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This project is located on Lake Fork Creek, a major tributary of the Sabine River, about 5 miles west of Quitman, Texas. The reservoir, owned an operated by the Sabine River Authority of Texas, inundates land in Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties. Preliminary engineering studies for the Lake Fork Reservoir Project were initiated in November, 1972. Construction work on the project began in the fall of 1975. Final closure of the dam was made in February, 1980, and conservation pool level was reached in December, 1985. A total of 41,100 acres of land were acquired for the project. Lake Fork Reservoir has an estimated surface area of 27,690 acres at conservation pool elevation 403.0 feet above mean m.s.l. (mean sea level) and extends up Lake Fork Creek about 15 miles.
Dam and Spillway
The earthen dam consists of a rolled-earth fill about 12,410 feet long with a crown width of 20 feet at elevation 419.5 m.s.l. The upstream slope of the embankment is protected from erosion by two feet of soil-cement. The overall length of the service spillway structure is 250 feet. The flow of water over the concrete ogee weir is controlled by five 20 by 40 foot tainter gates. Also contained in the spillway structure are two 5 by 8 foot low-flow outlets and three metered water release pipes. The design discharge of the spillway is 81,900 cubic feet per second.
Construction of the Lake Fork Reservoir was funded through a water supply agreement with several corporations, including Texas Utilities Generating Company, Inc., now Luminant, to provide water for municipal and industrial uses. Several municipalities, as well as water supply corporations and industrial and agricultural interests, have contracted for purchase of water from the reservoir. The reservoir's storage capacity at the 403 foot m.s.l. conservation pool level is 675,819 acre-feet with a minimum firm yield of 188,660 acre-feet per year.
Lake Fork Creek rises in the southeastern corner of Hunt County and flows in an easterly direction for 78 miles to its confluence with the Sabine River eight miles southeast of Mineola. The stream drains an area of approximately 685 square miles in Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties in the uppermost northeast portion of the Sabine River Basin. Approximately 493 square miles of the Lake Fork Creek drainage area lies above the reservoir dam site. The topography of the Lake Fork Reservoir area is characterized by rolling upland hills transected by the moderately wide flat floodplain of the Lake Fork Creek. The geology of the area consists primarily of deposits of the Wilcox soil groups which generally exhibit sandy surface layers with clayey subsoils. The climate of the Lake Fork Reservoir area has been classified as subtropically humid and is characterized by warm summers and mild winters. Rainfall is abundant (over 40 inches per year) and fairly evenly distributed with August generally the driest month, and April and May the wettest.
The recreational potential of Lake Fork Reservoir will be enjoyed by thousands of water sports enthusiasts over the coming years. Fishing opportunities have been particularly good due to fishery management efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who began stocking the reservoir with Florida largemouth bass in 1978. A new state record largemouth bass weighing 18.18 pounds was caught from Lake Fork Reservoir in January, 1992. Through 1992, almost 75 percent of the largemouth bass on the state top 50 list for that species had been caught in Lake Fork Reservoir. Large numbers of channel and blue catfish are taken each year. Naturally occurring populations of black and white crappie and bluegill and red-ear sunfish have flourished sufficiently to create much angler interest in those species. For more information, please see the Sabine Basin Recreation Guide entry for Lake Fork.
353 PR 5183
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