The 5 Best Lakes to Fish in Texas

By Jeff Bogle

Jun 22, 2022

Check out 5 of the best lakes to fish in Texas, with camping and boating access too, perfect for family adventures on or around the water.

While Port Aransas is known as the fishing capital of the Lone State State, you don’t need to head to Corpus Christi, or the Gulf of Mexico for that matter, to find great fishing in Texas. There are more than 1,100 public lakes for fishing in Texas. Each of the best lakes to fish in Texas offer angles a wide array of species, but largemouth bass is the most popular sportfish here, largely because they can be caught all year long.

For everyday fishing in Texas, catfish remains a big draw in not only the lakes in Texas, but also the rivers, ponds, and reservoirs across the state. One of the things that makes fishing in Texas so fantastic and popular are the community lakes in Texas, including in the urban areas, that are stocked with channel catfish and rainbow trout as a way of making it convenient to get started with fishing and introduce kids to fishing. Some of the best lakes to fish in Texas also offer camping and boating access, making them all-around, all-year destinations for solo fishing trips or family adventures on or around the water.

1. Lake Fork

If you have your eyes set on a trophy-sized largemouth bass prize, this East Texas lake is calling your name! Lake Fork is one of the top bass reservoirs in the United States, and as such is one of the best lakes to fish in Texas for serious bass fishing. Not only that, with many docks, this is one of the best lakes to go boating in Texas to catch crappie, white bass, and channel catfish too. As you search for the best lakes to go camping in Texas too, look no further than Lake Fork, which in addition to great fishing, has tent sites, electricity, restrooms, and shower facilities.

Lake Buchanan

With public access spots around the lake, parking, restrooms, and easily accessible bank fishing, fishing in Texas doesn't get much better than being on a beautiful lake fed by the Colorado River. Lake Buchanan is one of the best lakes to fish in Texas for striped bass and white bass. Being one of the deepest lakes in Texas, reaching depths of 132 feet, Lake Buchanan has superb fishing holes for different varieties of catfish (blue, flathead, and channel) too.

O.H. Ivie Lake

This terrific West Texas lake, with a maximum depth of almost 120 feet, is known for its largemouth bass, some of which can be trophy worthy! In addition to large largemouth bass, you can catch catfish, white bass, and crappie on land or enjoy one of the best lakes to go boating in Texas, with three public access areas that have restrooms, parking, and boat ramps to make it fun to fish from your boat on O.H. Ivie Lake.

Lake Palestine

Everything is bigger in Texas, they say, and when it comes catfish, Lake Palestine in East Texas delivers super-sized species of the fish—the state record flathead catfish (98.5 pounds) was actually caught here! You likely won't compete with that record, but as you pull put largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, and crappie, you'll soon see why it's considered one of the best lakes to fish in Texas. Plus, with five boat ramps and a number of marinas in the area with parking, restrooms, and picnic areas, Lake Palestine doubles as one of the best lakes to fish in Texas.

Lake Texoma

North Texas’s best fishing lake is almost 75,000 acres and has a maximum depth of 100 feet, and draws serious anglers from both Texas and Oklahoma. It's such a prestigious fishing hole that Lake Texoma has hosted the Bassmaster Classic, one of only a pair of Texas lakes to do so. One of the other facts that makes Lake Texoma so special for fishing in Texas is that it's one of America’s few landlocked, self-sustaining populations of striped bass. You'll also be trying to catch species of black bass (smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass) here.

Get started on your fishing, camping, and boating in Texas by reviewing all of the states fishing license requirements, and our handy camping checklist too.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion