Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: June 2017

Thomas Hill Reservoir Conservation Area

This area in Macon and Randolph counties offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, no matter the time of year.

Since 1965, the department has had a lease agreement with Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. to manage the land and water surrounding the Thomas Hill Energy Center to benefit fish, forests, and wildlife and for public enjoyment.

Thomas Hill Reservoir Conservation Area (CA) offers over 9,300 acres and many ways for the public to connect with nature. Swimming, skiing, and fishing are all welcome on the 4,950-acre Thomas Hill Reservoir, which is easily accessible from any of the three concrete boat ramps. During the winter months when all other bodies of water are frozen solid, heated water discharged from the power plant turbines offers a unique fishing opportunities for hybrid striped bass and other fish species. Other amenities available to anglers include a fishcleaning station, a disabled-accessible fishing jetty and dock, and two other courtesy docks.

For those interested in getting outside and spending time in nature, there are 20 designated primitive campsites on the area with fire rings. The sites are free and available on a first come, first-served basis. Picnic shelters with tables are also a popular attraction during the summer and fall months.

The diverse habitats surrounding the lake are home to many wildlife species. The area is designated as one of the Department’s Quail Emphasis Areas, and management practices are aimed at benefiting quail and other small game.

Prescribed burning, woodland management, and food and cover plots are a few tools the department uses to maintain and grow these small game populations and benefit all wildlife. Deer and turkey hunting are popular on the area as well as waterfowl hunting.

Bird-watching is also a popular activity during the fall and spring migration periods because the lake serves as home to a variety of water birds.

The uplands are dominated by warm season grasses, shrub thickets, and woodlands, while the bottomlands near the lake are dominated by forest and seasonal wetlands.

The next time you want to connect with nature, no matter the season, give
Thomas Hill Reservoir CA a try.
—Chad Smith, area manager

Thomas Hill Reservoir Conservation Area

  • Recreation Opportunities: Hunting, wildlife and bird viewing, nature photography, camping, fishing, swimming
  • Unique Features: 4,950-acre reservoir, winter fishing, campsite, picnic area, seasonal wetlands
  • For More Information: Call 660-785-2420 or visit

80 Years of Conservation

In the early 1930s, Missouri had little unspoiled public land available for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and other outdoor activities. Through ongoing, dedicated efforts of conservation-minded Missourians, 80 years later, we now offer nearly 1,000 conservation areas across the state to explore.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler