Best known for its remarkable Bass fishing, East Texas’ Lake Fork offers up many outdoor recreation options for this year’s Labor Day weekend! But, before we get to the fishing and recreation, here’s some background on the lake.
Lake Fork is a man-made reservoir located 70 miles east of Dallas and 30 miles north of Tyler, Texas in Wood, Rains, and Hopkins counties between the towns of Quitman, Alba, Emory, and Yantis.
The Dam was built in 1980 and reached its surface elevation of 400 feet above sea level in 1985. The dam and reservoir with a capacity of 676k acre-feet are owned and operated by the Sabine River Authority. Lake Fork is shaped like a V with the bottom of the V at the dam. The V is 27,000 acres and has 315 miles of shoreline with lots of small arms and coves. The maximum depth is 70 feet and the water is tinted a brownish color.
Lake Fork serves as a reservoir for Dallas and its suburbs. However, it is best known for its fishing, as it holds 15 of the top 20 Texas State Record Largemouth Bass ever caught, making it one of the premier trophy bass fishing lakes in the world.
As you’d expect, Largemouth bass is the most popular sportfish in this reservoir. A combination of restrictive harvest regs, stocking of Florida largemouth, and abundant habitat has contributed to the lake’s fishing success. More than 65% of the Texas Top 50 largest bass (including the current state record) and more than half of those entered in the Toyota ShareLunker Program, were caught from Lake Fork. So, if fishing is in your plan this Labor Day, expect to catch some whoppers!
Crappie fishing is generally also good, especially in standing timber and under the lake’s numerous bridges. Channel catfish provide an excellent sport fishery, which has increased in popularity in recent years. White bass have been increasing in abundance and provide an additional sportfish in the reservoir. Yellow bass are often caught during the winter months, often associated with largemouth bass. These fish tend to be relatively small but they are great table fare and they are as tasty as crappie. Sunfish, primarily bluegill, offer additional opportunities for anglers during spring and summer. And here are some great East Texas freshwater fish entrées, if you’re so inclined!
Since 80% of the standing timber was left when the lake was first built this means that its loaded with tree stumps making it not one of the best lakes for boat cruising or other water recreation. But what a great excuse to get tons of lake-side exercise and enjoy your favorite fishing sport at the same time! Go buy or rent locally a kayak for some great sport fishing or just a spectacular lake experience.
If you’re in the market for one, many of today’s kayaks come completely outfitted for fishing with plenty of equipment and tackle storage for all your fishing needs. Some, such as the Hobie Kayak, offer pedals for better cruising and control with one or optional two-person paddle sets and seating.
For some additional tips on kayaking Lake Fork or your favorite other Texas lake this Labor Day, check out more here! And, for some extra Lake Fork fishing insights, an updated, waterproof Lake Fork fishing map is available for purchase here.
Labor Day Weekending at Lake Fork
Besides the fishing and kayaking, Lake Fork offers many other interesting things to experience with abundant outdoor fun potential. Labor Day weekend is always right for hosting that family BBQ!
And, Lake Fork hosts no less than a dozen full service marinas, comfortable lodging, RV Camps and three professional golf courses. Many of the marina’s offer boat, kayak and canoe rentals but call ahead in summer, and especially Labor Day weekend, as they are in high demand!
Evening entertainment abounds all around the lake as well. Nearby Winnsboro and Mineola are great destinations for live music and good food. The town of Emery hosts the Rains County Eagle Fest each year, honoring the birds that make Lake Fork their home. And, Sulphur Springs is home to the Southwest Dairy Museum; a great destination for kids of all ages. Each of the towns around the lake have shopping of all sorts so don’t spend your entire Labor Day budget on fishing!!
In closing, Lake Fork has a lot to offer, especially kayakers, and Labor Day weekend is a great time to take advantage of it.