Sam Rayburn Reservoir Guide


114,000 acres


With over 740 miles of shoreline on the largest reservoir in Texas, Sam Rayburn Reservoir (aka, “Big Sam") is consistently ranked in the Top 10 in the state for excellent largemouth bass fishing. The record weight is 16.80 pounds.


Located in east-central Texas near Lufkin, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is the third largest reservoir in the United States. Just over 2 hours from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) and 4 hours from Dallas/Fort Worth International.


While fishing for largemouth bass can be productive year-round, during the fall, winter and spring months, fish are active for longer periods of the day and are typically found in shallow water.


Habitat in Sam Rayburn Reservoir consists of submerged aquatic vegetation, standing timber, and flooded vegetation. Hydrilla is the predominant plant species, although many native plants such as coontail and pondweed are also present. In the lower part of the reservoir the water is relatively clear; game fish are typically found around vegetation edges, flats, humps, and creek channels. In the upper third of the reservoir, vegetation typically declines. Timber, brush, laydowns, and creek channels provide upper-lake game fish habitat. A few man-made fish attractors provide additional structure.

A variety of baits and techniques will work, but crankbaits and spinnerbaits are usually the preferred choices. During the hot summer, the bite usually slows and fish activity is usually concentrated during early morning, late evening, and at night. Topwater baits are good choices during low light conditions. As the sun rises, most bass concentrate in or around vegetation edges and man-made brush piles, or seek refuge on deep ledges and creek channels. During this time, plastic worms, jigs, and Carolina rigs are preferred baits.

Boat ramp access to Sam Rayburn is easy and abundant, with twenty-two maintained access areas with boat ramps (including parks and private concessions) located around the reservoir.

Some ramps may be unavailable for use when the lake is low, so it’s a good idea to check with local authorities for current water levels and ramp conditions.

To keep up to date on Baitstick’s news and information for Sam Rayburn Reservoir and other top Texas fisheries sign up for the Baitstick newsletter.


Shirley Creek Marina

23177 FM226, Etoile, TX

Jackson Hill Marina

1705 FM 2851, Broaddus, TX


Fredonia Hotel

Best Western Crown Colony Inn & Suites


Smitty’s Smokehouse

Clear Springs Restaurant

Auntie Pasta’s Italian Kitchen