Thomas Hill Reservoir (4,950 acres) is located in Macon and Randolph counties and provides water for cooling Associated Electric Cooperative, Incorporated’s coal-fired generators. The warm water discharge results in a unique, year-round fishery. White crappie are one of the most sought after species at Thomas Hill Reservoir, and fishing will improve in 2015 for desirable sized crappie. The results of the fall 2014 survey indicated the abundance of adult crappie is good, and nearly 25 percent of those captured were 9 inches in length or longer. Hybrid striped bass are popular with wintertime anglers due to the hybrids' attraction to the warm water discharge and their fierce fight. Fish exceeding the minimum length limit of 20 inches can be caught on rattling lures, soft plastics and jigs, as well as chicken livers and minnows. Both crappie and hybrid striped bass are vulnerable through the winter months in and below the warm-water discharge channel on the southeast side of the lake. According to recent surveys, the largemouth bass population has improved slightly from the previous year, but is still recovering from numerous years of poor spawning success. Although bass numbers are low, a high proportion of those caught by anglers will be 12- to 15-inches long with an occasional fish up to 18 inches. Flathead catfish and channel catfish round out the angling choices at this reservoir. A majority of channel catfish are small due to overpopulation, so anglers are encouraged to take home their daily limit of 10. There is the potential to catch a large flathead catfish (greater-than 36 inches) using trotlines, bank lines, and jugs using live bait near old river channels. In early 2009, a barrier-free fishing dock was placed in the warm-water arm (Brush Creek), just northeast of the boat ramp. This dock is especially attractive to anglers who enjoy fishing for crappie and hybrid striped bass during the winter months because it is located just southeast of the warm-water discharge plume. To enhance shoreline angling, an ADA assessable paved fishing jetty was completed in 2012 at the north end of the lake near the Highway T boat ramp. Brush piles were placed in the lake as fish-attracting cover from 1991 through 1994. In spring 2005, eleven of these brush piles had new brush added to them and four new brush piles were constructed. In spring 2009, new brush was added to the existing brush piles. Contact the Northeast Regional Office to request a location map, or visit the MDC website at http://mdc.mo.gov/node/10182. While fishing at Thomas Hill Reservoir, just look for the bright yellow "Fish Attractor" signs on the shore; the brush pile is nearby.
Driving directions: Main entrance is 5.25 miles west of Macon on Highway 36, then 10 miles south on Route C to College Mound, and 2.4 miles west on Route T.
Annual Prospects Report
From Highway 63 at Excello, turn west on Highway T and travel six miles to College Mound. Turn north on Highway C then immediately turn west on Highway T for two and three-tenths miles to Glider Avenue. Follow Glider Avenue for three-tenths of a mile and turn west towards the boat ramp and fishing jetty.