If you love big-time big lake boating, it's hard to match Lake Texoma for size and variety. Straddling the Texas and Oklahoma state line, the 89,000-acre Lake Texoma means larger-than-life boating fun on a very big and very much alive lake.
Located just 75 miles north of Dallas and about 120 miles south of Oklahoma City, Lake Texoma has long been known to locals in both states as a superb boating (and fishing) destination. Today, however, boaters are coming from further afield to enjoy Lake Texoma's many offerings. This lake, featuring so much natural beauty, was actually created by man (and woman) more than 60 years ago. It's the result of the 1944 Denison Dam project.
With more than 580 miles of shoreline and a serpentine shape with lots of deep water, Lake Texoma is ideal for all types of boating—from power to sail in all shapes and sizes. There are many calm sheltered coves (including several with sandy beaches), as well as two excellent state parks (Eisenhower State Park in Texas and Lake Texoma State Park in Oklahoma), more than 50 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed parks, two wildlife refuges (that ducks, geese, bald eagles and people love), more than 25 varied resorts, hundreds of campgrounds, and a wide variety of marinas (see below). Plus, veteran Lake Texoma boaters know some of the best spots—including some mentioned above—are only reached by water!
Boats can be rented from:
Big Mineral Resort, Marina and Camp Ground, 2889 Big Mineral Road, Sadler, Texas 76264 ((903) 523-4287), situated just north of Whitesboro. [East on the U.S. 82 from Gainesville for about 15 miles to U.S. 377. Then north about 7 miles to FM 901, turn right (east) and follow the signs.]
Cedar Bayou Marina, 513 Cedar Bayou Blvd, Gordonville, Texas 76245 ((903) 523-4248), situated north of Whitesboro. [At the intersection of Highway 82 and Highway 377 is Whitesboro, Texas. From this intersection, go north on Highway 377 approximately 13 miles, look for our huge Cedar Bayou highway sign on the left side of the road. Turn left at the sign and proceed 1/2 block on Cotton Franklin Road, turn left onto Cedar Bayou Blvd and proceed down the hill leading to Cedar Bayou Marina.]
Fishing is a big deal on this big lake. Lake Texoma is rightfully famous for striped bass (striper), with local guides providing a great way to go for a record catch. Along with stripers, there are also thriving populations of crappie, black bass, sand bass, and some seriously massive catfish!
You can fish with an expert guide:
David Mitchell (Mitch) (405-229-6191) [“Fish with Mitch”} has been a member of the Oklahoma City Fire Department for 23 years. He holds a Lake Texoma OUPV License. The U.S. Coast Guard, as of January 1, 2010 required that all Texoma fishing guides, hold this license. Mitch guides out of Buncombe Creek Marina on the Oklahoma side of the lake and out of Cedar Bayou Marina on the Texas side of the lake. His boat is a 2008 Falcon with a quiet and environmentally friendly four stroke 225 Yamaha outboard. All of his fishing equipment is in good working condition and is replaced before it is necessary. His boat is clean and he believes in doing preventative maintenance instead of waiting for it to break to fix it. He has been a Texoma Guide for over six years and has fished on the lake since he was 12. His actions in the boat and his language are family friendly.
Cornett’s Lake Texoma Striper Guide Service (580-564-4212), a family run business by Joe & Jon Cornett guiding out of Cedar Bayou on the Texas side of the lake.
Other options on or near the lake might include: waterskiing; houseboat rentals; quiet sunbathing; hunting; and much more. Scuba diving is another unique possibility to get wet and underwater with some of those catfish!
It's hard to imagine a boating destination with more marinas per square mile (or acre of water). There's a huge variety of possibilities, with lots of dock space, ramps, sales, and services to suit any boater's needs. The Lake Texoma Association's website (see below) has an excellent listing of the numerous options all around the lake.
They also eat big in this area and there are lots of restaurants lining the lake. Of course, fish is a very popular menu offering (as are seriously big and tasty steaks). The nightlife is also quite entertaining, with Carlotta's Cantina at Catfish Bay Marina—inside Lake Texoma State Park—providing just one fun example (it's the lake's largest floating night club).
For shoppers, lakeside ship's stores and boutiques offer some interesting purchase possibilities you may not find at any other boating destination. A short drive inland, there are unique antiques shops, charming non-chain shops, factory outlet malls, and more.
The Texas and Oklahoma cities around Lake Texoma provide lots of possibilities for sightseeing, events, history, culture, more shopping and dining, as well as other outdoor pursuits not necessarily possible out on the water (like lots of golf amidst rolling hills and great lake views!). All offer their own unique attractions.
Madill (home of the Annual Sand Bass Festival), Marietta ("Gateway to Lake Country"), Kingston (home of the Annual Striper Festival), and Durant (the Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma and home of the Magnolia Festival) are all good bets on the Oklahoma side, while Texas options for exploration might include Pottsboro ("The Small Town with the Big Lake"), Gainesville (a "Pure Texas Experience," including lots of history), Whitesboro (Annual Peanut Festival), Denison (historic downtown arts district), Sherman ("Red River, White Stars, Blue Sky"), and Bonham (named for Alamo hero and messenger James Butler Bonham, with lots of history—including the historic home/museum of long-time Congressman Sam Rayburn).
Given all this, it's easy to see why locals love Lake Texoma and word on the big lake is spreading fast. This two-state lake is now a big-time boating destination!