Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more outdoor minded people are more than ready to get outdoors to take advantage of what Missouri campgrounds have to offer. The usual first big holiday weekend of the season, Memorial Day Weekend, had special meaning for a lot of campers including Harold Davis, Springfield.

Davis was glad to learn many campgrounds were going to be open over the holiday so he started making plans to hit a campground around Stockton Lake.  

"My two teenagers were packing skiing gear, fishing gear and were ready to hit the lake,” Davis said. “It has been a trying time for most everyone and we were ready to hit the campground. We all like the wide variety of water related activities from swimming to fishing."

Dan Howard at Mutton Creek marina and campground said, "We opened March first, and most of our camping started the middle of March. With our campers being spaced out, the state said it was okay to camp. Most of our reservations were done by phone. We don't  allow tent camping right now because  right now we haven't opened the shower house. the [Cedar County] Health Department said it should remain closed because there is no way we can distance and clean up so everyone could be safe. The floating restaurant is open, but the tables are spaced out."

Rod Hendricks, Stockton Lake Project Office Manager, said, "We will have our campground open June 1. Over the holiday weekend, we had four parks open, Crabtree, Hawker Point, Roark Bluff East and Cedar Ridge." 

The three area lakes — Truman, Pomme de Terre and Stockton — all offer camping and picnicking facilities and easy access to the water through public marinas and launching ramps. The marinas all have a wide range of boats, bait, supplies and fuel. The Corps of Engineers, which owns the land around the lakes, has incorporated stringent conservation regulations to preserve the natural shoreline as well as the overall beauty of the area. All three lakes are monitored by the Missouri Water Patrol.

The surrounding Ozarks make the lakes an ideal setting for spotting wildlife, including deer, turkey, eagles, herons and other water birds. Even in the later summer months, visitors can find a secluded spot to drop in a fishing lure or just enjoy the peaceful environs.

At Truman Lake, anglers have been attracted to the good bass and crappie fishing ever since the lake opened. The lake has campsites that provide easy access to the water. The lake offers two types of camping facilities: those operated by the State Park and Corps of Engineers and privately owned camping facilities.

At Pomme de Terre, the oldest of the three lakes, water activities include fishing, boating and swimming. Known as, "The Gem of the Ozarks," it is home to variety of fish, including the fighting muskie.

Stockton offers anglers a good chance to land a walleye a well as other species of fighting fish. The state's prime  walleye lake has a 15 inch length limit that makes it easier to bring home some excellent table fare. The lake is a favorite with sailors and several regattas including the Governor’s Cup.

Stockton is a good place to drop in a line for a lunker. Several state record fish from the lake including a smallmouth bass that weighed more than seven pounds.

This tri-lake area state parks and conservation areas including the Corps of Engineers areas are ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, picnicking, viewing nature and exploring.

For family fun this summer, you will find plenty in this area of the Missouri Ozarks.

Since restrictions have been eased, camping and water related activities will be going strong this summer.

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