Lake Fork Information

Lake Fork Reservoir, about 70 miles east of downtown Dallas, in northeast Texas, is well known for trophy-sized largemouth bass fishing by anglers, and commonly known as Lake Fork. It sits mostly in northwestern Wood County with northeastern arms in Hopkins County, and its northwestern arm is in Rains County. The Sabine River’s Lake Fork Branch feeds Lake Fork. The Sabine River sees abundant rainfall, which gives it a powerful flow. The Sabine River Authority of Texas owns and operates Lake Fork.

Lake Fork is a relatively newly constructed and impounded lake in Texas. The cities of Longview and Dallas, Texas, in conjunction with the Texas Utilities Generating Company funded its construction, which began in 1975 for the purposes of conserving water for municipal and industrial use. Lake Fork covers 27,264 acres with 350 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 70 feet.

A majority of large, V-shaped Lake Fork is undeveloped with almost nonexistent lakeside communities. The terrain surrounding Lake Fork consists of gently rolling, tree-lined hills. The nearest tiny towns to Lake Fork are Emory, Yantis, Quitman, and Alba, Texas. SH 154 runs along Lake Fork’s east side, with SH 19 and US 69 on its west side. FM 515 cuts across Lake Fork’s arms on the north, with SH 182 running south of Lake Fork. The closest Walmarts are in Sulphur Springs, Texas, ten miles from Lake Fork’s northern arms, and in Mineola, Texas, ten miles from its southernmost edge.

History of Lake Fork

Like the construction of Lake Fork began later than many other lakes in Texas, Lake Fork’s region was settled later than many other areas of Texas. Spanish explorer Pedro Vial encountered Caddo Indians in 1788. Spain issued several land grants for today’s Wood County, but they were not realized. George T. Wood, governor of Texas from 1847 to 1849, is the county’s namesake. Wood County saw little settlement until after the Texas Revolution. Wood County experienced a slow growth rate until the 1850s.

Quitman, Texas, became the Wood County seat at its founding in 1850. John A. Quitman, former governor of Mississippi, played a big role in the Mexican War with Spain, which Mexico won in 1821. Quitman grew at a snail’s pace due to the lack of commercial transportation. The Texas and Pacific Railway wanted to locate a depot in Wood County in 1872, but demanded $100,000 in county bonds to finance the operation. Future Texas governor, James Hogg, lived in Quitman and was beginning his political career at the time. Hogg fought the railway company to deny the subsidy to the railroad company and won. The railroad chose Sodom, Texas, for its depot. Sodom became Mineola, Texas, and it is the biggest town in Wood County today.

Emory Rains settled an area east of Emory, Texas, in 1848, and he is the namesake for Emory, Texas, and Rains County. By 1857, Emory had established a store, a tannery, a gin, and quite a few of houses, plus a log courthouse. Originally named Springfield, Texas, because of the many springs in the area, citizens changed its name to Emory to honor their founding father.

Fishing Lake Fork

Lake Fork holds the record in 2017 for 33 of the 50 biggest largemouth bass ever caught in Texas, which were fished out of Lake Fork that year. Lake Fork is the premier trophy largemouth bass lake in Texas. Largemouth bass and catfish fishing is excellent on Lake Fork. The predominant species are largemouth and white bass, black crappie, channel catfish, and bluegill and redear sunfish. Aquatic vegetation consists of hydrilla, Eurasian milfoil, coontail, American lotus, water primrose, water hyacinth, alligatorweed and pennywort. Lake Fork has special regulations aside from the Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations, and anglers should be aware of them.

When Lake Fork was built, the engineers left 80% of the standing timber. Tree stumps are all over the lake underwater, leaving treacherous underwater hazards. Boat lanes are marked in major branches of the lake with Sabine River Authority buoys. The buoys indicate the paths without tree stumps. These lanes are not highways. Drive them with caution. Do not put all of your trust in GPS navigation. The accuracy is not perfect and there can be a lag in screen updates that make it dangerous to rely on GPS navigation completely.

Serious anglers love Lake Fork, and the evidence is that over 300,000 people visit Lake Fork every year. One of the best reasons to hire a Lake Fork fishing guide service is safety. The guides know where the stumps are. Other advice for engaging a Lake Fork fishing guide is that guides know where the fish are and why they are there. Plus, guides love teaching their customers new techniques, and they give you a chance to try out quality equipment and fishing tackle that you may not be aware of. Guides do all the work. They provide the boat, gear, safety, and fishing, and show you where to go and what to use. Call and experienced local Lake Fork Fishing Guide

Boating on Lake Fork

Lake Fork serves primarily as a trophy fishing lake with tons of tree stumps that create dangerous underwater hazards. The boat lanes help boaters get to areas without running into stumps. Even by the dam with open water, stumps are everywhere. If you want to ski, tube, or waterboard on Lake Fork, take extreme caution, and do not depend on GPS navigation systems.

Boat rentals for fishing boats, pontoon boats, ski boats, and jet skis are available along with new and used boat sales and boat repair services. Many of the parks have boat ramps. Some are public, and others charge a fee for launching and day fees for temporary slips. Bait and tackle stores dot Lake Fork. It is highly advised to buy or consult an online Lake Fork map from the Sabine River Authority. Buy or sell a boat on our Lake Fork Boats For Sale page. 

Lake Fork Marinas

Since Lake Fork is Texas-sized big on fishing, the marinas on Lake Fork cater to fishermen. Anglers can find rods, tackle, and bait at most of the marinas. Not all of Lake Fork’s five marinas are full service and do not have gas docks. Visitors will find various amenities at the marinas such as convenience stores, fishing piers, fish cleaning stations, boat ramps, annual slip leases and temporary slip rental, restaurants, stores, laundry facilities, motels, cabins, and RV sites.

To find the marina services you will need on Lake Fork, it is best to do your research because they vary in the services and amenities that they offer. On Lake Fork, some are small marinas, and others are full service marinas. Check out this list of Lake Fork Marinas today.

Lake Fork Cabins and Vacation Homes

There is a wide variety of cabins available on Lake Fork in many of the parks and from private owners right on the water or in interior locations with views of Lake Fork. From small, bare bones cabins to large family lodges, visitors can find a cabin that fits their needs perfectly. Vacation homes on Lake Fork offer many unique features. You can find many four bedrooms to one bedroom vacation homes with swimming pools, grills and smokers, private docks, decks, and modern features, or older cozy vacation homes.

Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets on Lake Fork display all hues of rainbow colors. Wake up to a great sunrise with delicious coffee outside on the deck while you anticipate an exciting day of fishing or water sports. Spend your evenings watching colors evolve in the sky as the sun goes down. There are plenty of options for your dream getaway at Lake Fork. Check out the great selection of vacation lodging on our Lake Fork Cabins page. 

Camping on Lake Fork

If you love primitive camping, you will love Lake Fork. There are more RV parks than tent camping with water and electricity, but primitive campers can find many spots all around the lake. When you find your favorite fishing or swimming hole on Lake Fork, you are sure to find an RV park close by except on the northern arms of the lake.

RV parks offer daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly leases. Some offer yearly leases only, and others offer both. They have many different features like boat ramps, fishing piers, fire pits, internet service, restaurants, and stores, and some are pet friendly. To find out where your RV wants to stay, check out these RV parks on our Lake Fork Campgrounds & RV Parks page. 

Lake Fork Hunting

Lake Fork offers some unique hunting options. The Cross Timbers Exotic Ranch specializes in exotic deer for the purpose of stocking hunting ranches, or you can hunt on its Lake Fork Ranch. Go Pheasant hunting at Hidden Lakes Hunting Resort, or bring down your limit of Quail or Chukar. Hidden Lakes offers half-day, all day, and multiple-day with meals and lodging hunting packages. Wild boars are a huge nuisance from Florida to Texas. You can hunt these destructive beasts at Cast and Blast Fishing and Hog Hunting which features guided stand hunting packages. Be sure to check out Texas Ranch Outfitters for their huge supply of firearms, ammo, and everything else you need for protection and hunting. 

Things to do at Lake Fork

Explore the East Texas and Gator Park about 15 miles southwest of Alba, Texas, on the southeastern border of Lake Fork. It’s part zoo, part alligator park, part petting zoo, and houses 14-foot alligators. In the summer, the staff conduct scheduled alligator feedings. The Grand Saline Salt Palace in Sulphur Springs is a museum built out of pure rock salt 14 miles south of Emory, Texas. The Caddo Indians used this region as a source of salt as early as 800 A.D. and the Cherokee Indians produced salt here until 1839. Discover the history of salt production on the salt prairie.

Choose from two golf courses on Lake Fork. The Links at Land’s End golf resort is semi-private and located on a peninsula rich with wildlife, spectacular views, and challenging golf shots. The Lake Fork Golf Course was voted “Most improved golf course in east Texas” by the East Texas Golf Association and features beautifully maintained greens.

In January, the annual mid-winter Bald Eagle survey on Lake Fork and its events are headquartered out of Emory, Texas. The Eagle Fest includes Eagle watching barge tours, a bird exhibit, arts, crafts, and food. Learn all you ever wanted to know about milk and cheese production at The Southwest Dairy Museum in Sulphur Springs. Take a guided tour with staff. One of its prime exhibits is a series of historical vignettes that show the life of a dairy farm family before electricity came to rural America.

Lake Fork is nestled in an isolated region, but locals and visitors alike can find good eats and drinks with entertainment. This area appreciates the talented musicians that Texas has been known to breed so well. Pick grapes at the Della Terra Farm on 100 acres of rolling hills in the northeast corner of Rains County, Texas, located just a few miles north of Lake Fork’s northeastern arm. The vineyard is Della Terra’s primary focus, but it's simple rural lifestyle demands gardens, fresh eggs, and farm critters.

The Mineola Nature Preserve Equestrian Trails & Derby on the Sabine River encompasses 2,911 acres and is home to East Texas species of wildlife that can fly, walk, crawl, and slither, and home to over 193 species of birds, buffalo, and longhorn cattle in a pristine wetlands environment. Besides equestrian trails, activities include camping, canoeing, disc golf, and mountain biking.

Whatever you decide to do on Lake Fork, you can find listings for interesting places and then meet interesting people. Plan your visit to Lake Fork attractions on our Things to do at Lake Fork page. 

Lake Fork Weather

Lake Fork sees an average of 45 inches of rain per year, with 1 inch of snow and 224 days of sunshine. The winter low in January is 33 degrees and a summer high in July of 93 degrees. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months for this region. Stay up to date on our Lake Fork Weather Forecast page. 

Lake Fork Real Estate

The average price for a modern home on Lake Fork is nearly half a million dollars. Lake Fork is in the top 20 Texas markets for lake homes. Typically, about 50 homes and 100 lots are on the market at Lake Fork. Alba-Golden ISD, Quitman ISD, and Yantis ISD are closest to Lake Fork. The nearest shopping centers with Walmarts are in Sulphur Springs, Texas, ten miles north of Lake Fork’s northern arms, and Mineola, Texas, ten miles south of Lake Fork’s southernmost border. Find a lake home on our Lake Fork Homes for Sale page.

Lake Fork Zip Codes

Hopkins County: 75420, 75433, 75437, 75471, 75478, 75481, 75482, and 75483.

Rains County: 75440 and 75472.

Wood County: 75410, 75431, 75444, 75494, 75497, 75765, and 75783.

Flora and Fauna

The Lake Fork region is in the Post Oak Savannah vegetation area which produces post oak and blackjack oak and tall grasses, and the eastern portion, in the Piney Woods vegetation area, has softwoods such as loblolly, shortleaf, longleaf, and slash pine and hardwoods such as oak, hickory, and maple. Bird watchers can find Eagles in January, and about 200 bird species call this area their permanent home. Egrets, Herons, and Kingfishers hang out on the shoreline at Lake Fork, plus migratory birds fly in during the changing seasons. 

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Lake Fork Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Fork Weather Forecast


Partly Sunny

Hi: 90

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 73


Slight Chance Rain Showers

Hi: 85

Wednesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 74


Partly Sunny

Hi: 90

Thursday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 72


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 92

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 73

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/18: 403.26 (+0.26)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 12)

GOOD. Water Stained; 76 degrees; 0.36 feet above pool. Bass fishing has been slower this week than last week. Topwaters frogs, Yellow Magics, and spook type baits are fair in and around flooded grass or weeds. Texas rigs and shaky heads flipped at the edge of grass in 2-5 feet are good with creature type baits and beavers. Chatterbaits are good also in front of the shallow grass. Sunny days you can catch fish out to the first break line. Cloudy days fish are best to fish tight to the grass edges. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Black bass are good morning and evening with top water frog patterns. Switching mid morning to noon streamers in shad and bream patterns. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Lake Fork crappie fishing is getting red hot like the weather this week. Really seeing the black crappie load up in big numbers on lay downs, under docks and on other structures they like in the summer months. Look for those black crappie in 14-22 feet of water mostly. We also are seeing the white crappie loading up on brush piles and those summer time trees they like. Best depths for the white crappie have been 18-26 feet. We are still catching good numbers of crappie on small hand tied jigs and I’m sure small plastics will work as well. Did see some fish on brush piles the last few days that minnows may help with. The channel catfishing is excellent as it always is on Lake Fork. Bait you a hole near timber in 18-25 feet close to a creek channel. Use cattle cubes or sour grain to attract and hold those fish. Trees that have overnight roosting birds are a great place to make your hole. Use any prepared catfish bait of choice to load the boat once you get the fish loading up. You can still find some spawning catfish up shallow around all the new flooded grass, brush or rocks. Lake Fork catfishing continues to be superb on baited holes around roosting trees. Catfish are good in 13-25 feet with prepared bait. You can also bait holes w

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