Sheldon Lake, Texas, USA

Also known as:  Lake Sheldon, Sheldon Resevoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Sheldon Lake.

If you’re considering Sheldon Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Sheldon Lake guide!

Sheldon Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Southwest - Texas - Gulf Coast -

Sheldon Lake is conveniently located just 16 miles east of Houston in northeastern Harris County. This 1,230-acre reservoir covers about 800 acres of open water and 400 acres of marsh and swamplands. Although the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department manages Sheldon Lake as a waterfowl refuge and public fishing site, the reservoir has served many purposes since its creation during World War II.

Sheldon Reservoir was created in 1943 by the federal government when it dammed Carpenter’s Bayou in the San Jacinto River Basin to provide fresh water for shipbuilding and shipping activities on the Houston Ship Channel in support of the war effort. After the war, the City of Houston took over management of Sheldon Lake and used it to provide drinking water for the city. With the construction of the Lake Houston Dam on the nearby west fork of the Trinity River in 1952, the reservoir was sold to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to use as a waterfowl sanctuary. The Sheldon Wildlife Management Area opened to the public in 1955 and was designated a state park in 1984. Sheldon Reservoir has survived Houston’s urbanization over the past 50 years. The Sheldon Wildlife Management Area is the last remaining freshwater marsh habitat and refuge within the greater Houston area.

Sheldon Lake is a sport fisherman’s dream. Free catch-and-release family fishing is allowed on Saturdays, and poles are even provided. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks the reservoir with many species including catfish, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and sunfish. Boats with motors under 10 horsepower are allowed on the lake from March 1 to November 1; motorboats are prohibited November 1 to March 1 due to wintering waterfowl. However, bank fishing and pier fishing are available year-round. The catfish and crappie fishing are particularly good at the north end of the lake.

Sheldon Lake’s protected status also allows waterfowl and other bird species to flourish in and around the lake. The non-profit group, Friends of Lake Sheldon (FOSL), hosts “Walks with Nature” every third Saturday from May through September. As of 2006, more than 250 distinct species made it onto the group’s bird checklist and can be sighted in the state park. Sheldon Reservoir is also home to one of Texas’ largest inland waterbird colony; more than 2,000 heron, egret, roseate spoonbill, anhinga, cormorant, and ibis nests are counted each Memorial Day as part of the Texas Colonial Waterbird Census. Sheldon Lake has also become increasingly popular for winter bird watching as more than 90 species can be found wintering in the park, including such popular species as Canvasback and Ross’s Goose, Fish Crow, Ash-throated and Vermillion Flycatchers, Le Conte’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and American Bittern.

The Environmental Learning Center at Lake Sheldon State Park was completed in 2005 and offers many educational programs on the bird and fish species of the lake and much more. Some of the ELC’s more interesting offerings include classes on alternative energy, green building, and composting. It also includes a half-mile trail, which passes 28 constructed pond areas housing local species including alligators and birds. The ELC also offers hunter education classes. Canoe trails are currently under development.

Although camping is not allowed in Sheldon Lake State Park, there are many nearby hotels with available accommodations. You can also camp at nearby Lake Houston Park. Future plans for the park include cabins and camping areas, although as of yet funds have not been raised for those developments.

Custom Sheldon Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Sheldon Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Sheldon Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Sheldon Lake

The Sheldon Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Sheldon Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Sheldon Lake statistics & helpful links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Surface Area: 1,230 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 47 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 41 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 50 feet

Average Depth: 4 feet

Maximum Depth: 10 feet

Water Volume: 5,354 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1943

Drainage Area: 25 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Advertise your Sheldon Lake vacation rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.

divider

Looking for the Sheldon Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Spread the word! Share our Sheldon Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!