Map showing the location of Jim Chapman Lake
In East Texas, there are over 50 lakes offering a variety of outdoor sports for vacations or weekends. These lakes provide fishing, swimming, water skiing, houseboats, jet skis, sailing and other outdoor and hiking activities.
Jim Chapman Lake, also known as Cooper Lake, is a popular attraction for residents and tourists in the Upper East Texas area, offering boating, swimming, and fishing opportunities. The lake is located about twelve miles north of Sulphur Springs and one mile south of the City of Cooper on the border of Delta and Hopkins Counties. It has a surface area of 19,305 acres and a maximum depth of 55 feet.
Besides flood control, the lake also supplies water to the North Texas Municipal Water District, the Sulphur River Municipal Water District and City of Irving.
Aerial view of the dam at Jim Chapman Lake
The lake was created by the Jim Chapman Dam which impounds the South Sulphur River, a fork of the Sulphur River. The top of the rolled earthfill dam is at the elevation of 464.5 feet above mean sea level. The lake was impounded in 1991.
The lake was formerly known as Cooper Lake, but was renamed by an act of Congress in 1998 to honor Jim Chapman, a former congressman from nearby Sulphur Springs.
Cooper Lake State Park retains the earlier name. The park contains several picnic areas, campgrounds, and a large swimming area as well as several hiking and equestrian trails.
Aerial view of Jim Chapman Lake in Texas (photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Cooper Lake State Park is located on the shores of Jim Chapman Lake, and is divided into two units, South Sulphur and Doctors Creek. The park offers campgrounds, shelters, cabins, beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps, two lighted fishing piers, fish-cleaning tables, and opportunities for shoreline fishing. Three additional public ramps are available.
Doctors Creek (on the north side of the lake) and South Sulphur (on the south side) offer a variety of amenities. Visitors can fish, picnic, swim, boat, paddle, water-ski, hike, bike, bird watch, study nature, stargaze, ride horses, geocache and camp. Pavilions are available for rent for group activities and meetings.
Bring your own boat or kayak, or rent a kayak at either unit. Facilities include boat docks, fishing piers, and fish cleaning stations. Remember, you do not need a fishing license to fish from shore in a state park!
Camp sites with water and electricity or walk-in campsites are available. Both units have screened shelters and cabins. South Sulphur also has 14 cabins with kitchens and bathrooms.
Water sport fans can enjoy skiing, fishing, boating and sightseeing for wild game on the lake’s more than 25 miles of shoreline. Experiences here range from nature study and educational programs to horseback riding, picnicking, primitive to RV and cabin camping, bike and nature trails, bird watching, swimming and sunbathing on one of two designated beaches.
Read more about Cooper Lake State Park
White bass and hybrid striped bass provide excellent fisheries especially in the lake's open water areas. Because hybrid striped bass do not reproduce, they are stocked annually by TPWD to maintain the fishery.
Crappie fishing, in general, is fair in the lake's abundant standing timber. Crappie fishing in the early spring can be quite good along retaining walls and structural pilings when the fish are spawning.
Largemouth bass occur in low numbers due to limited habitat, and anglers are most successful on this lake during the spring, fall, and winter months. Topwater baits such as buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, and Pop-R's are popular in the early morning and evening hours. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also productive fished along main-lake points and flooded timber. Popular soft plastic baits include worms, tubes, grubs, and soft-jerkbaits.
Though channel, blue, and flathead catfish are all present, blue catfish are most abundant and provide an excellent sport fishery.
Another great day of bass fishing on Jim Chapman Lake!
Jim Chapman Lake on YouTube ... uploaded by Texas Parks & Wildlife
"Welcome to Cooper" mural
The City of Cooper is the county seat of Delta County, in Upper East Texas. It is located between the north and south forks of the Sulphur River.
Delta County is named for its triangular shape, like the Greek letter "delta". Two forks of the Sulphur River form its northern and southern boundaries, and meet at its easternmost point. It was founded in 1870.