Martin Creek Lake is located three miles southwest of Tatum, in Rusk County, on Texas Highway 43. The lake has 4,981 surface acres, with an average depth of 35 feet. There is very little aquatic vegetation in the lake. Habitat in Martin Creek Reservoir consists of standing timber, creek channels, and minor stands of lily pads.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Martin Creek Lake State Park
- Located 3 miles southwest of Tatum off Texas Highway 43; turn south on County Road 2183
- Four-lane ramp accommodates all boat types
- Park entry fee required
- Open all year
- Operated by Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. (903) 836-4336