Relax & Enjoy Lake Striker
REKLAW – Summer is officially here and many of you will be heading out to nearby lakes for some fun in the sun. Others will be wagging their travel trailers, pop-up campers, tents, and boats around the Pineywoods to visit different lakes and state parks. East Texas is home to some of the best lakes and state parks in the state. Our team recently visited Lake Striker, and we think you should, too!
Lake Striker, formerly known as Striker Creek Reservoir, is located on Striker Creek in the Neches River basin, eighteen miles southwest of Henderson, 20 miles east of Jacksonville straddling the Rusk and Cherokee county line.
Our team stayed at Lake Striker Restaurant and Marina Resort. The resort is situated in a spectacular pine forest on the lake. The camp grounds are located approximately 50 yards from the recreation and swimming area, as well as the stage area, where live entertainment takes place every weekend.
The resort is a hopping place on the weekend! On Friday nights the stage is packed with local entertainers for Open Mic Night. On Saturday nights area bands amp up the stage and put on concerts. Low cost cover charges with a B.Y.O.B. policy lures in locals as well as resort visitors.
The swimming area is clean and hydrilla free. If you like beach volleyball you can join a game with other campers at the resort, or bring your own team! Kids can strike up a game of tether ball while adults hit the sandy court.
Rosco’s Bait Shop has everything you might need on your stay. If you don’t have a tent or camper book a stay in one of the cabins or the motel.
If you aren’t in the mood to cook out on your visit Lake Striker Restaurant serves up top notch seafood dishes Thursday through Sunday. Whether you are craving frog legs, crab cakes, oysters, shrimp, or an old fashion burger Lake Striker Restaurant will fill you up and not let you down.
Fishermen can wet a line and catch largemouth and spotted bass year-round at Striker Reservoir. The black bass and channel catfish fisheries are the most popular at Striker Reservoir. Crappie are also present and provide a fair fishery. Bluegill and redear sunfish are present in high numbers and provide good fishing, especially for youth or inexperienced anglers.
Due to the turbid conditions, fish stay in relatively shallow water. Habitat in Striker Reservoir consists of standing timber, boat docks, and lily pads. Game fish are typically found around brush, points, boat docks, and creek channels.
A variety of baits and techniques including spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastics catch bass at Striker. Channel catfish are typically caught with stinkbait or liver fished around areas baited with soured grain or dog food. Sunfish, especially bluegill and redear sunfish, can be caught year-round and provide fast action, especially during the late spring or summer when fish are on their spawning beds. Small jigs, spinners, and crickets all catch sunfish.
The Lake Striker project is owned and operated by the Angelina and Nacogdoches Water Control and Improvement District No. 1. Water is used for municipal purposes, by the Texas Power and Light Company for condenser-cooling water for a steam-electric generating station, and by the Southland Paper Company, which contracted to purchase 10,000 acre-feet of water annually.
Reservoir construction began on July 23, 1956, and was completed in July of 1957. The reservoir has a capacity of 26,700 acre-feet and a surface area of 2,400 acres at the normal operating elevation of 292 feet above mean sea level. The drainage area above the dam is 182 square miles, and the local terrain is flat to rolling and surfaced by sandy and clay loams that support water-tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses.
Lake Striker’s history runs much deeper than its reservoir, however. Striker Town was a Cherokee Indian village established in what is now Cherokee County sometime after 1819, when the first refugee Cherokees arrived in East Texas, and before 1838, when they were expelled by the Republic of Texas government.
The town site is just west of present Lake Striker on land now owned by the Texas Power and Light Company. An ancient road from Trammel’s Trace ran through or near the town on its way northwest to the Great Saline on the Neches River in the area of present Smith County.
The Texas Cherokees, mostly Chickamaugans from the lower towns on the Tennessee River near Lookout Mountain, fled west to escape fighting along the advancing white frontier in the early 1800s. The name Striker was well-known among the Cherokees. One Indian history includes the name Middlestriker in a list of Cherokees known to hate whites.
No physical description of Striker Town has come to light. Most Cherokee towns or villages contained between 30 and 60 family houses clustered about the area. Striker Town most likely retained some of the characteristics of the old villages back east, although it may have been somewhat smaller.
Striker Town existed before any stable governmental authority descended upon East Texas. The land between the Neches and Angelina rivers was occupied by eastern refugee Indians who had no official claim to the land, but were tolerated by the Spanish and later Mexican authorities, who wanted to avoid civil disturbances.
Now and again Striker Town is mentioned as a reference point in some of Cherokee County’s earlier deed records. Perhaps the earliest noting of the place was June 1, 1835, when Jeremiah Stroud, deputy surveyor of Nacogdoches County, marked out the boundaries of the Isaac Kendrick league in the David G. Burnet grant. Stroud described the survey as being “on the waters of the Angelina, about 6 miles west of Striker’s Village, and including an improvement made by William F. Williams and George May in the month of November, last at the forks of a path leading from the Saline on the Neches to Striker Village.”
The road from the Neches Saline to Trammel’s Trace was once described by John W. Middleton in his memoirs, written at age 75. In 1838, First Lieutenant Middleton had been with a Texas militia company from Shelby County chasing Cordova’s rebels through East Texas. He described an Indian attack on Daniel Martin’s house east of the site of present New Salem in Rusk County. The attack occurred only a few miles east of the site of Striker Town, and although Middleton states the renegades retreated down the old road to the Neches Saline, he does not mention Striker Town. Since there is no mention of Striker Town in hid account, historians have drawn two possible conclusions: either the old soldier forgot the town when he was writing; or the place was abandoned by 1838.
In July 1839, at the Battle of the Neches the Texas Army defeated the Cherokees and drove the Indians from Texas. Although the Cherokees lived less than two decades in East Texas, they left a legacy of names to the land. In 1846, the organizers of Cherokee County perpetuated the name of its former Indian occupants. Also the names of individual Cherokees became firmly attached to many county streams-Keys, Tails, Bowles, Little Bean, One-Army, One-Eye, and Striker.
In 1847, the site of Striker Town was included in a survey patented in the name of José I. Sanchez. At the time immigrants were pouring in from the United States. Cherokee County officials were making every effort to open up the country to these would-be settlers.
In November 1849, the commissioners’ court ordered a road review from Striker Town to the saline utilizing much of the old Indian trace. Then on December 16, 1850, more than a decade after the Cherokees left, Hundley Wiggins, who had purchased the Sanchez league the year before, deeded 580 acres of the land to his son James F. Wiggins. As described in the deed, the land was bound on the east by Striker Creek and according to the elder Wiggins was called the Striker Town survey.
Lake Striker is just one of the many beautiful lakes in the Pineywoods. Take a trip to Lake Striker where life slows down. Make it a day trip or stay the night. Call ahead and ask for Ernie at (903) 854-2404 to book your stay at Lake Striker. For more information about Lake Striker Restaurant and Marina visit www.lakestrikerrestaurant.com.
From Jacksonville take US79 east. Continue through New Summerfield. Take a right onto County Road 4255 A for approximately three miles then take a slight left onto CR 4256.
From Rusk take US84 east approximately 11.5 miles. Turn left onto FM 839 and continue approximately 3 miles then turn left onto CR 4256.