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. The hatchery produces between 350,000 and 400,000 pounds of trout each year. Both rainbow and brown trout are raised at the hatchery with 80 percent of production going into Lake Taneycomo. The remainder of the fish is stocked into other Missouri trout management areas. Construction of the hatchery began in 1957 and production of trout in 1958 with the completion of Table Rock Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This dam 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. Its hours are: September through May: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and all state holidays. June, July, August: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open seven (7) days a week. Closed all state holidays. For a list of state holidays go to - https://oa.mo.gov/commissioner/state-holidays
Trails are available near the hatchery for hiking and wildlife viewing. They also provide fishing access to Lake Taneycomo.
From Branson, take Highway 165 southwest 6 miles to the hatchery near Table Rock Dam.
3CSR 10-11 105 Title; Authority
Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code applies to this area. The information provided reflects regulations for most activities on this conservation area but does not contain regulations for all possible uses. For more information on area regulations consult the Wildlife Code or call the phone number listed for the area in the area details section.
3CSR 10-11 110 General Provisions
Unless specifically authorized, the following activities are prohibited: swimming, sailboarding, skateboarding, entry on areas closed to the public, removal of water, rock collecting, planting, ranging of horses and other livestock, caving, rock climbing, rappelling, paint-balling, scuba diving, water skiing, and fires outside of designated camping areas.
In addition to the rules of the Wildlife Code, federal, state and local laws apply on department lands. The destruction, defacing, or removal of department property is also prohibited.
The use of fireworks is prohibited.
Commercial use and vending are prohibited on department areas.
Soil disturbance and digging, including the digging of roots, is prohibited on all department areas
Waste containers located on department areas may be used only for disposal of garbage, trash, refuse, or rubbish generated on the department area. NOTE: Waste containers are not provided on all department areas.
Guiding for pay is prohibited on department areas.
The placement of grain, salt products, minerals, and other consumable natural and manufactured products is prohibited on department areas.
Trail and game cameras are prohibited.
Feral livestock may not be taken (including the hunting of feral hogs) on department areas.
Collecting wild animals (including invertebrates) and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Wildlife Collector's Permit, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.
3CSR 10-11 115 Closings
Special hours apply on this department area. This area is open to public use only as authorized by posting.
Parking or storing watercraft or commercial vehicles is prohibited on department areas during closed hours.
3CSR 10-11 135 Wild Plants, Plant Products, and Mushrooms
Vegetation, including trees, may not be cut or destroyed. The only exception is that willows (Salicaceae spp.) may be cut for use in constructing on-site blinds.
Collecting or possessing wild plants and their unprocessed parts is prohibited except under the provisions of a valid Letter of Authorization for Plant Collecting, or as otherwise authorized in the Wildlife Code.
Nuts, berries, fruits, edible wild greens and mushrooms may be taken only for personal consumption; EXCEPT on locations designated as Missouri Natural Areas, taking edible wild greens is prohibited.
3CSR 10-11 130 Vehicles, Bicycles, Horses, and Horseback Riding
Unless otherwise posted, vehicles are only permitted on public roadways (graveled and paved roads) and in established parking areas.
State laws regarding the operation, registration and required equipment apply to the operation of motor vehicles on locations open to vehicular traffic on department areas.
Except as otherwise posted, the speed limit on department areas is 45 miles per hour.
Unless otherwise posted, bicycles are allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic. Bicycles must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or on multi-use trails posted as open to bicycles. Groups of 10 or more people using bicycles on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.
Equestrian use is allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic. Horses must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or on multi-use trails posted as open to horses. Groups of 10 or more people using horses on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.
3CSR 10-11 140 Camping
Camping is allowed only as designated in the "Things To Do When You Visit" section for this department area. If camping is not listed as an activity in this section, camping is prohibited on the area. Designated camping areas may or may not have defined campsites. Seasonal closures and restrictions may apply to all camping on department areas.
On department areas where camping is allowed, camping is limited to a period of 14 consecutive days in any 30-day period. Personal property must be removed at the end of the 14-day period. Unless a special use permit is obtained, total camping days on all department areas are limited to a total of 30 days within one calendar year. Groups of more than 10 people must obtain a special use permit prior to camping. To obtain a special use permit, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.
Quiet hours are in effect in camping areas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Visitors who are not occupying a campsite are required to leave the campground by 10 p.m.
On camping areas with established campsites, only two camping or sleeping units are permitted in each site.
3CSR 10-11 150 Target Shooting and Shooting Ranges
Target shooting is not allowed anywhere on this department area.
3CSR 10-11 120 Pets and Hunting Dogs
Pets and hunting dogs are permitted but must be on a leash or confined at all time. Hunting dogs may be used off the leash and unconfined for hunting and training for the purposes of chasing, locating, tracking or retrieving game on portions of conservation areas designated as open to hunting and dog training. Locations and times where pets and hunting dogs are permitted may be further restricted by area brochures or signs. A valid small game hunting permit is required to train dogs in pursuit of wildlife.
3CSR 10-11 180 Hunting, General Provisions and Seasons
Hunting is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to hunting. To determine the hunting regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code at https://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/3csr/3c10-11.pdf.
3CSR 10-11 145 Tree Stands
Only portable tree stands are allowed on department areas from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on a durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation Number, of the owner and be removed from the area before Feb. 1. Use of nails, screw-in steps, and any material or method that would damage the tree is prohibited.
3CSR 10-11 155 Decoys and Blinds
Decoys and Blinds are permitted on this department area, but must be disassembled and removed daily. Blinds constructed on-site may only be constructed from willows (Salicaceae spp.).
3CSR 10-11 125 Field Trials
Field trials are prohibited on this department area.
3CSR 10-11 200 Fishing, General Provisions and Seasons
Fishing is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to fishing. To determine the fishing regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code.
3CSR 10-11 160 Use of Boats and Motors
Boats (including sailboats) may be used on waters located on department areas. On lakes and ponds, boats may be used only on waters designated as open to boats. State laws regarding the operation, registration, and required safety equipment apply to watercraft being operated on waters under the control of the department. Boats may not be left unattended overnight.
Only electric motors are permitted on lakes and ponds of less than 70 acres.
Electric motors and outboard motors are permitted on lakes of 70 or more acres. Outboard motors of any size may be used, but outboard motors in excess of 10 horsepower must be operated at slow, no-wake speed.
The use of houseboats and personal watercraft are prohibited.
Float tubes may only be used for authorized fishing or hunting activities.
3CSR 10-11 187 Trapping
Trapping in accordance with Chapter 8 of the Wildlife Code is allowed only with a special use permit. To inquire about the availability of a special use permit for trapping on this department area, contact the area manager at the phone number listed for this area in the area details section.