Kayaking Lake Texoma

The Red River widens to its largest point at Lake Texoma. A kayak is the slow, relaxing way to boat and get a close look at the sights. As a kayaker slides into the secluded coves surrounding Lake Texoma, he or she will see a plethora of wildlife, and especially deer, wild boars, and waterfowl.  

There are plenty of kayak launching sites, but some more popular ones are at Eisenhower State Park, Highport Marina, Juniper Point, Lighthouse Marina, and the spillway at the Denison Dam. Fees apply at some of these parks. You can launch a kayak at the many, many boat ramps scattered all over Lake Texoma. 

About 20 marinas call Lake Texoma their home, and most of the campgrounds have launch sites for kayaks. Fishing from a kayak is super popular on Lake Texoma. Kayaks take so much less maintenance than a motor boat of any kind. They are an extremely low-hassle way to enjoy any lake, river, or water body. 

For kayakers looking for an adventure, they can find several marked spots available for backcountry camping. It is common to see campfires glowing on the shores, only available to boats and hikers in warmer weather in both states. One of the most popular backcountry campsites is at the Juniper Point Recreation Area with the Cross Timbers Hiking Trail, near Sherwood Shores. 

There are only three campsites on the Cross Timbers Trail, and they are first come, first serve, but you can make camp anywhere along the trail, and there are no fees if you boat-in. The 5 Mile Camp Primitive Dispersed Camping is near Sherwood Shores. You can park at the parking lot, hike in, or boat-in. 

On the western side of the Big Mineral Arm, about in the middle of it, is a boat-in wilderness with two campsites. The Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge wraps around the south side of the Big Mineral Arm, and it is day use only; there is no camping allowed, but Hagerman’s coves are outstanding to paddle around in. Kayakers have to be careful where they are in Big Mineral. 

At Paradise on Lake Texoma, it is walk in or boat-in only, and camping fees apply. There are six primitive campsites. You must hike between 1/3 to 1/2-mile with your gear, and pack out your trash. There is a fee for camping and a parking lot if you drive there. It is about in the middle on the eastern side of the Big Mineral Arm. 

Camp James Ray is located on the eastern side of the eastern peninsula that forms the Big Mineral Arm facing The Islands south of West Island. It has eleven boat-in primitive campsites. There a loop trail that runs along the beach with campsites and several offshoot trails to other campsites.   

On the Oklahoma side, Fobb Bottom, west of the Willis Bridge on 377 is a popular boat-in camping area. It is primitive and you must pack out your trash. From Fobb Bottom, east across Lake Texoma’s northern shoreline in Oklahoma, the shores are quite unpopulated with lots of wildlife and there are three islands. One of them is an old Native American burial ground, so you may not want to camp there all night if you are kayaking in. 

In the Powell, Oklahoma, area on the northern shore, there is a party spot that can get quite rowdy and there are no police, only sheriffs and game wardens there, but you can primitive camp there. The Alberta Creek, Briar Creek, Roads End, Soldier Creek, and Willow Springs Public Use Areas allow primitive camping and boat-in camping in Oklahoma. The Caney Creek Recreation Area has primitive camping. 

The Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge wraps around the farthest northern pool of Lake Texoma, and like Hagerman, it is day use only, but also another beautiful place to explore in a kayak. You can take a canoe anywhere you take a kayak. If you are into a slower paced way to explore Lake Texoma, kayaking is the way to go. If you have never kayaked, you can rent one to see how you like it. 

Where Can You Rent a Kayak on Lake Texoma? 

Almost every marina and resort on Lake Texoma rents kayaks, and some of the state parks in Oklahoma and Texas rent kayaks. There are several private kayak rental companies as well, like Kayak Rentals, which has three kayak rental locations at Lake Texoma, the Lighthouse Resort & Marina, Paradise on Lake Texoma Campground, and Island View Park.

How to Buy a Kayak

You can buy a kayak for under $300, but you get what you pay for. Plan a budget that includes taxes or shipping charges if you do not buy local. Make sure you can haul it to the lake either with cross bars on top of your car if you don’t have a pickup truck, or you can buy it a trailer. These accessories can cost as much as a kayak, plus you need a life vest (PFD).

There are two types of kayaks, sit-on-top or sit-inside. One is a floating raft-type of vessel, and you sit on top with your legs free. The other is like a shoe, and you put your body inside of the boat up to your waist. The sit-on-top models are much better for fishing from your kayak, are easier to get in and out of, and self-draining.

The sit-inside models offer better protection when paddling in colder water temperatures, usually perform more efficiently, offer more options for accessories and accessorizing your kayak, and generally are lighter. They do not self-drain, and you may feel closed in. 

Nine to ten-foot kayaks are the shortest models and fine for people who weigh less, like kids, teens, and smaller adults. They are easier to haul and store. Shorter kayaks offer better maneuverability in smaller water bodies, streams, and rivers. They may not track as well as longer models, meaning their ability to stay in a straight line when paddling. 

The width of kayaks vary depending on the hull design. Kayaks with lesser width will travel faster and they are not as stable, but they slice through water easier. Kayaks with pontoon-style hulls are more stable, but not as easy to maneuver. Kayaks come in widths of 28-inches to 34.5-inches. Narrower kayaks are built for speed, and wider kayaks are better for fishing. 

The kayak’s capacity means how much weight your kayak can hold. The advertised capacity holds you and your gear on calm waters in mild weather. Besides your weight and the weight of your clothes and PFD, a cooler with food, drinks, and ice, your gear, emergency kit, and devices quickly increase the amount of weight in your kayak. Clothes include the weight of your hat, shoes, and sunglasses. 

Kayaks are made of plastic or composite materials like fiberglass. Fiberglass kayaks are more expensive and more expensive and difficult to repair, and they damage easier. Plastic kayaks are more durable, especially for fishing and general recreation, and easier to repair. Paddle sizes depend on your height, arm length, kayak width, and sitting position. It is best to have a professional dealer size you for paddles.

For fishing, you can mount a rod holder on your kayak, and it secures your rod in place. Some kayaks are built with a couple of rod holders. If you buy your kayak for fishing, you also need to think about how much weight a fish cooler for fish will be, a set of fish grips, and an anchor because you might want to stay in place to fish, and you will not want to drift around willy-nilly. 

Kayaks generally are built with internal and external storage. Internal storage compartments have a locking or rubber hatch for things you do not use often, like an emergency kit. External storage is usually located on the bow or the stern, and you use bungee cords to keep them securely in place for things like coolers, fishing tackle, and other stuff you will use often. You can use dry bags to store things like your cell phone. 

Kayaks last for years without too much hassle because they are so durable, but you need to exercise proper care for them. They need to be stored in shady areas, but preferably indoors with the hull up or on its side. You need to rinse your kayak thoroughly after each use, drain it, and make sure the hull is dry before you store it. Close up any openings after it is dry. 

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Lake Texoma Weather Forecast


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 95

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 80



Hi: 98

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 79



Hi: 97

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 80



Hi: 98

Wednesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 79

Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/23: 620.12 (+3.12)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 75 degrees; 3.56 feet above pool. Striper fishing is great on live bait anchoring on humps in 20-30 feet of water and drifting flats in 15-25 feet of water. Topwaters are working early in the backs of creeks and along river channels. Catfish are good on cut shad and prepared baits. Channels are on the rocks and shallow flats in 10-20 feet of water. Blue catfish are on deep humps in 40-50 feet of water. Bass are slow on shallow crankbaits and top waters early along the banks. Look for bass in the shade during the day near docks in 8-15 feet of water. Shad fry are everywhere so downsize baits to catch numbers. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows near docks and on brush piles using electronics to spot active fish in 10-18 feet of water. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Water level continues to be high. Smaller striped bass are surfacing feeding on shad hitting topwaters and swimbaits. Slab bite is starting to turn on producing better quality fish in big schools in deep water. The slab bite will only improve. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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