How Deep is Lake Texoma in Texas?

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: October 11, 2022
Image Credit Desmond Hebert/
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Lake Texoma is the largest reservoir in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tulsa District and the 12th largest lake in the USACE overall. 720 miles up from the river’s mouth, in Bryan County, Oklahoma, and Grayson County, Texas, the Denison Dam on the Red River creates Lake Texoma. It is where the Red River and the Washita River meet. 

In 1944, the project was done. The dam site is 15 miles southwest of Durant, Oklahoma, and about 5 miles northwest of Denison, Texas. The USACE Tulsa District’s most popular and developed lake is Lake Texoma, which has about 6 million visitors annually. Oklahoma has a more significant piece of the lake than Texas does. The average depth is 39.9 feet, and the maximum depth is 100. 

What Type of Water is in Lake Texoma?

Lake Texoma, Eisenhower State Park
Lake Texoma is full of salt water, due to the salt that seeps from the Red River into it.

Desmond Hebert/

The Red River, which flows into Lake Texoma, is a saltwater river. This is because salt deposits were left over from a sea that used to be in the area where Texas and Oklahoma meet 250 million years ago. Over time, that sea dried up, leaving behind salt deposits, mostly made of sodium chloride. 

The salt deposits were eventually covered by rock and sand, but salt still leaks out through natural seeps in streams above Lake Texoma, sending as much as 3,450 tons of salt per day down the Red River. Many parts of the Red River’s water are too salty and must be treated in order for it to be drinkable. Striped bass, a saltwater fish, flourish in Lake Texoma as a result of this phenomenon. Lake Texoma is the only place in Texas where striped bass can live on their own.

Plants and Fish

There are patches of floating heart and bushy pondweed, as well as water willow and American lotus. Blue-green algae blooms sometimes happen in this reservoir. Aside from that, there isn’t anything too exciting regarding plants. 

In Texas and Oklahoma, millions of fishing licenses are sold each year. Old and young alike continue to enjoy it, and Lake Texoma is a popular place to go for recreational and competitive fishing. There are 28 kinds of fish that reside in Lake Texoma, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). The most common fish here are:

What you may see during your visit 

There are many interesting birds you may see depending on the season. This section will cover what kinds of creatures you may be lucky to see if you get to visit this lake. You’ll be able to discover which season may interest you the most and also know what creatures you want to see will be present.


From November, thousands of geese fly south from their breeding grounds in the north to the refuge. These winter “snowbirds” eat grain grown in the refuge because it helps them get ready to leave in the spring. By the end of February, all winter wheat has been consumed, and geese start heading north. 

When looking for small mammals, northern harriers and red-shouldered hawks fly low over farm fields, and bald eagles are often seen. People also go to the refuge to watch waterfowl and take pictures of wildlife or fish.


In March, spring also marks the start of a significant time of change. When monarch butterflies start to fly north from Mexico, thousands of migrating shorebirds stop to eat in refuge wetlands. Some warblers and hummingbirds stay to nest, while others pass through on their way north. 

Bluebirds start looking for places to nest, and the songs of colorful painted buntings can be heard again in fields and forests. People enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of spring, like the greening trees, the croaking of frogs, and the smell of wildflowers. Many fishermen target spawning crappie at this time of year since Lake Texoma fishing is often excellent.


It’s nesting season, so a lot is happening at the refuge. Great blue herons sleep in their nests on the tops of trees. Dickcissel and killdeer chicks emerge from their nests, and white-tailed deer fawns hide in the grasslands. 

By August, shorebirds head south, but winter residents like blue and green-winged teal start to arrive. People go to shady refuge forests to get out of the summer because of the heat and enjoy boating and fishing on Lake Texoma. The best places to watch wildlife are on prairies and open water.


When the days get shorter in autumn, birds that live there in the summer start to move to warmer places for the winter. Migrating shorebirds stop at the refuge to eat in the mudflats and rest as they make their way south. 

People love seeing the monarch butterflies and the many white pelicans as they migrate. Lake Texoma is a great place to fish for striped bass, and bow hunters are getting ready for deer season in the fall. The crisp autumn air is filled with bright colors and fresh scents.

The most exciting part of Texoma!

The Compass Rose is a copy of a wooden Brigantine from the 1860s. It was built in 1968. It has a double hull made of mahogany and white oak ribs and is 60′ long. So that it can move around in shallow water and tight spots, it only has a draft of 6.5′. This made ships like this one go faster where their enemies couldn’t, which was great for getting around blockades. 

When people sail on the Compass Rose, they get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see what life was like on a Brigantine in the 1860s. The ship is like a floating museum full of old things from the time. You can help the crew run the ship under the direction of the Captain, or you can relax and enjoy the sail. Your visit will be treated with the utmost care, and the memories you make will last a lifetime. 

Up Next…

Lake Texoma, Eisenhower State Park
Lake Texoma is full of salt water, due to the salt that seeps from the Red River into it.
Desmond Hebert/
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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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  1. Compass Rose, Available here:
  2. Wikipedia, Available here:
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  4. Texoma Fishing, Available here: