TPWD District Fisheries Office

PO Box 1446
Pottsboro, Texas 75076
(903) 786-2389
Dan Bennett, Biologist

About the Area

Local Information

Nearby State Parks

  • Eisenhower
    50 Park Road 20
    Denison TX 75020-4878

Lake Texoma

Quick Links: Fishing Regulations | Angling Opportunities | Cover & Structure | Tips & Tactics

BOATER ADVISORY: Zebra mussels have invaded this reservoir! CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY your boat, trailer, livewells/bait buckets, and other gear before traveling to another water body. Draining water is required by law and possession and transport of zebra mussels is illegal.

Lake Characteristics

Location: A Red River impoundment on the Texas-Oklahoma border northwest of Sherman-Denison, west of US 75
Surface area: 74,686 acres
Maximum depth: 100 feet
Impounded: 1944

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 615 to 619 ft. msl
Fluctuation: 5-8 feet annually
Normal Clarity: Moderate to clear

Reservoir Controlling Authority

US Army Corps of Engineers
Drawer A
Denison, Texas 75020
(903) 465-4990

Aquatic Vegetation

Not abundant, but there are some stands of water willow, American lotus, floating heart, and bushy pondweed. Blue-green algae blooms occasionally occur in this reservoir. Visit the USACE Tulsa District website for any current advisories or warnings.

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Current Fishing Report
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers a downloadable map media download(PDF 724.8 KB) of the shoreline and Texas/Oklahoma state line. Detailed fishing maps are available from local chambers of commerce, the Lake Texoma Association, and most North Texas fishing tackle stores

Fishing Regulations

Two-thirds of this lake lies in Oklahoma. Anglers with Texas licenses may fish in the Texas portions of the reservoir, or purchase a Lake Texoma license ($12) to fish the entire lake.

Special bag and size limits are in effect for several fish species on this lake.

Anglers should also be aware of rules in effect here to prevent the spread of exotic invasive species. Boats, livewells, and bait buckets must be drained of all water before leaving the area. In the Red River downstream, from the Texoma dam to the Arkansas state line, it is unlawful to transport live, nongame fishes from this stretch of river to any other water body. Nongame fishes may be collected and used for bait within these waters. For more details, see Possession and Transport of Exotic Aquatic Species.

Angling Opportunities

Flows in the Red and Washita Rivers make Texoma one of the few freshwater lakes in the United States with a self-sustaining, landlocked population of striped bass. A dozen other Texas lakes support striped bass fisheries; however, routine stocking is required to maintain those populations. Striped bass were first introduced in Lake Texoma by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965. Natural reproduction was first documented in 1974. Striped Bass guides operate year-round on Lake Texoma, and can accommodate families or large groups.

Black bass are present in Lake Texoma including Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Spotted Bass. Previous state record Smallmouth Bass have been caught on both the Oklahoma and Texas sides of the lake. Several tournaments target black bass each year and guides are available.

Catfish are abundant in Lake Texoma including Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, and Flathead Catfish. A trophy fishery exists for Blue Catfish and the current Texas state record Blue Catfish was caught here in 2004, weighing 121.5 pounds! Catfish guides are available and multiple bank fishing options exist including Eisenhower State Park and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth & Spotted Bass     yes  
Smallmouth Bass       yes
Blue Catfish       yes
Channel Catfish     yes  
Flathead Catfish   yes    
Crappie     yes  
Striped Bass       yes
White Bass     yes  
Fishing Cover/Structure

While Texoma has little aquatic vegetation, it does offer cover in structures such as rocks/boulders, standing timber, submerged stump beds, channels, rocky bluffs, sandy flats, and rip-rap along Denison Dam and elsewhere. Of the 580 miles of shoreline, there are approximately 9 miles of rip-rap, and 50 miles of standing timber. The remainder is cut banks, sandy beaches, rocky shoreline, and bluffs. A shoreline development ratio of 13.88 indicates an irregular and branched shoreline, which also increases habitat for fish.

Tips & Tactics

Channel catfish are taken near the mouths of creeks after a rain, especially in spring and fall. In late spring and early summer, they are found around rocky shores and areas of rip-rap. Best baits are shrimp, blood bait, cut bait, dough bait, and shad gizzards. In summer, try drift-fishing shrimp across flats. Sunfish and large minnows also pay off here. Blue catfish are caught on many of the same baits; however, these fish migrate downstream or into the main pool area in winter and upstream in the spring. Try juglining with live gizzard shad for bait. A rod and reel baited with live shad on windless winter days works well, too. Flathead catfish are infrequently caught by rod and reel anglers, but most often by trotlining with live sunfish for bait.

Crappie fishing is best in fall and winter, when fish tend to school in large numbers and concentrate around boat houses, submerged trees, creek channels, and brush piles. While minnows are the bait of choice, crappie are caught on a variety of jigs. The spring spawning season, when they move in shallow, is also an excellent time to fill your creel.

White bass are vulnerable to angling when they migrate upstream on the Red and Washita Rivers or the many tributary streams around Lake Texoma. Two to three weeks prior to the migration, they concentrate around the mouths of the tributary streams and become easy prey. At other times of the year they can be found surfacing around the lake and feeding on threadfin shad. Effective baits include small surface baits in silver, white, yellow or chartreuse; silver spoons; slabs; and minnows. Striped bass migrate up both major river arms in February, and can usually be located in or near the river channel in the vicinity of the Willis or Roosevelt Bridges. They may take surface lures, but most often they are caught on heavy jigs, slabs, plastic shad, and live gizzard shad. After the spring spawning run, stripers can be caught with shad over flats near the river channel in the main part of the lake. Trolling with deep running lures can also be productive. Stripers surface frequently in summer, fall, and winter, attracting diving sea gulls, who also like to feed on threadfin shad. Surface baits can produce some mighty tackle busting strikes, and so can plastic shad retrieved rapidly just under the water's surface.

Largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass can be caught pretty much year round, but they are caught closer to the shoreline and around structure. While largemouth and spotted bass are found lakewide, smallmouths are mostly limited to the bluffs around Eisenhower State Park, Denison Dam and up the Washita River arm to the Willow Springs area. Since all three species spawn in the shallows, that's the best place to fish for them in the spring. Fish around grass and brush with crank baits, surface lures, spinners, and Carolina rigged worms. As the water warms and bass move offshore, switch to Texas rigged worms, deep diving crankbaits, and surface baits early in the morning. Concentrate on submerged structure such as rocks, boulders, stumps, logs, channels, and secondary points. Fall bass fishing can be very exciting on Lake Texoma. Work crank baits around brush and off rocky shorelines for largemouth and spotted bass. Try free-line, live threadfin shad off the rip-rap at the dam for smallmouths, or fish at night by the bluffs near Eisenhower State Park.