MDC works with partners to improve fish habitat at Table Rock and Bull Shoals reservoirs

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Creating a spot that attracts fish is a great way to attract anglers.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is refurbishing existing underwater fish habitat brush piles throughout Table Rock and Bull Shoals reservoirs and establishing habitat at new sites in these two popular lakes. This work is being funded with a grant MDC received from Bass Pro Shops to replenish and establish fish habitat sites at Table Rock and Bull Shoals.

The origins of the habitat improvement project currently underway at Table Rock and Bull Shoals can be traced back to the National Fish Habitat Initiative (NFHI), a project that went from 2007-2013 and involved MDC, Bass Pro Shops, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and many other partners. This project resulted in the establishment of 2,024 fish habitat structures at Table Rock and 193 in Bull Shoals.

The grant MDC received from Bass Pro Shops in 2022 is to refurbish 645 of the brush piles on Table Rock and 35 sites on Bull Shoals to ensure that they remain viable fish attractor locations. An underwater brush pile serves multiple roles for fish: It can provide nursery habitat and protective cover for some young fish, as well as attracting larger, predatory sportfish species such as crappie and bass. This conglomeration of fish, in turn, translates into great fishing spots for anglers.

“Table Rock and Bull Shoals are aging reservoirs and much of the woody structure in these lakes is deteriorating,” said MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Shane Bush, who manages Table Rock Lake. “Fish habitat projects like this one and the NFHI project allow MDC to be proactive in helping to maintain the quality fish populations these reservoirs have and ensure that fishing remains great for anglers in the future.”

The current project began in November 2022 and will continue through December of this year. So far, 371 brush piles have been rebuilt and 19 new brush piles have been established at Table Rock. At Bull Shoals, 27 brush piles have been rebuilt and six new brush piles have been added.

The GPS locations for these sites can be found on the MDC website at  Other fishing information can be found at