6 miles West of Macon on Hwy 36, then 8 miles South on Hwy C to College Mound, and 2.4 miles West on Hwy T. Thomas Hill Lake is located in north-central Missouri, near Long Branch State Park, and the city of Macon. The lake boasts 4500 acres, and provides water for cooling Associated Electric's coal-fired generators. The result is a "Hot pond", located at the generators' discharge pipe, which provides year-roung angling opportunities for visitors to the lake. Thomas Hill Reservoir Conservation Area: Primarily forest and old fields. Facilities/features: campground, boat ramps, boat docks, picnic areas, a fishing jetty, and 4,950 acres of fishable water. The area also has a waterfowl refuge north of Route T and upland hunting on several thousand acres. Thomas Hill Reservoir is managed primarily for largemouth bass, crappie, hybrid striped bass and catfish. The warm water discharge remains ice-free during the winter providing a unique winter fishing opportunity. Bald eagles are present on the reservoir and can usually be seen from Highway T, especially in the winter. The area also has an improved campground with concrete pads, shelters, fire grates, and privies. Three concrete boat ramps are located on the lake.
A poor spawn in 2000 combined with heavy angling pressure during the drought years (1999 and 2000) have resulted in fewer keeper-sized crappie, though 80% of all fish caught will be over 9" long. Persistent anglers will find these large fish, though fewer in number, to be in excellent condition. Due to a good spawn in 2001, expect to catch many crappie 6-7" crappie later in 2002. These fish will not likely reach 8" until sometime in 2003. Hybrid striped bass, known for their fierce fight, have been stocked every year since 1993. Fish exceeding the legal length of 20" can be caught with rattling lures, soft fish-imitation lures and jigs. A 20" fish weighs about 4 pounds. Both crappie and hybrid striped bass are vulnerable through the winter months in and below the warm-water discharge canal on the southeast side of the lake. Largemouth bass enthusiasts will need to wait on Thomas Hill to return to the fast action that was present from 1997 through 2000. Low water through the very hard winter of 2000 resulted in much over-winter mortality of largemouth bass. Our catch rate dropped four-fold in spring samples last year. Only one in seven of the catchable-size bass are over 15" long. Our optimism for the future is based upon the 2001 year class, which promises to be tremendous! So look for excellent bass fishing beginning in 2004. Flathead and channel catfish round out the angling choices at this lake. Most channel cats are small due to an overpopulation, so anglers are encouraged to take home their limit of ten daily. Flatheads can be very large and are best pursued with live bait in late May and June. Brush piles were placed in the lake as fish-attracting cover from 1991 through 1994
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