Fly Fishing Purtis Creek Lake

| May 13, 2020


Fly fishing the little East Texas Lake of Purtis Creek has always been on the map for Texas fly fishers. Its unique smallness, seclusion, habitat and rules make it the perfect place for any fly fisher looking to catch bass and panfish with reckless abandon.

I have been there a couple of times on foot, and those areas that are reachable by foot are much more pressured (less productive) than the secluded places you can reach by kayak or boat. RULE: This is a no-wake idle only lake. Purtis Creek Lake lies in Van Zandt County not too far from Athens and Canton, Texas, and has the character of any of those “near” east Texas lakes (as opposed to Deep East). 

On this particular outing, the water clarity was dividable between the west side of the lake and the east side of the lake, which opened in 1988, by an earthen dam on the south end. SEE – HISTORY OF PURTIS CREEK LAKE By all appearances, significant rainfall, prior to my video on May 9, had created some runoff staining of the east side, while the west side had better – not the greatest – water clarity. 

I caught plenty of bass, schooling in fact, on the west side of the lake – on a windy point that had a log sticking off the end of it. That log and the wave action created a cross current from the wind, where the waves were deflecting at another angle and it served as a spot where confused bait was being slaughtered by these smart fighting, stronger-than-average bass. RULE: Bass are catch-and-release only on Purtis Creek Lake.


  • If you have a kayak, you are ahead of the game. They actually have a self-serve kayak rental set up there as well! It runs $18-dollars an hour as of this writing.
  • Bring two fly rod setups. Have a rod in the 5-8 weight range for bass, and have a 3-4 weight rod ready for the panfish population.
  • Dark Clouser patterns, like the ones I sell in PoPs Fly Shop will handle the bass population (vary your retrieve toward FAST side). And I would bet on woolly buggers, and even popper action for the panfish under the well-established vegetation along the shoreline.
  • There are no houses on it. There are only the park docks and pier for manmade structure, but trees abound! Hit the tree lines!
  • You can keep fish if you like, just not largemouth bass.
  • Submerged trees and wood are significant, and wear PFD if you don’t know the topography. The water was so stained for this video, that I did collide with more than a few stumps.
  • This is a VERY family friendly little lake, and if the family wants to hang while you fish? They won’t get bored too quickly (if they like the outdoors). There is a swimming area, hiking trails and informational stops (points of interest) along the lake that I saw.
  • While this lake is 110-miles from my door, that makes it 70-80 from Dallas. So by Texas standards, it’s a hop-skip-and-jump. Check it out!

Thanks for reading, and watch the video if you get the chance. I am trying to get to somewhere new every week, but the May weather is putting the hurt on that goal this week. Nevertheless, I will find a way to get you revved up with the goal of a new video every week until the last dog dies. Be sure to contact me about flies for Purtis Creek Lake! I have them, sell them and guarantee them.

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Category: Adventure, Culture on the Skids, East Texas, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Largemouth Bass, On The Road, TECHNICAL, Technique

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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