Do I Own My Lake Texoma Waterfront Property Or Dock?

To help people understand how to own a home on waterfront property on Lake Texoma, I talked with experts. They work for the two entities that waterfront home buyers need to work with to ensure they can build and use the land or beach for their lake home. I spoke with Chuck Henson, a broker at Texoma Premier Properties and Cindy Buchanan who works for the Army Corp of Engineers Texoma office in Denison. 

No, you don't own the lake front property. The Corp of Engineers owns the actual waterfront and its beaches. The Corp issues permits on Corp property for boat and fishing docks and also permits for maintaining Corp-owned beach property. Lakefront property usually begins 30 feet from the shoreline. You cannot build on Corp property. 

These are some considerations you need to take when buying waterfront property with Army Corp of Engineers regulations.  I’ve included what real estate agent’s part of this process.


Can you live on Lake Texoma?

Yes, you can live on property with beachfront access. The Tulsa District Corp of Engineers publishes their shoreline management plan on each lake within the district. Adjoining property usually begins 30 feet from the waterfront. 

There are different permits for management of the beachfront property within that 30 feet that homeowners can apply for. These include floating device permits (or "dock permits") and vegetation modification permits. It is extremely important to note that a homeowner cannot do anything to or on Corp-owned property without a permit. 


Can you build a boat dock on Lake Texoma?

Yes, topography determines if the Corp will issue a dock permit. Some areas are zoned for building docks. 

“Chuck informed me that the areas zoned for docks must be protected from or by natural elements.” 

For example if there are frequent high winds, there is the threat of debris blowing into the lake, and the Corp will not issue a permit. Homes for sale with preexisting docks are prime values. 

Homebuyers and owners can call the Corp office to discuss cove maps. These maps show where approved shoreline exists for docks and are available online. There must be space available when building a new dock. You may not build any structure on Corp property. 

Here is an example of what Lake Texoma cove maps look like from the Army Corps of Engineers.


What is a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) on Lake Texoma?

From the Corp of Engineers Texoma SMP:

The purpose of the Shoreline Management Plan is to establish policies and provide guidelines for managing the shoreline and open water areas of the lake.  The SMP is for the protection of desirable environmental characteristics and for the restoration of shorelines where degradation has occurred. 

The SMP establishes rules and guidelines for managing private uses of shoreline areas such as private boat docks and vegetation modification.

Lake Texoma Shoreline Management Plans

The SMP for Lake Texoma goes under review every five years. During a review year, there is a moratorium on boat dock and vegetation modification permits while the SMP is under review. 

The Corp renews existing permits at their expiration date. Modification and repair requests to existing docks will be evaluated during this time. After the Corp lifts the moratorium, it will accept new applications for permits. 


Ask a Real Estate Broker

Most importantly, when it is a seller’s market for lakefront properties on Lake Texoma, prices are somewhat inflated. Chuck and Stephanie Henson who own Texoma Premier Properties gave me extremely valuable information on buying waterfront access properties and homes on Lake Texoma. 

During a seller’s market, there are fewer than normal available lakefront properties for sale. Chuck and Stephanie talk to people who are looking to move to Lake Texoma full time and telecommute to work and others who want vacation homes. 

Texoma Premier Properties receives about 100 inquiries per quarter, around 50 turn into active searches for properties, and an average of eight will actually purchase a lakefront property on Lake Texoma. People want to move from the Oklahoma City and DFW metroplexes Most of these people are two to five years away from retirement age. Long-term remote working conditions also play a role in buyer’s decisions.

When lakefront property inventory is in demand, and you can expect to see most prices for lakefront properties rise. High or low interest rates affect a buyer’s affordability index. The turnaround time from decision to buy to closing is about 30 to 45 days depending on market conditions. This can only be economically enhancing for Texomaland as the need for goods and services will increase, and more dollars will circulate in our economy. 

Texoma Premier Properties

Chuck Henson is a retired bank CEO turned real estate broker.  Chuck is partnered with His wife Stepanie.  They are experienced in high-end property sales.

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Lake Texoma Current Weather Alerts

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Lake Texoma Weather Forecast


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 71

Saturday Night

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 54


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 69

Sunday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 44



Hi: 51

Monday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 42


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 53

Tuesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 45

Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 12/4: 615.64 (-1.36)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Dec. 1)

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 57 degrees; 1.41 feet low. Fishing is similar as we enter in December. Striped bass continue to be good all over the lake, with bird action leading the way to the fish. Limits coming in around 1-10 feet of water using slabs, and when the wind up casting Alabama rigs, and swimbaits. Winter is the best time to catch trophy catfish. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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