Every year, millions of tourists visit Texas and they get to experience fishing in the state. That’s a lot of anglers, but there’s more than enough room for all of them. Texas is the second largest state in America and it’s home to a total of 36 rivers and almost 7000 lakes. Include the 350-plus miles of coast along the Gulf of Mexico and Texas becomes a fishing paradise.
With so many fishing spots to choose from, it can be a challenge to find the one that suits your needs and experience. That’s why we’ve prepared this article. Below we’ll be reviewing the best fishing spots in Texas.
In Texas, more people possess a fishing license than in any other state. In 2016 alone, more than 1.65 million people purchased some kind of Texas fishing license.
It’s believed that fishing licenses generate about $55 million per year for the Texas government, so don’t expect for the licensing laws to ease up any time soon. If you’re planning a fishing vacation to the Lone Star State, then a license will likely be necessary. So how much is a fishing license in Texas? Review the chart below to see the different license options and their fees.
As you likely noticed, a one-day saltwater or freshwater license costs the same as a one-day all-water license. For this reason, virtually everybody applying for a one-day fishing license in Texas goes with an all-water license.
Some people, such as senior citizens, may be eligible for discounts on their fishing license. A complete breakdown of the discounts currently offered is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
Who Is Exempt from Fishing License Requirements?
Just like some people may be eligible for discounted licenses, some people can fish without a license altogether. In Texas, fishing licensing laws don’t apply to anybody under the age of 17. Residents of Louisiana can fish in Texas without a license if they are over 65 years of age and posses an active license in their home state. Likewise, Oklahoma state residents do not need a fishing license in Texas.
Those suffering from an intellectual disability can fish without a license providing they are accompanied by an angler who does have an active license. They may also fish without a license if it’s part of their therapy and they are accompanied by a caregiver.
Each year, Texas hosts a Free Fishing Day. Traditionally, this has taken place on the first Saturday in June. On Free Fishing Day, residents and non-residents alike can fish in Texas waters without a license. This is a great opportunity for newcomers to discover the joys of sport fishing.
Rules for Texas State Parks
Many anglers choose to restrict their activities to Texas state parks. This is because a license is not required to fish from a bank or pier if it’s located within a Texas State Park. This applies all year round and not just on Free Fishing Day.
There’s no shortage of fishing locations in the Lone Star State. However, some of them are more productive than others. In the section below we’ll review some of the most promising spots for fishing in Texas.
Also known as “Falcon International Reservoir”, Falcon Lake covers 78,300 acres across Zapata and Starr counties. It’s home to a variety of fish, including crappie and catfish. However, it’s best known for its largemouth bass. Bass in Falcon Lake often exceed five pounds in weight. Smaller breeds have been known to reach three pounds.
With such large fish dwelling in its waters, Falcon Lake is perhaps best suited to experienced anglers. You’ll need some serious skill and determination to reel in a Falcon Lake bass or win one of its fishing tournaments.
Falcon Lake is a little more secluded than many other fishing spots in Texas. This is advantageous because you won’t have to worry about rival anglers stealing your spot or catch.
Blanco State Park
As mentioned earlier, Texas state parks are a good place for recreational anglers because they don’t require a fishing license. Of the many state parks in Texas, Blanco State Park is one of the most popular ones for fishing.
The water at Blanco State Park is home to bass, catfish, rainbow trout, and sunfish, among other breeds. We recommend this spot to tourists visiting Texas on a family vacation. With ample opportunity for swimming, hiking, and picnicking, your family won’t have a hard time keeping themselves entertained while you fish.
If your goal is to catch large fish, then you’re going to want to visit Lake Fork. This lake is located in Woods, Rains, and Hopkins counties, making it easily accessible. It provides the perfect environment for marine life to thrive, with 90% of its standing timber being untouched by man. This means fish multiply rapidly in the lake so there’s plenty of catching to be done.
Among the fish an angler can expect to catch in Lake Fork are bluegill, catfish, and sunfish. Much like Falcon Lake, Lake Fork is legendary for its bass. With copious amounts of crawfish and shad to eat, bass in Lake Fork grow to mammoth sizes. In fact, 65% of the largest bass in Texas have been caught in Lake Fork. This includes the largest ever bass caught in the state. Click here to see the official records.
Less than an hour’s drive from Houston, Lake Conroe is an old favorite of tourists. Located in Montgomery County (with a small stretch in Conroe County), this lake provides the perfect environment for water activities. Visitors can turn to boating and jet-skiing should they lose interest in fishing. Of course, losing interest in fishing at a lake with so much potential is extremely unlikely.
At Lake Conroe, even novice anglers have a shot at catching bass, crappie, and hybrid stripers. The lake is most famous for its catfish. Lake Conroe catfish are renowned for their size and taste. This makes them a worthy goal, whether you’re fishing for sport or sustenance.
Fishing is embedded into Texan culture. The Texas Park and Wildlife department is actively working to ensure it stays this way. Fishing is encouraged throughout the state, even in state parks. By allowing anglers to fish in state parks for free, Texas introduces millions of people to the hobby every year. This makes the state the perfect place for anybody hoping to introduce their children to the joys of fishing.
The many lakes across the state provide the perfect backdrop for big game fishing. Veteran sport fishermen can test their skills against gigantic bass at places such as Falcon Lake, while budding anglers can try for their first big catches.