White Rock Lake Fishing, Size, Depth, And More

White Rock Lake Dallas, Texas
© chalita_k/Shutterstock.com

Written by Heather Hall

Updated: September 8, 2023

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on White Rock Lake! If you’re an avid angler or simply looking for a serene escape surrounded by nature, this article is the perfect resource for you. In this guide, we will delve into all the essential information you need to know about White Rock Lake. From its size and depth to the various fish species inhabiting its waters, we will cover it all. Whether you’re looking for a great spot to go running with your dog or a new bird-watching area, join us as we explore the wonders of White Rock Lake.


White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake near Dallas has ample recreational opportunities.

©Michael Barera / Creative Commons – Original / License

White Rock Lake, located in Texas, is a picturesque and historically rich body of water that has captivated locals and visitors alike. Situated within the city limits of Dallas, this enchanting lake spans an impressive area and boasts a fascinating past.

Covering approximately 1,254 acres, White Rock Lake offers ample space for various recreational activities. You can row, sail, kayak, canoe, or simply enjoy the serene natural surroundings. Its prime location within close proximity to downtown Dallas makes it easily accessible. It is popular with residents and tourists seeking respite from bustling city life.


White Rock Lake is a picturesque reservoir located in the heart of Dallas, Texas. As one of the city’s most beloved outdoor destinations, it offers a serene and scenic setting for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. To ensure that you reach this hidden gem with ease, here are directions to White Rock Lake.

White Rock Lake is approximately five miles northeast of downtown Dallas. If you are starting your journey from downtown, begin by heading east on Commerce Street toward South Pearl Expressway. Continue straight onto Gaston Avenue until you reach East Grand Avenue.

Make a right turn onto East Grand Avenue and continue driving for about 2 miles until you approach Buckner Boulevard (Loop 12). Take a slight left onto Buckner Boulevard and drive northbound for approximately 1 mile before turning right onto Garland Road.

As you travel along Garland Road, keep an eye out for signs indicating the entrance to White Rock Lake Park on your left-hand side. Once inside the park grounds, take advantage of ample parking spaces available near the lake area, where numerous recreation spots await.


The Daniel and Cox families were the original owners of the area that is now known as White Rock Lake. Thomas Walker Daniel and his wife, Frances Herndon Daniel. They are the first people in the Family Bible of Thomas Walker Daniel. After the Civil War, Cox, a friend of Daniel’s son, decided to move to land near the Daniels. The two families shared a cemetery called the Daniel-Cox Cemetery which was also taken care of by other early colonists, such as the Glovers, the Humbards, the Coxes, the Lavenders, the McCommases, and Donagheys.

Construction of White Rock Lake began in 1910 due to a water shortage in Dallas. After its completion in 1911, the area around the lake experienced a growth in residential development. In the early 1930s, the Dallas Park Board, along with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), started transforming the lake into a public park. The CCC camp at Winfrey Point contained eight barracks buildings and was used by the men of the CCC to deepen and widen the lake, construct limestone rock structures, and enhance recreational opportunities. During WWII, the U.S. Army utilized the CCC camp as an induction point for new recruits. In 1943, the government utilized the barracks at Winfrey Point to house 403 German prisoners of war who had served in Rommel’s Afrika Corps.

Due to the increasing population of Dallas and a lack of rainfall, White Rock Lake Park stopped allowing swimmers in 1952 so that it could provide a safe water supply. By 1992, the park was a popular destination for recreational activities such as jogging, biking, and picnicking. The only reminder of the Daniel and Cox farms is the cemetery, which the Cox family helped to renovate. The sign now reads “Cox Cemetery” as a result.

Size and Water Level

White Rock Lake in Texas has a surface area of 1,254 acres and a water volume of 18,160 acre-feet. You can find maps of the lake and the entire surrounding area at the city parks office.


Depth is an important factor to consider when it comes to fishing, swimming, and boating. White Rock Lake in Texas offers a maximum depth of 18 feet (5.4 meters). This significant depth provides ample opportunities for various fish species to thrive. This makes it an ideal destination for both recreational and professional fishermen alike.

The impressive depth of White Rock Lake creates distinct underwater habitats that attract a diverse range of aquatic life. Deeper areas within the lake offer cooler temperatures and provide sanctuary for larger fish species. You can catch white crappie, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. These deeper regions feature submerged vegetation or natural structures like fallen trees or rock formations. These areas serve as excellent hiding spots for these sought-after game fish.


A caught white crappie



live in freshwater lakes like White Rock Lake in Texas.

©Jennifer White Maxwell/Shutterstock.com

White Rock Lake, a fun destination for fishing enthusiasts, offers an abundance of opportunities to reel in three primary species: crappies, largemouth bass, and catfish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice looking to hone your skills, the lake’s diverse ecosystem promises an unforgettable experience.

To ensure responsible fishing practices and sustainable populations of these sought-after species, White Rock Lake adheres to statewide regulations set by the State of Texas. You can find these regulations conveniently on the official State of Texas website, allowing anglers to stay informed about bag limits, size restrictions, and other pertinent guidelines that contribute to conservation efforts.

With convenience at its core, White Rock Lake boasts various amenities designed specifically for anglers. The lake features well-maintained piers where you can cast your line with ease and precision. These sturdy structures offer stability while providing strategic vantage points for casting into prime fishing areas.

In addition to the piers dotting the lakeshore, there are also pavilions available that cater not only to fishermen but also those seeking respite from their angling adventures. These inviting spots provide shelter from inclement weather or simply serve as perfect gathering places for friends and family eager to share in the excitement of a successful catch.

For those who prefer navigating through tranquil waters in pursuit of their next trophy fish or a peaceful escape amidst nature’s serenity, White Rock Lake presents multiple boat ramps that facilitate easy access to its gleaming surface.

Geology of the Area

Dogwood Canyon is a deep ravine in a hilly area of Dallas County, with a 300-foot height difference from the bottom to the top. Dallas County is on the Blackland Prairie, a grassland covering 12 million acres of Texas. Dogwood Canyon is part of the White Rock Escarpment or White Rock Cuesta. When the Great Interior Seaway receded, so did the soil and rocks of the area. The land has eroded and tilted over time, causing the various rock layers to be exposed.

Traveling east from Dogwood Canyon along I-20 towards Dallas, you can clearly view the White Rock Escarpment. This geological formation is made up of Austin Chalk deposits, which contain Coccoliths (microscopic microorganism skeletons). The escarpment rises up to 200 feet from Joe Pool Lake and can reach an elevation of 820 feet in Cedar Hill. In the past, these hills grew beautiful grass, but over time as natural fires decreased, Ashe junipers and oak trees have taken over the area.

Boating and Other Activities

White Rock Lake Dallas, Texas

White Rock Lake is a great place for boating, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing.


White Rock Lake has five boat launch sites and outboard motors limited to 10.5 horsepower. You may use a boat with a bigger motor by running your trolling motor. You can go to the many fishing piers around the lake, but your cannot camp. Picnic spots are plentiful. The park closes from midnight to 5 in the morning.


People set up the Corinthian Sailing Club in 1939 to encourage sailing and sailboat racing close to Dallas. It holds races on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. There are also many other events and regattas. The club has an excellent reputation among sailors and is well known for its reliable race management. Furthermore, the club is situated on the stunning White Rock Lake in Dallas. It offers plenty of social events, offers sailing lessons to adults, and runs an active juniors program.

The White Rock Boat Club was created in 1961 by three members of the Corinthian Sailing Club. These members wanted to find a way to control the rising prices of davits, as well as promote their Hellcat catamaran. The club was able to do this by selling davits and using the proceeds to build the club, with the caveat that if a member left, the club would be allowed to buy the davit back. Today, the WRBC owns and leases most of its davits.

The Southern Methodist University Sailing Club uses White Rock Lake as the main location for their practice sessions.


White Rock Lake Park has a gorgeous 9.33-mile-long paved trail. It is ideal for running, hiking, biking, or taking your pet for a stroll. As you traverse the path, you can take in the sights of the fishing piers and pavilions. 

Rental Facilities

The Winfrey Point building at White Rock Lake, Dallas taken from an aerial perspective.

Winfrey Point is a popular wedding destination near Dallas Texas.

©Isaac Murray/Shutterstock.com

White Rock Lake Park has two rental facilities. You can contact the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department to rent them.

Winfrey Point is a 2500 square foot, historic building located on top of a hill offering stunning views of White Rock Lake and the Dallas skyline. It is the ideal spot for weddings, corporate events, meetings, family reunions, and parties. It is finished with a fully equipped kitchen, including a refrigerator and stove. There is also a wraparound porch and a bride’s room for wedding festivities.

Big Thicket. Nestled among the trees around White Rock Lake is another rental facility called Big Thicket. It provides a tranquil ambiance and a picturesque perspective of the lake. This classic building has a smaller, open-plan layout and a kitchen with a refrigerator, oven, serving bar, and microwave. The serving counter makes it an ideal spot for any gathering.


The White Rock Lake Museum is preparing an impressive collection of displays to honor the lake in a variety of forms, such as art, literature, images, science facts, the past, the environment, sports, and leisure. Visitors will find presentations about local pollinators and pictures of the surrounding area, and much more.

Bath House Cultural Center

At White Rock Lake Park’s eastern shore, the Bath House Cultural Center provides:

  • A black box theater.
  • Two art galleries.
  • An indoor/outdoor lake-level stage.
  • A classroom area.

The galleries showcase 7-8 shows annually. Additionally, there are lectures, talks, classes, workshops, and camps in the summertime. There are also performances in a variety of visual and performing arts genres.

Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum is a great place for people of all ages to enjoy a multitude of events and educational activities. It also serves as a space for horticultural research and contains 66 acres that border White Rock Lake, providing a great opportunity for exploration.


Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus, bird of Greenland

Glaucous gulls are popular birds to spot on White Rock Lake.


Nature enthusiasts love bird-watching at White Rock Lake. With its diverse ecosystem and abundant bird population, visitors can expect to witness a fascinating array of avian species during their excursion. Among the various gulls that grace the lake’s shores, one may catch sight of the elegant ring-billed gull with its distinctive black-tipped yellow bill. The ethereal beauty of Iceland gulls adds to the allure as they gracefully glide across the water’s surface, while western gulls exude a sense of majesty with their striking white plumage and powerful flight.

During winter months, an extraordinary spectacle unfolds as cormorants and white pelicans make their annual migration to White Rock Lake. These magnificent birds create captivating scenes, diving into the water in search of fish or soaring above in graceful formations against picturesque skies.

As November rolls around, keen observers can keep a vigilant eye out for black-crowned night herons lurking along the lake’s edge. Known for their nocturnal habits and unique appearance with their sleek black feathers and piercing red eyes, spotting them amidst the tranquil surroundings can be quite rewarding.

Venturing into woodland areas around White Rock Lake offers opportunities to observe smaller yet equally captivating bird species, such as brown creepers and brown thrashers. These elusive creatures reveal themselves through glimpses between trees or melodious songs that fill the air with enchantment.

Dog Park

The newly refurbished White Rock Lake Dog Park is a 3-acre space where your pup can run free. Located at the intersection of Mockingbird Lane and W. Lawther Drive, the park offers picturesque views of the lake, trails, and wildflower areas.

Spend time with your canine companion and explore the surrounding jogging, biking, and boating areas of Dallas’ largest lake. The dog park features two acres for large dogs, one acre for small dogs, and a pavilion with lighting and electrical outlets. There are shade structures, an information kiosk, and lighting in the dog paddocks. There is a parking lot, 6-foot tall ornamental fencing, and gated entries to the dog paddocks and launching area. Enjoy the drinking fountains, pet comfort stations, and benches while you watch your puppy play. Take advantage of the pet waste stations, trash receptacles, and new concrete sidewalks. The area is closed on rainy days and each Monday for park maintenance.

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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