Truman Lake Information

Truman Lake, with its official name of Truman Reservoir, spreads into portions of three counties, Benton, Henry, and St. Clair, 100 miles southwest of St. Louis in western Missouri. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) owns Truman Lake, and the Harry S. Truman Project Office manages it. President Harry S. Truman is this lake’s namesake. 

Truman Lake covers 55,600 acres with 958 miles of shoreline, with an average depth of 40 feet, and a maximum depth of 80 feet. The Osage River feeds Truman Lake. Truman Lake is between Clinton and Warsaw, and extends south to Osceola, Missouri. The Harry S. Truman Dam created the lake and manages the lake's water level. 

The Truman Dam separates this lake from the much more crowded Lake of the Ozarks to its east. Truman Lake’s landscape is typical of Missouri’s western Ozark Mountains, with a mix of trees and grasslands. State parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and other wildlife management areas comprise most of the area around Truman Lake. The ecosystems of the eastern Ozark Mountains meet the western Missouri prairie land in Truman Lake’s region.


Truman Lake History

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Kansas City District, designed and built Truman Dam and completed it in 1978. The USACE operates Harry S. Truman Dam for flood damage reduction, hydroelectric power generation, recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife conservation.

Most of Truman Lake sits in Benton County, Missouri, and it has four arms with the widest part of the lake near Warsaw, Missouri. The first Europeans the Osage Indians living on the Osage River saw were with the Hernando De Soto expedition in 1541. 

De Soto thought he was going to the mountains, but when he saw the Osage River, he thought he was in a desert-like region. He witnessed abundant buffalo, so many that no maize could grow, and he thought the Indians were not avid hunters. 

After De Soto’s exploration in 1541, the Spanish left and focused on lands further southwest. The French explorers arrived in 1706. In 1720, the French began fur trading and mining in Missouri. Eventually, the French trapped their own furs, but also continued to trade with the Osage. 

Benton County, Missouri, organized in 1835, was named in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, United States senator. France, Spain, and the United States flew their flags over Missouri. Thomas served under General Andrew Jackson in the 1810s, but quarreled with and wounded Jackson in 1813, and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1815. Missouri achieved statehood in 1821. 

Ezekiel Williams is believed to be the first Anglo-Saxon settler in Benton County. He came in the fall of 1830 or 1831. He first settled on the Fordney place, afterward on the place widely known as the William’s place, southwest of Cole Camp. Cole Camp is 20 miles northeast of the eastern border of Truman Lake today. Ezekiel had traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

The settlers kept coming, and the government surveyed the lands in 1836. The first settlers were mostly from Kentucky and Tennessee and knew nothing about the value of the prairie lands. Neither did the government at that time. Senator Tom Benton had notified the world that the desert commenced sixty miles west of St. Louis, and government surveyors had reported the prairies as unfit for cultivation. 

Today, residents around Truman Lake depend on the lake for its economy. The USACE provides many jobs at parks managed by it or leased to the private sector, and routine maintenance jobs outsourced to the private sector. The marinas and hotels provide employment. In the towns, retailers are the primary employers. Other people support themselves by farming, ranching, as fishing guides, and small business owners. 


Fishing Truman Lake 

Predominant game species in Truman Lake are hybrid striped and white bass, blue, channel, and flathead catfish, black and white crappie, paddlefish, and walleye. Other game species include largemouth and spotted bass, and bluegill.  

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) placed large cedar brush piles in deep and shallow water throughout Truman Lake. The MDC stocks Truman Lake with largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish in that order with a proven stocking program. The MDC offers a map of the brush pile locations, but it is not online. Approximately 8,800 acres of standing timber was left  in the lake to improve fisheries habitat.

Bass and crappie anglers report success from the brush pile fish attractors. Truman Lake has abundant 8 to 11 inch crappie, but the size depends on where you fish. The Black Tebo area has high numbers of 6 to 8 inch black crappie, while the Pomme Arm has 8 to 10 inch black crappie.  Most of the large crappie come from the mid/upper Osage sites near Berry Bend and Osceola.

Fishing for blue, channel, and flathead catfish is successful across the entire lake. Catch blues on flats throughout much of the year and along channel breaks during the fall and deep holes and bends in channels in winter, when bites are consistent. Target channel cats on the flats. Prime locations for large flatheads are in the upper portions of the Grand, Osage, and the Tebo Arms. 

White bass make their spawning runs up the major tributaries like the Pomme de Terre, Osage, Sac, South Grand, and Tebo Arms In April and May, and sometimes as early as March. In late summer and early fall, look for white bass and hybrids on or near the surface chasing schools of shad. 

Fishing for largemouth bass is a little tough in the early 2000s, and spotted bass numbers are also down. Spring will usually find these fish moving into warmer water creeks, the backs of coves, and cove pockets. Find largemouth bass in habitats throughout the lake. Some of the best locations to catch bass are the lower half of the South Grand Arm, from upstream of Bucksaw down. Another area to fish is the Osage Arm between Talley Bend and Berry Bend downstream to the dam. 

Most walleye are 14 to 19 inches. The best arms for walleye are the Pomme de Terre, Upper Osage, and Sac River, and there are a few walleye encountered across the entire lake. Walleye make early spring runs up tributaries and concentrate in pools just below riffles. Catch summer walleye on gravel points.

The paddlefish snagging season is March 15 through April 30. Snag for legal fish, greater-than 34 inches long, in the upper Osage from below the Talley Bend area to above the Taberville Access, with many paddlefish bigger than 45 pounds. As the water warms in the spring, paddlefish move upstream to spawn. Snag lower in the lake around Talley Bend and below at the beginning of the season and move upstream with the fish for the latter parts of snagging season as water temperatures and flows increase. 

Check out experienced local pro guides on our Truman Lake Fishing Guides page. 


Boating Truman Lake

There is plenty of room for boating and all water sports on Truman Lake. Boaters and watersports lovers find abundant wildlife, plenty of coves, beaches, and open water for skiing and everything else boaters love to do. 

There are five full-service marinas, Long Shoal Marina, Osage Bluff Marina, Sterret Creek Resort & Marina, Truman State Park Marina, and White Branch Marina.. No problem renting boats and PWCs on Truman Lake! The marinas, Truman State Park, and several businesses rent watercrafts of various kinds. 

Truman State Park offers a free boat launch. Sterret Creek Marina’s boat launch is $5, and Osage Bluff charges $3. The Sparrowfoot has a fee. Bucksaw Marina and Long Shoal Marina have boat launches. The TT West boat ramp is usually busy. There are over 20 boat launches on Truman Lake, so take your pick: 

  • Berry Bend Boat Ramp
  • Berry Bend Equestrian Boat Ramp
  • Bledsoe Ferry Boat RampBucksaw Boat Ramp
  • Cooper Creek Boat Ramp
  • Cross Timbers Boat Ramp. 
  • Crowe’s Crossing Boat Ramp
  • Fairfield Boat Ramp
  • Harry S. Truman State Park Boat Ramp
  • Long Shoal Boat Ramp
  • Osage Bluff Boat Ramp
  • Osceola Boat Ramp
  • Roscoe Boat Ramp
  • Sac River Boat Ramp
  • Shawnee Bend Boat Ramp
  • Sparrowfoot Boat Ramp
  • Sterett Creek Boat Ramp
  • Talley Bend Boat Ramp
  • Thibaut Point Boat Ramp
  • Warsaw Boat Ramp
  • Windsor Crossing Boat Ramp

Shop or sell a boat on our Truman Lake Boats for Sale page. 

Plan your trip to Truman Reservoir by calling one of the marinas today on our Truman Lake Marinas page. 


Truman Lake Rental Cabins

Truman Lake is truly rural; its shores are not lined with subdivisions and million dollar homes. Several private property owners have rental cabins of different sizes and rustic characters. There are a limited number of vacation home rentals, so visitors need to check out Vrbo and Airbnb, and book early for an ideal vacation spot with all the amenities and modern facilities right on the water.

Find the perfect vacation home on our Truman Lake Cabins page. 


Truman Lake Real Estate

Homes on Truman Lake are few and far between. But, there are a few listings. It is a limited market served by several local realtors. Most of the homes and lots on Truman Lake are far from a town. Warsaw, Missouri is the biggest town on the eastern edge of the lake with a Walmart. There is not much nightlife or many restaurants. The nearest metroplex, St. Louis, is 100 miles northeast. 

Schools Serving Truman Lake

Elementary schools: Clinton, Lincoln, Osceola, and Skyline Elementaries. 

Middle Schools: Clinton, John Boise, and Skyline Middle Schools.

High Schools: Clinton, Lincoln, Osceola, and Skyline High Schools.

To find your dream home, explore our Truman Lake Homes For Sale page. 


Camping Truman Lake 

Truman Lake recreational development is extensive. The USACE manages or leases twenty parks and access areas, which are conveniently located around the lake. Parks at Truman Lake offer a wide variety of recreation facilities, including boat launching ramps, campgrounds, full service marinas, picnic areas, sandy swimming beaches, and a regional visitor center. Most of the campgrounds offer RV spots. 

The Truman State Park is one of the best campgrounds at Truman Lake and surrounded by water on three sides, the park offers opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and watersports, and is ideal for camping, picnicking, and nature study. This park offers six camping areas.

A few other super nice campgrounds at Truman Lake are:

  • Berry Bend
  • Bucksaw
  • Deer Rest
  • Long Shoal
  • Osage Bluff
  • Sparrowfoot
  • TT Highway
  • Thorny Ridge
  • Thibaut Point
  • Windsor Crossing

Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Truman Lake Camping page. 


Hunting Truman Lake 

Truman Lake offers excellent opportunities for hunting a variety of game. White-tailed deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, quail, duck, and geese are favorites among sportsmen. Most project land is open to hunting in accordance with federal, state, and local laws, with the exception of developed parks, the project administration area, land leased to the Boy Scouts of America, the Lindon Q. Skidmore Wetland Management Area, and other designated refuge areas.

Waterfowl hunters can take advantage of several marshes located on the project. The Corps of Engineers manages approximately 50,000 acres for hunting and other outdoor recreation. The Missouri Department of Conservation also manages an additional 55,000 acres on Truman Lake project lands. Hunting and waterfowl hunting are allowed at the Harry S. Truman Project except where specifically prohibited. Be sure to check with the MDC for duck blind regulations. 


Hiking Truman Lake

The Truman State Park has three Trails, The Bluff Ridge Trail, the Western Wildflower Glade Trail, and the 1000th Mile Trail. The Bluff Ridge Trail is a 1.9 mile loop that passes through forests and glades and near an overlook bluff with a beautiful view of the lake and diverse flora and fauna. It is open for camping and hiking.

The Western Wildflower Glade Trail is 0.7 miles long and gives hikers a view of what the glade and savanna habitat looked like before European settlement. It is wonderful for seeing the wildflowers in season. The western wallflower, stick leaf, Missouri spurge, and plains muhly grass on the trail are uncommon in other parts of the state.  

The 1000th Mile Trail is an easy 0.9 mile loop that is open for camping and hiking. It features a natural surface with some low-hanging vegetation, and there are information kiosks at each of the state park trails. 

The Truman Lake Hike and Biking Trail is definitely for mountain bikes only, because of rocks and tree routes. It has a mix of single and double tracks, with challenging climbs, lake views, and fun downhills. It officially is 11 miles, but there are three loops and the trails intersect and crisscross with each other. This park is open for hikers if there are no events. It is located at 28565 Benton House Avenue, just two miles west of 65 Highway and North Dam Access Road in Warsaw, Missouri.


Things to Do at Truman Lake

Truman Lake is the primary attraction at Truman Lake. There are few restaurants at Truman Lake, in the marinas and mostly on the eastern side near Warsaw, with a scant few more scattered around the arms of the lake. The Shawnee Bend Golf Course is private with public access and nine holes. It is located at 29353 Golf Course Rd, Warsaw, Missouri.

The Benton County Museum at 1660 Hilltop Drive, Warsaw, Missouri, offers an appealing setting for the county’s collection of artifacts demonstrating its rich heritage. Stories of Benton County people are told by their belongings and by the display boards throughout the museum. Regular hours for the museum are Friday-Sunday, 10 am  to 4 pm. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and children, aged 3 to 12. It is open April through October.

Plan the perfect day trip or vacation on our Things To Do At Truman page. 


Truman Lake Zip Codes

Benton County: 65325, 65326, 65335, 65338, 65355.

Henry County: 64726, 64733, 64735, 64739, 64740, 64761, 64770, 64788, 65323, 65360.

St. Claire County: 64724, 64740, 64738, 64744, 64763, 64776, 64780, 64781, 64783, 64789, 65774.


Truman Lake Weather & Climate

Truman Lake sees an average of 47 inches of rain per year, with no snow and 216 days of sunshine. The winter low in January is 25 degrees and a summer high in July of 89 degrees. May, September, and October are the most comfortable months for this region. January and December are the least comfortable months. Keep your eyes on the skies with our Truman Lake Weather Forecast page. 


Truman Lake Flora and Fauna

Truman Lake and over 100,000 acres of land surrounding the lake is managed for fish and wildlife. Agricultural leases, prescribed burning, wetland development, food plot establishment, and native grass re-introduction are a few of the land management techniques used at Truman Lake. 

Over 55,000 acres are licensed to the Missouri Department of Conservation for fish and wildlife management. Truman Lake is where the Ozark Mountains on the east meets the Great Plains on the west. It is located in an ecological transition area with Oak-Hickory forest to the east and prairie/farmland to the west. Common sightings are deer, elk, possum, raccoons, and turkey, but bears and panthers inhabit the region.  

Truman Lake Email Updates


 

Truman Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Truman Lake Weather Forecast

Friday

Decreasing Clouds

Hi: 88

Friday Night

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 73

Saturday

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 93

Saturday Night

Clear

Lo: 75

Sunday

Hot

Hi: 97

Sunday Night

Clear

Lo: 76

Monday

Hot

Hi: 99

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 77


Truman Lake Water Level (last 30 days)


Water Level on 7/13: 708.37 (+2.37)