Lake Palestine Alligators

Lake Palestine lies in Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson, and Smith Counties in East Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not recognize these counties as counties with high populations of alligators.

Are There Alligators in Lake Palestine?

Yes, there are alligators in Lake Palestine.

In 2015, Game wardens noticed that the flooding forced alligators and snakes out of their habitats at Lake Palestine. In 2019, Game wardens reported increased sightings of alligators in East Texas Lakes, and the gators begin to move around during June in East Texas.

Alligator resource management experts attribute different factors to increased alligator sightings in East Texas lakes, including Lake Palestine. It could be habitat condition changes, people are spending more time outdoors, or that more alligators are moving into East Texas lakes.

Lake Palestine Alligator Sightings

Lake Palestine alligator sightings are more common in the Cherokee, Anderson, and Smith County areas. Those counties cover the eastern shores and southern tip of Lake Palestine. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans, and humans create nuisance gators by directly or indirectly feeding them.

Natives from East Texas to Florida have been peacefully cohabitating with alligators for centuries. A large alligator sighting usually spurs the local news to cover the story in Texas. An alligator that hangs out in a populated area and bothers people is a nuisance gator.

If you are swimming in a populated area at Lake Palestine, the chances of an alligator encounter are extremely rare. Alligators prefer shallow marshy areas and water runoffs, plus sunny areas to bask in. Alligators are a protected species because they are vital to their ecosystems.

The TPWD imposes strict regulations on alligator hunting in Texas. The TPWD recognizes 22 counties as core counties with higher populations of alligator than Texas’ other 234 non-core counties. Lake Palestine is located in TPWD non-core counties, and alligator encounters with humans are rare.

Can You Swim in Lake Palestine?

Lake Palestine private campgrounds, RV parks, the Eagle Bluff Country Club, and the Lake Palestine Resort have swimming areas on Lake Palestine. The East Texas forests grow right down to Lake Palestine shores, so swimming areas are restricted to the parks and coves where boaters can find good swimming holes.

Never Feed a Gator: It Is Illegal

It is illegal for an extremely logical reason based on centuries of knowledge from the folks who live in East Texas, southwestern Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida. Why? Gators instinctively fear humans, will not normally attack people, and become nuisance gators.

If only one person feeds a single gator, it poses a future threat to humans and a opens up a new gateway to the property near the feeding location to children, pets, deer, cattle, other livestock, and wildlife because the gators become acclimated to human interaction, lose their fear, and hunt the new grounds.

It is illegal in Texas to feed an alligator. Since October 1, 2003, it has been a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 for anyone caught feeding an alligator in Texas. Human-fed gators are called nuisance gators. Even in non-core Texas counties, feeding a gator is dangerous to humans and the ecosystem.

Characteristics of Nuisance Gators

The presence of an alligator does not constitute a nuisance situation. If residences and commercial properties are located within or adjacent to habitats occupied by alligators, rare interactions do occur. Alligators are not naturally aggressive towards people. They avoid people and human-populated areas in their habitats, unless they have been fed intentionally or indirectly fed, such as by fish feeders or discarded fish remains thrown into the water.

Any alligator that has preyed upon or attempted to prey upon humans, pets, or livestock, or an alligator that shows aggression and lack of fear of humans by regularly approaching human activity is considered a "nuisance alligator". Leaving fish remains in water or on the waterfront is illegal in many state and federal wildlife management agencies, and is considered indirectly feeding a gator.

Alligators do not naturally patrol neighborhoods, busy beaches and waterfronts, and popular fishing areas in their habitats. The following are instances in which local authorities should be notified about a nuisance gator:

  • If you see an alligator in the roadway.
  • If an alligator is repeatedly following boats, canoes or other watercrafts, and/or maintains a close distance without submersing.
  • If you walk near the water and an alligator comes straight toward you, especially if it comes out of the water.

What to Do if You Have an Alligator Encounter

Serious and repeated attacks are most often made by alligators 8-feet in length or more and the result of chase and feeding behavior. Attacks by alligators under 5-feet in length are rare. If the alligator is not approaching anybody, let it be. Gators have a natural fear of humans like most wildlife, and are usually quick to retreat upon encounter. Don’t feed gators, don’t get close to them or provoke them.

Contact the Alligator Program directly at 10 Parks and Wildlife Drive, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640, or [email protected] if you have an alligator sighting to report.

Tell us what you think!

Lake Palestine Real Estate

Lake Palestine Email Updates


Visit our Lake Palestine Sponsors!

Lake Palestine on Social Media


Lake Palestine Current Weather Alerts

Lake Palestine Weather Forecast


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 68

Tuesday Night

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 63


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 80

Wednesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 66


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 80

Thursday Night

Thunderstorms Likely

Lo: 65



Hi: 75

Friday Night


Lo: 50

Lake Palestine Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 3/21: 345.51 (+0.51)

Lake Palestine

Fishing Report from TPWD (Mar. 15)

FAIR. Water lightly stained; 63-69 degrees; 0.67 feet above pool. Bass are good with the best bite using a shimmy shaker and big eyed jigs in shallow waters. Crappie are good shallow, on the timber and under the bridges on minnows and jigs. White bass are scattered but best on the points with crankbaits. Catfish are very good on baited holes in 20 feet, and under deeper boat houses on nightcrawlers. Report by Ricky Vandergriff, Ricky’s Guide Service.

More Fishing Reports