Lake LBJ was formed in 1950 by the completion of Wirtz Dam and named Granite Shoals. In 1965 the lake was renamed Lake Lyndon Baines Johnson, who diligently supported the LCRA and the hill country region. Lyndon had a lake house up the Llano river above the lake, I remember "falling" off our water skis in front of his boat so the secret service boats had to come tell us to move! The wildlife lives in harmony with the people living on the lake, the geese nest in the yards next to the water and parade their babies around town. I see Heron, Cormorants, Seagulls, several kinds of Ducks and even Swans. The deer are plentiful, there were 20 in my yard last week when my granddaughter came to visit.
David Culp came by in his 1981 ComPac 16 during my May 3, 2006 class on Lake LBJ. With the full batten main and new foil rudder it's the fastest ComPac 16 I've seen. You need the Flash plugin to see the video, click the play button to see what sailing on Lake LBJ is like. 3.2 MB
This video was taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2. A $200 camera designed mainly for still photography, it will take a 30 minute video with sound if you have the 1 Gig memory card. Built in microphone, but I removed the sound on this video as it was mostly wind noise.
While referred to as a "constant level" lake by many, the LCRA is not required to maintain a constant level and varies the level for flood control and drops it about once a year for maintenance on the dam, and for landowners to repair their docks and clean the shoreline. However the level rarely varies by more than a foot and is usually near 825 feet above sea level.
Lake LBJ is filled with water from the Llano and Colorado rivers, Sandy and Walnut Creeks and various other creeks. Upstream on the Colorado are Lakes Inks and Buchanan, and downstream are Lakes Marble Falls, Travis, Austin, and Town Lake. These seven lakes are known as the Highland Lakes.
Lake LBJ is over 21 miles long with a maximum width of about 2 miles and has a capacity of 138,460 acre feet of water. Wirtz Dam is 118.3 feet high and 5,491.4 feet long, 12 feet thick at the top and has 10 floodgates. The lake produces electrical power at the dam, and in the early 70's the Thomas C. Ferguson natural gas power plant was built, which uses Lake LBJ for its cooling water. Several communities around the lake use it for drinking water.
Thomas Ferguson power plant
Slickrock golf course in Horseshoe Bay
Several lakeside communities line the shores of Lake LBJ, and many have fine golf courses and airstrips. I'm not sure how many courses we have here, but we have plenty! Horseshoe Bay has three.
Flood control was one of the reasons for building the Highland Lakes, as the Colorado River was known for it's damaging floods in the past. While they have not completely eliminated flooding, Lakes Buchanan and Travis are large and can usually catch floodwaters from the upper watersheds and save the water for later use by farmers downstream of Austin.
Lake LBJ Resort and Marina, Sunrise Beach. Cabins and dock on the water. Restaurant with full bar. Jetski, pontoon, and ski boat rentals.
Horseshoe Bay Area
Lake LBJ Marina south edge of the dam, look for the long blue roof. If you come by boat, come inbetween the dam and the blue roof. Store, boat and pwc rentals, gas, sometimes a restaurant in summer, rest room.
LCRA boat ramp. between Lake LBJ Marina and Bay Marine. Free ramp, ample parking, restrooms. Good concrete dock. In a cove protected from the south wind but exposed to the north. Best ramp for launching a keelboat, although overhead powerline nearby.
Bay Marine, gas, powerboat and pwc dealer, boating supplies, parts and service, boat storage, near the dam, just south of the big marina with the long blue roof. Store with restrooms, and the parts counter is next to it.
Tropical Hideaway in Granite Shoals, just north of Web Isle and Beaver Island, they are rebuilding in 2008.
East of Granite Shoals
Honeymoon Ranch, east of Granite Shoals, Primitive camping is available on Lake LBJ from March through October at this ranch and you can also do some swimming here. Good opportunities to see wildflowers when local conditions are favorable. 614 Honeymoon Ranch Road, Marble Falls, Texas 78654, (830) 598-2258
Sunset Point, just east of Granite Shoals, next to the dam on the north side of the lake. Cabins and RV spots, fairly new and not in Granite Shoals.