Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




New Paddling Trail Launches at Toledo Bend

Texas’ newest paddling trail has opened on Patroon Bayou at Toledo Bend Reservoir, an East Texas lake known for scenic beauty, bird-watching and bass fishing. This trail, the 79th official one in Texas, is ready for canoeing or kayaking adventures.

“The Toledo Bend-Patroon Bayou Paddling Trail lets you explore a quieter part of the Toledo Bend Reservoir,” says Shelly Plante, nature tourism manager at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “By paddling through this side arm of the lake, paddlers will experience great birding and fishing while enjoying views of the surrounding national forest lands. It’s quite an experience!”

Paddlers can access this loop trail at Holly Park Marina, so no shuttle is needed. The trail length ranges from two to eight miles depending on the chosen route, and takes up to six hours to complete, depending on factors including the route, water level and wind speed. Of course, stopping to fish will add to the time as well. It’s also important to note that paddlers crossing the open- water portion of the trail could face high winds and waves.

The trail offers an open-water paddling experience on Patroon Bay before moving to the more riverine Patroon Bayou on the opposite side of the bay. Birders will see wood ducks, egrets, herons, bunting and storks in the summertime, while a winter trip enables paddlers to view sparrows, pintails and teals, providing great bird-watching opportunities all year long. Paddlers can also expect to see other forest wildlife on the journey into the bayou.

If fishing is the objective, ample opportunities abound to reel in a big catch. Largemouth bass are the most popular game fish at Toledo Bend. In addition, plenty of bluegill and sunfish provide excellent fishing, especially for young or new anglers.   

 TPWD staff;   Jason Mercer | TPWD

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