Wright Patman Lake Information

Wright Patman Lake’s northern border is 10 miles southwest of Texarkana, Texas, in Bowie County on the north and Cass County on the south, just a few miles from the Louisiana border. Wright Patman Lake covers 20,300 acres with 170 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 40 feet. From Texarkana, US 67 runs southwest across Wright Patman Lake’s northern side through the towns of Redwater, Maud, and Carbondale. From Texarkana, US 57 runs south on the eastern side to Queen City, and Atlanta, Texas. SH 8 runs south from Maud to Douglassville on its western side. 

The US government owns Wright Patman Lake, which is operated by the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) for the purposes of flood-control, conservation, and recreational purposes. The Sulphur River feeds Wright Patman Lake. It is extremely rural, with no communities on the lake and surrounded by extensive parks. Atlanta, Queen’s City on the southeast corner of Wright Patman Lake, and Texarkana on the northeast corner are the closest cities with shopping districts.

History of Wright Patman Lake

Wright Patman Lake was originally known as Texarkana Reservoir. It was renamed for Wright Patman in the late 1970s in honor of the longtime congressman from East Texas. The United States's Flood Contract Act of 1946 authorized the Texarkana Reservoir and Dam. The dam was completed in 1948, impoundment began in 1953. The project was not fully completed until 1957.

The Caddo Indians occupied the Wright Patman Lake region for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. Disease and threats from the Osages forced them to abandon the region in the final years of the eighteenth century. Shawnee, Delaware, and Kickapoo Indians inhabited the area during the 1820s for a few years, but they abandoned their settlements in the mid-1830s.

Cass County was never a frontier county. The first Anglo settlers were from southern states and brought with them their culture. It was not isolated from access to larger markets because it was close to Jefferson, Texas, and a major river port. They developed an agricultural economy based on cotton as the cash crop and corn and hogs as their food crops. Sixty years after the Civil War, cotton and corn remained the primary agricultural crops. Its abundant forests supported the lumber industry. Cass County lumber mills were producing 75 million board feet of lumber annually by the 1940s .

Bowie County shares the same native history as Cass County. The area of Northeast Texas encompassing present Bowie County was considered a part of Arkansas, and it was the site of some of the earliest Anglo settlements in Texas. Hunters and Traders were the first Anglo people operating in Bowie County by 1815.

Early settlers seem to have regarded the area as part of the United States. But the United States government refused to issue them land titles, and many of these settlers petitioned the Mexican government, who did not issue titles. 

The settlers ended up turning to land agents and sending representatives to the Arkansas legislature. The Convention of 1836 met at Washington-on-the-Brazos and wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, organized the ad interim government, and named Sam Houston commander in chief of the military forces of the Republic of Texas. The convention carved Bowie County out of Red River County. 

Fishing Wright Patman Lake

The predominant species on Lake Wright Patman are largemouth and white bass, blue, channel, and flathead catfish, black and white crappie, and bluegill and redear sunfish. Fish cover habitat consists of inundated timber, brush, creek channels, and riprap. Submerged aquatic vegetation coverage is low, but high densities of emergent and floating plants are present. Man-made structures have created five fish attractor "reefs" which can be found with GPS devices in conjunction with fish finders. 

Much of Wright Patman Lake’s shoreline is hard to reach to fish from the bank except in the parks surrounding it. These same areas are reachable by kayaks and canoes. The basin of the lake bed has radical depth changes which create structure for fish and baitfish. This natural structure, including humps, islands, creek and river channels, ledges, and points, and standing timber provide cover for fish. 

There are plenty of public boat ramps scattered around the lake. Spring, summer, and fall are the best times to catch fish in shallow water. The fish move deeper in the winter. Several fishing guide services are available if you do not want the hassle of a boat. They know where the fish are, and anglers will find success with quality-sized fish.

Find experienced local guides on our Wright Patman Fishing Guides page. 

Boating on Wright Patman Lake

Boaters will find 17 boat ramps on Wright Patman Lake. There are eight day use ramp facilities, three ramps for campers, and six lease areas with ramps. Wright Patman Lake is great for power and fishing boats, kayak and canoes, and personal watercraft. Kelly Creek Landing and Marina is the only full-service marina on Wright Patman Lake. It is located on the north side of the lake near Berry Creek Park and operated by the USACE. Find or sell a boat on our Wright Patman “Boats for Sale” page. 

Rental Cabins at Wright Patman Lake

The options for rental cabins are limited because this region is unpopulated and there are no lakeside communities. There are a few vacation homes that accommodate large parties with modern features and some cozy cabins. Most of the rentals are in towns surrounding Wright Patman Lake or a few miles away. Be sure to call and book a rental in advance. Find the perfect vacation home on our Wright Patman Cabins page. Find the perfect vacation home on our Wright Patman Lake Cabins page. 

Camping at Wright Patman Lake

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages nine parks around Wright Patman Lake. They provide lake access for boating, swimming, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, and equestrian trails. There are RV sites and tent camping with water and electric areas in most of the parks. There is plenty of primitive camping in the hunting areas year round. Please call the parks before you go because some of them are closed in winter. This is a beautiful and extremely rural lake. 

Bring all your supplies and food with you because there are very few stores near Wright Patman Lake. Wake up with hot coffee to a stunning sunrise, play on the lake all day, then BBQ your dinner in one of these gorgeous campsites on Wright Patman Lake in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Wright Patman Lake Camping page.

Hiking Wright Patman Lake

You can hike at these parks on developed trails in Clear Springs Park, Rocky Point Park, Piney Point Park, and Malden Lake Park. Fourteen trails allow horses on hunting access trails at Wright Patman Lake. The equestrian trails are open year round, but they are also open to vehicular traffic from September 15-January 15 for hunting seasons. The developed trails are good for biking. 

Wright Patman Lake Hunting

Wright Patman Lake offers 78,300 acres of choice hunting opportunities in northeast Texas. The government-run property covers two counties, Bowie and Cass. Legal game found on Wright Patman Lake includes: white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, squirrel, feral hogs, dove, and many species of waterfowl. It’s an excellent lake for duck hunting, due to the terrain and habitat. The Corps constructed and maintained hunting access roads, primitive campsites, and primitive boat ramps. Hunting seasons are from September 15-January 15. There are a couple of hunting guide services as well. There are not any special permits required to hunt Wright Patman lake other than the standard state license requirements. 

Things to Do at Wright Patman Lake

The thing to do at Wright Patman Lake is enjoy the lake and nature. The restaurants are mostly in Texarkana, and a few restaurants are on US 59 and US 67. There is a Walmart in Texarkana on the northeast and Atlanta on the southeast. Explore your options on our What To Do At Wright Patman Lake page.

Wright Patman Lake Weather

Wright Patman sees an average of 50 inches of rain per year, one inch of snow, and 214 days of sunshine. The winter low in January is 35 degrees and a summer high in July of 94 degrees. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months for this region. Stay up to date on our Wright Patman Lake Weather Forecast page. 

Wright Patman Zip Codes

Bowie County: 75501, 75503, 75504, 75505, 75507, 75554, 75559, 75561, 75567, 75569, 75570, 75573, 75574, and 75599.

Cass County: 75551, 75555, 75556, 75560, 75562, 75563, 75565, 75566, 75568, 75572, 75630, and 75656. 

Wright Patman Flora and Fauna

The surrounding low-rolling to flat terrain is surfaced by shallow to deep clay and sandy loams that support mixed hardwoods and pines and grasses. Common wildlife sightings include white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, squirrel, feral hogs, dove, and many species of waterfowl. There have been reports of black bear sightings in Bowie County, and occasional mountain lions spotted in nearby areas. The Piney Woods of East Texas supports 353 species of birds. Bring your binoculars for great wildlife sightings. 

Wright Patman Lake Email Updates


Wright Patman Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Wright Patman Lake Weather Forecast



Hi: 95

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 75


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 94

Saturday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 76


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 94

Sunday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 77


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 96

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 76

Wright Patman Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 7/13: 229.65 (+2.15)