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Bois d’Arc Lake: Elevating Texas Bass Fishing to a Whole New Level

August 5, 2020

Diagrams courtesy of NTMWD

Although there are a lot of serious bass anglers in Texas, it’s been nearly 30 years since a new major bass fishing reservoir opened here. Fortunately, that long wait will soon be over thanks to the much-anticipated unveiling of Bois d’Arc Lake in Fannin County, near the Oklahoma border. 

Named in honor of the region’s rich heritage and indigenous trees, the Bois d’Arc Lake project will help meet the growing fresh water demands of the 1.8 million people and 13 communities comprising the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). 

More importantly for bass fishing enthusiasts, Bois d’Arc Lake could soon become the go-to destination in all of North Texas.  

Bois D'Arc Lake Operations Center Exterior
Bois D’Arc Lake Operations Center Exterior
Bois D'Arc Lake Operations Center Interior
Rendering of the Bois D’Arc Lake Operations Center Interior

Bois d’Arc Project Highlights  

First conceptualized back in 2003, construction on the $1.6 billion Bois d’Arc Lake project began in 2015. Based on projections from the US Army Corps of Engineers, by 2023 the reservoir will provide NTMWD customers with over 100 million gallons of treated water every day.

When the massive project is completed in 2022 work crews will have created: 

  • Dam and water intake on the northeastern shore that will transfer raw water to the treatment plant
  • Raw water pipeline leading from the dam to the raw water pumping station
  • Roadway and bridge improvements (FM897, FM1396, etc.), including a new bridge across the reservoir
  • Environmental mitigation improvements on over 17,000 acres, including Riverby Ranch 
  • New high service pumping station, water treatment plant, and terminal storage reservoir 
  • Pipeline supplying the regional water system with treated water from the new treatment plant
  • Lake Operations Center 
Bois D'Arc Lake diagram

Economic Impact in Fannin County

As new commercial developments come to Fannin County, independent analysts estimate that the area will reap these economic benefits as a result: 

  • $166 million of annual economic activity
  • Creation of 2,400 new, long-term jobs 
  • Up to $8.3 million in additional local labor income
  • Between $17 million and $22 million in additional revenue from non-local visitors
  • Over $81 million in annual revenue from new permanent and weekend residents
  • Additional yearly property tax revenues of nearly $2 million 
  • Roughly $3.9 million annually for the area’s school districts 
  • An additional $303,000 per year in local sales tax revenues
  • Residential construction of 3,200 waterfront and near-waterfront homes over a 30-year period
Bois D'Arc Lake Usage diagram

Recreational Activities at Bois d’Arc Lake

Although it’ll take the reservoir some time to fill up with enough water to fully accommodate recreational activities like fishing, boating and swimming, 16,600-acre Bois d’Arc Lake will eventually provide residents and visitors with these outdoor opportunities:

  • Proximity to Caddo National Grassland
  • Access to a 42-mile long wildlife corridor that extends along Bois d’Arc Creek from State Highway 78 to the Red River
  • Numerous picnic areas and public restrooms
  • 3 public boat ramps 
  • Private boat docks for property owners around the lake 

Better yet for serious anglers, the NTMWD is currently partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to convert some existing TPWD ponds into fisheries for game fish species that will then be used to stock Bois d’Arc Lake. 

Those plans include stocking the lake with sunfish, crappie, catfish and—you guessed it—largemouth bass! The NTMWD and TPWD are also looking at the best ways to create suitable fish habitats in the lake, starting with anchored brush piles. 

Responsible shoreline management and erosion control are also environmental mitigation priorities for the NTMWD, including the construction of retaining walls on NTMWD property and other easements surrounding the lake. 

Best Bass Lures for Lake Fishing  

Bass with lure

Once Bois d’Arc Lake is fully stocked and opened to the public, it’ll quickly become a highly coveted North Texas destination for serious anglers. When filled to capacity, the reservoir’s average depth is expected to be 22 feet, with some areas reaching 70 feet or more.   

In the meantime, you’ll need to get your tackle box ready by stocking it with these must-have bass fishing lures:

Swimbaits. Catching monster bass with swimbaits any time of year requires matching the right size and color with their natural prey. Ripping a Kitana Stagger Scrounger jighead fitted with a Jerky J through open water during warmer months should yield great results.

Buzz and spinner baits. When used all year long, skirted jigs in styles like the Atlas Spinnerbait or RS Buzz will land you more picture-worthy bass. 

Jerkbaits. In cooler or warmer water, rip or twitch a fast jerkbait like the RS Xtreme Rip Pencil through open areas with generous flats and then get ready for some excitement! 

A medium jerkbait diver from the RS XRM Series allows you to cast long and straight in the lake’s wide open spaces, while the Castaic Dying Jerk delivers fast or slow action in the water as it performs a near-perfect imitation of a dying shad that curious bass simply can’t resist. 

Crankbaits. Because you’ll encounter water depths from a few inches to 70 feet on Bois d’Arc Lake, lipless crankbaits like the Backstabber Lipless Stabber series are a must-have lure in any serious bass angler’s tackle box. 

To land trophy-worthy bass during cooler months, switch to a slimmer crankbait like the RS XRM 120. Then once it warms up again, use a chunkier crankbait that produces a big wobble like The Castaic Cowboy and watch as your friends turn green with envy!

For more news on B’ois D’Arc Lake, you can sign up for the official NTMWD newsletter here.

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