|Toledo Bend Reservoir
With over 1,200 miles of shoreline that surrounds 181,600 acres of water, Toledo Bend Reservoir offers almost unlimited possibilities for boaters, anglers, campers, swimmers, hunters, and sightseers. Located on the Sabine River along the Louisiana-Texas border, this reservoir is the largest manmade body of water in the south and the fifth largest in the U.S. Known nationally as one of the best bass fishing hot spots in the country, this reservoir has dished up numerous lake and state record fish over the years.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is flanked on the Texas side by the Sabine National Forest. On the Louisiana side, visitors can find a state park at Toledo on the south end of the lake, and easy access to I-49, especially via the town of Many at mid-lake. From the dam site in Burkeville, Texas, the reservoir extends 65 miles to Logansport in Louisiana and covers four counties in Texas and two large parishes in Louisiana.
This lake is legend for its lake record fish, including a 71-pound flathead catfish (1985) and a 15-pound, 32-ounce largemouth bass (2000) on the Texas side of the lake. In Louisiana, lake records include a hybrid striped bass at 15 pounds and 21 ounces (1992) and a 23-pound, 18-ounce freshwater drum in 2002 (also a state record). State records from this lake include the 15-pound hybrid striped bass and a 47.50-pound striped bass in 1991. Dean Higginbotham caught a state record 2.56-pound yellow bass in 2011, and Brian Fant snagged a 20.50-pound bowfin here in 1976 -- this bowfin still holds the state #1 record. A 3.55-pound black crappie made state records in 2003, and a 3.16-pound white crappie made the grade in 2009.
In 2011, Louisiana and Texas reached the fourth reciprocal fishing license agreement within about twelve years. Texas regulations are stricter regarding length and bag limits, and the compromise leans toward Texas standards especially with catfish and crappie at Toledo Bend. Check with both state game and wildlife agencies before you fish to make sure you are complying with all rules and regulations.
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Sabine National Forest provides three sites that boaters can use to launch crafts into Toledo Bend Reservoir at Indian Mounds, Lakeview Campground, and Red Hills Lake. All three of those sites also provide tent camping, and all but Red Hills provide RV camping. Numerous other launches are available in Louisiana from the state park in Toledo to Logansport. Boaters need to be aware that shallow-draft power boats are best on this lake, as a large number of trees and stumps still exist along the lake bottom. Boat lanes are well marked.
The 160,656-acre Sabine National Forest in Texas flanks Toledo Bend Reservoir's entire western shore. This forested area offers plenty of recreation areas as well as camp sites, RV camping, and dispersed camping. South Toledo Bend State Park in Louisiana is located on the southeast shore near Toledo. Visitors who want to stay at this park can reserve campsites or deluxe cabins. Camp sites include four pull-through sites and nine prime location sites with water and electricity. Cabins sleep up to eight people.
Other private campgrounds surround the lake in the small towns listed under the "community" section below, including tent and RV campgrounds and sites with cabins, short-term vacation rentals, and hotels.
Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is located on the Sabine River in Panola, Shelby, Sabine, and Newton Counties in Texas and Sabine and DeSoto Parishes in Louisiana. Nearby towns in Louisiana include Toledo, Leesville, Many, Mansfield, Leesville, Logansport, and Simpson. The lake is located west of I-49, and towns along that interstate include Shreveport, Natchitoches, and Alexandria. On the Texas side, the closest towns are Hemphill, Huxley Bay, Carthage, San Augustine, and Jasper.
The closest major airport is a toss-up between Shreveport and Alexandria. Both cities are located about 75 miles from Many, Louisiana. If visitors prefer to arrive or leave on the Texas side, Longiew has the closest major airport with East Texas Regional Airport. That airport is located about 85 miles from San Augustine.
Fun times at Toledo Bend Reservoir
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