BlogApril 2017

Did You Say There’s Free Fishing in Texas?

Did You Say There’s Free Fishing in Texas?

By Andy Whitcomb

Apr 03, 2017

Anyone can fish in Texas for free, without a license, as long as it is within a Texas State Park. Want to learn more?

Most states have a free fishing date or two at different times of the year to encourage new anglers to get out and try fishing even if they haven’t purchased a fishing license. And generally, kids under 16 can fish without a license. The Lone Star State, however, now offers free fishing in Texas state parks for everyone, year round.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, you don't need a Texas fishing license to fish in Texas state parks, just a park entry fee. You can wade in the surf, cast from the bank of a river, or utilize a pier on a pond. All other fishing regulations still apply of course, so be sure to read up.

Texas is a big state, so if interested in free fishing in Texas the state parks (70!) are grouped by areas such as East Texas, Gulf Coast, or near major cities. The same goes for wildlife management areas which might mean a little less fishing pressure, as well as a great opportunity for wildlife watching while you have a line in the water. If you failed to plan and forget your fishing stuff, there are even state parks that will loan fishing equipment and provide some instruction.

When fishing in Texas, make sure to cast for redfish along the coast. Try for a Guadalupe bass as well to complete your black bass “grand slam.” Or maybe you want to tangle with a monstrous alligator gar. There are many species to target while free fishing in Texas.

There is no such thing as a free lunch but here, the only “catch” (besides the fish) with free fishing in Texas state parks is the park fee. However after you get hooked, you just may want to go ahead and get that fishing license.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.