Area Lakes Provide Number of Ways to Enjoy Outdoors
Shelby County is known for its fishing and hunting. The biggest reason for this notoriety is Toledo Bend. Toledo Bend has 1,250 miles of shoreline and is the largest man-made lake in the South and is fifth largest in the United States. The Saline River is the lake’s main source of water. The lake was built in the late 1960s and has become one of the most popular lakes in the U.S.
Locally, the lake provides the weekend angler a place of enjoyment. There are a number of public boat ramps in Shelby County, with the biggest being Huxley Bay Marina. Huxley Bay has a motel and RV hook-ups. Boat stalls can be rented while you stay on the lake.
Campgrounds are available, as well. Ragtown is one of the more popular areas. It has showers, picnic tables and a convenient boat ramp. But Toledo Bend is not the only lake in the county. Lake Pinkston is a 560-acre reservoir built by the City of Center in 1976. The lake is located 10 miles west of Center on State Highway 7, just north of the small community of Aiken. Recreational facilities are limited, and include only two boat ramps. No camping, picnic, or sanitary facilities are provided, and there are no marinas at the lake. However, Lake Pinkston is located in a beautiful area of East Texas and can provide a delightful experience away from the usual crowds.Most of the timber in the reservoir was not removed and provides an abundance of fish habitat, but also makes boating hazardous. Boaters must use extreme caution on the lake to avoid the numerous logs and stumps. There is good bank fishing access available along the country roads located at the dam and at the boat ramp on the upper portion of the lake.
The county road on the upper portion crosses the reservoir and isolates over 100 acres of water that is connected to the main lake only by a large culvert under the road. Small boats can go through the culvert or be launched off the county road to allow access to this portion of the lake. The limited access reduces fishing pressure to this area. The deep, clear waters of Lake Pinkston offer excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish. However, special fishing regulations apply to largemouth bass. Fishermen should consult the Texas Recreational Fishing Guide for current length limits and bag limits. No trotlines are permitted in the lake and no water skiing is allowed.