Sports
Bois d'Arc, Texas' newest lake, opens for great fishing following intense stocking and habitat installation efforts
By Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Jun 14, 2024
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Bonham, Texas -- When Bois dArc Lake in Fannin County officially opened for use in April, Texas got its first major reservoir in more than 30 years. But early results indicate anglers may have a budding new fishing haven as well, thanks to a partnership formed between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).

TPWD is incredibly grateful and appreciative of the collaborative partnership formed with NTMWD to develop Bois dArc Lake into a world-class fishery for Texas anglers and our visitors, said Tim Birdsong, Director of TPWDs Inland Fisheries Division. NTMWD proactively engaged TPWD fisheries biologists, wildlife biologists, and game wardens in 2016 to identify shared goals and strategies for timber management, fish habitat development, fish stockings, boating access, watershed conservation, mitigation of streams and wetlands, enforcement of fishing and hunting laws, and capacity for emergency response. Outcomes achieved over the past eight years are simply remarkable.

TPWD began stocking sunfish and minnows in 2018, during the lakes construction. The fish were placed in four large ponds preserved by NTMWD within the footprint of that lake.

Advanced size ShareLunker bass fingerlings arrived in the ponds in 2019, and when the lake began to hold water in 2021, stocking commenced in the main body of the reservoir, along with bluegill and channel catfish.

So far, 373,859 pure Florida Largemouth Bass have been stocked that are direct descendants of a 13-pound or larger bass, said Dan Bennett, Inland Fisheries Division Denison District Supervisor. We are excited to see what sort of trophy bass can be produced from the combined productivity of a new lake and a new bass population originating from so many fish genetically selected for growth. We have already seen submissions of bass over eight pounds to the Toyota ShareLunker app. A scale sample taken from one 9.05-pound bass should confirm if it originated from one of the original ShareLunker stockings by TPWD.

TPWD also created gravel spawning beds and installed commercial fishing habitat and PVC cubes around the lake. TPWD is in the process of raising a few hundred button bush and bald cypress trees to plant around the shoreline this summer. These trees will provide additional littoral habitat for the fish.

NTMWD consolidated cleared trees to build over 40 large brush piles in the main lake which are designed to furnish substantial fish habitat for many years. Anglers can target all of the installed habitat structures when casting a line in Bois dArc Lake by using TPWDs fish habitat structure interactive map, which marks the locations.

Standing timber and aquatic vegetation, including American Pondweed and Coontail colonies that spread from ponds flooded by the lake, provide natural cover and habitat for fish.

NTMWD did a good job compromising between providing substantial open water areas for pleasure boaters, yet still leaving about a third or more of the lake in standing timber with large boat lanes, added Bennett. That is going to provide excellent fish habitat for a long time.

NTMWD developed three public access areas on the lake that feature boat launch ramps, day-use picnic areas and restrooms. For more information on the public access areas and Bois d Arc Lake, visit the official lake website.

Bois d Arc Lake is currently managed with a 16-inch maximum length limit for largemouth bass. It gives the largest bass in the new lake a greater chance to reach trophy size during the first years the lake is open to fishing. All other species are managed with statewide regulations.

Anglers wishing to donate a bass over 13 lbs. to TPWDs ShareLunker program are able to temporarily retain the bass in a livewell between Jan. 1 and March 31. Anglers who catch bass over eight pounds are encouraged to enter their catch to the ShareLunker app and submit a scale sample to TPWD for genetic testing.

TPWD sustains quality fishing opportunities for 3.1 million freshwater anglers on Texas 1,100 public lakes and 191,228 miles of streams, creeks and rivers. In 2022, anglers spent an estimated $11.1 billion on food, lodging, transportation and equipment while fishing Texas freshwater and coastal waters, and fishing supported an estimated 51,380 jobs in the state.