Most Common Texas Freshwater Fish Species

By Alycia Downs

Jan 13, 2020

Seven most common Texas freshwater fish species you’ll catch when fishing the freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds of the Lonestar state.

When fishing the freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds of the Lonestar state, you’re likely to encounter a multitude of Texas freshwater fish species. As an angler, you should familiarize yourself with the inhabitant species of a given area so you can learn about their diet, behavior, habitat, and more. This will provide you with keen insights when making decisions such as where to fish, type of bait to use, and presentation techniques. Here are seven primary categories of Texas fish species you’ll catch in the state’s fresh waters.

1. Bass

When it comes to Texas freshwater fish species, the bass family makes up a dominant part of the population. Largemouth bass are considered a trophy game fish and are commonly targeted during tournaments. There are, however, numerous other bass species including smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, striped bass, white bass, and yellow bass.

2. Crappie

One of the most highly regarded fish species for table fare, there are two types of crappie you’ll encounter in Texas: black crappie and white crappie. They are abundant and easy to catch making them a fun starter fish for kids.

3. Catfish and Bullheads

Catfish are an all-time favorite on the list of Texas freshwater fish species, ranging from flathead catfish, channel catfish and blue catfish to black bullhead and yellow bullhead. Some can grow to over 100 pounds making them an extraordinary contender on the other end of a fishing line.

4. Carp

The common carp and grass carp are finicky, herbivorous Texas fish species known to put up a good, hard fight. They are hesitant to bite, but if you have patience, the hookup will pay off.

5. Sunfish

Popular sunfish species include bluegill, redbreast sunfish, green sunfish, redear sunfish, and longear sunfish. Another small segment of species that will eat almost anything, from crickets to earthworms, and are fun for kids to catch all day.

6. Gar

Prehistoric in appearance, gar are an ominous-looking species with their sharp teeth and elongated snout. In Texas, you’ll find the alligator gar, longnose gar, shortnose gar, and spotted gar. They can be difficult to land as their subtle “eat” will catch you off-guard and their hard mouths make it tough to set the hook.

7. Suckers

The bigmouth buffalo, black buffalo, and smallmouth buffalo, are part of the sucker family, named so because of their distinctive, sucker-type mouth. These species feast on small fare such as grasshoppers, worms, crickets, and balls of dough.

Be sure to get your fishing license before hitting the water on your next Texas fishing trip. Tight lines!

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.