BlogApril 2021

Tips on How to Catch Tilapia in Texas

Tips on How to Catch Tilapia in Texas

By Andy Whitcomb

Apr 05, 2021

Tilapia are a tasty species. Here are some tips to finding and catching them in Texas, what bait to use, and the best water temperature to catch it! 

Tilapia are exotic fish that often are raised in aquaculture facilities around the U.S. The mild, white fillets are commonly found on menus and in groceries stores everywhere. Tilapia also can be found now in some fishing lakes and streams of the south, such as Texas. Here are a few tips when tilapia fishing Texas:

Use Bait

Some tilapia fishing tips are reminiscent of fishing for carp or catfish because these fish are mostly herbivores, suggesting bait such as corn, bread, worms, and even hotdogs. Although it is reported that artificial lures are not among the ways to catch tilapia, Captain Debbie Hanson and her clients have caught their “fair share” in Florida on flies and Ned rigs even though they don’t target them. These lures should work in Texas too. She shared that they are “definitely a decent fighter for size, and their wide bodies made them feel considerably larger than they are when reeling them in.”

Find Warm Water

They tolerate a wide range of water conditions, except for cold temperatures so keep this in mind while learning how to catch tilapia in Texas. In fact, large die-offs can occur if the water drops below 50 degrees. For example, Patrick Ireland, District Supervisor for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, shared that many Falcon Lake tilapia did not survive the cold blast that Texas experienced in February 2021. “However, in our warm water power plant lakes it is likely that the cold weather had no discernible effect.” As far as where to catch tilapia, Mr. Ireland believes there may also be some additional protective warm water areas elsewhere and that the numbers possibly could “bounce back.”

Harvest Away

In the big picture, it would be better if tilapia fishing Texas was not a thing and the numbers didn’t recover. Tilapia species, mostly Blue, but also Nile, Mozambique, and Wami are deemed invasive and are detrimental to native species. For this reason in Texas fishing regulations, there is no limit for tilapia. In fact, removal is encouraged as long as consumed or disposed of properly. If in possession, tilapia must be killed and can never be placed in a livewell.

Consistently warm water is the primary requirement when focusing on how to catch tilapia in Texas. Visit those areas with small offerings of bait and then your next task will be make sure you’ve got enough lemon and butter.

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.