The best answer to this is to try out different rods and see which one you like best! We can guide you towards the kind of rod we think you would like, but ultimately the decision is yours. It also depends on what type of fishing you're going to do, as certain rods are limited and others are specialty rods.
Hatches occurs almost year-round, but if you prefer a certain type then you'll need to plan a trip during those months. Caddis and mayflies hatch April - June, terrestrials are more common in July - September, and Midge hatches are more prevalent in the winter months, but occur daily on these tailwaters.
You can wade at any time throughout the year, but the cooler months are definitely the best. This means spring and fall is the perfect time to wade fish. The water levels are usually lower and so are the temperatures!
In the Ozarks, we typically get a lot of rain during the summer months. The best time for drifting would be May-August or September, depending on the rain. When the lakes get too high, the dams release water into the river for a continuous flow.
You can fish on the rivers pretty much year-round, but the best time to plan a visit is March - October. During the winter months is spawning time, so use caution if you fish during those months. That being said, the late spring is a good time to catch plently of fish.