The next time you book a boating or fishing adventure on Table Rock Lake, you can count on not one, but two rock-solid certainties.
The bass population is bountiful and fairly easy to fool.
The marina where you park your boat is in good hands.
The first certainty is not exactly breaking news. Scenic, snaking Table Rock Lake has been a haven for bass fishing in the Ozarks since Table Rock Dam was completed to create the reservoir in 1958.
As for the only non-private marina in Ridgedale, Mo., the boating public had been forced to make do with a facility in decline and badly in need of TLC. Record floods in 2008 and 2011 hastened the decline.
Then Bass Pro Shops® stepped in.Bass Pro acquired and took over management of the facility, which reopened April 1, 2012 as Bass Pro Shops Long Creek Marina. Bass Pro Shops repaired the docks, turned the former dockside tackle shop into an expanded restroom facility and converted a larger structure just off the docks, which had been a storage unit, into a new temporary tackle shop.
“We had to do some re-welding, we put in new bumpers and did a lot of updating,” said Casey Rains, the marina general manager. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.” Tracy Frenzel, recreation director at The Cliffs at Long Creek resort and a longtime boater in the area, can attest to why: “They fixed the docks up really nice. They also made the store a little bigger. And they brought in a brand new rental fleet of Trackers just like at Big Cedar.”
The marina at Big Cedar Lodge a few miles away—Bent Hook Marina—is a private establishment. Bass Pro Shops owns the lodge and marina, which serves only guests at Big Cedar Lodge and Bluegreen Wilderness ClubTM at Big Cedar. That service has included rental access to top-line Tracker® fishing boats, pontoons and deck boats and Tahoe® ski boats built by a Bass Pro subsidiary. Now boaters at Long Creek have rental access to the same crafts.
But boat rentals only begin to describe how the change in marina ownership benefits boaters including vacationing guests at The Cliffs, a half-mile away up the peninsula, and Paradise Point in nearby Branson, both Bluegreen resorts.
Besides boats, visitors to the marina can rent personal watercraft, skis, tubes kneeboards and wake boards as well as fishing gear including equipment for bowfishing. In addition, Bass Pro Shops Long Creek Marina also offers expert fishing guide services.
The guides, independent contractors retained by and arranged through Bass Pro, are well versed not only in Table Rock Lake and other local waters. On the other side of Table Rock Dam is Lake Taneycomo, a cool-water lake created by bottom flow through the dam’s hydroelectric turbines. Lake Taneycomo’s water temperature is perfect for trout, and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery adjacent to the dam provides the bulk of the more than 700,000 catchable trout entered into the lake every year.
But fishing isn’t the only boating activity. Skiing is popular on Table Rock Lake, and the marina offers group classes and individual lessons. In addition, the marina will further align its services with those at Bent Hook in 2013 by introducing canoe and paddleboat rentals. Plans for 2013 also include a new, bigger store now under construction. Eventually, Bass Pro Shops plans to open a restaurant at the marina. The nearest present option for marina users requires a 3- to 4-mile drive.
Recreational boaters and outdoor lovers can have fun at Table Rock Lake like never before, and Bass Pro Marina at Long Creek sets the table.