Have you tried Kayaking in Branson, Missouri?
Have you been on Lake Taneycomo?
If not, then you are really missing out on an Ozark gem!
This is the story of my first outing in the tiny red boat in 2020, but you can check out more information about kayaking in Missouri in my previous post “Kayaking in Missouri” and in my post “Kayaking in Branson-Lake Taneycomo”.
From the Shepherd of Hills Hatchery
I finally got to take the little red boat out on the water. First trip of 2020!
With everything going on in the world today, unfortunately, no one is immune to the social distancing, and craziness that is surrounding us. With that being said, thank goodness they have opened up the waterways and we can get out and enjoy nature.
So yesterday, July 18, 2020, I got to finally get the kayak out and get down to the lake. It was such a wet spring that the water has been pretty high, so I was really hesitant to go out on my own. Finally, yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and go.
So, I had my husband help me load up the kayak into the back of the truck and take me down to the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery. There is a public access boat ramp there, with room to get out of the way of the boats and ready your gear.
It is a beautiful put-in location for kayakers.
I got there at around 10:30 am and the fog was still heavy on the water. Taneycomo is a cold lake, so with the heat in the air and the amount of humidity, the fog was thick.
I love how the fog plays on the water. It’s like watching a beautiful dance. Although, it is not without its challenges.
What Gear Did I Take?
As you can see in the photos, I had my Ascend Dry Bag, which I put in a towel, my camera and my phone. I always take my phone for two reasons.
1. For emergencies
2. For the camera.
I also carry my digital camera, which is a Nikon D80 with my 300 mm lens. I love to take photos.
I also had a small cooler bag with water and some trail mix. Gotta have snacks and have to stay hydrated. It was about 91 degrees outside and sunny, after the fog rolled off. Forgot the sunscreen though.
Had 1 fishing pole and my small tackle box. Just in case I felt the urge to do a little fishing.
What did I wear?
Well, since it was a very hot and humid day, I wore a simple pair of denim shorts and a cotton, sleeveless shirt. I also had on a ball cap to keep the sun off my face a bit. I had on my water shoes and of course, my Ascend life vest of PFD.
Into The Water We Go!
After I got everything situated into the kayak, I moved it into the water and settled into the boat. Fortunately my husband stuck around long enough to help me cast off.
The water is still a bit high, and was flowing pretty good from the dam. They have been running the turbines, so the current was moving pretty good.
Lift Off! Once I was away from the shore, I was moving pretty good down stream. It took me a minute to get my kayak seat, and the fog was a bit intimidating. The big thing with putting in at the dam, is the fishermen. That happens to be the trophy area for the big trout, so I could hear the boats coming upstream, but I couldn’t see them.
Anyway, once I realized how fast I was moving, I kind of got bummed. I wanted to take pictures and by the time I managed to get to my camera safely, I was past a lot of the beautiful scenery in that area of the lake. Just means I will have to take the trip again.
Anyway, I managed to get myself going, and I really didn’t have to do a whole lot of paddling due to the current. Mostly just keeping myself away from trees and boats.
Lake Taneycomo is full of wildlife. It is home to Canadian Geese, mallard ducks, bald eagles, king fishers, blue herons and many more bird species. Not to mention the many species of fish.
On this trip I encountered numerous Canadian geese in groups along the shoreline. I happened upon a mamma mallard and her clutch of babies. I had a hummingbird zip around me for a moment, which was kind of fun. Then the highlight of the trip was the bald eagle that flew over my head. Course, I could not get to my camera fast enough to get a shot of that one. The experience was very cool though.
As I made my way downstream, there are several dock systems along the way at the many lakeside resorts and camps. I past Point Royale, Lilly’s Landing, and several others that I didn’t know existed.
My only sketchy part on the river was when I encountered the Fall Creek inlet. The water was moving pretty fast and there is a rather large rock at the entrance to Fall creek, right before you get to the big set of docks. I imagine that it is usually out of the water when the water is lower. As it was, it was pretty turbulent, then combined with passing motor boats, it was kind of hairy when I bumped into the rock.
The next real public access is Cooper Creek and I figure that is about the halfway point. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to get to that point on the lake.
Now if you stay to the right side of the lake, across from Cooper Creek there are 2 waterfalls to watch out for. They are kind of hidden by the trees, but spectacular.
The water flow seems to slow down quite a bit once you get past Coopr Creek. The boat traffic picked up considerably and there were several kayaks that joined me at Cooper Creek. They quickly passed me up, and I was good with that. I was in no hurry.
On the left-hand side of the lake you will encounter an island before you get to the 65 bridge. They call it monkey island, although I have not seen any monkeys, LOL. It does give you a nice reprieve from the boats though.
Then you will go under the 65 bridge, then next is the train trestle that carries the Branson Scenic Train. To your left there is the public boat ramp for the city of Branson. Scotty’s Trout Dock is there as well, and they are under great new ownership. In the future they look to add a kayak ramp, as well as kayak rentals and shuttles.
Next in line is the Branson Lakeside Campground and the Branson Landing. 3 hours on the lake and I pulled out at Scotty’s. Called the husband and had an ice cream while I waited.
The End of a Wonderful Trip
My first trip out on Taneycomo this year was great. The weather was hot, but the lake is cold, so you get a nice breeze off of it now and then. The boaters are crazy, but manageable.
If you are looking to extend your float a bit, directly across from Scotty’s Trout Dock is Turckey Creek. It is a great little side adventure. I passed on this trip, but maybe next time.
Next time I will remember my sun screen. Gotta a little sun, LOL. New tan lines!
If you get a chance to float Lake Taneycomo, I would love to hear about it. I would love to see your photos. I love Taneycomo. The water is crystal clear, and full of fish. It makes for a great float on a hot day.
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