Lake Limestone, Texas, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Texas - Prairies and Lakes -

One of the best-kept secret destinations in the Prairies and Lakes Region of Texas is Lake Limestone. The reservoir was created in 1978 when the Brazos River Authority built the Sterling C. Robinson Dam across the Navasota River. Originally built to provide drinking water, cooling water for downstream power generation plants and irrigation supply, the resulting Lake Limestone has become a favored recreational lake to thousands of visitors. Housing development has been allowed along the lakeshore in several areas with docks by permit, making Lake Limestone one of the hottest real estate areas in Limestone, Leon and Robertson Counties. The many miles of irregular shoreline encompass bays, arms and many coves against a wooded backdrop, offering cool and refreshing water recreation to all who arrive at the lake. Although only a couple of hours south of Dallas-Fort Worth and less than three hours from Houston or Austin, Lake Limestone’s location between I-35 and I-45 is a bit off the beaten track and often overlooked by casual boaters. Many obviously don’t know what they’re missing.

When full to capacity, Lake Limestone covers 13,680 acres and reaches a depth of 43 feet at the dam. Because the water is withdrawn as needed, lake levels usually vary between one and three feet. However, years of prolonged drought lower water levels below normal levels, leaving residents’ docks with little water. During normal rainfall years, the shorelines in residential areas sport many docks and boathouses offering shelter for the many species of fish found in the lake, making them a favorite angling area.

As is to be expected of Texas reservoirs, Lake Limestone supports a large population of largemouth bass and three different species of catfish, including flathead catfish, channel catfish and blue catfish. Spring brings anglers eager to try for white bass and crappie. Several public boat launch ramps around the lake offer plenty of water access, although the one nearest the dam is sometimes closed when water levels are low. The lake holds plenty of underwater structure to attract fish, and the incoming streams provide the shallow spawning ground that several species require. Although Texas Fish and Game stocked the reservoir for the first 20 years, the fish stocks are now self-sustaining. A limited amount of shoreline fishing is accommodated in the public park areas along the shore, but most anglers prefer to fish by boat.

Lake Limestone is available for all types of watersports, including water skiing, jet-skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Swimming is allowed in three of the four parks along the shore, but there are no lifeguards. The Brazos River Authority owns the four parks, but three of them are managed by either Limestone County or Leon County. The park nearest the BRA office at the dam is managed by BRA. The BRA site offers boat ramps, a courtesy dock, picnic area, rest rooms and parking area. No drinking water is available and overnight camping is not allowed. The other three parks provide primitive camping, picnic areas, boat ramps and fishing areas but no drinking water. The shady campsites are well-used, and varying limits for number of continuous camping days are in place on all three.

Those wishing more elaborate camping facilities can take advantage of two private campground and marina facilities located at Lake Limestone. Camping at these facilities provides electricity, water and RV waste dump facilities, along with camp stores, bait and tackle supplies, pay launch facilities and even air-conditioned camping cabins and bunk houses. One of the marinas sells boat gas at the water. These are not full-service marinas for larger boats, but they offer all of the necessary conveniences for fishermen and day boaters. The BRA expects all visitors to follow their safety regulations and posted speed limits. A lake patrol assures compliance with floatation device use and safety equipment. Permits for waterfowl hunting on the lake are distributed by lottery during hunting season. All State fishing and hunting regulations are also in effect, and licenses for fishing may be obtained at the marina stores.

Several small towns are located within a few miles of Lake Limestone. The nearby small City of Groesbeck, located less than ten miles from the north end of the reservoir, is usually considered the unofficial hometown for the lake. Groesbeck offers several restaurants, hotels and shopping along with most services. Several festivals and celebrations produced through the year always provide a day’s diversion from lake-based activities. Two historical sites border the outskirts of Groesbeck, including the Confederate Reunion Grounds, dating back to 1889. The Reunion Grounds were used until 1946 as the location for reunions of the families of former Confederate soldiers and contain a number of relics of the Civil War and buildings of interest to historians, including an 1893 dance pavilion. Battle re-enactments are held here regularly as are other community events. Walking trails and a boat launch on the Navasota River add to the appeal.

Just a few miles north of Groesbeck and Lake Limestone, the restored Old Fort Parker holds a vital piece of Texas history dating to the 1830s. It was on this site that early pioneer settlers followed Elder Parker from Illinois, settled along the river and built the fort with its stockade walls for protection from hostile Native Americans. An attack left Elder Parker and several others dead, with five captives carried off, including nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker. Adopted into a Native American family, the young girl eventually married and gave birth to Quanah Parker, last great warrior chief of the Comanche. The fort was eventually rebuilt and now offers several acres of replica buildings. Lodgings are available in two former WWII POW barracks that have been moved to the site and modernized to accommodate visitors.

Next to Old Fort Parker, the Fort Parker State Park offers a great swimming lake, fishing, camping and walking trails. The area is considered a fine place for bird-watching and nature observation. The Limestone Bluff Paddling Trails offer over five miles of quiet waterway along the Navasota River between the Confederate Reunion Grounds and Fort Parker State Park. The waterway winds between limestone bluffs and hardwood bottomlands, offering the opportunity to see whitetail deer, beaver, waterfowl and other native wildlife. Opportunities to enjoy nature in a quiet and unhurried setting abound around Lake Limestone and its environs. Several forms of lodgings are available in the area and range from modern cottages and resort-style rooms to the occasional private rental of a lakeside home. Real estate is available, often buildable lots. Lake Limestone is truly a relatively undiscovered gem in the heart of Texas, offering all types of water recreation to those lucky enough to find it.

*Statistics listed are those for years of normal rainfall and reflect the lake’s usual levels.

Things to do at Lake Limestone

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Limestone

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

Lake Limestone Photo Gallery

Lake Limestone Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Brazos River Authority

Surface Area: 13,680 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 363 feet

Maximum Depth: 43 feet

Water Volume: 208,017 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1978

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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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