More than 250,000 people per year visit the state’s most popular and extensive fish breeding program at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson.
For more than 55 years, visitors have been stopping by to witness the Missouri Department of Conservation’s fish hatchery that sits along the banks of Lake Taneycomo and at the base of Table Rock Lake on 80+ acres of the 200+ that the Department oversees. The fish hatchery is home to one of the most extensive trout-raising programs of its kind and is one of the reasons that Lake Taneycomo has become world-famous for its brown trout and rainbow trout fishing – claimed to be some of the best in the world.
Operating year-round, the facility raises and releases in to the lake more than 1 million trout – weighing in at nearly 151 tons! Every step of the fish’s life cycle takes place on-site: incubation tanks start the process by preparing the eggs; once they have matured they are moved to one of a dozen raceways; and finally the now-releasable fish are finished raising in one of twenty adult raceways or one of three ponds located on hatchery grounds.
Situated on the property are several buildings where visitors can learn more about the wildlife and fish found in Missouri and the Ozarks, while also presenting more animals and aquariums that visitors can view.
In addition to all of the animals available for viewing, you have the opportunity to take in a variety of other activities while you are there. Fish from the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo (with year-round trout fishing), launch your boat from the ramp, or go hike one of the trails on the hatchery’s grounds.
While open to the public every day, there are optional guided tours that will give you a more informational and educational experience of the hatchery.
Weekday guided tours: 10:00 am; 11:00 am; 1:00 pm; and 2:00 pm