More than 70 years ago, when Dallas and Fort Worth were mere shadows of what they are today, the small town of Bridgeport, located on a tributary of the Trinity River, became the home of Lake Bridgeport.
Today that lake still stands as a huge warm-weather attraction, providing fun on the water for families from all over Texas.
“There are three major attractions in this area,” Bridgeport Lake Superintendent Richard Ellis said. “One is the mass amount of limestone, another is the Barnett Shale and the third is the lake. It’s as simple as that. Lake Bridgeport is a very important part of the county.”
In 1922, severe rains plagued the Trinity River area, causing heavy flood damage to northern Tarrant County and the town of Bridgeport. This prompted the formation of the Tarrant County Water Conservation Association. In 1929, construction began on the Lake Bridgeport dam, and two years later the lake was finished.
Lake Bridgeport is located on the west fork of the Trinity River in Wise and Jack counties, about four miles west of Bridgeport, and about 70 miles from DFW Airport.
With a surface area of just less than 12,000 acres and about 129 miles of shoreline according to the Tarrant Regional Water District, the watershed area for the reservoir covers approximately 1,100 square miles and five counties.
The lake is 5.9 miles wide and 19 miles long at its maximum points and has a conservation storage of 366,236 acre-feet. With an average depth of 29 feet, Lake Bridgeport can accommodate most small fishing boats and recreational crafts.
Ellis has worked for the Tarrant Regional Water District since 1969 and said that Lake Bridgeport provides the area not only with recreation, but also with a sustainable water supply.
“This lake was built first and foremost for flood control and water supply, then for recreation. We provide water to all the local cities and to many of the power plants in the area,” Ellis said.
For the surrounding area’s population, the lake provides a place where people can enjoy numerous water activities including boating and boat rentals, skiing, fishing and swimming. Paddle trails and launch sites for kayaking and canoeing were established in 2011. There are also places on the surrounding shore for camping and picnicking, and cabins are available for rent.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission reports Lake Bridgeport to be an excellent location for bass fishing as well as crappie, catfish and sun fish. In 2011, TPW designated Chupacabra Points Paddling Trails on the south end of the lake in Runaway Bay. Read about the trails on page 148.
“This is really a great lake,” Ellis said. “We get a good summer crowd on the weekends, but it’s definitely not as packed as some of the other lakes around here. There is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy all kinds of water sports and fishing.”
The North Side Marina and Resort, located at the north end of the lake, is one of the major draws for lodging and entertainment.
The marina offers one-to four-bedroom cabin rentals, boat and slip rentals, RV sites, a ship’s store (inventory carried on board of a ship such as food, water, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, safety supplies, spare parts, etc.) and gift shop, fishing opportunities and a 24-hour boat fueling station.
The northeast edge of the lake features the amenities of Wise County Park.
EAGLE MOUNTAIN LAKE
While not in Wise County, Eagle Mountain Lake sits on the West Fork of the Trinity River, south of Bridgeport. The man-made freshwater body has almost a dozen access points that feature restrooms, docks, boat gas, camping and picnic areas.
Popular activities on the lake include boating, fishing, and water sports.