Lake Ray Roberts Breakdown | Fishing Info for Lake Ray Roberts — Lake Pro Tackle Skip to content

Lake Ray Roberts Breakdown

If you’re an avid angler looking for a challenge, Lake Ray Roberts should definitely be on your list. This lake is known for its impressive largemouth bass, which can grow to massive sizes due to its rich waters and abundant food sources. The springtime white bass runs provide a thrilling experience while the crappie population thrives, making it easy to have a successful day on the water.

Our comprehensive fishing report for Lake Ray Roberts is designed to provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your fishing experience. We cover everything from the latest updates on water conditions and fish activity to expert tips on bait selection and the best fishing spots. 

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, our report will help you confidently navigate Lake Ray Roberts waters and make your fishing adventure more memorable.

If you’re searching for that next big catch or simply enjoy a relaxing day of fishing in a beautiful setting, Lake Ray Roberts is waiting for you. Our detailed fishing report will help you be more well-equipped to experience some of the best fishing North Texas has to offer.

Lake Ray Roberts Overview

Lake Ray Roberts is a man-made lake located in North Texas. It spans 29,350 acres and is situated about 10 miles north of Denton, Texas, between Pilot Point and Sanger. The lake is fed by a tributary of the Trinity River, and it serves as a crucial water source for the area while also providing a recreational getaway for tourists and locals alike.

The management of Lake Ray Roberts is a joint effort between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the cities of Dallas and Denton. The lake is carefully maintained to ensure a balance between recreational use and ecological conservation. 

The area around the lake is surrounded by various state park expanses, wildlife management areas, wetlands, and waterfowl sanctuaries, offering a range of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages, from swimming to hiking to camping.

Size and Topography

Lake Ray Roberts is a vast water body covering 29,350 acres (about 119 square kilometers). It is a part of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River system. It has an average elevation of approximately 666 feet (203 meters). The maximum water surface elevation can reach 658.8 feet above mean sea level. At its flood control pool’s top, the lake covers an area of 36,900 acres and can hold 1,064,600 acre-feet of water.

The lake’s terrain comprises a combination of open water areas, submerged vegetation, and various underwater structures, creating an ideal environment for fish. Anglers particularly favor this spot due to its rich aquatic landscape. The lake’s vast water volume and surface area support a thriving ecosystem, making it a perfect recreational spot for anglers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Here’s a short summary of the lake according to its capacity:

Water Surface Area: 29,350 acres

Max. Depth: 106 ft

Ave. Depth: 25 ft

Water Volume: 1,064,600 acre-ft

Shore Length: 158 mi

Surface Elevation: 658.8 ft


Air Temperature

A humid subtropical climate, with mild winters and hot, humid summers, characterizes the region surrounding Lake Ray Roberts.

From May to September, temperatures soar during the hot season, lasting approximately 3.5 months. The average high exceeds 90°F, with July being the hottest month, with temperatures often peaking above 95°F. Nighttime lows around 75°F to 80°F are typical during this season.

On the other hand, the cool season lasts about 3.5 months, from late November to early March. During this time, average daily high temperatures remain below 65°F. January is typically the coldest month, with temperatures dropping to around 40°F at night. Daytime highs may reach the mid-50s to low 60s°F.

Table 1 summarizes the temperatures at Lake Ray Roberts.

Table 1. Temperatures at Lake Ray Roberts based on historical data (Source: Weather Spark).

High (°F)

Low (°F)







































Figure 1. Graph of precipitation data in Lake Ray Roberts. Image Courtesy: WeatherSpark

Lake Ray Roberts experiences precipitation levels similar to the humid subtropical climate of North Texas, which is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. 

The wet season lasts about 6.2 months, starting mid-April and ending in late October. May is the wettest month, with an average of 11 days of precipitation. On the other hand, the dry season lasts approximately 5.8 months, from late October to mid-April. January is the driest month, averaging about five days of precipitation. 

Cloud Cover

Figure 2. Graph of cloud cover categories in Lake Ray Roberts throughout the year. Image Courtesy: WeatherSpark

Lake Ray Roberts, located near Sanger in Denton County, experiences moderate seasonal fluctuations in cloud coverage throughout the year. Between May 27 and November 11, the area experiences clearer skies and more direct sunlight for around 5.5 months, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities around the lake.

October is the month with the clearest skies over Lake Ray Roberts, with an average of 71% of the days being clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy. This makes it the perfect time for boating, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of Lake Ray Roberts State Park.

On the other hand, the cloudier season around Lake Ray Roberts starts on November 11. It continues for around 6.5 months, ending approximately on May 27. During this period, the lake and its surrounding areas experience more overcast days, with February being the cloudiest month. On average, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 44% of the time in February, affecting outdoor plans and lake visibility.

Vegetation and Fishing Cover

Lake Ray Roberts is home to various aquatic vegetation, and fishing covers that contribute to its reputation as a prime fishing destination. The native emergent vegetation in the lake includes water willow and cattail, which are crucial for providing habitat and food for aquatic life. 

The submerged vegetation in the lake comprises Chara, milfoil, and the non-native hydrilla, which fluctuate with the water level. These submerged plants offer excellent cover for fish, making them ideal spots for fishing. Additionally, the lake features native floating-leaved vegetation, such as pondweed, which adds to the diversity of plant life in and around the water.

Water Levels

plot of recent storage data

Figure 3. Graph of water levels in Lake Ray Roberts within the last two years. Image Courtesy: Water Data For Texas

As of February 8, 2024, the lake was found to be at a 97.6% fullness level, and the mean water level was recorded at 631.83 feet, which is very close to its conservation pool elevation of 632.50 feet. This level of fullness is a testament to the lake’s consistent performance in water conservation and management, indicating its stability and resilience against environmental and climatic fluctuations. 

Despite potential challenges in water conservation, the lake has been able to maintain a relatively steady water supply throughout the year. The historical data shown above in Figure 3 reveals that water levels remain relatively stable, at 631.61 ft six months ago and 631.33 ft another six months prior.

Lake Ray Roberts Fish Population

Anglers will surely have a field day fishing at Lake Ray Roberts, as it offers a diverse range of fish species. Largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, catfish (including blue and channel catfish), and sunfish can be found in this lake, creating a balanced ecosystem for both sport and prey fish. 

The blue catfish population has seen an improvement, with an abundance of 12- to 20-inch fish available for harvest and quality fish ten pounds and larger. The reservoir’s management strategies include regular monitoring and stocking to ensure the fish population stays healthy and diverse.

The lake’s structure and diverse vegetation provide anglers with numerous opportunities for reeling in its most prized catches. Currently, the record for largemouth bass sits at 15.18 lbs and 26.25 in, set by Shannon Elvington on March 7, 2015. 

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) 

The Largemouth Bass is highly sought after by anglers in the United States due to its exciting fight and potential to grow to impressive sizes. These fish can grow up to 4-8 inches in their first year, 14 inches in their second, and potentially reach over 18 inches in just three years. 

A distinctive feature of this species is its green coloration, with dark spots arranged in a horizontal line on both sides of the fish, while the underbelly is usually light green or white. Their dorsal fin is divided into two sections, with the anterior portion having nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12-13 soft rays. Additionally, their upper jaw extends beyond the rear margin of their eye.

Habitat: Largemouth bass have a natural ability to find secure hiding spots, including logs, rock ledges, standing timber, and artificial structures. They are also able to adapt well to a variety of environments. During the spawning season, they search for areas with a solid bottom made of sand, mud, or gravel. Adult largemouth bass use submerged aquatic vegetation to catch their prey, whereas younger fish tend to find cover in underwater weeds, tree branches, submerged logs, and standing timber.

Breeding and Nesting Patterns: Largemouth bass prefer to breed in water between 55 and 65°F. They typically spawn in shallow waters during spawning periods to guarantee a warm environment for their eggs.

Movement Patterns: During the spring season, it’s common for Largemouth bass to migrate towards shallow waters to spawn. As the summer season arrives, they tend to head towards deeper and cooler areas throughout the day but return to shallow waters during dawn or dusk for feeding purposes. In the fall season, Largemouth bass become more active and can be found at different depths. During winter, they tend to prefer deeper waters to maintain their body temperature. However, they may swim towards shallower waters if the temperature outside is warm enough.

Recommended Fishing Strategy: Largemouth bass fishing in Lake Ray Roberts begins at the first light of day, targeting shallow areas with top-water lures. Soft body swimbaits can also be effective in areas with riprap structures, mimicking shad, which they love to feed on. Largemouth bass will move to deeper, cooler waters as the day progresses. At this point, you can utilize deep-diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits to reach bass in offshore structures like brush piles, rock piles, and old house foundations. 

White Bass (Morone chrysops)

The White Bass is a highly sought-after fish species due to its spirited fights and delicious taste, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy fishing and cooking. It is known for its striking silver-white to pale green coloration with dark stripes on the belly. 

It has large, rough scales, two dorsal fins, and a deep, laterally compressed body with a homocercal tail. This species thrives in various aquatic environments, making it a prized catch for anglers seeking both sport and culinary delights. It is admired for its spirited fights and delicious taste, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy fishing and cooking.

Habitat: Adaptable by nature, the White Bass is a versatile fish found in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. They are often drawn to schools of baitfish and are skilled at using natural and artificial structures such as submerged ledges and rocky areas for protection. When it comes to spawning, they prefer shallow gravel or rocky bottoms to lay their eggs.

Breeding and Nesting Patterns: White Bass spawn in early spring by migrating to tributary streams. Males reach maturity and move to the spawning grounds before females. The mature adults swim in schools of their own sex. Spawning occurs near the surface or midwater over a rocky or gravelly bottom without nest preparation. After fertilization, the eggs settle to the bottom and attach to rocks. It takes about two days for the eggs to hatch, and a single large female can produce up to a million eggs in one season.

Movement Patterns: The preferred habitats of White Bass are streams’ deep pools and lakes and reservoirs’ open waters. They tend to avoid turbid conditions and instead prefer clear waters with a sandy or rocky bottom. These fish are most active during dawn and dusk and thrive in environments with optimal visibility and structured substrates.

Recommended Fishing Strategy: During the hotter months, focus your fishing efforts on deep water structures. Use jigging blade baits in chartreuse and orange, which mimics the fish they love to feed on, in about 42ft of water. Focus on wind-blown sides of points where the fish are likely feeding on minnows and shad. Additionally, look for key structures like brush piles, rock piles, and flooded timber near channels or creek mouths as they serve as staging points for white bass preparing to move up creeks to spawn. 

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

The channel catfish is a North American freshwater fish popular for its unique features, hard-fighting nature, and excellent taste. They have olive-brown to slate-blue hues with black spots, and their upper jaws extend beyond their lower jaws. These omnivores thrive in various aquatic environments, consuming a diverse diet of aquatic insects, small fish, and plants.

The current record for channel catfish in Lake Ray Roberts is 11.22 lbs with a length of 27.88 in, caught by Clayton Tubbs on November 29, 2016, using a Bass Assassin as bait. 

Habitat: Channel catfish can survive in murky waters and are known to thrive in the dark depths of deep pools, particularly near dams. They are often found in areas with submerged logs, rocks, or debris, offering shelter and potential feeding opportunities. 

Breeding and Nesting Patterns: Catfish search for quiet and hidden places to construct their nests during spawning periods. Male catfish use their tails to clear away garbage until they reach a foundation of sand or gravel. They lay their eggs between the months of May and July when the temperature of the water is approximately 75°F. Channel catfish swim upstream in search of warmer and shallower waters.

Movement Patterns: In the summertime, channel catfish tend to move towards deeper and cooler waters to avoid the hot and intense sunlight. But at night, they return to shallow areas to look for food. This creates ample opportunity for fishermen to catch them in the shallower waters after sunset. If you want to catch channel catfish, consider going fishing after dark.

Recommended Fishing Strategy: Lake Ray Roberts is known for its excellent channel catfish fishing throughout the year, especially during the summer. During the hottest time of the year, they can be found in deeper waters (about 55-60 ft), with cut shad proving the most effective for catfish anglers. As temperatures get colder, they move toward shallower waters, inhabiting areas with ample vegetation for cover, such as inundated pond dams and brush piles. Use cut bait, shrimp, or stink bait when catching catfish for best results. 

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Blue catfish are freshwater fish known for their large size and unique blue-gray coloration. They can be found in major river systems in North America. These fish have a distinctive forked tail and smooth, scaleless skin that covers their robust bodies. 

They are known for their voracious appetites and will eat various fish and other aquatic organisms. Just like other catfish species, anglers are attracted to blue catfish because they are a challenging catch and can weigh several hundred pounds. 

Habitat: Blue catfish are usually found in medium to large freshwater channels and pools with strong currents. They prefer to live on sandy bottoms and can often be found near rock piles where they can rest.

Breeding and Nesting Patterns: Male blue catfish construct nests using their tails and jaws for breeding. They mate through pheromones, and once fertilized, the eggs attach to the nest. The male then guards the eggs until hatching, and the young ones stay close to the nest under his supervision until they are independent.

Movement Patterns: Blue catfish seek low or non-existent water flow areas during breeding season. They nest in protected and slightly secluded areas with cover. Blue catfish migrate long distances and adapt to changes in water temperature. They swim toward warmer waters in winter and cooler waters in summer.

Recommended Fishing Strategy: Anglers in Lake Ray Roberts have enjoyed considerable success using heavy-duty rods and reels with 20-50 lb test lines to manage the size and strength of blue catfish. They can get massive, with the current lake record being 59.99 lbs and 46.50 in (caught in 2017 by Randy Davis using a shad bait). Anchor your boat near structures like submerged trees or brush piles and cast baits close to these shelters, as blue catfish tend to gather around these spots. Drift fishing can also be productive by using a drift sock for controlled bait presentation. Use fresh-cut bait such as shad, carp, shrimp, or stink bait for best results. 

White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis)

The white crappie is a fish species with a flattened and deep body shape. Also called papermouth, its name originates from the Greek word “Pomoxis,” which refers to the sharp spines on its gill covers, and the Latin word “annularis,” which describes its distinctive dark bands that resemble rings. 

The white crappie features a silvery belly, a dark green back, and a dorsal fin with six spines. During the spring season, male white crappies develop a dark throat. This species has large dorsal and anal fins on a laterally compressed body, with the dorsal fin having five to six spines and 14 or 15 rays, while the anal fin has five to seven spines and 16 to 18 rays. 

Habitat: Adult crappie can be found in various freshwater habitats, such as lakes, reservoirs, ponds, sloughs, backwaters, pools, and streams. They usually prefer to stay in areas that provide cover, such as vegetation, fallen trees, or boulders. These fish tend to gather in schools in clear water surrounded by vegetation over mud or sand.

Breeding and Nesting Patterns: White crappie tend to thrive in larger nest beds and are known to have a high reproductive capacity, which can sometimes lead to overpopulation and stunted growth in smaller lakes. These fish usually prefer to spawn during spring and lay eggs when water temperatures range between 65°F and 70°F. After hatching within 3 to 5 days, the fry remain attached to the nest substrate for a short while before they start feeding on microscopic organisms.

Movement Patterns: Crappie fish are opportunistic feeders. They explore newly flooded areas during rising water levels for better food sources. They move towards submerged structures or deeper waters in falling water conditions for better cover and stability. They are also attracted to areas with abundant forage.

Recommended Fishing Strategy: White crappie tend to gather around submerged structures like brush piles, standing timber, and areas with aquatic vegetation. These locations provide shelter and attract bait fish like threadfin and gizzard shad, making them ideal for crappie fishing. Use jigs or minnows that resemble these bait fish, such as the Beoccudo Jerk Minnow, Zoom Fluke, or the Rapala Shad Rap, as these can be very effective, especially when fished in the top 5 feet of the water column where threadfin shad are commonly found. 

Seasonal Fishing in Lake Ray Roberts

Winter (December to February)

The winter months are suitable for crappie and white bass fishing due to their active feeding patterns in colder water temperatures. Look for schools of baitfish like shad and focus your fishing efforts in these productive fishing spots. However, slow down your presentations using techniques like dead sticking with jig heads, soft plastic flukes for stripers, and a slow and steady retrieve for crappie. Cold waters mean slower fish metabolism, which makes them less likely to chase fast-moving baits. 

Use heavier jig heads to gain better control of your lure, especially when fishing deeper water where fish might be holding. This method is particularly effective when fishing for crappie. 

Spring (March to May)

Springtime brings warmer temperatures, meaning largemouth bass and crappie become more active.

  • When targeting largemouth bass, look for areas with a solid bottom composition of sand, mud, or gravel in shallow bays or near the lake’s tributaries. Use soft plastic lures that mimic the appearance of shads. You can also use plastic worms and lizards.
  • When targeting white crappie, fish around areas with submerged structures like brush piles, standing timber, and dock pilings as they provide shelter while attracting baitfish. Use a light line and small jigs or minnows to jig around submerged structures vertically. And since it’s spawning season, targeting spawning crappie when water temperatures reach about 65°F can lead to more successful outings. 

Summer (May to September)

Fishing in Lake Ray Roberts is usually best in the morning and late evening to avoid the summer heat. At these times, largemouth bass, white bass, and hybrid stripers look for baitfish near the surface, which creates excellent opportunities for top-water action. Use live bait and lures, fishing near the surface in areas where shad is active, such as in weedy shallow backwaters.

Night fishing is particularly productive for channel and blue catfish. Anchor your boat and focus your fishing efforts near structures using heavy-duty gear. Use live bait, shrimp, and stink bait for best results. 

Fall (October to November)

For fall fishing at Lake Ray Roberts, focus on largemouth bass and hybrid stripers as they remain active even when water temperatures drop. They move into shallower waters to feed, so concentrate on fishing areas with significant cover, such as brush piles, submerged timber, and aquatic vegetation edges. Fish-eating birds like cormorants are also active during this time and can indicate fish activity near the surface. So, just follow the birds. 

Best Fishing Spots in Lake Ray Roberts

  • Isle Du Bois

    • Accessible via 455 E Farm to Market Road, then follow the Isle Du Bois State Park Rd.
    • Offers excellent shore fishing
    • Has open sites for camping, a hiking trail, and a beach for swimming.

  • 3002 Bridge

    • Take the I-35 and exit via the E-Lone Oak Road or Chisam Road
    • Great place for bass and crappie fishing
    • Near a boat ramp and marine shop

  • The Flats Between Buck and Isle Du Bois Creeks

    1. Plenty of fish are staged up in the channels at the mouths of the creeks now (As reported by Justin Wilson, Wilson Outdoor Connection)

    Boat Ramps Along Lake Ray Roberts

    Nearest Town



    Available Amenities


    Pond Creek Boat Ramp

    11961 Jones Rd, Sanger, TX 76266

    • Gas Station
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Groceries
    • Restrooms (Marina)
    • Parking Space (Marina)

    Sanger Park Boat Ramp

    FM1190, Sanger, TX 76266

    Boat Launch Near Ray Roberts Marina

    Marina Cir, Sanger, TX 76266

    Ray Roberts Marina

    1399 Marina Cir, Sanger, TX 76266

    Pilot Point

    Isle Du Bois Boat Ramp

    Isle Du Bois State Park Rd, Pilot Point, TX 76258

    • Gas Station
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Groceries
    • Restrooms (State Park)
    • Camp Site (State Park)

    Ray Roberts State Park Boat Ramp

    FM 1192, Pilot Point, TX 76258


    Buck Creek Boat Ramp

    US-377, Pilot Point, TX 76258

    • Gas Station
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Groceries

    Valley View

    Johnson Branch Boat Ramp Inside Ray Roberts State Park

    100 Pw 4153, Valley View, TX 76272

    • Gas Station
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels
    • Groceries
    • Restrooms (State Park)
    • Camp Site (State Park)

    Pecan Creek Boat Ramp

    4305 E Lone Oak Rd, Valley View, TX 76272

    Lake Ray Roberts Fishing Regulations

    According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, you will need a fishing license to fish in Texas public waters, which covers all legal means and methods used for taking fish from rod and reel to bow fishing.

    However, all persons under 17 are exempt from these license requirements, regardless of whether you’re a Texas resident. Additionally, you do not need to apply for a fishing license to fish from the shore or a pier inside a state park. 

    However, the following rules and regulations that apply to a Community Fishing Lake will still apply:

    • Largemouth Bass: The minimum length limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass is set at 14 inches, while there is no minimum length limit for Alabama, Guadalupe, and spotted bass. The daily bag limit is set at 5 for all black bass species, which can be a combination of any of them.
    • Channel and Blue Catfish: Blue or channel catfish must be at least 14 inches long, and your total daily catch cannot exceed 15 fish. For flathead catfish, the minimum length is 18 inches, and you can catch up to 5 of them daily.
    • Crappie: The minimum length limit for white and black crappie, including hybrids and subspecies, is set at 10 inches. Anglers are subject to a daily bag limit of 25 crappies in any combination.

    The law requires all anglers to drain water from their boats and onboard receptacles when approaching and leaving public fresh waters to prevent the spread of invasive zebra mussels.

    Conservation Authority Information

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    1801 N. Mill Street

    Lewisville, Texas 75067

    (972) 434-1666