Great Fishing States: Texas

I’m fortunate enough to get to travel — and fish — for work (I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it). As such, I’m often asked where my favorite places to go are. I usually answer that I am fond of the Great Lakes states, because those are where I was born and raised. And I live where I do now (Colorado) with good reason. But the one place that keeps luring me back, season after season, year after year, is Texas.

The thing about fishing in the Lone Star state is that there are so many diverse angling opportunities. Sure, places like Same Rayburn Reservoir and Amistad Reservoir are arguably some of the best largemouth bass waters in the world. With literally thousands of natural and manmade warmwater lakes, Texas is definitely deep in the heart of bass country.

But did you know that the southernmost trout fishery in the continental United States — the Guadalupe River — is also in Texas. Because the Guadalupe flows from a bottom-release dam (tailwater), the waters in its upper stretches remain cool enough to sustain stocked trout.

But fly fishing on rivers in Texas certainly doesn’t revolve around one river and one species. Some of the most pristine rivers for floating and casting in the world can be found in the Texas Hill Country. Casting for bass in the clear shallows of the Rio Llano, for example, is something that any serious “destination” angler should put on his or her bucket list.

And while you’re at it, you might as well add Laguna Madre and the Texas coastline to the agenda as well. Texas is home to some of the best inshore salt water flats fishing in the world. Laguna Madre alone has more shin-deep square miles (prime redfish habitat) than any angler might hope to experience in a lifetime. The near-shore tarpon fishery was once among the most prolific in the world, and it’s on the rebound. And the sea trout fishing from Rockport to Brownsville is spectacular.

Texas may, in fact, be the best kayak angling spot in the world. Then again, it may be the best bass locale, the most interesting trout locale, and many other things. Like all fishing, it all depends on the seasons.

If you’re thinking about traveling to fish somewhere next year, and you haven’t quite dialed in your options, think about Texas. It’s a big place. You’ll have plenty to experience, whenever you go.

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Kirk Deeter

Kirk Deeter

Kirk Deeter is an editor-at-large with Field & Stream, and he co-wrote The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing with the late Charlie Meyers.