Martin Creek Lake State Park

Quick Facts

Martin Creek Lake State Park

Texas

(903) 836-4336

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Martin Creek Lake State Park, which consists of 286.9 acres, is located in Rusk County, southeast of Longview. It was deeded to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by the Texas Utilities Generating Company on June 23, 1976, and was opened to the public the same year. The park is located on 5000-acre Martin Creek Lake, constructed to provide cooling water for a lignite-fired, electric power generation plant.

The park and surrounding area have been inhabited by people since 200 B.C. Until the 18th century, Caddoan Indians and Spanish explorers lived in and traveled through this area. Later the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Kickapoo Indians migrated here in response to the increasing influx of Anglo Americans. Visitors can still see the old roadbed of Trammel's Trace near the fishing pier. It was an Indian Trail that became a major route for settlers moving to Texas from Arkansas. In 1833, Daniel Martin, for whom the park is named, settled with his family near the creek called Hogan's Bayou at the time. He and his neighbors eventually built a small fort and then a town called Harmony Hill. It reached its heyday after the Civil War, but it was deserted by 1900 and struck by a tornado in 1906. Only one Civil War era building remains today, and it has been converted into a storage shed. Traces of the old roads that brought prosperity to Harmony Hill can still be seen in the park and are part of the hiking trail.

Activities include excellent, year-round fishing; camping; wildlife observation and photography; picnicking; boating; water skiing; unsupervised lake swimming; backpacking; hiking; and interpretive programs on Saturday (when staffing allows). An annual perch fishing contest is held for children ages 4 to 12 is held first Saturday in September.

During fall, usually late October through the first two weeks of November, is a particularly scenic time at Martin Creek. Visitors can marvel at the colorful foliage displayed by the many varieties of hardwoods, interspersed with loblolly and short-leaf pine trees.

This forest shelters abundant wildlife including gophers, swamp rabbits, nutria, white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, and squirrels. Park visitors enjoy excellent year-round fishing, due to water warmed by the power plant. Fish include large-mouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, perch, ball, and sunfish. Among the most commonly seen birds are mallard ducks, great blue herons, green-backed herons, great egrets, northern cardinals, blue jays, red-headed woodpeckers, bobwhites, and northern mockingbirds.

Map of Martin Creek Lake (TX)

Latitude, Longitude: 32.283365, -94.570293

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Activities

  • Boating

    A 4-lane concrete boat ramp is accessible for visitors.

  • Bicycling

    Martin Creek Lake State Park has a 6-mile bike trail. The trail is relatively flat and tree covered. The trail is enjoyable all year round. Easy access to the lake can provide riders opportunities to rest by the water in the summertime and colorful leaves on the trees provide riders with excellent views during the fall.

  • Camping

    Facilities include restrooms with showers; hike-in primitive campsites with no drinking water available (one of the primitive areas is located on an island accessed via a charming wooden bridge); campsites with water and electricity (all have fire rings and picnic tables); screened shelters; 2 cottages (converted screened shelters which have been air-conditioned and heated, have water, electricity and bunk beds - capacity 5. Contact the park for reservations/availability.

  • Fishing

    Year-round fishing is permitted on Martin Creek Lake. An annual perch fishing contest is held for children ages 4 to 12 is held first Saturday in September. Predominant fish species include largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish.

    A Triploid Grass Carp Permit is in effect on this lake. If a grass carp is caught, it must be immediately returned to the water unharmed. All other species are currently managed under statewide regulations.

    The most popular game fishes at Martin Creek Reservoir include largemouth bass and catfish (both blue and channel catfish). All are caught in good numbers throughout the entire year. A crappie population is present with fair angling success. Bluegill and redear sunfish are present in high numbers and provide fast action, especially for youth or inexperienced anglers.

    Fishing Cover/Structure

    Habitat in Martin Creek Reservoir consists of standing timber, creek channels, and minor stands of lily pads. Tips & Tactics

    Since Martin Creek is a power plant lake, water temperatures are elevated, especially during the winter months. Anglers are most successful at catching largemouth bass during the winter and early spring. Typically, largemouth bass at Martin Creek will spawn approximately two months earlier when compared to other nearby reservoirs. Prior to spawning (November and December), fish are typically active and crankbaits and spinnerbaits are usually the preferred choice. Once spawning begins (January and February), soft plastic baits fished slower will catch fish. During the hot summer, the bite slows and fish activity is usually concentrated during early morning, late evening, and at night. Topwater baits are good choices during low light conditions. Very little shoreline cover is present in this reservoir. Therefore, as the sun rises, most bass concentrate on deep ledges and creek channels. During this time, deep-running crankbaits and carolina rigs are the preferred baits.

    Catfish anglers catch high numbers of fish year-round. Channel catfish are typically caught with stinkbait or liver fished around areas baited with soured grain or dog food. Blue catfish are much larger than channel catfish and provide a trophy fishery. Cut shad fished around creek channels and drop-offs is typically productive

    Crappie fishing is good year-round with jigs and minnows fished over brushpiles and bends in creek channels, but fishing is best during the spring spawn. Sunfish, especially bluegill and redear sunfish, can be caught year-round but fishing peaks during the late spring or summer when fish are on their spawning beds. Small jigs, spinners, earthworms, and crickets all catch sunfish.

  • Hiking

    There is a 1.5 mile hiking trail.

  • Historic Sites

    Interpretive programs are held on Saturday, when staffing allows.

  • Picnicking

    Traditional and group picnic areas are available at the park.

  • Water Sports

    Some popular water sports are fishing, boating, water skiing, and unsupervised lake swimming.

Seasonality/Weather

Average January minimum 35, average July maximum 94, average annual rainfall 46.5.

Directions

Driving

The park is located 20 miles southeast of Longview. Travel 3.5 miles southwest of Tatum on State Highway 43, then turn south on County Road 2183.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(903) 836-4336

Links