ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Anglers and fisherman in East Texas are honored to have the lake they know and love the best recognized as one of the top lakes in the nation.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir was ranked the No. 2 Best Bass Lake out of 100 by "Bass Master" magazine. Fishing on the 114,000-acre body of water now holds a new meaning.
In 2012, Sam Rayburn was recognized as the No. 19 lake.
"One thing about that Top 100 list - it's a great honor to be even considered on that list much less be No. 2, so I think that's got to do with a lot of aspects of the lake," said Jason Kartye, Angelina County's parks director.
One of those aspects is being able to find the fish you're looking for on any given day.
"We've got stumps and stuff," said Lynn Atkinson, who runs a Sam Rayburn guide service. "We've got good creeks. It's just everybody can find what they like to fish and get after it."
Richard Bowden, an avid fisherman, moved to Angelina County just to live closer to the lake he has always enjoyed after retirement.
"I feel like this is one of the best lakes in the state of Texas," Bowden said.
For many years, East Texans have had a loyalty to the lake; and now it has become a favorite spot for tourists from all over the United States.
"People spend a lot of money to get here," Atkinson said. "I have fished people from Russia over here."
After a major drought, water has returned to Rayburn, making fishing on Sam Rayburn a must on a fisherman's bucket list.
"The lake was really low and it was kind of a two-edge sword," Kartye said. "While it hurt some things, it really helped that the lake was drawn down like that and you know it allowed a lot of new vegetation growth. It also allowed a lot of people to see some structure that has always been there but they never really realized it."
Currently, you can catch fish in shallow or deep areas. Loyal fishermen say the lake looks just like it did when it first opened in 1965.
Eight other Texas lakes were recognized on "Bass Master's" 100 Best Bass Lakes, .including Toledo Bend Reservoir which was ranked 10th in the nation.