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Texas Built its Own Lake and Boaters are Loving It

If your state is short on water, build your own lake.

So goes the ethos in North Texas, where the man-made Bois d'Arc Lake is officially open for business.

The waterway is the first man-made lake to open to the public in 30 years and sits an hour northeast of the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan Area in Fannin County.

It is owned and operated by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and was built as a reservoir for serving the nearby population of two million people. The $1.6 billion project took 15 years to come to fruition and will now supply water to 13 cities in the metropolitan area. Construction crews broke ground in spring 2018, but the NTMWD just announced its opening to the public this week.

The lake boasts a whopping 26 miles of surface area, equivalent to 16,000 acres, and supplies 82 million gallons (31 million liters) of water per day to the surrounding population. An additional 17,000 acres of land surrounding the reservoir was also restored or improved thanks to the project, which also includes planting 6.3 million trees. Another 12,000 acres of wetland and grassland was also created.

The dam which serves as the backbone to the entire ecosystem was completed in 2021 and began delivering water to a nearby water treatment plant in March 2023. The waterway was stocked with 300,000 Lonestar bass for anglers in May 2023, which gave the fish time to acclimate to their new environment before opening to the public. Texas Parks & Wildlife also lists crappie, sunfish, and catfish as other fish species available in the lake.

"The addition of Bois D'Arc Lake to our portfolio water supplies will allow us to continue to provide that safe and reliable source of water for generations to come," NTMWD Executive Director Jenna Covington told CBS News Texas.

"Construction alone increased economic activity in Fannin County by around $500 million, and recreation is expected to bring around $166 million annually for the county once the lake opens to the public," according to the Bois d’Arc Lake official website.

"The lake is boosting taxable real estate values and providing the supplies to attract and support new businesses and jobs across the region."

The entire area is expected to be a huge boon for not only the local economy, but also local recreationalists including boaters, kayakers, and fishermen.

With more than enough space for recreational day boating or serious angling, tourists are already arriving from nearby states to check out the new attraction.

"I probably caught 50 fish between two and four pounds," said Richard Saccaro, an angler from Oklahoma, to CBS News Texas.

One of the main delays in the lake's opening was waiting for the reservoir to reach a safe depth for boats. Now that it has hit the target, boaters are flocking to the new waterway. The area is expected to be popular for anglers, but will also have extensive hunting land throughout the surrounding landscape.

Bois d'Arc Lake is expected to have an average depth of 20 feet (6.1 m) and a maximum depth of 70 feet (21.3 m). It also has three public boat ramps that are free, with parking for up to 50 cars at each ramp.

Boaters considering a visit to the new North Texas playground can even get info from the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Bois d'Arc Lake website.

You can get the lowdown on all the features for boaters built into Bois d'Arc Lake in the video below:

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