Van Zandt, TX
Texas Outside Rating: 8.0

Acres Of Water & Miles Of Shoreline
36,700 acres and 200 miles of shoreline


Brief Overview:

Lake Tawakoni is a large lake with over 36,700 acres and 200 miles of shoreline.  The maximum depth is 70 and the water clarity according to Texas Parks & Wildlife is "moderately stained" - not sure what that means but we would call it light brown with 1 to 3 feet visibility. 

The lake is best known for fishing which is excellent for catfish, white bass, hybrid and striped bass.  The vast majority of the lake is undeveloped and what is developed seems to be very dated - not the best lake for cruising and marveling at big lake mansions. 

There are several public access areas with marinas, ramps, camping, and day use areas - again, most of them are dated.  The best camping is at Lake Tawakoni State Park which is an excellent State Park with a few sites on the water, a 4 lane very deep boat ramp, swimming beach, hike and bike trails and more.  Read our review of Lake Tawakoni State Park to learn more. 

Img_3794 Img_3787

A Typical Texas Outsider Day

When we visited Lake Tawakoni in August 2010 is was in the middle of a severe drought and the area was about ready to set a new record of days over 100!  The lake was down about 6 feet and it was 109 with no wind.  Since it  was so hot we found a couple spots to drop an anchor or tie up to a tree and float in the lake - which was almost as warm as a bath tub!  But when it's 109 a warm bath tub still feels pretty cool.

We visited Lake Tawakoni during the week and saw three to four boats and enjoyed calm smooth water - perfect for towing a tub with our two grandsons.  We did however run aground a couple times in spots where you would think it should be deep but luckily the bottom is clay and sand so no damage except for my pride!  

We cruised around the southern portion of the lake below two mile bridge and then stopped in for lunch at Kenny's Landing.  A funky place with a campground, boat rentals, and a restaurant.  Food was ok and the prices are reasonable.  We understand they occasionally have live music. 

Img_3788 Img_3793

Other Cool Things To Do:

Outside of fishing, cruising, camping, boating, or picnicking on the shore, we didn't find much to do. 

Img_3752 Img_3796

What To Do If No Boat:

If you don't have a boat and want to get out on the water, then check out this Lake Tawakoni boat rentals page.

Nearby Activities:

We haven't spend much time exploring the area - we did have a good and cheap burger in Wills Point at Blue Bird Cafe.  Four Winds Steakhouse just south of downtown Wills Point has an excellent reputation as an upscale steakhouse. 

There are a scattering of nearby golf courses and some other lakes to explore and fish like Lake Fork. 

Canton and it's historic and well know First Monday Trade Days is within 20 minutes of the south end of the lake.

Restaurants, Bars, & Music:

Kenny's Landing has a funky small restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and we've heard they occasionally have music.  We were told that there are a couple other places to eat that you can boat up to.

Wake Boarding & Skiing:

Lake Tawakoni seems undiscovered and as such you won't have to content with a lot of boat traffic but there are portions of the lake with stumps you need to watch out for.  We explored the southern portion of the lake below two mile bridge and found lots of calm water that was excellent for tubing or boarding.  We also ran aground twice where we thought it should have been deep water - but the lake was also down 5 feet. 


Angling Opportunities

Striped bass, hybrid striped bass and white bass are vital to the local economy, providing excellent fisheries especially in the lake's open water areas. Striped and hybrid bass are stocked annually by TPWD to maintain the fisheries. Channel and blue catfish are abundant, along with limited numbers of flathead catfish. Largemouth bass is also a popular sportfish in this reservoir. Crappie fishing can be good around standing timber, bridge pilings, and artificial fish attractors.

Fishing Cover

Flooded timber, although not abundant, is found in scattered areas throughout Lake Tawakoni. Aquatic vegetation is sparse and tends to decrease following lake draw-downs. As water levels increase, emergent aquatic plants such as smartweed establish dense areas of cover. Main lake humps tend to attract schools of striped bass, hybrid striped bass, and white bass. The habitat on Lake Tawakoni is limited, so any available cover tends to attract and hold largemouth bass.

Tips & Tactics

Catfishing is one of Lake Tawakoni's sure bets. Anglers use a range of baits including cut bait, shrimp, liver, stink baits and earthworms. Techniques include drift fishing, bank fishing, and trotlining. Catches of trophy blue catfish, especially during winter months are fairly common. Largemouth bass anglers should concentrate their efforts around available cover such as piers, boat houses, vegetation and trees along the shoreline. Peak times for fishing include spring for spawning fish and fall for schooling fish. Spawning fish are frequently caught using spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and jigs. Schooling fish can be caught using crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures.

In spring and summer, surfacing schools of striped bass, hybrid stripers and white bass can be caught using slabs, spoons, shad-bodied grubs, and topwater baits. Seagulls are attracted when schooling fish chase bait fish to the surface. Early morning, dusk, and overcast days are good times to find these schooling fish. When there is no surface activity, anglers should try vertical jigging slabs or spoons off the bottom or trolling major points using lipless crankbaits, sassy shads and roadrunners. In addition, live shad are used by many anglers to catch hybrids and stripers. Crappie fishing is often concentrated near bridge pilings, submerged trees and brush piles in late spring and fall.

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth Bass
White Bass
Hybrid Striped Bass

*Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Camping, Waterfront Lodging, and Day Use Parks

There are several campgrounds but most look dated.  But that is not the case with Lake Tawakoni State Park, which made or list of The Top 25 Parks in Texas.  It has great sites, some close to the water, that are full hookups, swimming beach, trails, fishing cleaning station, boat ramp, and more.  Read our review of Lake Tawakoni State Park to learn more. 

We've heard that there are other options for lodging but haven't checked them out.  Kenny's Landing has cabins.

Ramps & Marinas

Use this Lake Tawakoni map to find a ramp and more. 

Texas Outside Rating of Tawakoni
Water Clarity: 
Water Conditions: 
Skiing & Board Conditions: 
Cruising & Touring: 
Restaurants & Bars: 
Safety Level: 
Lake Lodging & Camping: 
Texas Outside Rating of Tawakoni
(scale of 1 - 10)
Water Clarity:
Skiing & Board Conditions:
Crusing & Touring:
Restaurants & Bars:
Safety Level:
Lake Lodging & Camping:

More Pictures

Img_3804 Img_3805 Img_3782

Texas Outside Lakes Rating Scale

Texas Outside rates lakes on a 1 to 10 scale based on:

  • Beauty: high scores are given for lots of trees, hills, or pretty houses
  • Water Clarity: if you’re standing in two feet of water and can’t see your toes or the water has a deep brown color, we’re talking a 1
  • Water Conditions:  rough water with waves over a foot (good for PWCs or surfing) due to consistent wind or boat wakes don’t rate high on our scale
  • Skiing & Board Conditions:  on the weekends if you can typically find a good cove or part of the lake with glass, we’re talking a 10
  • Beaches:  don’t you hate those beaches when you step into the water you sink in mud up to your knees and loose your flip-flops or it’s all slime and weeds or small rocks – if so, that’s a 1
  • Fun Scale: lakes scoring a 10 have fun restaurants and bars, great coves for raft ups or swimming, and fun rental toys
  • Cruising & Touring:  if you can cruise the lake and look at beautiful houses, nice marinas, pretty coves, or anything similar it will score high
  • Restaurants & Bars:  nothing better than cruising over and having some good food and listening to some great music on the deck of a fun restaurant – the ride back with smooth water and a fun moon is also pretty cool – we’re talking a 10
  • Safety Level: lakes with lots of wild and crazy jet skiers or fast cigarette boats will score low
  • Camping:  we’re looking for beautiful spacious sites right on the water with a nice sandy beach to swim and park the boat
  • Fishing:  the bigger the better and they have to be easy to hook


*Fishing information was provided with permission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife (www.tpwd.state.tx.us) in 2006. Texas Parks and Wildlife does not endorse Texas Outside or information presented on texasoutside.com. ©Copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Texas Outside Newsletter

© 1996-2021 Texas Outside