Texas is an ideal destination for the avid fisherman, boasting an array of lakes and reservoirs offering some of the country’s best fishing spots. Caddo Lake, Lake Fork, Falcon, Amistad, and Fork are some of the most popular lakes for bass fishing, with plenty of lunkers to be found. Each of these lakes has its unique features, from the scenic views of Caddo with its docks to Lake Fork’s tent sites, electricity, restrooms, and shower facilities. For even more variety, over 1,100 public lakes in the Lone Star State are stocked with channel catfish and rainbow trout, as well as the 36 rivers and 6,736 lakes for freshwater anglers. Texas truly is a fisherman’s paradise with its beautiful landscapes, abundant species, and year-round catchability.
17 Best fishing lakes in Texas
1. Lake Fork
Lake Fork is the perfect destination for anglers looking for trophy-sized largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, and channel catfish. Located in East Texas, only 90 miles from the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolis, Lake Fork has become one of the most desirable locations for catching big fish. With 65 percent of the top 50 largest basses caught in Texas coming from Lake Fork, this impressive reservoir has earned its reputation.
The restricted harvest regulations, ideal natural habitat, and the state’s stocking program provide the perfect environment for catching largemouth bass. Bass fishing peaks at Lake Fork during the spring, fall, and winter. The lake is abundant with docks and bank access close to partially submerged trees and brush piles, which are hotspots for bass.
In addition, the clear waters are filled with abundant aquatic vegetation, such as hydrilla and Eurasian milfoil, that bass love to hide under. Anglers can also cast their lines by using the lake’s boat houses, docks, and bridge crossings. Moreover, the lake is known for its excellent topwater bite in the evenings and night fishing during the summer.
Lake Fork is the perfect combination of plentiful bass and accessibility, making it one of the premier fishing lakes in Texas. With its impressive catch-and-release policies and prime natural environment, anglers are guaranteed a successful and memorable fishing experience.
2. Lake Buchanan
Lake Buchanan is one of the best fishing lakes in Texas. Located northwest of Austin in Burnet and Llano Counties, it offers anglers 22,000 acres of excellent bass fishing throughout the year. The underwater structures, such as rocky banks, cliffs, trees, mounds, and more, provide an ideal habitat for bass to spawn. It is popular for white and striped bass, as well as largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, blue, flathead, and channel catfish. Spring and fall are the best times to go fishing on Lake Buchanan, where you can use a variety of lures and fishing techniques. Additionally, the lake is so large that anglers have plenty of room to spread out and find the perfect spot to throw their lines.
Aside from fishing, Lake Buchanan offers plenty of other activities for visitors. There is an RV park for camping nearby and a large lighthouse at the end of the lake that is great for sightseeing. Plus, visitors can take a cruise with Vanishing Texas River Cruises to appreciate the area’s flora and fauna and even go bald eagle and bird watching during the winter months.
3. Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is a famous fishing lake in Texas because it offers year-round fishing opportunities for a variety of species, including largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill. It also has a maximum depth of 80 feet and spans 36.43 miles long and 4.29 miles wide, making it the largest lake in Texas. Its impressive size makes it a great place for anglers of all skill levels to fish, as there is plenty of space for the bass to roam. Furthermore, the lake is filled with vegetation like hydrilla, providing healthy fish habitat. To top it all off, there are more than 20 public access areas around the lakeshore, making it easy and convenient for anglers to get out on the water and take advantage of Sam Rayburn Reservoir’s excellent fishing opportunities.
4. Lake Conroe
Lake Conroe is a great fishing lake in Texas for many reasons. First and foremost, it is located just 40 miles from Houston, making it easily accessible for both pro and novice anglers. It also features a wide array of fish species, including largemouth bass, blue channel, smallmouth buffalo, crappie, and more, ensuring that all types of anglers can find a species that appeals to them. The lake also has many gorgeous homes along the shoreline, offering a unique fishing experience.
The lake is also unique in its terrain, with the lower lake being the deepest and full of open water and sparse natural cover. The upper arms of the lake have more vegetation, standing timber, and flooded brush, providing anglers with plenty of places to hide and fish, while the creek channel provides plenty of opportunities for spinnerbaits, cranks, and jigs. Finally, the lake offers many outdoor activities like boating, jet skiing, swimming, and even a weekend fishing trip, making it a great destination for families.
5. Lake Falcon
Lake Falcon is a great fishing lake in Texas due to its location and size. Located at the southernmost point in Texas, the lake is a massive 83,650 acres with abundant vegetation. This provides anglers with plenty of secluded spots to fish in privacy. Wind and water fluctuations make fishing in Falcon Lake challenging but rewarding, as it is known for producing “big fish.” The lake is also renowned for its largemouth bass, which averages 2-3 pounds but can reach up to 10 pounds. Furthermore, its ideal location in the south of the border means that water temperatures rarely go below 50 degrees, allowing fish to spawn in January and February. All of these elements make Lake Falcon an ideal fishing spot for anglers looking for a challenge and a good catch.
6. Toledo Bend Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir in east Texas and Louisiana is undeniably one of the best bass lakes in the country. Located on the border between Texas and Louisiana, its reputation for producing quality black bass has made it a popular spot among recreational and professional tournament fishermen. This 181,600-acre lake has 1200 miles of shoreline, making it the largest man-made lake in the Southern U.S., and it’s home to a plethora of activities, such as swimming, boating, picnicking, fishing, camping, and hunting. It was even named the number-one bass fishing lake in the country by Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.
But likely, the biggest draw for fishermen is its sheer size and variety of habitats. There is an abundance of standing timber, beds of hydrilla and other vegetation, as well as shoreline brush and vegetation that is often flooded during times of high water. These features provide an excellent cover for bass. The lake is also divided into two sections: the lower (southern) half is generally deeper and clearer, with distinct creek channels and weed edges, while the upper lake is shallower and a bit muddier, with more woody cover. This means fishermen can take advantage of prime fishing throughout the year in different lake sections. Toledo Bend is also one of the best crappie fishing lakes in the state.
7. Lake Travis
Lake Travis is a top-rated fishing lake in Texas due to its scenery, easy access, and abundant fish. Situated just a 30-minute drive west of Austin and surrounded by hills and lush greenery, the lake offers a beautiful backdrop for a fishing trip. Anglers can take advantage of the lake’s many bends and peninsulas while enjoying the stunning sunsets at The Oasis nicknamed the “Sunset Capital of Texas.” Lake Travis is home to various fish, including largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, and sunfish. There are plenty of options for a fishing adventure, from yacht charters and scuba diving excursions to fishing trips and kayaking opportunities. With plenty of nearby resorts and parks, visitors can make a day trip or stay the night and explore the beauty of Lake Travis.
8. Lake Palestine
Lake Palestine is a great fishing lake in Texas due to its impressive size, over 25,000 acres, and a wide variety of fish to catch. It is home to largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, crappie, hybrid bass, flathead catfish, blue catfish, carp, smallmouth buffalo, and more. The lake is also divided into two sections, with the upper section filled with vegetation and timber and the lower section largely devoid of natural cover.
The lake is also highly accessible, with more than a dozen launch sites to choose from, including Lakeway Harbor Boat Ramp and Kickapoo Boat Ramp. Additionally, the bridge around the lake’s midpoint provides an excellent spot for fishing, as many basses are caught around the bridge pylons and rip-rap. Bait-wise, shad are the main forage for bass in the lake, so lures that mimic them can be very successful.
9. Lake Tawakoni
Lake Tawakoni is an excellent fishing spot in Texas due to its abundance of species. Located forty-eight miles east of Dallas, it is one of the four major border reservoirs and the second-largest in the state. It is known for its largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, and other panfish species. The lake is 45,000 acres with a maximum depth of 72 feet and is fed by the Sabine River. Its shallow areas make for excellent habitats for bass and other gamefish, and its wide range of covers, like vegetation, points, and drop-offs, also serve as prime spots. Additionally, its location close to Dallas enables anglers to take a short drive out of the city and enjoy a day of fishing.
10. Lake Texoma
Lake Texoma is a popular fishing spot in Texas due to its massive 89,000-acre reservoir, sprawling across both Texas and Oklahoma. It is home to millions of striped bass and also has a variety of other fish species like blue catfish, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, spotted bass, white bass, channel catfish, and white crappie. The lake’s brackish waters make it a favorable habitat for striped bass to reproduce naturally. Its various departure points in Texas and Oklahoma make it more accessible for anglers. Additionally, Lake Texoma offers a variety of recreational activities such as swimming, jet skiing, boating, and RV and tent camping, making it the perfect spot for a family getaway.
11. Lake Lyndon B. Johnson
Lake Lyndon B. Johnson is one of the best fishing lakes in Texas due to its consistent level, trophy bass fishing, and its varied techniques. Located in Central Texas northwest of Austin in Llano County, this 6,500-acre lake offers prime conditions for largemouth bass. Pre-spawn season in February is an ideal time to be on the lake, as the bass head shallow and start to bed down for the spawn in March and April. During the summer months, they transition to deeper waters and can be found on points and drop-offs where they bite on tubes and diving crankbaits. The lake’s water clarity is also quite good, making it easy to drift along the shoreline and pitch and flip to docks. To further enhance the fishing experience, brush piles, and fish habitat structures have been sunk throughout the lake. For those looking for a unique experience, a scenic wilderness or sunset cruise with Vanishing Texas River Cruises is available, as is a birding cruise from mid-November to February when bald eagles spend their winters at Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.
12. Alan Henry Reservoir
Alan Henry Reservoir is a famous fishing lake in Texas due to its vast size, impressive depth, and abundance of fish species. It covers 2,880 acres and has a maximum depth of 100 feet, making it an ideal spot for trophy bass fishing. It is also home to a wide variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and white crappie. The lake has a clear water canyon reservoir structure horizontally aligned from west to east and receives water reserves from several creeks. This provides prime habitat for big bass, white bass, and yellow bass due to its abundant brush and floating timber. In addition, the Sam Wahl Recreation Area provides the best access to Lake Alan Henry, with its launch facilities, fishing pier, docks, and campground.
13. Possum Kingdom Lake
Possum Kingdom Lake, located in Palo Pinto County on the Brazos River, is a 16,000-acre lake with a maximum depth of 145 feet. It offers excellent white bass fishing and quality fishing for largemouth and striped bass. For those looking for a variety of species, Possum Kingdom also has good pan fishing, including various sunfish and crappie. Further, the lake is known for its picturesque rock cliffs and 200-foot rise, making it an excellent spot for outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. The nearby Possum Kingdom State Park offers sites for both tent and RV campers, making it a perfect place to stay and experience the lake.
14. Choke Canyon Reservoir
Choke Canyon Reservoir is an ideal fishing destination for anglers in Texas. Located just south of San Antonio, the reservoir provides access to a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, blue catfish, white bass, channel, crappie, and flathead. The reservoir also has diverse habitats, including flooded timber, steep rocky banks, shallow brushy flats, and creek channels, making it an excellent place for bass to thrive. The variety of habitats provides plenty of options for anglers, whether they are targeting deep or shallow water.
In addition to the excellent fishing opportunities, the reservoir is home to a range of wildlife, including hogs, alligators, and turkeys, making it an excellent spot for a family adventure. The lake is also easily accessible, just an hour away from San Antonio, with two boat ramps and several area campgrounds. With warm waters during the summer, it’s an excellent spot for Fall, Winter, and Spring fishing.
15. Lake Amistad
Lake Amistad is an incredible fishing destination in Texas due to its unique location, massive clear waters, diverse species, and wide range of ecosystems. Located near the border town of Del Rio in Central Texas, it encircles 70,000 acres and is partially located in the United States and Mexico. It is known for its big bass and is very scenic, making it a top choice for bass fishing and other types of fishing.
The lake offers a wide range of species, including largemouth bass, black bass, white bass, striped bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegills, carp, sunfish, and many more. With its steep rocky drop-offs, rock ledges, shorelines, rocky points, and flooded timber, Lake Amistad is the perfect destination for anglers of all skill levels. It is also known for producing some of Bassmaster competitions’ most impressive weigh-in totals. In addition, Lake Amistad has become a popular boater’s paradise due to its expansive view and diverse wildlife. It is also great for camping, rock art viewing, and hiking.
16. Lake Whitney
Lake Whitney is an excellent fishing lake in Texas thanks to its abundance of public access, varied shoreline vegetation, and deep waters. It offers anglers an excellent opportunity to catch various fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and striped bass. Its 23,500-acre reservoir on the Brazos River, located between Waco and Fort Worth, is large enough to accommodate fish from March through May in depths of up to 15 feet and 10-20 feet in summer months. The lake also holds eight current Texas state fishing records for warmouth, common carp, northern pike, American eel, gray redhorse, Guadalupe/spotted bass, redear sunfish, and gizzard shad. Furthermore, the section of the Brazos River below the Lake Whitney Dam provides a productive area for both smallmouth and largemouth bass, along with the possibility of kayaking.
17. Lake Granbury
Lake Granbury is a great fishing lake in Texas for various reasons. Located in the Brazos River watershed southwest of Fort Worth, the lake is long and winding, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and cast your line. Its primary access points include Thorp Spring, Hunter Park, City Park, Rough Creek, and De Cordova Bend, all of which are easy to reach from Granbury Square. Its waters teem with largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and white bass, making it an excellent spot for anglers of all levels. Additionally, the lake has a marina where you can rent a pontoon and refuel after a long day of fishing, as well as Stumpy’s Lakeside Grill, where you can enjoy a delicious meal with breathtaking views of the lake.
Tips for getting the most out of your trip to a lake in Texas
Research the Lake: Before visiting a lake in Texas, it’s essential to research the lake and determine what types of activities are available. Some lakes may offer swimming and boating, while others may be better for hiking or lounging. Knowing what kind of activities you’re interested in will help ensure you have an enjoyable time.
Check the Fishing regulations: If you’re looking to do some fishing, make sure you know the fishing rules and regulations. Texas has excellent bass fishing, but you need a license to fish.
Bring the Necessities: Make sure you’re prepared for the day. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks, sunscreen, an umbrella for shade, and life jackets if you plan on being out on the water.
Go With Friends: Lakes in Texas are best experienced with friends. Ask around to see if any friends are interested in joining you, or take the opportunity to make new friends.
Have Fun: The most important tip is to have fun. Enjoy the lake and everything it has to offer. Take your time and make the most of your trip.
What kinds of fish can you catch in Texas fishing lakes?
Texas fishing lakes are known for their wide range of species, from largemouth bass to catfish to crappie and even alligator gar. Channel catfish are a popular target for anglers looking for a good meal, while blue and flathead catfish are sought out for the trophy size they can reach in many of the southern state’s waters. Largemouth bass is the most popular sport fish in the state, as they can be caught year-round. Crappies can also be caught in Texas fishing lakes, and alligator gar can be spotted in some larger lakes and rivers.
What is the best time to visit fishing lakes in Texas?
The best time to visit fishing lakes in Texas is typically in the warm spring or summer months. Anglers can expect to find a wide range of fish species throughout the year, but it’s the warm season when most species are active, making it the best time to visit fishing lakes in Texas. From Lake Conroe, Lake Fork, and Lake Buchanan to Lake Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Falcon Lake, Texas is a sure haven for anglers looking for the best fishing lakes in the entire country. In addition to offering the best fishing spots, these lakes feature some of the best natural beauty that can be found in the nation, making them the perfect spot for a summer vacation.
What is the best lake for largemouth bass fishing in Texas?
If you’re looking for the best lake for largemouth bass fishing in Texas, look no further than Lake Fork. This 27,690-acre reservoir, 65 miles east of Dallas, was designed as a premier bass fishing lake, and it holds some of the state’s most remarkable records for largemouth bass caught. The lake’s ideal natural habitat and the state’s stocking program have produced 65 percent of the top 50 largest basses in Texas, and it is a prime location for targeting largemouth bass. In addition to a great bass fishing spot, Lake Fork also offers camping with tent sites, electricity, restrooms, and shower facilities. Lake O’ The Pines is another excellent option for something closer to Dallas. This lake is known for producing trophy-sized largemouth bass upwards of 13+ pounds and offers plenty of docks and bank access, making it ideal for anglers of all skill levels.
Are there any restrictions on fishing in Texas?
Yes, there are restrictions on fishing in Texas. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, all anglers must comply with the state’s fishing regulations, including size, creel limits, and other restrictions. Fishing without a valid fishing license is illegal, and certain fish species, such as alligator gar and white bass, may have additional restrictions on size or harvest limits. Reaching non-native fish or aquatic species into Texas waterways is also illegal.
What types of wildlife can you spot in Texas lakes?
In Texas lakes, you can spot a wide variety of wildlife, including largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and alligator gar. Additionally, many Neighborhood Fishin’ community lakes and ponds are stocked with channel catfish and rainbow trout, offering kids convenient and free fishing opportunities.
What is the deepest lake in Texas for fishing?
Lake Buchanan is the deepest lake in Texas for fishing, which has a maximum depth of 132 feet. This lake is renowned for its striped bass and white bass and its variety of catfish, such as blue, flathead, and channel. With public access spots, parking, restrooms, and easily accessible bank fishing, Lake Buchanan is one of Texas’s best lakes to fish.