The newest and largest lake on the 10xXx Ranch is Mitchell Lake. Built in 2007 and named after the owners of the ranch. The Mitchell’s built a concrete and earthen dam/spillway across the sometimes wild and treacherous Hill Creek. The lake impounds over 25 acres of water and is stocked with Black Bass, Crappie, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Bluegill. There are huge limestone fishing rocks located around the perimeter of the lake for unobstructed fishing.
Mitchell Lake has a four acre island in the center of the lake which is accessed by a 120 ft. bridge across the lake. The bridge is THE favorite water sport area on the ranch. Kids of all ages work up the nerve to jump from the bridge to the dark, deep waters of Mitchell Lake. The bridge was originally the Somervelle county bridge located on Hwy 144 between Glen Rose and Granbury. When the State of Texas decided to convert the old steel structured bridge to a modern concrete bridge in 2006, the 10xXx Ranch purchased it and remodeled it to a wood decked bridge for use on Mitchell Lake. The island also has a beach and volleyball area called “Some Beach” with a cookout grill and Adirondack chairs for sun bathers and parents.
Another spectacular feature of Mitchell Lake is the 50 ft. waterfall which flows from the cliffs overlooking Hill Creek into the Lake. The waterfall is located immediately across from the heavily shaded Brady Park.
Built in 2003, CoJo Lake (named after Connie & Joe Mitchell) is located on the far North side of the 10xXx. While the lake is only about eight acres, it is a favorite for fisherman. The lake is built over a deep and steep gorge, so fish can be in 20 foot water and still be near the bank of the lake. For this reason, some of the biggest fish on the ranch have come out of CoJo. The lake also sports a very intimate cabin (Hole-in-the-Wall), fire pit, and dock immediately next to it. The lake also has a seasonal creek feeding it which sometimes gets very unruly during heavy downpours of rain. There is also a picturesque four foot waterfall at the tail end of the lake when the creek is running.
Cow Palace Pond
The Cow Palace Pond has had several lives. The pond originally was a small mud hole when built about 40 to 50 years ago. There was very little surface area to drain into the pond, so it didn’t make much sense to make a large water impoundment. However when CoJo Lake was built in 2003 (which is about one mile away), the ranch needed some very tight clay material to form the “core” of CoJo dam. This core material must be such that it is impermeable to water when tightly packed. After looking at soil samples around the ranch that could be used for this core material, it was found that the Cow Palace Pond was sitting on an abundance this tight clay material. Consequently, the Cow Palace Pond was drained and enlarged to remove some clay for the CoJo dam, and both water impoundments were built. After completion and with the next good rain, both the CoJo Lake and the Cow Palace Pond filled. Interesting, huh?? There’s more… When Mitchell Lake was built in 2007, the ranch again needed some tight clay material to form the huge core of the earthen dam of Mitchell Lake. And again, the ranch knew just where to find the clay. So again, the contractor drained the Cow Palace Pond and it was now necessary to take a huge amount of clay material from the pond. After all the clay material was taken, the ranch now had a huge pond in the middle of the pasture, with very little surface drainage area to fill the pond. To add surface drainage area, water funneling terraces were built which stretched around the hills and pastures (which increased by 10 times the surface drainage area to the pond). That surface area was now enough to keep the pond full, but it wasn’t enough to fill the 25 foot five acre gaping hole in the middle of the pasture. Consequently, an oil field water transfer company was contacted who wanted to test some new water pumps. They pumped water from the new CoJo Lake (which was full to the brim) over one mile to fill the newly enlarged Cow Palace Pond. The Cow Palace Pond is now the best catfish lake on the ranch, and although it is fondly called a “pond”, it is much larger and deeper than one might expect.
Blue Shale Lake
In North Texas, the value of any ranch (especially during the old days before electricity) was largely dependent on available water. Fortunately, the 10xXx Ranch is blessed with running creeks and a bedrock base to hold water in the creeks. After Joe Mitchell purchased the ranch, he noticed an area on the south part of the ranch where two small creeks converged together to form a larger creek. There seemed to be plenty of water running, but no area to impound the water. After discussing the situation with his contractors and trying to figure out how to make a lake from the naturally flowing water, they hatched an idea to “dynamite” the blue shale bedrock (which would fracture the shale rock over a large area). This fracturing of the blue shale base allowed the shale to be scooped up and hauled to other ponds which were leaking water (the shale would act as a liner to hold water in leaking ponds). This moving of the fractured shale created a huge hole which allowed the creek water to be impounded to form a lake. They then added a small concrete retaining wall type dam to create the small but gorgeous Blue Shale Lake. The lake is stocked with Black Bass and world class Bluegill. Many fly fisherman have honed their skills by preying on the monster Bluegill from Blue Shale Lake.
Penny & Dime Lakes
The twin lakes on the far South end of the 10xXx Ranch are Penny & Dime Lakes. These two lakes were built in the 1970’s by the previous ranch owners. Penny & Dime Lake are named after the telecom products that were super successful during the 1990’s heyday of the long distance business. The products were called “Penny Call….make your tenth call for a penny, and Dime Line…make any call for 10 cents per minute.” Yes, it sounds corny by today’s standards, but Joe Mitchell enjoys paying tribute to the “one who brought me to the dance”. Every time someone questions the origin of the names Penny or Dime Lake, Joe recalls fond memories of the unexpected runaway success of his telecom business.
While Penny and Dime Lakes are on totally different surfaces drainage areas fed by different creeks, these two lakes are within 200 yards of each other. The lakes are stocked with Hybrid Striper Bass, Florida Black Bass, Blue Catfish, and many species of panfish. The largest bass on the ranch have been taken from these sister lakes. Both lakes have many stumps and trees throughout their waters, perfect for big fish to lurk. Penny Lake is home to the “Dog Trot Log Cabin” which overlooks the North end of the Lakes. Both lakes have docks extending out into the lake which make it great for fishermen. The two lakes are very picturesque and bucolic.
One of the three lakes which were existing on the ranch when it was acquired by the 10xXx Ranch is Tuggle Lake (Penny and Dime Lakes are the other two). The ranch completely restocked the lake with Black Bass, Hybrid Striper Bass, Bluegill and food fish plus implemented an extensive fish feeding program. Tuggle Lake is built on a limited watershed area, therefor lake water levels vary greatly depending on the amount of surface runoff for the year. The ranch built a 50 ft. fishing dock and cleared most of the invasive Cedar Trees that were encroaching the lake shores. This Cedar clearing gives the lake open vistas which makes its remote location even more inviting. Tuggle Lake is often used by Boy Scout Troops vying for camping, fishing, and other outdoor badges. Tuggle Lake is also the favorite summer watering lake for Red Deer.
Newman & Hall Lake
When the Barnett Shale natural gas was discovered in nearby Johnson and Sumervell Counties, the 10xXx Ranch leased the ranch to explore for gas in 2004. Two gas wells were drilled with the stipulation that the energy company must also build a lake for fish and wildlife for each well drilled. Newman and Hall Lakes were built under that program. While the gas wells turned out to be non-producers, the ranch was permanently enhanced by their efforts by adding two new lakes. Newman Lake is now the major watering lake for White-tailed Deer and livestock on the east side of the mountain pasture. While the lake doesn’t get much fishing attention, it is well stocked. Both Newman and Hall Lakes have limited watershed areas, therefor their lake water levels vary greatly from season to season. The lakes were named from family names, Newman is Connie Mitchell’s maiden name, and Hall is Joe Mitchell’s mother’s maiden name.