• Fri. Nov 25th, 2022

Lake Texoma, Texas – World Atlas

ByRobin H. Purcell

Nov 25, 2022

Lake Texoma is a large reservoir on the border between the US states of Oklahoma and Texas. The lake was formed by Denison Dam on the Red River in Grayson County, Texas and Marshall County, Oklahoma, about 700 miles (1,168 km) upstream of the river’s mouth. Currently operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as part of the Denison Dam and Reservoir Project, Lake Texoma was created primarily for flood control, hydroelectric power generation, water supply and recreation. With numerous parks and campgrounds dotted around the lake, Lake Texoma also offers over 500 miles of shoreline for swimming, boating, fishing and other water activities that draw more than 6 million visitors to this popular recreational destination each year.

Geography and climate of Lake Texoma

Sunset at Lake Texoma
Sunset at Lake Texoma.

At 93,000 acres, Lake Texoma is the 12th largest lake in the USACE and the largest lake in the Tulsa District of the USACE. A significant portion of the lake is in Oklahoma in Bryan, Johnston, Marshall, and Love counties. Part of the lake also extends into Texas, in Grayson and Cooke counties. Located at the confluence of the Red and Washita rivers, Lake Texoma is about 30 miles long, 10 miles wide, and reaches a depth of about 60 feet. In addition to the Red and Washita Rivers, the lake also receives tributaries from Big Mineral Creek, Buncombe Creek, Glasses Creek, Rock Creek, and Little Mineral Creek. The lake has a conservation water volume of 3.115242 cubic kilometers and a flood protection volume of 6.406906 cubic kilometers.

Lake Texoma is best known for its proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, its size, and home to Texas’ only self-sustaining striped bass population. There are several small islands including West Island, Hog Island, Little Island, Treasure Island, Wood Island, and North Island in Lake Texoma that are only accessible by water transportation. Additionally, the lake has two state parks, including Eisenhower State Park in Texas and Lake Texoma State Park in Oklahoma, in addition to the 54 parks managed by USACE. The climate of the lake and its surroundings is mild, with average temperatures ranging from the low 50’s in winter to the mid 80’s in summer.

History of Lake Texoma

A group of fishermen fishing for striped bass with long surf rods on the spillway of the Denison Dam
A group of fishermen fishing for striped bass with long surf rods on the spillway of the Denison Dam.

The first inhabitants of the Lake Texoma region were the Caddo Indians, who lived in small villages along the Red River. In the early 1800s, white settlers began moving to the area. These settlers were primarily farmers looking to start a new life in the West. The settlers and the Caddo Indians lived together peacefully for many years. However, things changed in the 1830s. The United States government decided to forcibly evict all Native Americans from their lands east of the Mississippi River. The Caddo were forced to leave their homes and walk hundreds of miles to a new reservation in Oklahoma. This journey was challenging and many Caddo died along the way. Today, many reminders of the Caddo people of the Lake Texoma region remain. There are several Caddo Indian burial mounds in the area and some old Caddo villages that archaeologists have preserved.

A Denison businessman named Mr George Moulton dreamed of building a dam on the Red River in early 1925. Funding for the construction of Denison Dam was sanctioned by the Flood Control Act 1938 and creation of the lake began during World War II. Construction of the dam was completed in January 1944 and two generators were installed in September 1949. Lake Texoma was originally approved for water supply, flood control, and hydroelectric power generation only. Recreational activities were not approved by the US Congress until 1988.

Leisure activities in Lake Texoma

A view of Lake Texoma at Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas and a man putting on his life jacket to go kayaking
A view of Lake Texoma at Eisenhower State Park in Denison, Texas and a man putting on his life jacket to go kayaking.

There are many recreational activities at Lake Texoma to keep you busy. Fishing is a popular pastime here and many different species of fish can be caught including catfish, striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill etc. Open year-round, the Marina at Lake Texoma is a great place to start your day at the lake. The marina is excellent for spotting wildlife including blue herons, egrets and herring gulls. If you love photography, this is a must see for you. In addition, there are also many hiking trails and golf courses nearby. From its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife to its rich history and endless recreational opportunities, Lake Texoma truly is a one-of-a-kind destination and a perfect place to create lasting memories with family and friends.