Beautiful islands in Sam Rayburn reservoir in Texas.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is a reservoir fed by the Angelina River in the heart of the Piney woods of East Texas. With a surface area of 114,500 acres, it is the largest lake located entirely within the borders of Texas. The reservoir is intended to provide flood control for the basins of the Angelina and Neches Rivers, water supply for Beaumont and Lufkin, as well as some of Texas' best fishing, camping, boating, and other recreational opportunities.

Geography Of Sam Rayburn Reservoir

A view of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir
A view of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Image Credit: Ricraider via Wikimedia Commons

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is located in the US State of Texas, in Angelina, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Sabine, and San Augustine counties. It is tucked within the Angelina and Sabine National Forests, deep in East Texas Piney Woods. Sam Rayburn Reservoir is situated on the Angelina River, the largest tributary of the Neches River, where it gets most of its water supply. The reservoir is roughly 70 miles and 15 miles north of Beaumont and Jasper, respectively. On the east side of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir are the towns of Woden, Etoile, Chireno, Denning, Augustine, Macungie, Broaddus, Roseville, Bronson, Pineland, Brookeland, and Brownell. On the west side are the towns of Redland, Lufkin, Huntington, and Zavalla. Sam Rayburn Reservoir has a length of 58.63 km, a maximum width of 6.90 km, and reaches a maximum depth of 24 m. It encompasses over 114,500 acres and can store up to 3,997,600 acre-feet of water. 

History Of Sam Rayburn Reservoir

To manage floods, generate hydroelectric power, and save water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural needs, the US Congress authorized the construction of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in 1945. Construction started in 1956, and the purposeful water storage began in March 1965. In 1966, the conservation pool's capacity was reached. At first, the project was known as "McGee Bend Dam and Reservoir" due to its proximity to McGee Bend on the river. The name was changed to "Sam Rayburn Dam and Reservoir" in September 1963 by the 88th Congress in memory of the departed Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Sam Rayburn. 

Fishing In Sam Rayburn Reservoir

The fishing on Sam Rayburn Reservoir for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish is rated as excellent annually by Texas Parks & Wildlife. The largemouth bass fishery at Sam Rayburn Reservoir is well-known throughout the country and draws many tournaments yearly. Although there are few white basses, fishing in spring can be somewhat productive. Another well-liked species in Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the hybrid striped bass. Additionally, there is excellent fishing for the abundantly present bluegill and redear. John D. Parker East Texas State Fish Hatchery, located on the reservoir's southeast shore, produces five million fingerlings yearly for Sam Rayburn Reservoir and the stocking of all Texas public waters.

Recreational Activities In Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Play a Round of Golf

One may escape for the day at one of the several private courses that are close to the waters so that one can take in the views and sound of the lake. Select from one of the various golf packages or pay to spend the day refining your golfing skills on the green field.

Spend The Night Under The Stars

In addition to the numerous vacation homes nearby, Lake Rayburn has a selection of campsites right on the water's edge. These sandy beaches give out the ocean feeling because one may camp right close to the water. If camping in the wild isn't one's thing, one can rent a cabin or park one's family RV at one of the seasonal sites that are all equipped and set up.


There are many trails near Lake Sam Rayburn for individuals who prefer walking. There are many areas to wander, from concrete roads to undeveloped ones. One can find the Sawmill Hiking Trail to the west of the lake. This 6.5-mile track has a topography suitable for hikers of all abilities. One can also take one's puppy for a stroll as long as it is on a leash.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is a key regional and national outdoor recreation destination supporting fish and animal habitats. It is the ideal getaway for fishing and nature enthusiasts. The reservoir holds excellent economic and natural value and thus must be protected at all costs.


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