Lake Fork Reservoir is located 65 miles east of Dallas on the on Lake Fork Creek, a major tributary of the Sabine River between Quitman, Alba, Emory, and Yantis, Texas. At 27,690 acres and 315 miles of shoreline, Lake Fork is one of the 10 largest lakes in Texas. Lake Fork is home to two of the most popular and richest amateur fishing tournaments in the country: Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash and Berkley Big Bass Tournament.
Established by the Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1979, Lake Fork was designed to be a premier bass fishing lake with 732,514 Florida strain largemouth bass stocked from 1979 through 1987. Lake Fork offers excellent fish habitat with 80% standing timber left intact, with hydrilla, milfoil, and duckweed being the predominant vegetation. Although access through the reservoir is provided by numerous buoyed boat lanes, submerged timber represents a substantial hazard, so care should be exercised while boating in all areas. Areas containing boat houses, docks, and lake points have historically provided some of the best fishing for largemouth bass. Fish will also congregate around bridge pilings and brush piles.
Largemouth bass is the most popular sport fish in this reservoir. A combination of restrictive harvest regulations, stocking of Florida strain largemouth, and abundant habitat has contributed to Lake Fork’s development as one of the country’s premier trophy bass lakes. More than 65% of the Texas Top 50 largest bass (including the current state record) and more than half of those entered in the Toyota ShareLunker Program, were caught on Lake Fork. Crappie fishing is generally good, especially in standing timber and under the lake’s numerous bridges. Channel catfish angling is excellent, and has increased in popularity in recent years. White bass have been slowly increasing in abundance and provide an additional sport fish species in the reservoir. Sunfish, primarily bluegill, offer more opportunities for anglers during spring and summer. The predominant food sources for the larger fish are shad, minnows, and crawfish.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife implemented a protected slot limit to preserve the great Lake Fork bass fisheries. Therefore, bass between 16 and 24 inches must be returned back into the waters of Lake Fork immediately. A 5 bass per day limit can be kept, consisting of 5 under 16 inches, or 1 over 24 inches, and 4 under 16 inches.