Attention Outdoor Adventurers: Today, June 18th is National Go Fishing Day! It’s not like we, Austinites need a “national holiday” to get us out into nature, but if you need an excuse… well, here you go! We reached out to Austin Monthly to share their best fishing spots around Central Texas. Let’s just say, it’s a “reel” nice list that will get you hooked to fishing and living in TEXAS.
Since 1966, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has annually introduced more than 250,000 rainbow trout into the state’s waterways. While the cold-water fish typically cannot survive Texas’ most extreme temperatures, their eye-catching purple coloring make them popular springtime game. Luckily, the Guadalupe River’s temperate waters below Canyon Dam allow the trout to survive well into summer.
Forever a Central Texas favorite, Pedernales (pronounced Perd-EN-nal-ess) features breathtaking Hill Country views, floodwater-carved limestone escarpments, and most importantly, 5 miles of prime river fishing. Hike down and look for large flathead catfish, carp, and Texas’ official state fish, the Guadalupe bass. Bonus: Fishing licenses aren’t required in state parks.
The most prominent of the Highland lakes—a group of Hill Country water bodies about an hour west of town—Lake Buchanan’s pristine waters are teeming with white and striped bass during spring’s spawning run. Private facilities and lakeside lodges offer boat rentals and piers, but the more fiscally minded can head up to nearby Colorado Bend State Park for prime bank fishing.
If you’re talking largemouth bass, you’ve got to start with Lake Austin, where the feisty olive-green fish regularly grow up to 10 pounds. Also keep an eye out for triploid grass carp (which can exceed a whopping 60 pounds) basking in the lake’s sun-soaked shallow waters. To avoid summertime pleasure boaters, consider posting up along Emma Long Metropolitan Park’s grassy banks.
The only state park within city limits, McKinney’s winding trails, ample campsites, and dual falls make it a top attraction for Austinites looking to escape the city. For optimal angling conditions, head over when the water level is somewhere between “post-downpour” and “drought” to chase dense schools of crappie and sunfish down Onion Creek.
Dammed in 1967 as a cooling reservoir for the Decker Creek Power Station, this once-rugged gem has since become lush with aquatic vegetation like coontail and bulrush. Today, it remains a favored spot for catching slot-sized hybrid striped bass (the offspring of white and striped bass) and bluegill sunfish. Forgot your pole? Grab a spare at the Hog Eye Bait Shop, conveniently located near the park’s entrance.
Nestled within Old Settlers Park, (just behind the Dell Diamond), Bright Lake is the perfect place for making family fishing memories— provided parents can keep their children’s attention away from the area’s sprawling playgrounds. TPWD keeps the lake’s waters stocked with bass, catfish, and the occasional rainbow trout, giving first-timers a great opportunity to walk away with a trophy catch.