Lake O' the Pines was created by the construction of the Ferrell's Bridge Dam on the Big Cypress Bayou approximately 81 miles upstream from the Red River. The reservoir was created as part of the overall plan for flood control in the Red River Basin below Denison Dam in Oklahoma. The project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1946. Additional purposes of both recreation and water supply were added during construction.
The bayou has a length of 140 miles and a total drainage area of 850 square miles. The lake’s normal conservation pool is 230 feet mean sea level (msl.). Lake provides water supply storage for the Northeast Texas Municipal Water District which serves the cities of Jefferson, Ore City, Lone Star, Avinger, Hughes Springs, Daingerfield, and most recently Longview. The water supply storage exists in the conservation pool between elevations 201 ft. msl. and 230 ft. msl. Water intake structures are located at various points on the lake and one downstream of the lake. Discharges from the two gates in the control structure located on the southeast end vary from a minimum of 5 cubic feet per second (cfs.) to a maximum of 3000 cfs.