Bois d'Arc Lake Is Open in Fannin County




Bois d’Arc Lake is Texas’ newest lake, and the first Texas lake built in almost 30 years. It was quite exciting to watch the April 8th eclipse there, even though it officially opened Wednesday, April 17, with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Parks & Wildlife there for information, safety, and checking boating permits and fishing licenses.

Bonham was in the path of totality. The highways leaving Bonham were crammed after the eclipse. Bois d’Arc Lake sits about 20 miles north and east of Bonham, Texas. Google maps does not map the area correctly as of April 17, 2024. Google Earth does, though it is hard to follow. Here is a map of Bois d'Arc Lake.

Bodark Trees: Texomaland’s Native Tree

In North Central Texas, we pronounce the French word for bow wood, Bois d’Arc, Bodark. For a fascinating history of Texomaland’s native tree, the Bodark, you can go here on Laketexoma.com. Bodark trees are a quirky and useful tree with a witty history! It does not surprise that the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) named it after the famous (or infamous) tree. 

Bois d’Arc Lake Facts

The NTMWD owns and operates Bois d’Arc Lake. Day use picnic areas will not open until the lake is complete and meets all safety requirements. All recreation activities on Bois d’Arc Lake will follow state regulations as determined by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPW). It is open to boating, fishing, and waterfowl hunting.

There is one ramp on the north side and two on the south side and offer free access, with parking for 50 cars at each ramp. Construction of a dam on Bois d’Arc Creek created the lake. Bois d’Arc Creek starts in Grayson County and flows 60 miles northeast before meeting the Red River. 

Bois d’Arc Lake covers about 16,640 surface acres, with an average depth of 20 feet and a maximum depth of 70 feet at 534-feet above sea level. Bois d’Arc Lake will meet the water needs of over two million North Texans and stimulate economic and recreational opportunities in Fannin County.

Engineers repurposed existing stock tanks as brood ponds and stocked them with bass fry and catfish. The fish populated the lake as it filled up and other TP&W fish releases. Engineers built piles of brush and timber on the lake bed for artificial reefs, so fish will feed and breed in them.

The FM 897 Bridge crosses the lake north to south from FM 1396 to US 82 and ends at SH 56 about in the middle of the lake. The NTMWD completed one of the largest environmental improvement efforts in the country to counteract the loss of habitat and impact on some local streams.

NTMWD Environmental Mitigation

  • Restored or improved 17,000+ acres on several sites
  • Planted 6.3 million trees
  • Created 8,500 acres of new wetland
  • Planted 3,200 acres of native grassland
  • Improved 70+ miles of streams

The NTMWD hired Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), a national expert in environmental restoration, to return the land to a natural, pre-agricultural condition. The company will continue to maintain, measure, and monitor the project’s success until NTMWD’s permit requirements are met. This process could take up to 20 years. 

NTMWD began to permit and build the reservoir in 2003. Engineers broke ground on the lake in 2003. NTMWD formally dedicated the lake in October 2022. It began impounding the lake in April 2021. Bois d’Arc Lake’s axis is northeast to southwest.

Caddo National Grasslands Wildlife Management Area

The Caddo National Grasslands Wildlife Management Area is a few miles north of the northeast end of Bois d’Arc Lake. Roads from Bois d’Arc Lake take the long way. The U.S. Forest Service and TP&W cooperatively manage this WMA. It is divided into two units, the 13,360 acre Bois d' Arc Creek Unit and the 2,780 acre Ladonia Unit.

The Bois d' Arc Creek Unit comprises six separate land tracts, and the Ladonia Unit has twelve land tracts. TP&W manages the wildlife hunting opportunities with permitted hunts. The Ladonia Unit attracts quail and dove. Boundary issues limit hunting opportunities.

The Bois d’Arc Creek Unit is more diverse, with two lakes and four streams. This unit attracts dove and other migratory game birds, feral hogs, frogs, furbearers, hare, and predators, and quail. Hunting is by Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH). The US Forest Service allows trapping predators and furbearers with a US Forest Service Permit.

Coffee Mill Lake and Lake Davy Crockett provide perch, crappie, catfish and largemouth bass fishing, with Florida largemouth bass in Lake Crockett. It has campgrounds and equestrian trails and facilities. Lake Crockett-East offers wheel chair accessible restrooms and campgrounds.




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Fishing Report from TPWD (May 22)

GOOD. Water normal stain; 67 degrees; 2.82 feet above pool. Striped bass fishing is excellent on live shad and topwaters. Anchoring on deep river ledges and flats in 60-80 feet of water fishing suspended around 40 feet catching quality and quantity on live shad. Top waters early along rocky banks where shad are still spawning. Catfishing is good using cut shad and prepared baits along the rocks in 20-40 feet of water. Free line dead shad or fish vertically along the rocks. Bass are fair using top waters early along the bluffs and on long points. Water temps in the mid 70s look for fish under docks and tires near marinas. Clear water is along the southern end of the lake. Crappie are fair using jigs fishing structure using electronics to locate active fish in 12-18 feet of water. Clear water is from TI point to the Dam and in the little mineral arm of the lake. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Stripers are good, catching the better fish starting with topwaters early, then switching to swim baits in 10-20 feet of water to get smaller fish. Water is starting to clear up from the recent rains on most of the lake. The lake has dropped 3 feet over the last week, and should return to normal, if it does not rain too much later this week. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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