Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery is the largest trout-rearing facility operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It is located six miles southwest of Branson on Highway 165 just below Table Rock Dam. Every year, the hatchery produces between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds of trout. Both rainbow and brown trout are raised at the hatchery with 80 percent of production going into Lake Taneycomo. The remainder of the fishare stocked into other Missouri trout management areas. Construction of the hatchery began in 1957 and production of trout began in 1958. The completion of Table Rock Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created a large, deep lake that varies in water temperature from surface to bottom. The water near the bottom stays cool, averaging 48 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. During hydroelectric generation, this cold water is released into Lake Taneycomo. Although the cold water release caused the loss of the native warm-water fishery, it created the ideal environment for trout, a fish that thrives at lower water temperatures.
The hatchery includes a free conservation center, where the public can learn more about trout culture, aquatic life, fishing, and the Missouri Department of Conservation's role in aquatic resource management. Conservation Center hours are: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.,Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and all state holidays.
Approximately three miles of trails are available near the hatchery for hiking and wildlife viewing. Some of these trails also provide fishing access to Lake Taneycomo. A concrete boat ramp and two picnic areas are also located on the area.