Pomme de Terre Lake

Hermitage, Missouri
Rating: 88%

By Boating Life Editors

You could travel to Missouri 20 times and never hear of this little, French-named lake on the northern edge of the Ozarks that means "apple of the earth" or for the less romantically inclined, "potato." I had been living and working on our family's resort and marina at Lake of the Ozarks for 15 years before I escaped the bonds of business ownership one day to find myself hanging out at a lodge on a bald knob overlooking the Pomme, as locals call it (rhymes with "mommy").

Some folks walked up the hill that day carrying a 10-pound musky, and I never forgot it. Neither have the nation's musky enthusiasts, who flock there for a better-than-average crack at this elusive trophy.

Besides angling, Pomme has the beautiful winding shorelines and hardwood-covered hills and bluffs that made Lake of the Ozarks so popular. Unlike that lake and the also-busy Table Rock Lake 90 minutes to the south, Pomme is nearly as unspoiled by development today as it was when the dam flooded the impoundment a few decades ago. Pomme's main channel is more than 20 miles long and has enough winding shoreline to keep explorers occupied for days.

You'll still find signs of the Osage Sioux along its shores. Just pull your boat up on a broad flat after a rain, and the sharp edges of flint or chert arrowheads peek through the clay. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the lake for flood control, electricity and recreation, in that order. Corps-run campgrounds are the mainstay of weekenders. Only on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day does one normally need reservations.

Overshadowed By: Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake
If You Must Know: Pomme de Terre (which came from French trappers who called it "apple of the earth") is considered to be in the northernmost reach of the Ozarks.
Most Popular Boats: Pontoons with enclosures for camping, cuddies and pocket cruisers to take in the evening sounds drifting off the bluffs and hills.

Shared with permission from Boating Life Magazine.