AUSTIN – Many Texans opt outside to help reconnect with nature after a long winter, but Spring Break adventures aren’t limited to swimming, camping and hiking. Fishing also offers a great way for families to experience the diverse aquatic life and scenic places that Texas has to offer.
Here are 10 places where families can make memories fishing this Spring Break:
1. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in East Texas offers several stocked fishing ponds, ample fishing loaner equipment, a full production hatchery and a vast array of aquatic exhibits to explore. After catching catfish and rainbow trout in the fishing ponds, spring breakers can watch a live fish-feeding dive show, take a narrated tram tour through the outdoor hatchery facility and explore the wheelchair accessible wetlands trail. For those interested in seeing freshwater species up-close, the TFFC has aquariums filled with a wide variety of freshwater fish along other species like alligators and alligator snapping turtles.
2. Though the coastal city of Rockport suffered significant damage during Hurricane Harvey, this charming coastal community is open for business, which means plenty of opportunity for anglers and visitors during Spring Break. Families can plan a fun fishing day at the Rockport Beach Park Piers or the Copano Bay State Fishing Pier. While the fishing piers at nearby Goose Island State Park are not currently open due to hurricane damage, the Redfish road area of the island will be open for fishing and kayaking in the bay.
3. Colorado Bend State Park in the Texas Hill Country provides daily access to one of the best white bass spawning runs in the state, which should be in full swing during Spring Break. The park will also be hosting a free basic fishing workshop at 8:30 a.m. March 10. No fishing license is needed to fish in a state park but anglers will need to bring their own fishing pole and tackle.
4. Mustang Island State Park on the coast near Corpus Christi reopened for day use March 1 and offers some of the best shallow-water fishing in Texas. Anglers can experience this high-quality fishing wading from the 5-mile shoreline or while paddling the 20-mile Mustang Island State Park paddling trail.
5. For a scenic spot of river away from all the tubers, the leased River Access and Conservation Area (RACA) site at Dick’s Canoes on the Brazos River is right for you. Dick’s Canoes is located at the FM 2114 crossing of the Brazos River downstream of Lake Whitney. Fishing opportunities in this segment of the Brazos River include largemouth, spotted and occasional white bass. Channel catfish, freshwater drum, and sunfish are also good species to target. Access is open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for bank angling and launching non-motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, or other floatable devices.
6. For hardcore bass anglers and beginners alike, Amistad Reservoir near Del Rio offers some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the state. The Amistad National Recreation Area offers excellent boat and angler access to the lake with multiple fishing docks and cleaning stations, miles of shoreline bank fishing and 9 public boat ramps.
7. At Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, visitors can explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a youth fishing pond. A 20-foot touch pool allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones.
8. In Texas, cold-water loving rainbow trout generally can’t survive past the winter. Spring Breakers can harvest the last of the year’s stocked rainbow trout in East Texas at the Tyler Nature Center for free 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 12-15. TPWD Inland Fisheries staff will have loaner equipment, tackle and bait on hand to help families catch and clean up to five rainbow trout each at the free event.
9. Lake Conroe near Houston is making a name for itself this year as one of the top Toyota ShareLunker largemouth bass fishing lakes in the state with more than 12 entries so far. Anglers also have excellent opportunities to catch catfish, crappie, hybrid striped bass and bluegill in the 20 thousand acre lake. The Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area offers shore fishing as well as non-motorized boat access. Other public access facilities at Lake Conroe can be found here.
10. Near Lubbock, Lake Alan Henry has the only population of Alabama bass in Texas. This species grows much larger and faster than native spotted bass and can reach more than four pounds. Families can spend the day targeting this uncommon species or other popular sport fish like crappie and largemouth bass at the Sam Wahl Recreation Area. The facility offers an excellent dock and fishing pier facility.
For anglers over 17 years old, a valid fishing license with a freshwater or saltwater endorsement is required to take fish, mussels, clams, crayfish or other aquatic life in the public waters of Texas. A fishing license is not required if fishing from the bank in a state park or in waters completely enclosed by a state park.
More information on current fishing regulations, limits and license requirements can be found online in the TPWD Outdoor Annual, or get the mobile app free for iOS and Android here.