Best Lakes in Texas

Texas is home to everything bigger, including the fish caught in the state's 1,100 public lakes. Each lake has its own unique characteristics which make them ideal habitats for many species. Because they can be caught all year, largemouth bass is the most popular sportfish for anglers. They are best caught in spring when they are spawning and shallower water is available.

Catfish is the second most common species in the state. You can catch them in lakes, rivers and ponds across the state. Texans hunt channel catfish and blue and flathead catfish to catch trophy-sized fish that can be found in many of the state's southern waters.

Texas is home to hundreds of lakes that can be used for fishing. Each lake is famous for its largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and alligator gar. In urban areas, there are many Neighborhood Fishin' ponds and lakes that are stocked in channel catfish and rainbow trout. These fisheries offer easy fishing and are a great way to introduce children to the sport.

To learn more about Texas's lake fishing regulations and to obtain a license, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. Our list of top fishing spots in Texas will help you find the best places to cast your line.

1. Lake Fork

Lake Fork in east Texas is the place to be if you're looking for trophy-sized largemouth Bass. Lake Fork is a top-rated bass reservoir in the United States, and a popular spot for serious bass anglers.

Here's the reason: The lake is home to 65 percent of Texas' top 50 largest bass. This is a great place to target largemouth bass because of the restrictions on harvest, ideal natural habitat and the state's stocking programme.

Lake Fork's bass fishing season is peak in spring, autumn, and winter. Crappie, white bass and channel catfish are also great species to target. The lake is popular for anglers who fish it by boat. However, there are docks and bank access near partially submerged trees and brush piles which are great spots for bass.

2. Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe, which is located less than an hour from Houston is well-known for its catfish. Anglers can choose to catch large quantities of channel catfish or trophy-sized blue catfish for their bragging rights. Clients can go out with Darrell Taylor, Catfish Killer Professional Guide Services' guide. Taylor earned this nickname from nearly 40 years of guiding catfish on the lake. Because most clients visit Lake Conroe to catch catfish, we are aiming for eating-size channel and blue cats.

Taylor said that the bottom of the lake was covered with catfish, referring the the huge amount of catfish that lives in the lake's 22,000-acres. They are one of the most delicious catfish because they live in a clean lake. This is why they are so popular.

Taylor gives me a rod and reel, as well as a tub of his secret recipe Catfish Killer Cheese Bait. The bait works like dough bait on the treble hook. Taylor told me that the key to attracting cats from the lake is placing the bait in the "strike area". It should be two- to three inches above the bottom. The strike zone is two to three inches above the bottom. If the strike zone is higher than that, the catfish will continue swimming.

The depth of our lake is 27 feet. This is slightly deeper than the 20 foot average in most parts of the lake. Some areas of Lake Conroe can reach 70 feet in depth. We have caught 15 channel catfish weighing between three and five pounds. This is a great catch considering the slow bite from the cold front. Taylor said that it is not unusual for a boat full of clients to catch over 100 catfish in a four-hour trip.

Lake Conroe is also a popular spot for anglers looking to catch trophy-sized catfish. This requires trolling with fresh bait as well as larger tackle. One local angler recently caught a 67-pound blue catfish close to the bridge. The majority of anglers release trophy-sized catfish and keep the smaller channel catfish for later consumption. Our catch is donated to local families for food.

It is easy to fish on Lake Conroe by setting up a base at a hotel such as SpringHill Suites Houston The Woodlands. This will allow you to be close to all the amenities you need to fuel your trip, and also hire a local guide to get you to the marina.

Although we are fishing specifically for catfish, there are 157 miles shoreline along the lake so there is plenty to bank fish. Lake Conroe offers great fishing for crappie, hybrid stripers, black bass and white bass.

After a hard day of fishing, enjoy some barbecue and Boudin Balls at Pacific Yard House, located in historic Conroe. It is situated inside an old 1907 ice storage building.

3. Lake Buchanan

Anglers who are looking for white bass and striped bass will love Lake Buchanan. Although largemouth bass can also be caught in the lake's waters, the most popular species are the stocked striped basses. They grow to quite large sizes. The lake's record for striped bass is 27.8 lbs.

Lake Buchanan can reach depths of 132ft, making it a great spot for channel catfish, blueheads, flatheads, and channel catfish. It can be found in Burnet, Colorado River. The annual spawning run of the Colorado River's striped and white bass is held in February. This is the best time to go fishing for them.

You will find parking and restrooms at many public access points around the lake. Bank fishing is also available. Access points can be found within Colorado Bend State Park for anglers who wish to wade during spring spawning runs.

4. Falcon International Reservoir

The Falcon International Reservoir is located in South Texas, about 40 miles east from Laredo. Because of its diversity of fishing options, it is an excellent fishing spot for anglers who are looking to target a wide range of species.

This is the Rio Grande River's main reservoir. You can fish bank-style, there is a dam that has a water depth 110 feet and you have healthy aquatic vegetation. Largemouth bass are a popular target for anglers, since the reservoir is one of the most productive lakes in the state.

Channel catfish are also a popular catch. There are many areas that you can access, but the Falcon State Park is one of the best. It has camping, boat ramps and other amenities.

5. Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma, one of America's largest reservoirs, is a popular spot for fishing. It can be found in north Texas, near the border with Oklahoma. It was a state-record blue catfish caught in Lake Texoma. It weighed 121.5 pounds.

While catfish anglers are most likely to be targeting channel catfish and blue catfish, there are many other species of high-priority that anglers also seek out. There will be largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in abundance. You can only fish in Texas because two-thirds (or more) of Lake Texoma are located in Oklahoma.

The best option is to buy a Lake Texoma permit, which allows you to fish the whole lake. On the Texas side, there are five parks and many amenities at Eisenhower State Park.

6. Alan Henry Reservoir

The most common species of largemouth bass to be caught in the Alan Henry Reservoir is the largemouth bass. But, if you're looking for something different, try this waterway for the Alabama Bass species. They are the newest members of the black bass family.

Alabama bass can only be found in Texas's Alan Henry Reservoir. This lake is home to spotted bass and flathead catfish. You will need to find out the size limit for this reservoir before you travel.

Alan Henry Reservoir can be found 45 miles south from Lubbock near Justiceburg. Sam Wahl Recreation Area offers the best public access. The Sam Wahl Recreation Area offers excellent parking and restrooms. Anglers can also access the shoreline via its beach access. You can even use the public fishing pier and docks.

7. O.H. Ivie Lake

The O.H. The largemouth bass fishing at Ivie Lake, west Texas, is a well-known feature. Although the reservoir is deepest at 119 feet, there are bumpy drop-offs which allow anglers to catch trophy-sized fish. You can also target largemouth bass and white bass.

Three public access areas are available with restrooms, parking and boat ramps. Fishing can be done by boat and from banks. There are many structures and fallen timber that surround the reservoir, which provide fish with comfortable habitats.

8. Lake Palestine

Fish anglers in catfish know Lake Palestine, east Texas, for its super-sized species. Lake Palestine was home to the 98.5-pound state record flathead catfish. Anglers also caught a 47-pound blue catfish and 25-pound carp in the lake. A 58-pound smallmouth Buffalo was also taken out of the lake.

Largemouth bass, spotted bass and white bass are all popular fisheries at the lake. You can access Lake Palestine from many places, including five boat ramps and several marinas with parking and restrooms.

9. Granger Lake

For crappie, anglers head to Granger Lake in Granger, which is just northeast of Austin. Granger Lake's best season for crappie fishing is spring when they are at their most active. In spring, white bass fishing is also a popular activity in Granger Lake's San Gabriel River and Willis Creek sections. The white bass can often be found in schools.

The reservoir is home to blue, flathead and channel catfish. With a maximum depth 50 feet, the lake is relatively shallow compared to other state lakes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages four parks around the lake. Each park has shoreline access to fishing, parking, toilets, and docks.

10. Meredith Reservoir

Meredith Reservoir can be found 45 miles northeast from Amarillo on The Canadian River. The terrain of this lake is very different than other Texas lakes. It has rocky banks and ledges as well as drop-offs.

Meredith Reservoir is managed by the National Park Service. It has an incredibly diverse ecosystem that supports a variety of species that love a rocky environment. Meredith Reservoir's top target species is the walleye. However, smallmouth bass can also be caught within the 4-pound range.

Smaller populations of crappie, largemouth bass and white bass are found in the channel catfish, flathead catfish, yellow perch, and sometimes yellow perch. Meredith Reservoir was home to the state record perch. It weighed just over 1 lb. The lake has 13 areas with restrooms and parking. However, there is very limited access to the shoreline for fishing. There are five boat ramps, and several picnic areas.

11. Choke Canyon Reservoir

Largemouth bass are the most common species at Choke Canyon Reservoir. They can be found in spring, fall and winter. It is located near Corpus Christi. Anglers can also find alligator gar here. Although they aren't plentiful, they can be found here and it is one of the best lakes to find them. During the cooler months, anglers can also target blue catfish in the reservoir as well as white bass in Frio River channel. There are many habitats in the lake, including channels and aquatic vegetation such as Hydrilla. The park has parking and picnic areas as well as shoreline fishing.

12. Sam Rayburn Reservoir

In east Texas, the Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Jasper is home to healthy populations of largemouth bass and crappie. These species can be targeted all year. Bluegill are also abundant. The lake is 80 feet deep and yields some impressive catches. The lake's record largemouth bass weight is 16.8 pounds and the flathead catfish record from Sam Rayburn Reservoir weighs 74 pounds. The lake is home to a lot vegetation, including hydrilla, which provides good habitat for fish. The convenience of access points for the public is another reason why Sam Rayburn Reservoir has become so popular. You will find more than 12 parks and numerous boat ramps around the reservoir. There are also nearby concessions.

13. Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake's unique beauty, aside from the fish action, is what makes it so appealing. The Texas-Louisiana border is surrounded by a lush flooded cypress forest. It has shallow water and provides a perfect habitat for many species of fish including largemouth, white, spotted bass, and other largemouth fish.

Caddo Lake is known for its largemouth bass. It's not unusual to find trophy-sized bass that weigh in excess of eight pounds. There are also healthy populations of crappie and sunfish in the lake, as well as channel catfishes, flathead catfishes, flathead catfishes, flathead catfishes, white bass, crappie, white bass, sunfish and chain pickerel. The lake's aquatic vegetation covers approximately 95 percent and provides cover-seeking species with plenty of places for them to hide.

The best time to go after trophy bass is in the spring, specifically March. Winter and early spring are great for crappie, white bass and chain pickerel. Catfish and sunfish are excellent for late spring and early summer.

14. Lake Amistad

Lake Amistad (Amistad Reservoir), is a top Texas bass fishing lake for its size and number. It has many drop-offs, rock ledges, and shorelines. This lake is popular for its bass fishing, but there are many blue catfish and channel fish.

Flathead catfish are on the rise. You can also catch smallmouth bass, striped and white in Lake Amistad. Largemouth bass fishing is best done in the fall, winter and spring months. White bass fishing is best in January and March during spawning runs.

15. Toledo Bend Reservoir

The Toledo Bend Reservoir is located along the Texas-Louisiana border and offers anglers year-round fishing opportunities for largemouth bass or crappie. Annual stocking programs ensure that the reservoir is full of stripers, which are well-known for their fighting abilities and size. Toledo Bend Reservoir also houses bluegill, catfish, and redear sunfish.

Gamefish in the reservoir tend to hang around its aquatic vegetation and standing timber, particularly in the creek channels. There are many terrestrial bushes throughout the reservoir that provide excellent fish cover, particularly in higher water levels.

Largemouth bass are most productive in the fall, winter, spring months. They prefer cooler water and shallower waters. White bass are most common in spring during the spawning season, but crappie can be caught all year. The reservoir is home to flathead, channel and blue catfish.


Joshua Keaton
Joshua Keaton

Joshua is our senior staff writer for and He is an avid hunter, clay shooter and amateur photographer.