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

News from the region
Published Date

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation hopes the habitat improvement work recently completed on Table Rock and Bull Shoals will make two great fishing reservoirs even better.

MDC partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the habitat work from November 2022 through April 2024. A total of 751 habitat structures were improved or newly built on Table Rock and 60 habitat structures were refurbished or newly built on Bull Shoals. This work was funded with a grant MDC received from Bass Pro Shops in 2022 to replenish and establish fish habitat sites at Table Rock and Bull Shoals.

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. As reservoirs age, the existing woody habitat in the lake degrades. MDC is taking a proactive approach to ensure habitat is available to fish for many years into the future.

The origins of this most recent habitat improvement project 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 other partners. This project resulted in the establishment of 2,024 fish habitat structures at Table Rock and 193 in Bull Shoals.

“This project builds upon a long-standing public/private partnership in the Missouri Ozarks to improve and restore fish habitat,” said MDC Fisheries Biologist Shane Bush, who manages Table Rock Lake. “This grant has provided an excellent opportunity to proactively maintain and enhance fish habitat for two of the most popular sport fisheries in the Midwest. The work that has been accomplished on these projects has served as a national example of sustaining and improving reservoir sport fish populations through large-scale habitat improvements.”

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