Harry S. Truman Lake, Missouri, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Missouri - Central -

Also known as:  Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Truman Lake

It looks a like a reel of film perched on a bluff; it is the visitor center overlooking Truman Lake. The round wall of windows offers a panoramic view of the beautiful central Missouri lake below. There are also displays chronicling the history of the area, information on the lake’s power plant and reconstructions of historic buildings. The visitor center on top of Kaysinger Bluff at the east end of the dam, however, reveals just a small taste of what the 55,406 acre Harry S. Truman Reservoir has to offer.

In 1954 Congress authorized the Kaysinger Bluff Dam and Reservoir. Construction on the dam on the Osage River started in 1964. The dam and resulting reservoir were renamed the Harry S. Truman Reservoir and Dam in honor of the former president from Missouri. Completed in 1977, the reservoir was created for hydroelectric power, flood control, wildlife habitat and recreation. It is under the control of the US Army Corps of Engineers and is the largest flood control reservoir in the state of Missouri. The dam is a mile and a half north of Warsaw and generates power for the Southwestern Power Administration. The Osage River, named for the Osage Indians, is Truman Lake’s outlet and flows almost immediately into the Lake of the Ozarks.

Truman Reservoir includes 958 miles of shoreline; its depth averages 40 feet. It sprawls across four counties, covering sections of Henry, St. Clair, Benton and Hickory Counties. It encompasses several tributaries and is ringed with fingery coves – perfect for exploring by canoe or kayak. With almost 60,000 acres of water, there is plenty of room for boating and water skiing although boaters are urged to watch for submerged logs and debris. When the lake was impounded, over 8,000 acres of timber was left standing, creating excellent habitat for Truman Lake’s abundant fish populations. The lake is full of crappie and largemouth bass, and there are plenty of blue catfish and flathead catfish to challenge anglers. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocks the lake and manages the fishery. Access to Truman Lake is from any of the many US Army Corps of Engineers boat ramps or from one of the privately run marinas around the lake.

The US Army Corps of Engineers manages over 100,000 acres of land around Truman Lake. The Kansas City District of the Corps maintains several campgrounds, including an equestrian park with campsites and trails for horseback riders and lake front campgrounds with sand beaches for swimming. There are also 400 acres of land set aside for ATV use. Near the visitor center, the Corps has reconstructed several historic buildings that are open for visitors to tour. The Hooper House was built in 1903 by John Hooper for his wife Molly and their nine children. It was reconstructed in 1984 and is open for self-guided tours. The Osage Valley Heritage Association moved the Concord Schoolhouse from the Town of Quincy to the visitor center. It is typical of Missouri schoolhouses in the 1800’s. The Elmore Log Cabin is a replica of a cabin typical of the 1840’s or 50’s. Both are available for tours and educational programs. The US Army Corps of Engineers also hosts Heritage Days celebrating life a hundred years ago. There are potters, spinners, musicians and civil war re-enactors to delight vacationing families and history enthusiasts.

The Harry S. Truman State Park is surrounded by Truman Lake on three sides. The 1,440 acre park is on a peninsula – almost an island – in the lake with a campground and swimming beach. The lake covers the Prairie-Ozark border and is surrounded by both forests and grasslands. White tailed deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, quail and waterfowl all make their home at Truman Reservoir and can be hunted in season. Historically, bald eagles have wintered in Missouri, and today they winter at the lake. There are also several breeding pairs that successfully rear chicks every summer.

Because Truman Lake is so large, it is close to several towns, including Warsaw, Fairfield and Clinton. Visitors can browse through the antique shops and lunch at one of many restaurants. There is real estate available for sale in any of the towns around the lake and vacation rentals with views of the lake. Further down the Osage River, the Lake of the Ozarks has many waterfront vacation rentals. The Old Swing Bridge is also about a mile downstream from Truman Dam. Built in 1904, the cable suspension bridge was destroyed in 1924 by a tornado. It was rebuilt in 1928 and spans the Osage River. It is one of twelve of its kind in the state of Missouri.

The Lost Valley Fish Hatchery is a great day trip from Truman Lake. With 78 rearing ponds and almost a thousand acres of land and water, it is the largest state owned warm water hatchery in Missouri. Construction on the hatchery started in 1997 and was funded by the Sport Fish Restoration Act. The Missouri Department of Conservation raises walleye, muskie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, hybrid bass and bluegill to stock in the state’s lakes. The hatchery includes a visitor center with a 12,700 gallon aquarium and a kids’ fishing pond. On the land around the hatchery there are wildflowers, birds and wildlife. Hunting is allowed in season.

With recreation opportunities as large as its size, Truman Lake is a fantastic central Missouri destination. A rich history combined with ample water for fishing and boating make it an ideal getaway for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Things to do at Harry S. Truman Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Harry S. Truman Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Harry S. Truman Lake Photo Gallery

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Harry S. Truman Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 55,406 acres

Shoreline Length: 958 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 706 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 704 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 740 feet

Average Depth: 40 feet

Maximum Depth: 125 feet

Water Volume: 1,181,640 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1977

Drainage Area: 8,914 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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