Fellows Lake Marina opened in 1958, three years after the lake was completed
Some people have lived in Springfield, Mo., and the surrounding area for decades, or their entire lives, without realizing there is a lake and a marina right in their backyard. Just north of the city limits and managed by City Utilities, Fellows Lake encompasses a surface area of 820 acres, with a 17-mile shoreline, and boasts a marina that offers boat rentals, fishing gear and more.
“This lake and the marina are the best kept secrets in the Springfield area,” said Fellows Lake Marina owner Pam Price.
The creation of Fellows Lake was completed in 1955, and while its primary intended purpose was to supply the greater Springfield area with drinking water, it had another purpose as well.
“One intent when they built the lake was not just for drinking water, but to provide a place of recreation,” Pam said.
Today, Fellows Lake draws both local and out-of-state visitors for fishing, boating, kayaking and exploring the lakeside nature trails.
The Fellows Lake Marina opened for business in 1958 by Kurt Naegler, and changed in ownership several times, Pam Price and her husband, Paul, purchased it in 2012.
Pam has long had a special place in her heart for the Fellows Lake Marina; in fact, her very first job at 13 years old was selling snacks there.
Pam currently employs five people, a few of whom are high schoolers; Pam loves to teach young people about the lake, boating safety, how to drive and maintain the marina’s boats, and has instilled a love of lake life in her younger employees.
The Fellows Lake Marina offers motorized boat rentals, kayak rentals, a full-service bait shop, snacks and picnic supplies, a few boat engine repair staples, life jacket rentals and a special brand (which Pam and her husband own) of handmade fishing lures called Crooked Hookers. The marina owns nine motorized boats, four tandem kayaks and 16 regular kayaks. During peak season there are weekends when every boat is rented out to visitors. Fishermen and boating aficionados can also bring their own boats to the lake and purchase a day pass or annual pass, if motorized boats are 40 horsepower or less.
Fellows Lake is a popular stop with families because, as Pam said, “it’s not a party lake.” No alcohol is allowed on or around the lake, making it a wonderful place for parents to bring their children for fishing, kayaking, etc.
The fish in the lake are plentiful and include Muskie, channel catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill and walleye.
“This is a great walleye lake,” said Pam. One of the things people love about Fellows Lake is that the recreation can be enjoyed by all. The Missouri Department of Conservation worked with the marina and City Utilities to install a handicap accessible dock at one end of the lake so everyone can fish.
Visitors who come to the lake and the marina will often become regulars.
“You get to know people really well,” Pam said. She went on to tell the story of one routine visitor who loved the lake and the marina so much, he married his wife on one of the marina’s rental pontoon boats in his favorite fishing cove.
City Utilities, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the marina work closely to bring the community together at the lake with events like Crickets, Cain Poles and Kids (a children’s fishing event) and the annual Moonlight Paddle, where visitors can register non-motorized boats and paddle the lake after dark for one night a year.
“Last year was the biggest group we’ve ever had,” Pam said of the Moonlight Paddle event.
The Fellows Lake Marina is open March through October from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.