Located an easy, interstate highway, 2 hour drive north of Houston on I-45 and a little over an hour south of Dallas lies a truly remarkable example of industry’s ability to exist in harmony with nature, Lake Fairfield and Fairfield State Park. This lake serves as a cooling water supply for the adjacent power plant and what makes it so remarkable is that much of the surrounding land was strip mined for Lignite to fuel the power plant and has been restored to a state even more pristine in appearance than before it was mined. If you drive west, from Fairfield, on highway 488, past the park road exit, you will see a panorama of beautiful rolling pastures and stock tanks perfectly landscaped with scattered clumps of trees of trees and reeds around the tanks. It is hard to imagine that nature itself could have created such a beautiful landscape. Even harder to imagine that this land was laid open for miles to remove the fuel for the generators that provide the electricity for us to light and heat our homes. Lake Fairfield is a 2350 acre power plant lake with a 24 mile shoreline. It has a healthy supply of largemouth bass, catfish, hybrid striped bass and as a special bonus red drum(redfish). The lake has plenty of cover for largemouth in the form of natural standing timber, in some areas, reeds and aquatic vegetation. Being a power plant lake the water temperature will remain warm during the winter months making it more productive for fishing than lakes that don’t have hot water being discharged into them. On a recent trip to the lake in mid January the water temperature was in the mid 60’s where in nearby Richland Chambers the water was a very cool 50. Of course the warmer water means more active fish. Largemouth can be caught from the bank, power boat, canoe or john boat. There is plenty of shoreline in the adjacent State Park for bank fishing. The park has 135 campsites for those who like camping and would make their fishing trip a fishing camping combo. Redfish offers a great bonus for freshwater anglers. These fish are normally found in salt water but have been stocked in a few lakes around the State that have water warm enough to support them. Many of the local anglers report furious surface schooling by 15-20 pound redfish and fantastic crankbait fishing for them. During the winter they will tend to stay near the warmer water of the hot water discharge from the power plant. Hybrids can also provide a great reward to those anglers visiting Lake Fairfield. These fish are fierce fighters and are fairly abundant in the lake. They will also school on the surface, chasing shad, mainly in the spring and fall. During the summer they will go to the deep water near the dam and they can be caught trolling deep divers or casting jigging spoons. A trip to Fairfield Lake would be incomplete without a short side trip through the park at dawn or dusk. It is full of white tailed deer that may be seen along the roadside about dark. Get off the lake before dusk on evening and you will enjoy a most fitting end to a great fishing tip as it seems that you’re are being escorted through the park by wildlife.
My name is Eric Melson, I work for a non-profit called Public Land Solutions (PLS). We’ve been contracted through the state of New Mexico’s Economic Development Department and the