The Most Overlooked Bass Lakes in Texas

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June 3, 2016
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Everybody knows Texas harbors some of the very best bass fishing lakes on the planet, but some of those impoundments grab way more attention than all the rest put together.

As a result, some of the state’s sweetest spots often get lost in the whirlwind of media hype frequently cast on Texas “super lakes” and whopper size tournament favorites like Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Livingston, Palestine, Conroe, Fork, Ray Roberts or Falcon. Think about it for a minute. When is last time you saw Lake Pinkston mentioned in a magazine or on the Internet? How about Lake Kurth, Timpson, Lake O’ The Pines, Bonham, Athens, Marine Creek, Bastrop, Murvaul, Welsh or Somerville?

Trust me. The lack of publicity about some of these fisheries doesn’t come because of crappy fishing quality. Often times it comes as the result of dynamite bassin’ that tight-lipped locals had rather keep all to themselves.

The spectacular bass fishing available in Texas is not limited to the so-called “super lakes.”

The spectacular bass fishing available in Texas is not limited to the so-called “super lakes.”

A few of my fishing buds may want to dump outboard oil in my fuel cell for what about I am about share here, but sometimes it comes with the territory. Here is a synopsis of some of Texas most overlooked bass lakes:

Kurth

Here’s an East Texas honey hole that has gotten so little publicity over the years that many folks may not even know it exists.

Located in Angelina County a few miles off US 59, Kurth spans about 726-acres and maintains an outstanding population of trophy-size fish, largely because of its excellent water quality, a relatively constant water level and outstanding habitat provided by abundant hydrilla, lily pads, cattails submerged brush and stumps. The water clarity here is typically gin-clear, and hydrilla has taken hold at depths beyond 15 feet, creating optimum conditions for vertical flipping in the summer and springtime sight fishing.

TPWD manages the lake with a restrictive 16-inch maximum length limit, designed to protect all bass larger than 16 inches and to enhance the trophy prospects. Access is limited to annual and daily permit holders. Annual permits and three-day permits can be purchased through the City of Lufkin Monday through Friday or from the lake caretaker’s residence during daylight hours.

Chris Fontenot pulls a nice bass out of Lake Kurth.

Chris Fontenot pulls a nice bass out of Lake Kurth.

Pinkston

Pinkston has as been producing big bass since the early 1980s, but the late Earl Crawford made it famous when he hauled in a former state record weighing 16.90 pounds there in February 1986.

Located in Shelby County along Big and Little Sandy creeks, the lake spans only 523 surface acres. But don’t be fooled by its size. Pinkston maintains one of the healthiest bass populations in all of eastern Texas.

It was among the first lakes in the state to be stocked with Florida bass (1976) and has since been salted with more than 20,000 Toyota ShareLunker offspring that have flourished in a habitat-rich environment comprised of hydrilla, lily pads and abundant wood cover. The fish are protected by a restrictive 14- to 21-inch slot limit.

Timpson

For years, the 237-acre reservoir has been flying beneath the radar of Texas’s bass fishing fraternity. Meanwhile, a handful of local anglers from Shelby and surrounding counties have been catching and releasing big Florida bass topping 12 pounds and saying very little about it. There has never been a lake record largemouth certified for Timpson, if that tells you anything.

Located at the end of FM 2667, Lake Timpson is named after the nearby town of the same name. It maintained an abundant coverage area of hydrilla until 2004, when grass carp were introduced at the request of lakeside homeowners.

Although the grass has not yet made a comeback, the lake has dozens of docks, stumps and plenty of native vegetation where anglers can soak their baits. The lake is governed by a 14- to 21-inch slot limit intended to promote quality fishing.

Somerville

Here’s a sweet little honey hole just a short trip from Houston for those looking for change of pace from more pressured waters like Conroe, Livingston or Fayette County.

Located near Brenham, Somerville covers about 11,400 acres and produces numbers and quality fish alike. In 2009, the lake kicked out a lake record ShareLunker weighing 13.6 pounds.

Things are looking especially bright for the lake’s future thanks to big rains last spring that pushed it beyond full pool just prior to the heart of the spawn. According to area fisheries biologist Mark Webb, the big rise flooded a wealth of terrestrial vegetation that grew during multiple years of low water, creating optimum conditions for spawning and recruitment of a banner year-class of fish.

The lake is managed under the statewide limit of five fish, 14 inches. It is worth nothing that Somerville also maintains good populations of white bass and hybrids.

Overlooked bass fisheries such as Somerville, Pinkston, Brandy Branch and even the larger Lake O’ the Pines offer a change of pace from better known high-pressure lakes.

Overlooked bass fisheries such as Somerville, Pinkston, Brandy Branch and even the larger Lake O’ the Pines offer a change of pace from better known high-pressure lakes.

Lake O’ The Pines

Lake o’ the Pines near Longview will turn 60 next year. But you would never know it by the quality of the goods.

Lake o’ the Pines has weathered the test of time and continues to crank out top notch results for weekend anglers and tournament buffs alike. The lake record is 15.13 pounds, and it produces fish in the 6- to 8-pound class consistently.

The lake typically produces the heaviest sacks during the spring months. However, summertime can be outstanding for those who like to toss frogs and topwaters around grass and lily pads or dredge deep diving crankbaits around main lake structure.

The best grass is typically located at the lake’s northern quadrant, but some fear the vegetation may have gotten hurt by extreme high water back in March and April. The lake is governed by the statewide five-fish, 14-inch length limit.

Brandy Branch

Brandy Branch is a 1,250 acre power plant reservoir east located east of Longview off of FM 3251 in Harrison County. It was built in 1982.

If you like to flip grass with big jigs, this is definitely one to check out during the summer months. The lake is extremely clear and the hydrilla forms mats at depths beyond 20 feet.

It produces good numbers of quality fish and some giants. Local bass club events frequently record five fish weights topping 20 pounds, and 30-pound sacks aren’t unheard of. The lake also produces outstanding results at night because of its extremely clear water.

The lake record at “Perky” stands at 13.97 pounds, and it frequently produces fish in the 8- to 10-pound class. The limit on bass is five fish, 14 inches.

Story by Matt Williams

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