In the Texas Hill Country the options for fishing include bass, catfish, stripper, crappie, perch, and believe it or not, rainbow trout. For those of you without a boat, there are many great options to enjoy the water and catch a few nice fish. Here are a few of my favorite spots in and around the Austin Area.
Mansfield Dam Park
It’s back open after a being closed for a long time for improvments. One of my favorite spots to fish in all of the Hill Country
Below Mansfield dam sits a state park and my favorite spot to fish from my car in the Texas Hill Country. The park features a sizable bridge that spans the Colorado River at head of Lake Austin. Officially, one is forbidden to fish or jump off the bridge, but these rules are rarely enforced. The park does close at dark and this rule is enforced.
The top of Lake Austin’s water is very cold as it’s being let out of Mansfield dam from the bottom of Lake Travis. While refreshing, I can only swim in it for a few minutes at a time. The park features numerous park benches, grills, and has a very small boat ramp for kayaks and canoes.
As far as places you can fish without a boat, this spot is tough to beat. This section of Lake Austin holds a healthy population of modest size large mouth bass. If the water is flowing from the dam, the bite can be really good. We rarely fail to catch at least one keeper during these times. When the water isn’t flowing it can be a slow during the day. Unfortunately , the LCRA (Lower Coloroado River Authority), will not publish these release times. But the water flows most days starting around early afternoon and typically last for a few hours. This can vary depending on rain and other factors. This is one of Austin’s diamond in the rough and one of my favorite summer Texas Hill County destinations. If you have a boat, the rest of Lake Austin is a quality fishing lake for bass during the week. During the weekend the small lake gets over crowded with boat and jet skies and the chop can get absurd.
Mansfieldy Dam Park is just one of many places to fish this big lake. In year of past, this was a great bass lake. But the carp have invaded and decimated much of the grasslands the bass loved so much. Boo Hoo. Emma Long Park and Commons Ford Ranch Park are also great places to spend the day and fish from the bank in Austin.
McKinney Falls State Park
A nice state park inside of Austin City limits with tent camping, a waterfall, and a nice place to fish from the bank or Kayak fishing. You can also camp and fish inside Austin at Emma Long
Lady Bird Lake
I have been told my several people there are decent bass in the lake that runs through downtown Austin. You can only access this lake via non-powered boat, like a canoe. You can rent self-power boat in Zilker park, and a few other locations near MOPAC. We have caught a few 1/2 bass. A few times a year they have carp tournaments in the easter part of the lake, and I’v seen people pull out HUGE fish. They had big ocean like rigs, and lots of stink bait, fishing from the shore, but throwing thier bait way out there.
My kid caught her first fish here a few years ago, a tiny throw back stripper. I have fished this place twice since the water came back, with a sucesfull kayak fishing catch in the early morning. I fished a peacefull cove deep up the river that would have been land a few years ago. A few keeper bass, throw backs, and perch. The fish where everwhere.
There are many ponds, most on private land, in the North Part of the City, If you look on Craigslist you can also find private stocked ponds right outside the city limits. These can be pretty fun if you enjoy the proverbial shooting in a barrel. There are few public parks that have fishing. In the North East part of the city there are two ponds, BullFrog Pond and Kingfisher “Lake” that stock catfish and rainbow trout. So far all I’v landed is perch. There are playgrounds for the kids to play.
OUTSIDE OF AUSTIN METRO AREA IN THE HILL COUNTRY
The premier fishing lake in the area is Lake Buchanan, They have stripper guides on the lake. Buchanan, like Lake Travis, has very low water levels now and no public boat ramps are operational. It’s located about 2 hours from Austin. Lake LBJ and Canyon Lake are also popular destinations.
Fly Fishing the Guadalupe River
The Guadalupe River is about 50 miles South of Austin and a great rainbow trout destination during the stocking season. It’s also one of the better places to fish for bass. You can rent canoes, float trips, wader river access, or pony up for a guided trip. I’m zero for two trying it on my own on catching fish, but I did navigate my kayak and a canoe full of buddies down some rought white water in the early spring. This is a great place and I can’t wait to go back.
This state park is located about 30 miles from the SW edge of Austin. It a breathtaking view, hiking, and camp ground. The rock water fall formation can be fished and hiked if the water isn’t moving. I’ve pulled out a lot of small bass in the pools. There is a big pond at the bottom of the falls, and I’ve seen some BIG gars or carp, but never landed one. As a state park, you can fish without a license for the park fee. One of my favorite spots in the hill county, and it’s short drive from Austin. The only reason Mansfield dam beats in on this list, the bass are nice 2+ lbs at the dam. The bass at the falls are typically under keeper size.
Marble Falls Lake
I just landed one of the biggest white bass I have ever caught at the top of Marble Falls Lake, you need a very small boat or kayak to drag over the last set of rocks. Find some deep holes and jig off the bottom. The fishing is great in the Spring time.
Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico
For those of us living in the Texas Hill Country that need a little taste of big game fishing, the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay are located 200 miles away. While it’s a long day trip, it can be done. Galveston is historic and vibrant beach resort town that is now almost a suburb of Houston. There are charter fishing boats, jetties, beach fishing, and a large fishing peer. Galveston has several decent resorts and hotels and a downtown bar district, that throws a pretty good Mardi Gras. It a great place to take the family while enjoying big time fishing while your there.
Do I need a Fishing Licence? – You can buy them for the year, the day, and in state parks if you are fishing from the bank you do not need one, For more information,
Visit the Texas and Parks Wildlife Page – Click Here
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