• River: Neches River
• Surface Area: 114,806 Acres
• Volume: 1,140,500 Acre Feet
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is located deep in the east Texas Piney Woods Forests just north of Jasper, Texas. The lake is nationally known for its largemouth bass fishery and is home to over 300 fishing tournaments each year. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, birding, wildlife viewing, and other fun activities.
Over 20 areas provide access to Sam Rayburn Reservoir with boat ramps
available at many of them. These lake facilities are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, individual counties, or leased and operated by concessionaires or located in close proximity to a concession/marina. Prior to planning your visit to beautiful Sam Rayburn Reservoir, please contact the operating agency for availability of boat ramps, electrical outlets, drinking water, sanitary, and shower facilities.
See our Sam Rayburn Reservoir points-of-interest page for locations, details, and contact information for each of the lake access areas. Terrain / Landforms
Sam Rayburn Reservoir lies in the Texas counties of Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and Jasper, and is flanked on the north and south banks by the Angelina National Forest
- Around Sam Rayburn Reservoir, on the gently rolling hills of Angelina National Forest, Longleaf Pine is the predominant cover type in the southern portion, while Loblolly and Shortleaf Pine are the dominant types in the rest of the forest. Summers in the Angelina National Forest are hot and humid and winters generally are short and mild. Average mid-summer temperatures in the forest range from the mid-80's to the mid-90's, with an average mid-winter temperature a mild 52 degrees. Rarely do temperatures in the forest drop to less than 10 degrees or rise above 110 degrees. The average annual rainfall is 46 inches. The Angelina National Forest lies in the Big Thicket National Preserve.
- Life of all types abound in The Big Thicket. This national preserve protects the incredible diversity of life found where multiple habitats converge in southeast Texas. Hiking trails and waterways meander through nine different ecosystems, from longleaf pine forests to cypress-lined bayous. It is a place of discovery, a place to wander and explore, a place to marvel at the richness of nature. The Big Thicket National Preserve is located in the Piney Woods Forest of east Texas.
- The Piney Woods Forest is a temperate, coniferous forest in the southern United States covering 54,400 square miles of east Texas, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, and southeastern Oklahoma. The East Texas region is primarily a thick forest of pines, hence the name Pineywoods! This woodland is part of a larger forest that extends into Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The terrain is rolling with lower, wetter bottomlands that grow hardwood trees such as elm, mesquite and ash. This region is home to a variety of plants and animals that like woodlands and shorelines. Among them are: cottonmouth snakes, squirrels, rabbits and opossums. Swamps are common, particularly in the southern most area of the region which is called the “Big Thicket.”
The Sam Rayburn Dam and Reservoir was built for the purpose of flood control, hydroelectric power generation, and to conserve and supply water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and recreational uses. Management and operational decisions must be made in accordance with these three main missions, which in part explains why the lake levels fluctuate so frequently. When substantial rains create the potential for flooding, incoming waters from the Angelina River watershed are retained within Sam Rayburn Reservoir's flood pool, and the lake level rises. Once the threat of downstream flooding is reduced, flood waters are released into the Angelina/Neches Rivers, which maintains higher flows (but below flood stage) in the rivers until the levels in Sam Rayburn are reduced.Statistics and History
The Sam Rayburn Dam is 19,430 feet long, and contains 114,500 surface acres of water when at the Conservation pool elevation of 164.40' . At the flood control pool (elevation 173') the reservoir hold 1,140,500 acre feet of water (1 acre of water, 1 foot deep) which is spread over 142,700 surface acres. Sam Rayburn also features the first accordion weir emergency spillway constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction on the dam began in 1956, deliberate impoundment of water began in March, 1965, and the conservation pool level (164.4') was reached in 1966. Additional information on the construction and history
of the Sam Rayburn Dam and reservoir can be found on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.Credits
National Park Service - Big Thicket National Preserve (Texas)
Texas Parks & Wildlife - Piney Woods
USDA Forest Service - Angelina National Forest
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Sam Rayburn Reservoir Information