Lake Cleburne, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - Prairies and Lakes -

Also known as:  Lake Pat Cleburne

Lake Cleburne does far more than provide water for the City of Cleburne, Texas. The reservoir in the Prairies and Lakes region also provides local residents and visitors with recreational opportunities and some great bass fishing. Texas reservoirs are well-known for the monster bass they produce. Although Lake Pat Cleburne isn’t a trophy producer, it supplies a steady stream of four-to-five-pounders, big enough to keep anglers coming back for more. The many boat ramps are busy with pleasure boaters enjoying water skiing, tubing, wake-riding and assorted water sports. Canoes and kayaks paddle the brush-covered shoreline and explore the coves and inlets. Children swim and families picnic. There’s something for everyone at Lake Pat Cleburne.

The City of Cleburne had to make a choice: either preserve the site of the oldest county seat in the area or have water. Progress won; Lake Cleburne covers the remnants of Wardville, the first county seat of Johnson County. The dam across the Nolan River produced a reservoir covering over 1500 acres to a depth of 64 feet. Texas Parks and Wildlife stocked fish, including largemouth bass and let nature take its course. The result was a fine fishery containing the largemouths, white bass, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish, white crappie and sunfish.

Four boat ramps located around the lake assure easy access for most boats. Most of the ramp areas have parking, picnic tables and room to stretch out. There are no designated beach areas, but swimming is permitted ‘at your own risk’; there are no lifeguards. Plans are underway to improve facilities at the lake to maximize use of the miles of shoreline. Lake levels regularly fluctuate up to two feet during the year. Prolonged drought has lowered the levels of Lake Cleburne in recent years. The lake is expected to recover normal levels rapidly once sufficient rain reaches the watershed. There is still plenty of water for nearly all activities, but boat launching may be affected at some launch areas due to low water levels. Those wishing to fish at Lake Cleburne are advised to check lake levels in advance on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

One small park at the north end of the lake offers picnic tables, a new pavilion and the early stages of soccer and baseball fields. Buddy Stewart Park has a bird watching area with bird feeders installed behind a wooden fence with peepholes for watching and photographing birds. Pelicans and bald eagles have been seen visiting the lake during migration. A raised walkway is in the planning stage across a swampy area where marsh birds may be observed. Walking trails are planned for the future in more areas, although there are many unofficial paths around the lake where anglers fish from shore. Buddy Stewart Park is a favored place to launch canoes and kayaks which can travel up-river from the location as well as onto the lake.

The water of Lake Cleburne is murky but clean. On hot weekends, the lake is busy with boaters, so fishermen try to make the trip during the week to avoid the crowds. Technically over four miles from the City of Cleburne, the city has grown to nearly reach the lakeshore. A popular municipal golf course skirts the eastern shore, with lake views from every hole. Nearby, Lakeshore Drive holds high-end homes overlooking the water from a distance. There is very little development along the western shore, and no chance of buying lakefront property as it belongs to the city. The city holds a massive fireworks display at Lake Pat Cleburne every Fourth of July with thousands in attendance.

There is no camping at Lake Cleburne, but surrounding areas in Johnson County hold a number of private campgrounds and RV parks. Cleburne State Park is only five miles to the west, with camping sites, walking trails, a small spring-fed lake for fishing and swimming. The park holds over five miles of mountain bike trails amid limestone outcroppings, rolling hills and meadows that fill with wildflowers in spring. Dinosaur Valley State Park is a few miles north of the town of Glen Rose and of great interest to kids who love dinosaurs! The park contains some of the best existing dinosaur tracks in the world along the riverbed. These can best be seen when the water is low. Two huge fiberglass dinosaurs built for the 1964 Worlds Fair Dinosaur Exhibit delight children. The park allows for camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and wildlife observation.

The City of Cleburne is proud of its history in the Old West and finds many ways to display that pride. One of those historic features is found at Lake Pat Cleburne along the western shore. The Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum holds the oldest log courthouse in Texas and a number of rebuilt/reproduced buildings typical of a Texas town of the 1850s. Markers from the famous Chisholm Trail are preserved as are artifacts from an old blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, stage office and saloon. The stagecoach isn’t original; it was built for Hollywood westerns, at least two of which starred John Wayne. Walking tours are free during good weather, but guided tours and bus tours of the Chisholm Trail route must be scheduled in advance for a small fee.

Cleburne holds a number of historic old homes and buildings. The bi-annual Antique Alley and Yard Sale has grown to attract thousands of antique hunters along the 25-mile route between Cleburne and Grandview. Each year 2500 cyclists compete in the Goatneck 100k Bike Race. Pioneer Days, held at the Chisholm Train Outdoor Museum at Lake Cleburne, features chuck wagon cook-off, realistic gun-fights by re-enactors, a Confederate Army encampment and all sorts of festive activities for the entire family. Other activities and festivals throughout the year mean there is always something going on, whether it be a performance of the Greater Cleburne Carnegie Players or one of several rodeos here during the year. And for the kids, the city has an excellent splash park.

Only an hour southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, Cleburne holds a wealth of lodging choices both in town and nearby. Several chain hotels join small family-owned motels, guest cottages, bed & breakfasts and even a ranch-stay. The city has a variety of eating establishments and entertainment venues to fill the occasional rainy evening. Real estate is available here also, although properties overlooking Lake Cleburne are limited. So, start planning your Lake Cleburne visit.

Things to do at Lake Cleburne

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Cleburne

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass
  • White Crappie

Lake Cleburne Photo Gallery

Lake Cleburne Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: City of Cleburne

Surface Area: 1,558 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 734 feet

Maximum Depth: 64 feet

Water Volume: 26,008 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1964

Drainage Area: 100 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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