Lake Tawakoni
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Lake Tawakoni
State Park    Birds    Spiders    Flowers    Fishing    Marinas    Swimming    Weather    History

Welcome to Lake Tawakoni, named after the Tawakoni Native Americans, and it lies 20 miles southeast of Greenville, Texas, and is only a 50-mile drive east of the Dallas Metroplex. Lake Tawakoni boasts 200 miles of shoreline covering 37,879-acres. This lake sits in the counties of Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt.  Lake Tawakoni is divided into East Tawakoni and West Tawakoni. Small neighborhoods dot the shoreline around the lake with a backdrop of beautiful tall trees common in east Texas. Come visit our marinas and boat ramps, parks, restaurants, and swim beaches surrounded by nature and wildlife. To see more fun places to visit click here.

What Does the Word "Tawakoni" Mean?
Tawakoni translates to "river bend among red sand hills".

State Park  <Menu>
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) manages the Lake Tawakoni State Park (LTSP), which offers RV and tent camping, cabin rentals, canoe rentals, fishing, hiking trails, and a swim beach.  It offers ranger programs for the young and old alike. Its hiking trail is 4.6 miles long and great for all hiking skill levels with access points to the lake. The Lake Tawakoni State Park saw 100,000 visitors between 2007 and 2022, so it is not one of Texas’ busiest state parks, but from spring break to fall, the park can fill up. Shaded campsites with picnic tables are scattered throughout the park. Lake Tawakoni State Park invites you to escape into a water wonder world of boating, camping, fishing, and hiking.

What Is Lake Tawakoni Known For?
Lake Tawakoni is known as the “Catfish Capital of Texas” with forests of live oak and post oak trees. This lake is also known for wildlife viewing with armadillos, beavers, coyotes, white-tailed deer, red and gray foxes, frogs, minks, opossums, raccoons, snakes, squirrels, and turtles, plus elusive bobcats and cougars living amongst its flora. 

Birds  <Menu>
Rains County is the "Eagle Capital of Texas" - designated as such by the Texas Legislature in 1995 as part of an effort to protect and preserve the American Bald Eagle. Lake Fork, Lake Tawakoni and the surrounding areas are nesting and feeding grounds for bald eagles and over 260 other varieties and species of wild birds. Around the shoreline you can see upland regrowth forests with pine trees and post oaks. Birders report more than 200 species of birds in the region. Year round sightings of Wood Duck, Great Egret, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black and Turkey Vultures, Red-shouldered Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Pacific and Common Loons, American White Pelicans are common. 

Lake Tawakoni is part of the Central North American Flyaway. Flyaways are national systems that track migratory birds. In the spring birders look for: Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks, warblers, tanagers, kingbirds, cuckoos, and flycatchers. Summer: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, Painted and Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Dickcissel, Green and Little Blue Herons, Cattle Egret. Fall: Shorebirds. Winter: Pied-billed and Horned Grebes, Pacific and Common Loons, ducks, Crested Caracara, Rusty Blackbird, Fox, Le Conte’s, and Harris’s Sparrows, House, Winter, and Sedge Wrens, Pine Warbler, kinglets, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Rarities: Long-tailed Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake, Little and Sabine’s Gulls.

Spiders  <Menu>
In 2007, 2015, and 2021, enormous spider webs were discovered in the state park and surrounding areas. This discovery gave rise to arachnologist’s surprise and sparked research that proved spiders will work together to spin a communal web. Experts previously thought spiders worked alone until someone took notice of these trees. They thought the number of spiders who made their homes and livelihoods in this tree to be in the thousands. Experts noted that the spiders were not dangerous to humans. These spiders are Tetragnatha guatemalensis, or the Guatemalan long-jawed spider. These mega webs appear after extremely heavy rains, and the locals keep an eye out to discover them every year. 

Flowers  <Menu>
Flowers native to Texas Blackland Prairies grow wild at Lake Tawakoni. Along with bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and Indian blankets, people can see asters, compass plant, gayfeathers, Maximilian sunflower, and wild indigos. Important native prairie plants to look for are big bluestem, little bluestem, tall dropseed, and yellow indiangrass. 

Fishing  <Menu>
Lake Tawakoni is known as the “Catfish Capital of Texas”. Blue catfish make up 90% of Lake Tawakonis catfish population. The predominant fish species include black and white crappie, largemouth bass, striped and hybrid striped bass, and white bass. Special catfish limits are in effect on the lake. Other species include bluegill, bowfin, channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, green sunfish, white bass, yellow bass, and longnose and spotted gar fish.
Lake Tawakoni hosts over 30 fishing tournaments a year, and trophy cats are common catches, especially during the winter months. 

Find local fishing guides on our Lake Tawakoni fishing guides page.

Marinas  <Menu>
Seven marinas call Lake Tawakoni home. Five are on East Tawakoni, and two are on West Tawakoni on the northern part of the lake. Start on our Lake Tawakoni marinas page to plan your boating adventure.

Swimming  <Menu>
The Lake Tawakoni State Park has a large swim beach with picnic tables in a boat-free zone, and it also has 5 miles of shoreline access. There are loads of other places and parks you can swim at also.
There are lots of little parks dotting Lake Tawakoni’s shores, where you can swim. The beaches at Lake Tawakoni are rocky, so wearing water shoes is a good idea; but water shoes are a good idea at any lake. Some beaches are only boat accessible. Lake Tawakoni is extremely popular for swimming and day use because of all the trees shading the areas if you do not want to get too much sun. 

Weather  <Menu>
The region around Lake Tawakoni receives an average of 44 inches of rain per year with about 232 sunny days per year. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months at this lake. Temperatures average out to a high in July at 95 degrees and a winter low in January at 32 to 33 degrees with one inch of snowfall per year. 

History  <Menu>
 Lake Tawakoni takes its name from the Tawakoni people. A variety of Indian tribes and prehistoric peoples called the region home before European exploration began. The Tawakoni Indian tribe is part of the Wichita confederation of the southern U.S. Plains Indian tribes, whom historians believe originated from today’s central Kansas and indigenous to Oklahoma and Texas. They spoke the Caddoan family language dialects of Wichita and Kichai. The Tawakoni tribe has also been known as the Tawakaro, Tehacanes, Tancaro, Toucara, and Tuacana people.  

Tawakoni translates to "river bend among red sand hills". The U.S. federally recognizes the Tawakoni people as part of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. The Wichita tribes also include the Keechi, Kichai, Taovaya, Waco, and Yscani people.  The Tawakoni and Waco Indian tribes conflicted with Stephen F. Austin’s Anglo-American settlerments in the 1820s.
The Tawakoni brought the Comanche and the Wichita tribes together to sign a peace treaty with the United States in 1835, the first Plains Indian treaty with the U.S. over their territories in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. Approximately 258 Tawakoni were removed to the Leased District in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in August 1859.

The Iron Bridge Dam

Lake Tawakoni, located in northeast Texas, has a rich history tied to the construction of the Lake Tawakoni Dam, a significant engineering project that aimed to address water management and flood control in the region.

The origins of Lake Tawakoni trace back to the early 20th century when concerns about water supply and flood control prompted discussions among local authorities. Before its construction in 1958, farmers and ranchers inhabited most of the land. In response to recurring flooding along the Sabine River and its tributaries, including the East Fork of the Trinity River, plans were devised to construct a dam.

The construction of the Lake Tawakoni Dam, called the Iron Bridge Dam, began in the late 1950s under the direction of the Sabine River Authority of Texas (SRA). The project was part of a larger initiative by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aimed at harnessing the water resources of Texas for various purposes, including flood mitigation, water supply, and recreational opportunities.

The dam's construction involved extensive engineering efforts, including the excavation of the dam site, installation of concrete structures, and the creation of spillways to regulate water flow. The primary purpose of the dam was to impound the waters of the Sabine River and its tributaries, creating a reservoir that could store water during periods of high rainfall and release it gradually to prevent downstream flooding.

The completion of the Lake Tawakoni Dam in 1960 marked a significant milestone in water management and flood control efforts in northeast Texas. The reservoir created by the dam covered approximately 37,879 acres and had a storage capacity of over 926,000 acre-feet of water.

Lake Tawakoni quickly became a vital resource for the region, providing water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use while also offering opportunities for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and camping. The construction of the dam and the formation of the lake also facilitated the development of surrounding communities, spurring economic growth and infrastructure improvements in the area.

Over the decades, Lake Tawakoni has remained a vital component of the region's water infrastructure, playing a crucial role in water supply, flood control, and environmental conservation efforts. The reservoir continues to be managed by the Sabine River Authority of Texas, ensuring the sustainable use and stewardship of this valuable resource for generations to come.

excerpts from https://www.laketawakonitexas.com/
Author: Kendall Davis
Company: Lumini Services - https://kdavis1836.wixsite.com/luminiwrites

Chilcottages <Menu>

The Original Chilcottage
The Original Chilcottage is located on the eastern side of Star Island located in the center of Cass Lake in Northern Minnesota.  It is a very rustic cabin built among the tall pines on the rocky cliff overlooking the lake.  Star Island is a very unique island.

For more information on Star Island, we highly recommend the following book
It includes history and various stories from the islanders including my grandmother.

The New Chilcottage - Lake Tawakoni Chilcottage
We still really LOVE the original Chilcottage up in Minnesota, but the fact is, that the place is up in Minnesota.  We live in Texas and that place is 20 hours away (1,300 miles) and that's if we drove straight thru.  We all really wanted to have a place on the lake like that to create our own great family memories, one that was not as far away.  We quickly realized that really wouldn't be possible on our salaries unless we took an extraordinary leap of faith. We decided to see if we could try our hand at hosting an AirBNB.  We bought that place in late 2021. It was in pretty rough shape and needed extensive updates. Why didn't we opt for one a lot more updated and move in ready?  Well after looking all over Texas and even Oklahoma for almost a year, we found out the places we liked were either way too small or way out of our price range.  And the places we could afford we pretty aweful.  This place had the space, was close by, and most of the repairs and updates seemed cosmetic and something we could attempt. We have been doing most, if not all the work, and so progress went rather slowly.  But we will soon have a place, not only for our family, but also for yours, to create those great and lasting fun times.  So check out our blog, stop by and comment, and say hi.  We can't wait to share our house with you.

Potato Chip Boat <Menu>


Lake Tawakoni State Park - All about the beautiful state park located on the south side of the lake.

Lake Tawakoni Wikipedia Page - with a little bit of history and more info.