Story by Sarah Naron
Although school is back in session, the weather is still ideal for outdoor fun. To continue our exploration of the lakes across the Lone Star State is Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, a reservoir located in the Texas Hill Country just four miles west of Marble Falls. With picturesque scenery, a lakeside resort, and plenty of space for fishing and other recreational activities, Lake LBJ is the perfect place for a weekend getaway to help students and their families unwind from the hustle and bustle of being back in the swing of the school year.
Once referred to as Granite Shoals Lake, the reservoir was renamed in April 1965 as a way of honoring the efforts made by President Lyndon B. Johnson to aid in its creation. The primary purpose of the lake is the generation of hydroelectric power, and it is overseen by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Lake LBJ was formed by the Wirtz Dam, a structure consisting of earthfill and concrete. Construction on the project began in September of 1948 and continued until November of 1951; water was first impounded deliberately in May of 1951. With an elevation of 835 feet above the average sea level and a capacity of more than 138,000 acre-feet, the reservoir occupies a total surface area of 6,200 acres. Periodically, water from Lake LBJ is released into Lake Marble Falls to be utilized at the electrical plant located at the Max Starcke Dam.
In addition to being a prominent source of hydroelectric power, Lake LBJ is home to a plentiful fish population, predominantly white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Anglers hoping to catch white bass typically have the most luck during the annual spawning run in February; the best lures are said to be small crankbaits, small hair jigs, small topwaters, and twister tail jigs. Those using live minnows also report productive catches. Largemouth bass fishing is best during the spring and fall months and tends to be more successful in the shallower areas of the lake. Crappie are most often caught in the areas surrounding the lake’s docks and brush piles. Those fishing for blue or channel catfish are encouraged to use cutbaits or stinkbaits, while live bait is a better option for flathead catfish.
Among the attractions surrounding Lake Lyndon B. Johnson is the Horsehoe Bay Resort, located 45 minutes from the city of Austin. Boasting 400 rooms and three world-renowned golf courses, the HSB offers guests the chance for an invigorating vacation with all the bells and whistles, including a day spa, live music, a full-service marina, various dining options, a fitness center, and an array of recreational activities.
Located on the resort’s Granite Beach is the Lake LBJ Yahct Club and Marina, which offers guests the opportunity to rent watercraft and cabins. The marina is also home to Forno’s Bar and Grill, which serves up entrees such as catfish and shrimp and allows for picturesque waterfront dining in all seasons.
Those who enjoy a party atmosphere are sure to enjoy spending time on Sunrise Beach, a sandbar located in the middle of the lake. Visitors flock here to participate in activities such as Frisbee and volleyball or to simply enjoy fun in the sun.
A unique way to see more of Lake LBJ and learn about its history is to board a cruise offered by WorryBGone Cruises. Lasting two and a half hours in left, cruises consisting of between one and four participants are available for $200, while each additional person adds a charge of $50. A total of eight passengers are permitted per cruise.
The ability to get up close and personal with nature is not limited to the lake itself. Longhorn Cavern State Park is located roughly 25 miles away and takes guests underground for a two-hour excursion during which they can glean information on the area’s history and the Civilian Conservation Corps, the group responsible for the development of the cavern.
RV enthusiasts looking for a place to set up camp will be pleased to know that Lake LBJ is also home to several RV parks, such as Sunset Point Waterfront RV Resort in Marble Falls. Spanning 20 acres, nearly a mile of which is quality shoreline, the park features amenities such a swimming area, a laundromat, cable TV, WiFi, and gated entry. Each site has a concrete RV pad and picnic table, and the park can accommodate a total of 50 RVs. Bathroom and shower facilities are also on site, as well as a park store where visitors can grab any necessities they may have forgotten to pack.
For more information on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, please visit www.lakelbj.com.