resort, everything adds up to a true vacation getaway. Patrons have the choice between a variety of suites and studios, each comfortably arranged with a modern design. The long list of things to do outside of your room at Camden on the Lake is what really makes advanced reservations recommended for this high-class resort. Just a few of the popular activities at Camden on the Lake include parasailing off the shore, perusing the boutiques found on-site, and enjoying live music at the connected H. Toad’s entertainment complex.
Address: 2359 Bittersweet Road, Lake Ozark, Missouri
The Lodge of Four Seasons Golf Resort, Spa and Marina offers everything you need to enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks throughout the year. Both premium and executive suites are available for an elegant overnight stay, as well as junior suites with pull-out sofa beds. Each room and suit at the Lodge of Four Seasons is decadently fashioned to match the rest of the resort.
During a stay at The Lodge of the Four Seasons, patrons are encouraged to tee off at one of two championship golf courses operated by the facility. Another popular activity is a luxury cruise ride that takes off from the marina. To really top off your stay, after taking part in some lakeside dining, the in-house Spa Shiki can deliver the pampering and Zen-like satisfaction you seek in a vacation.
Address: 315 Four Seasons Drive, Lake Ozark, Missouri
Just north of Osage Beach in the city of Lake Ozark, Port Arrowhead is a lakeside resort that caters towards all types of vacation goers. Featuring modern rooms complete with high thread-count linens and espresso-stained wood furniture, ranging from deluxe kings and double queens to whirlpool-equipped rooms, The Lodge @ Port Arrowhead easily delivers on a good night’s sleep. Much of the daytime excitement can be found on-site at Port Arrowhead, including an indoor pool, outdoor playground, and full breakfast bar to start your day. For even more fun, Port Arrowhead lends easy access to other attractions nearby, including a lakeside restaurant for dining and nearby marinas for boat rentals.
Address: 3080 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Lake Ozark, Missouri
On a peninsula near the mouth of the Glaize Arm and the city of Osage Beach, Robin’s Resort provides lakefront access to all the top attractions of Lake of the Ozarks. Whether it’s boating in the water, fishing off the dock, or accessing nearby golf courses, shopping centers, and restaurants, Robin’s Resort is centrally located next to the water and close to all the action. With comfortable accommodations, including lakefront homes, suites, and three-bedroom apartments, Robin’s Resort adds extra relaxation to your Ozark vacation. Avid anglers are catered to with seasonal fishing package rates and tournaments, six different marinas nearby for boat rentals, and a heated fishing dock.
Address: 4935 Robins Cir, Osage Beach, Missouri
Family owned and operated for more than 70 years, Lakeview Resort pairs the original charm of the Lake of the Ozarks with modern and spacious accommodations. Ranging from studios that can sleep up to four people to six-bedroom lodges for the whole family, each accommodation option at Lakeview Resort includes a full kitchen and comfortable décor. Popular outlets for enjoyment include a swimming dock, sauna, and playground equipment with surrounding lawn activities. Ideal for families, couples, or anyone who appreciates a slower pace, Lakeview Resort embodies the perfect Lake of the Ozarks getaway.
Address: 328 Lakeview Resort Boulevard, Sunrise Beach, Missouri
Adjacent to the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Breeze Resort sits on the shore and enjoys sunset views over the water. Featuring lakeside cottages with a rustic appeal and spacious suites with a more modern vibe, Lake Breeze Resort also has a grassy picnic space overlooking the water that’s perfect for enjoying the view. Fishing, swimming, and boating are easily accomplished with a stay at Lake Breeze Resort, thanks to the on-site boat docks, swimming beach, and wide variety of boat rentals. For the younger members of the family, the attached clubhouse provides a great place to hang out, and everyone who visits always enjoys the epic sunsets each evening.
Address: 91 Breeze Drive, Camdenton, Missouri
Located along the shores of the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, near the attraction-filled city of Camdenton, the Montego Bay Marina and Resort provides quick access to the relaxing environment. The on-site Val-E-Vue Resort offers 12 different cabins and cottages, complete with full kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and personal decks for sunset views. At the marina, overnight guests can choose from fishing boats, wave-runners, and speed boats to rent for their pleasure, as well as all the necessary bait, tackle, and water provisions to have a fun time on the lake.
Address: 1629 Resorts Road, Camdenton, Missouri
It’s no secret, Lake of the Ozarks has some of the best fishing in the country. But what’s the secret to catching them? Whether you enjoy fishing during the warm summer months or like to brave the cooler temperatures of the fall and winter, BassingBob.com has you covered with some year round fishing tips to helps you land “The Big One” at Lake of the Ozarks.
Vacation Fishing Tips
For over 80 years, Lake of the Ozarks has been home to some of the best fishing in the country. This impressive impoundment of the Osage River was created by the construction of Bagnell Dam, which began on August 6, 1929. The Lake boasts 55,000 acres of water washing up on 1,150 miles of shoreline, and actually has more shoreline than the state of California! It winds through 93 miles of Ozark hills marked with bluffs, points, boat docks, and creeks. The Lake is home to a number of different fish species including: black and white crappie, bluegill, spoonbill, gizzard shad, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white bass, walleye, gar, hybrid striper, largemouth and spotted bass. As you can see, the aquatic diversity and sheer size of the lake makes fishing opportunities endless.
While many fishermen that come to the Lake of the Ozarks are tournament anglers that are serious about their bass fishing, the lake also offers the perfect opportunity for the recreational angler who wants a fun, memorable and relaxing time catching fish. You can take advantage of these opportunities either from boat, on the dock, or even from the bank.
Spring Fishing Tips
Spring Paddlefish Season
Each spring thousands of anglers travel to the Lake of the Ozarks in hopes of hooking into a pre-historic giant. The American paddlefish has been known to inhabit earth for over 300 million years, and can only be found in the lakes, rivers, and streams of the Mississippi river basin. While you can find paddlefish all throughout the Midwest, the Lake of the Ozarks and Osage River Basin is home to one of the largest paddlefish populations in the world. [Read more about Spring Paddlefishing at Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks]
Spring River Fishing
Here at the Lake of the Ozarks we are blessed to have such a large and diverse fishery. The Lake stretches 92 miles from end to end, and has several large tributary arms which all fish differently. One of the most underrated and secluded sections of this Lake is the 30+ mile long stretch of river leading up to Truman Dam. This area is vastly unalike every other portion of the lake. So Bassingbob.com decided to sit down with David Ryan, who is a tournament veteran with extensive knowledge and experience up the river, to get his thoughts on the secluded upper reaches of the lake. [Read more about Spring River Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks]
The month of March at Lake of the Ozarks is often one of wide variation in temperature and weather conditions. Anglers are just as likely to find themselves waiting impatiently for the ice to thaw as they are to be applying sunscreen on a warm spring day. The capricious nature of the month that straddles winter and spring makes for exciting fishing. Because of the rising daily temperatures and increased hours of sunlight this month, water temperatures begin to rise, starting the month generally in the mid to upper 30s and ending the month in the upper 40s and low 50s.
Each year in April the Lake of the Ozarks’ shoreline springs to life, giving anglers an especially great view of the blooming redbuds, dogwoods and wildflowers that dot the landscape. The warming temperatures and increasing hours of daylight tempt fishermen to get back in their boats for another great season of fishing. Anglers look forward to April because the warmer days and water temperatures start to make all of the fish more active. However the two most popular species for this month are bass and crappie.
The Lake of the Ozarks really comes alive in May. Everywhere you look, you’ll see signs that things are shaping up for another summer of fun in the sun. Anglers take to the water to enjoy the excitement of fishing during the spawn. Vacation home owners come down to air out their houses and start up their boats in anticipation of time spent with family and friends. This is truly a great time to get out on the water.
Summer Fishing Tips
The month of June on the Lake of the Ozarks is one of the best times of the year to catch large numbers of big bass. Since these fish have recently finished their annual spawning ritual, they are left beat up, skinny, and HUNGRY. So at this time, the big fish leave their spawning pockets in search of food. Therefore, in order to locate these big fish you must first locate the food.
As water temps begin to reach the mid to upper 80’s in early July, big fish start to slow down from their post spawn feeding pattern and become less aggressive. While catching numbers of bass seems to be a little more difficult than in June, the big fish bite still remains strong. It is important to take into account the time of day when searching for the big ones. With the water being so hot, feeding activity will peak after dark so the night fishing really heats up right now. Night fishing is also a great way to avoid the boat traffic that really starts to pick up in July here on the Lake of the Ozarks. With surface water temps averaging in the mid to upper 80s most of the big fish will be found in deep water close to the thermocline where the water is cooler.
BASS – As we move into August we are faced with the “dog days” of summer. A common misconception is that during this time the fishing gets super tough. With heavy boat traffic and hot temperatures, fishing conditions may sometimes seem less than ideal. However, if you plan your trip out with these in mind, you can avoid both and catch a ton of big fish. During this month you can begin to catch fish in many different ways. The deep worm and night bite is still really good, but you can also catch fish out of the same brush piles during the day with a jig or a deep diving crankbait. A lot of what the fish are doing this month is dependent on the weather conditions.
Fall Fishing Tips
The month of September is marked by the fall transition. At this time, the water starts to cool down and bass begin to migrate from their summer haunts to feed. The shallow water in the backs of creeks and coves starts to cool down first, which triggers a massive migration of gizzard shad into these areas. Wayne Fitzpatrick, who is the owner of Fitz Fishing in Osage Beach, has had a lot of success fishing in September. Wayne emphasized that during this month the river portion of the lake turns on fire, but you can also catch fish throughout the lake.
October is one of the most beautiful times of the year at Lake of the Ozarks as the autumn leaves peak in color around the 3rd and 4th weeks of the month. The scenery combined with the generally pleasant daytime temperatures make it a great time to head out for a fishing trip before the weather turns cold. During this month you will find bass in their usual fall pattern. Unlike September when most fish are found in the backs of the creeks, fish in October will be scattered throughout the lake with no predominant location. At this time you may notice that the forage fish (shad) will also spread out and can be found just about everywhere.
November days can be sunny and mild with temperatures in the 70s, or cold, rainy and windy with temperatures in the 30s. It may be getting cold outside but the fishing is just heating up in the Ozarks as winter approaches. Most people are in their deer blinds or bundled up inside watching football, which are both great. But man it is hard to beat the bass fishing right now on the Lake of the Ozarks! November is the time of year when I feel you get true fall fishing. The lake turnover is usually complete by this time and a lot of lures will catch fish.
Winter Fishing Tips
A crankbait is one of the most effective tools for locating and catching active fish, especially here in the Ozarks. But with the wide variety of different crank baits on the market today, it can often be confusing as to which one you should use at certain times. While there are many variables that go into selecting the right crankbait for any given day, one of the most important features to take note of is the action. Selecting the crankbait with the right amount of wobble can be the difference between catching 20lbs or going home with a zero. [Read more about crankbait fishing]
Jerkbaits in the Winter at Lake Of the Ozarks
Fishing Lake of the Ozarks means one thing—jerkbaits. Jerkbaits, which are also referred to as stickbaits by some people, are long, slender treble-hooked baits that are lethal to bass even in the coldest months of the year. Everyone uses jerkbaits in the wintertime and, as the name implies, you jerk, wait a second, jerk, wait a second, jerk, wait 15 seconds, and repeat. Change up your cadence to match the mood of the fish. The colder the water the slower you work the bait. Several guys will wait up to a minute in between jerks, but I’ve never been one to work a jerkbait that slowly. [Read more about winter jerkbait fishing at Lake of the Ozarks]
Talking Winter Bass Fishing with Legend Vern Jaycox
Forty-one years ago local legend Vern Jaycox took to the waters known as Lake of the Ozarks (LOZ). Over time Jaycox became a very successful tournament fisherman as well as a master with jerkbait. Recently we had a chance to chat about winter fishing patterns, conditions, baits and the season overall. He offered his expertise in what has worked with the winter patterns for him over the years and how he came to choose his methods. [Read more about Winter Bass Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks]
As the year comes to an end and the last two months of fall come and go, anglers will see big changes in the water temperatures and weather conditions at Lake of the Ozarks. At the beginning of December you can still catch shallow fish in their late fall pattern. A few popular baits for this late fall bite are a spinnerbait and a finesse jig. Around the middle of December, you’ll start to see fish move out to their winter habitat. At this time many anglers will start to slow down their presentations. While you can still find fish shallow, many of them will begin to relate to points and channel banks with deep-water access close by. As water temperatures drop into the mid to low 40s the suspending jerkbait bite starts to fire up. When fishing a suspending jerkbait it is vital to pay attention to how fast you are working the bait. A general rule of thumb is the colder the water the longer you need to pause between jerks. Often times the difference between getting no bites and catching a limit is the difference of letting the bait set for 20 seconds between jerks. If you let the cold temperature keep you off of the water in December, then you may be missing out on some of the best wintertime bass fishing in the country. So make sure to bundle up, grab the thermos, and go to bassingbob.com to find out how to have one of the best days of fishing you have had all year on the Lake of the Ozarks!
January & February
If you let the cold temperatures keep you away from the Lake of the Ozarks this winter, then you may be missing out on some of the best winter fishing in the country. While most people think that water temperatures in January and February are too frigid to catch fish, it is actually one of the best times of the year to catch numbers of fish, as well as the biggest fish in the lake. During these months you can find water temperatures averaging between the mid- to upper 30s and the low to mid-40s.
Surrounding the southeast Grand Glaize arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, the state park provides easy access to lush Ozark landscapes from its lakeside campsites. Spending the night is the only way to explore all 17,000 acres and miles of undeveloped shoreline at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. The park is Missouri’s largest state park, and popular activities include hiking, swimming, boating, and cavern exploring.
The Lake Trail is always a favorite to trek, and the 13-mile Trail of Four Winds provides a good amount of exercise and many water views. For on-the-water activities, the two State Park Marinas at Lake of the Ozarks provide everything you need to enjoy the lake, including boat rentals, fishing supplies, and nearby swimming beaches. To top off your stay, the state park also offers guided tours of Ozark Caverns within the park’s boundaries, which is the only way to witness these stark underground works of natural art.
Address: 403 MO-134, Kaiser, Missouri
One of the most popular things to do at Lake of the Ozarks is teeing off at one of the many championship golf courses. Whether the courses are lakeside, wooded, hilly, or professionally manicured, golfing at Lake of the Ozarks is more than just the experience of swinging a club, it’s an outing into a beautiful Ozark landscape. All skill levels will find something to appreciate at the dozen plus golf courses at Lake of the Ozarks, with nearly all open to public play, and many that have been brought to life by world-famous designers.
Some of the most popular courses to play include the 27 holes at Osage National Golf Resort and the Zoysia fairways at Bear Creek Valley Golf Club, both located in Osage Beach and both open to the public. South of Osage Beach and across the lake in Camdenton, Old Kinderhook is regarded as one of the Ozark’s best public golf courses and features a lakeside setting complete with rolling fairways, long putts, and a picturesque layout with every hole.
To appreciate the marvel of engineering that created the Lake of the Ozarks, the Bagnell Dam deserves your attention. With construction completed in 1931, the dam spans more than 2,500 feet and impounds the Osage River, effectively generating hydroelectric power and the immense watery landscape that is Lake of the Ozarks. Visitors to the Bagnell Dam are afforded many opportunities to appreciate the engineering at hand, including the Bagnell Dam Overlook on Upper Power Plant Road. On the opposite side of the dam, the Bagnell Dam Strip offers classic summer fun, with family friendly restaurants, unique shops, and the Hot Summer Nights motor festival.
Located south of Bagnell Dam, near Camdenton, and along the shore of the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, Ha Ha Tonka State Park delivers on beautiful Ozark scenery and an interesting look into a ruined past. The park encompasses more than 3,000 acres of karst and woodland attractions, and popular land activities include hiking, backpacking, and exploring geological features, such as sinkholes, caves, and a natural bridge. With easy access to the water, other popular activities at Ha Ha Tonka include boating, fishing, and swimming. Near the northwest entrance of Ha Ha Tonka State Park, the ruined remains of an early 20th-century castle are often the centerpiece for any visit.
Address: 1491 State Road D, Camdenton, Missouri
The Historic Willmore Lodge at Lake of the Ozarks
Located on the National Register of Historic Places, Willmore Lodge is home to the Lake of the Ozarks Visitors Center, as well as a museum displaying the history behind nearby Bagnell Dam. Standing as a striking wooden-log building surrounded by water, Willmore Lodge was constructed by Union Electric in 1930 alongside the dam. Visitors to the Willmore Lodge today can take in the aesthetics of the architecture and enrich their visit to the Lake of the Ozarks with historical displays and exhibits of the area. The visitors center at Willmore Lodge can point you in the direction of a few more things to check out, but with any stop, the panoramic view of the lake offered by the Willmore Lodge is worth the stairs leading down to the observation deck.
Address: 1 Willmore Ln, Lake Ozark, Missouri
Located within the southeast boundary of Lake of the Ozarks State Park, near the small village of Brumley, two steel-suspension bridges have stood the test of time to remain a tourist attraction today. Both bridges, the 414-foot Grand Auglaize and the 134-foot Miller Creek Bridge were built in the 1930s by Joseph A. Dice, a prominent swinging bridge builder from Missouri historically noted for “eyeballing” his bridge designs. Regardless of his methods, visitors can still drive over the loose-planks of the Auglaize Bridge today. The entire area surrounding the two bridges is a dense woodland ripe for activity, including swimming in the shallows of Auglaize Creek or using the primitive camping sites found ashore.
Address: Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Missouri
Nothing beats the heat of a Missouri summer quite like an afternoon at Big Surf Waterpark. Situated just south of Osage Beach and Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Big Surf Waterpark features raging rapids, lazy rivers, and a variety of water attractions suited for all levels of swimmers. Two of the more unique water rides at Big Surf include the three-story high Zambezi Falls water halfpipe, and the 30-foot-wide Space Bowl that patrons drop into. While you are at Big Surf Waterpark, a session in the 375,000-gallon wave pool is a must, as well as a go at the aquatic obstacle course found in the activity pool, just don’t forget to re-apply your sunscreen.