Texas Tidbits

Cool off this summer at one of these ten recreational Texas lakes.

DURING THE HOT LAZY DAYS of summer, cool off on a lake. Go for a swim, camp out with family and friends, try your hand at fishing, or be adventurous and ski or sail. But before you head to the water this summer, check out the following list of ten recreational lakes in Texas.

Amistad International Reservoir

Owned by both the United States and Mexico and operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, this lake was given the Spanish name for “friendship” based on the cooperation and goodwill shown by both countries. Lying about ten miles northwest of Del Rio on the Rio Grande River, this 65,000-acre lake has a m

DURING THE HOT LAZY DAYS of summer, cool off on a lake. Go for a swim, camp out with family and friends, try your hand at fishing, or be adventurous and ski or sail. But before you head to the water this summer, check out the following list of ten recreational lakes in Texas.

Amistad International Reservoir

Owned by both the United States and Mexico and operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, this lake was given the Spanish name for “friendship” based on the cooperation and goodwill shown by both countries. Lying about ten miles northwest of Del Rio on the Rio Grande River, this 65,000-acre lake has a maximum depth of two hundred feet. Amistad International Reservoir is dominated by rocky structures; many of the limestone caves and rock shelters along the banks of the Rio Grande and Devils rivers, which feed into the lake, were inhabited by prehistoric Native Americans who left their art on the cave walls.

Caddo Lake

The shallow waters and thick aquatic vegetation that covers nearly 95 percent of the lake’s surface area in Texas make Caddo Lake a fishing paradise—it’s known for largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, and sunfish. Located on the Texas-Louisiana border, Caddo Lake is one of the few recreational lakes in Texas that formed naturally (it was dammed for flood control in the early 1900’s). Legend has it that the lake was originally formed by an earthquake, as a result of the Caddo chief’s failure to obey a great spirit. Caddo Lake State Park provides day-use and overnight accommodations, including screened shelters, cabins, and campsites with and without hookups.

Choke Canyon Reservoir

This 26,100-acre lake is located on the Frio River watershed, west of Three Rivers in both Live Oak and McMullen counties. The two units of South Shore and Calliham that make up Choke Canyon State Park offer campgrounds, picnic areas, swimming, and opportunities for shoreline fishing (think largemouth bass, blue catfish, and flathead catfish). Visitors may spot wildlife such as javelinas, white-tailed deer, turkeys, and coyotes.

Lake Fork

More than 65 percent of the state’s top fifty largest bass, including the current state record, have been caught at Lake Fork. Located on the Sabine River, five miles northwest of Quitman, the lake provides an excellent habitat for fish because of all the submerged timber. A recent state record was set when a 4.01-pound hybrid yellow bass was caught March 26. The state record for largemouth bass was set in 1992, weighing in at 18.18 pounds. The lake hosts numerous fishing tournaments throughout the year, including the upcoming McDonald’s Seventeenth Annual Lake Fork Big Bass Splash September 19-21.

Lewisville Lake

Boat enthusiasts flock to Lewisville Lake, which is popular for water skiing, sailing, and sailboarding. An abundance of restaurants and clubs are scattered along the shore of this 23,280-acre lake, which is located twenty minutes north of Dallas.

Lake Livingston

Lake Livingston, the second largest lake lying completely within the state’s borders, is about fifty miles north of Houston. The 90,000-acre lake and Lake Livingston State Park are perfect for boating, swimming, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The lakeside campgrounds include more than five thousand campsites and one hundred boat launching ramps. White bass and catfish abound for fishing enthusiasts. A 114-pound flathead catfish was caught on a trotline baited with live perch in 1976.

Lake Texoma

Located about eighty miles north of Dallas on the Texas-Oklahoma border, this 89,000-acre lake spans 580 miles of shoreline. Texoma is one of only a few lakes in Texas that has a self-sustaining population of striped bass (thanks to the free-flowing Red River current), and it is one of only eight inland freshwater reservoirs worldwide where striped bass have spawned. Because two thirds of the lake lies in Oklahoma, it is best to buy a Lake Texoma fishing license.

Lake Travis

The rocky banks, steep cliffs, and clear water make Lake Travis one of the best lakes in Texas for scuba diving. Devil’s Cove is a popular location to anchor boats and spend the day relaxing, swimming, and socializing. Or if you’d rather find your land legs, have lunch at one of the picnic areas or camp out at one of the campgrounds. Fishing is good for largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, catfish, white bass, and sunfish.

Whitney Lake

Located on the Brazos and Nolan rivers, about thirty miles northwest of Waco, Whitney Lake is known as one of the state’s top striped and smallmouth bass lakes. Anglers will also find catfish and white bass. Whitney Lake’s winding, riverine waters are good for cruising and sailing. The lake is surrounded by a state park, several local and private parks, and many full-service marinas.

Possum Kingdom Lake

The points and drop-offs found throughout Possum Kingdom Lake’s clear water make it a scuba diver’s dream. Located on the Brazos River, 75 miles west of Fort Worth, this 17,700-acre lake earned its name from the abundance of opossums that occupy the surrounding hills and valleys. The shore is made up of large to cobble-size rock—scenic cliffs and bluffs are found on the lower end, while shallow water and shoreline vegetation occupy the upper end. Though the lake is recovering from fish kills in 2001 and in January of 2003 caused by golden algae, Possum Kingdom still has excellent white bass and striped bass fishing (the record for a striped bass is 34.19 pounds). The lake has twelve marinas and numerous campsites.

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