Table Rock Lake

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Table Rock Lake
Aerial photo of Table Rock Dam, lake, and White River, October 2009.jpg
Aerial photo of Table Rock Dam, in Branson, Missouri, which impounds the White River and forms the lake.
Location Missouri / Arkansas
Coordinates 36°34′00″N 93°18′0″W / 36.56667°N 93.30000°W / 36.56667; -93.30000Coordinates: 36°34′00″N 93°18′0″W / 36.56667°N 93.30000°W / 36.56667; -93.30000
Type reservoir
Primary inflows White River, James River, Kings River
Primary outflows White River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 43,100 acres (174 km2)
Max. depth 220 feet (67 m)
Water volume 3,462,000 acre·ft (4.270 km3)
Shore length1

Flood Pool- 857 miles (1,379 km)

Normal Pool- 745 miles (1,199 km)
Surface elevation 915 ft (279 m)
Settlements Branson, Missouri
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Table Rock Lake is an artificial lake or reservoir in The Ozarks of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. The lake is impounded by Table Rock Dam (location 36°35′43″N 93°18′40″W / 36.595374°N 93.311137°W / 36.595374; -93.311137) constructed in 1954-1958 on the White River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[1]

It is one of the popular draws for the nearby town of Branson, Missouri. There are several commercial marinas along the lake, and Table Rock State Park is located on the east side, both north and south of Table Rock Dam. Downstream from the dam, the Missouri Department of Conservation operates a fish hatchery, which is used to stock trout in Lake Taneycomo. The cold water discharged from the dam creates a trout fishing environment in Lake Taneycomo.

Lake temperature[edit]

The lake area temperature varies according to season:[2]

  • Spring: 56 to 77 °F (25 °C)
  • Summer: 85 to 90 °F (32 °C)
  • Fall: 71 to 82 °F (28 °C)
  • Winter: 42 to 47 °F (8 °C)

Lake data[edit]

Dam and Outlet Measurements[3]

  • Length of dam- 6,423 feet (1,958 m)
  • Length of concrete section- 1,602 feet (488 m)
  • Maximum height of dam above stream bed- 252 feet (77 m)
  • Concrete in dam- 1,230,000 cubic yards (940,000 m3)
  • Earth in embankment- 3,320,000 cubic yards (2,540,000 m3)
  • Length of spillway- 531 gross feet
  • Spillway crest gates size- 45x37 feet
  • Outlet conduits size- 4x9 feet

Dam elevations above mean sea level[3]

  • Top of dam- 947 feet (289 m)
  • Spillway crest- 896 feet (273 m)

Lake elevations above mean sea level[3]

  • Top of flood control pool- 931 feet (284 m)
  • Top of normal pool- 915 feet (279 m)

Surface area of lake[3]

  • Flood control pool- 52,300 acres (212 km2)
  • Normal pool- 43,100 acres (174 km2)
Table Rock Dam during the April 2008 flood with all flood gates open

Maximum storage capacity[3]

  • Flood control pool- 760,000 acre feet (940,000,000 m3)

Shoreline length[3]

  • Flood control pool- 857 miles (1,379 km)
  • Normal Pool- 745 miles (1,199 km)


  • Power drawdown and dead- 2,702,000
  • Lake total- 3,462,000

Power generating data[3]

  • Number of generating units- 4
  • Rated capacity for each unit- 50 megawatts
  • Station installed capacity- 200 megawatts

Flood control[edit]

The original purpose of the reservoir was for flood control on the White River. The dam had been authorized a month earlier under the Flood Control Act of September 3, 1943. The reservoir has a fluctuation of 16 feet (4.9 m). When the reservoir is above the maximum flood pool, excess water goes over the auxiliary overflow spillway at the north end of the dam.

The worst-case scenario of a catastrophic floodwater discharge from Table Rock Lake using the auxiliary floodgates would roughly resemble this:

At elevation 931 Table Rock Lake is at full flood capacity. The ten Tainter gates are opened to accommodate additional lake inflow from the White River Basin including the James River and Beaver Lake discharge.

At elevation 937 Table Rock Lake is 6 feet above flood capacity. The ten Tainter gates are opened wider in an effort to stabilize reservoir rise. Outflow from the Lake under these circumstances will be nearing 200-300 thousand cubic feet per second (CFS).

Between elevations 937 and 942 the dam’s ten Tainter gates will be fully raised letting loose 450 thousand CFS into the Taneycomo Lake. This scenario would effectively submerge and destroy the powerhouse, power transmission grid, hatchery, and wreak serious destruction down stream. An illustration of how Table Rock’s ten spillways might appear under these circumstances mimics this: the floodgates will extend up and out from the structure, like eyebrows, shadowing the concrete spillways!

At elevation 942 if reservoir levels are not yet stabilized, the auxiliary floodgates are brought on line, in concert with Table Rock’s fully opened floodgates. This catastrophic protocol releases 1 million CFS of lake waters into Taneycomo and deals dreadful destruction to Branson, Hollister, Point Lookout and possibly the Taneycomo Dam.

Beyond an elevation 942 there is a danger of water overtopping the concrete dam and breaching the earthen structure, which imminently leads to cataclysmic structural failure and the uncontrolled release of the Table Rock Lake impoundment—nearly 3 million CFS of water.


Facilities and State Park[edit]

Table Rock State Park (Missouri) provides public access to the lake. Six miles from Branson and located just south of the dam and outlet, facilities include a boat launch and full service marina (including cafe, boat rental and scuba dive shop), campground (including full RV hookups and a yurt), fishing access, swimming access (no beach), picnic area, ampitheater, hiking and mountain bike trails, and dump station.[5]

Area71 is a recreational vehicle (RV) resort, restaurant, and general store on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob, Missouri. The store and restaurant were completely rebuilt in 2016 with an expanded menu and bait shop. The RV park features views of Table Rock Lake with long term site rental agreements.


  1. ^
  2. ^!table-rock/c1uam
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Army Corps of Engineers
  4. ^ Little Rock District Corps of Engineers
  5. ^ "Table Rock State Park". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Wake Up to Table Rock Lake", pamphlet available at the Table Rock Dam Visitors' Center