Hook, line, and sinker  //  Lake Fork Reservoir

 27,690 acres  //   Drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Waterfront restrictions: None
Lake_Fork_4 CAST SYSTEM: Lake Fork harbored 34 of the top 50 largest record largemouth bass. Photo by Dave Shafer

The economy hit Lake Fork hard in 2009, and it hasn’t quite recovered, despite being nationally known as the Big Bass Capital of Texas. “We don’t do business in the subprime, but when 2009 hit and it was a huge blown disaster, I saw a huge dip in business,” says local real estate agent John Jarvis.

About half the properties on Lake Fork are second houses. Lands End is the lake’s premier subdivision, with a golf course, restaurant, bar, and pro shop. Generally, though, prices here are lower than similar lakes closer to Dallas.

Thirty-four of the top 50 largest recorded largemouth bass have been caught here, the largest at 18.18 pounds (caught in 1992). Though largemouth bass get all the headlines, you can also find plenty of catfish, white bass, crappie, and sunfish. They thrive among the timber found within the lake—which makes for tricky boating. The lake’s reputation for great fishing often overshadows its reputation as a recreational lake; huge pockets throughout the lake make for great skiing and tubing.

“The most common thing I hear from people is they’re wanting to get out of Dallas,” Jarvis says. “They want to catch their breath. After that, usually the husband’s an avid fisherman. You can catch fish on any lake, but guys who know anything about bass fishing, those guys want to come to Lake Fork.”