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October 2006 Park Picks

Picture of the cover to the September 2006 magazine

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Enjoy fishing, camping and birdwatching at this northeast Texas hideaway.

By Marian Edwards

For 13 years, Michael Whitehurst and about 30 close friends have been converging on Lake Bob Sandlin State Park for two weeks of fishing, talking about fishing, eating fish and marathon games of “42.” The group is made up of several generations and includes a fireman, a church deacon and Whitehurst, who works for the state of Texas. “We come every year for the camaraderie, the fishing and our favorite camping spot at the park. The park employees treat us like returning family,” says Whitehurst, adding, “the fishing is so good that I won’t even tell you what we fish for!”

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park covers 639 acres. The park is dressed in hardwoods and pine trees and sits on the banks of its namesake, a 9,400-acre lake popular for its largemouth bass, catfish and crappie. The park is only about two hours from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, but it feels like a million miles. Turtles bask in the sun and the quiet is broken by the sound of bird calls, splashing swimmers and a trolling motor out on the lake.

The park is a popular day-use site with nearby residents and has a scenic picnic area overlooking the lake with a group picnic pavilion. The swimming area is situated there and the lighted fishing pier, boat ramp and fish-cleaning station are just a few steps away. Located within the picnic area in a quiet, fenced corner is the Fort Sherman/Miller cemetery, which contains headstones for two Confederate soldiers and the gravesites of the previous landowners.

Visitors can fish, hike, swim, mountain bike, in-line skate and indulge in wildlife and birdwatching. Eagles soar above the lake during winter months. Kids can head for the playground or walk over to the adjoining field for soccer, football, volleyball or kite flying. No fishing license is required in state parks, so grab the cane pole and take a short hike to the trout pond. Whistling the theme song to Mayberry RFD is optional, but the pond is stocked with rainbow trout every winter, so don’t forget the creel. Five miles of hiking and mountain biking trails also attract both day-users and overnight visitors.

Campers who long for a view of the lake will find premium lakeside campsites with water and electricity, two primitive camping areas, screened shelters and limited use cabins. There are no pull-through sites for RV owners, but back-in sites with water and electricity are available. The park sees the most visitors from March through July, with spring providing a lush background of blooming dogwood and redbud trees. Oaks, hickory and maple trees bring spectacular fall color.

Discover what brings those fishing buddies back year after year to Lake Bob Sandlin State Park.

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