Fishing in Texas
is a popular pastime, offering a wide range of opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. Whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, you’ll need a fishing license to enjoy this activity in the public waters of Texas. This guide will help you navigate the process of obtaining your fishing license, ensuring you’re ready to cast your line in no time.
Who needs a fishing license in Texas?
is required for any Texas resident who fishes in the state’s public waters. However, there are exceptions. For instance, a license is not required for residents under 17 years of age, those born before January 1, 1931, or individuals with an intellectual disability fishing as part of medically approved therapy.
Non-residents also need a fishing license to fish in Texas public waters, with exceptions for non-residents under 17 years of age and Louisiana residents 65 years of age or older who possess a valid Louisiana Recreational Fishing License.
Types of Fishing Licenses and Packages
Texas offers a variety of fishing licenses and packages to cater to different needs. These include:
- Resident Freshwater Package: Available to Texas residents for $30. It includes a resident fishing license valid from the date of sale to August 31 of the same year and a freshwater endorsement.
- Non-resident Freshwater Package: Available to non-residents for $58. It includes a non-resident fishing license and a freshwater endorsement.
- One-Day All-Water License: Available to both residents and non-residents for $11 and $16, respectively. It’s valid for the selected day or days purchased.
- Fishing Guide Licenses: Required for any person who, for compensation, accompanies, assists, or transports any person engaged in fishing in the waters of the state. The fee for a Freshwater Fishing Guide License is $132 for both residents and non-residents.
You can purchase these licenses online, at a TPWD law enforcement sales office, or at a retailer.
Where to Fish in Texas
Texas offers a wide range of fishing opportunities throughout the year. Here are some top fishing spots in Texas:
Located 65 miles east of Dallas, Lake Fork is a 27,690-acre reservoir known for its impressive largemouth bass records. It was designed as a premier bass fishing lake and is a popular destination for anglers looking to catch record-breaking fish.
Trinity Bay is part of the larger Galveston Bay system and offers excellent inshore fishing opportunities. Anglers can target redfish, speckled trout, and flounder in the shallow waters and marshes of the bay.
O.H. Ivie Lake
O.H. Ivie Lake is a reservoir in central Texas along the Concho and Colorado Rivers. It is known for producing big largemouth bass, with several record-breaking catches in recent years. The lake also has good populations of catfish, crappie, and white bass.
Matagorda Bay is a popular fishing destination on the Texas Gulf Coast. The bay offers a variety of fishing opportunities, including redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Anglers can also target black drum and sheepshead in the bay’s deeper waters.
Baffin Bay is a remote and pristine bay on the Texas Gulf Coast, known for its trophy-sized speckled trout and redfish. The bay’s unique structure, including rocks, grass flats, and drop-offs, provides excellent habitat for these game fish.
Lake Conroe, located north of Houston, is a popular fishing destination for largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. The lake has a reputation for producing trophy-sized fish, making it an attractive spot for anglers.
Toledo Bend Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in the state, located on the Texas-Louisiana border. The reservoir is known for its excellent largemouth bass and sunfish populations, as well as good populations of catfish, crappie, and striped bass.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island offers a variety of fishing opportunities, from inshore fishing in the Laguna Madre to offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers can target redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and snook in the shallow waters of the bay, while offshore fishing offers opportunities for kingfish, dorado, and snapper.
Lake Buchanan, formed by the construction of the Buchanan Dam on the Colorado River, is a favorite for bass anglers near Austin. The lake is known for its striped bass and white bass populations, as well as largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, white crappie, and catfish.
Falcon Lake, located on the U.S.-Mexico border, is known for its trophy-sized largemouth bass and catfish populations. The lake’s diverse habitat, including submerged trees and brush piles, makes it an ideal location for big bass.
These are just a few of the many fishing spots available in Texas. With its diverse range of habitats and species, Texas offers something for every angler, from beginners to seasoned pros.
Fishing Seasons in Texas
Fishing in Texas offers a wide range of opportunities throughout the year. Here are some top fishing seasons for various species:
Spring Fishing Season
Spring is an excellent time for fishing in Texas, with peak bites from various popular species such as largemouth bass, crappie, speckled trout, and redfish. As the water temperatures warm up, fish like trout and redfish move to shallow waters ahead of their spawn.
Summer Fishing Season
During the summer months, striped bass are feeding in open water on the lakes, and dams releasing cool water can produce giant striped bass downriver. The federal Red Snapper season opening is a significant part of Texas summer fishing.
Fall Fishing Season
Fall is a great time for fishing in Texas, as the temperatures drop and fish become more active. The flounder run in October is the most productive time for targeting flounder. Other popular species during this season include redfish, speckled trout, and black drum.
Winter Fishing Season
Winter fishing in Texas can be productive, especially for species like catfish, sheepshead, and alligator gar. Although the fish may have a slower metabolism in cold water, they still need to be fed. Targeting deep holes or muddy areas with warmer water can yield good results during the winter months.
Texas offers diverse fishing opportunities throughout the year, catering to anglers targeting various species. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, you can enjoy fishing in Texas during any season.
How to Purchase Your Fishing License in Texas
Purchasing a fishing license in Texas is a straightforward process that can be completed online, over the phone, or in person at a retailer or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) office. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
Step 1: Determine the Type of License You Need
Texas offers a variety of fishing licenses to cater to different needs. These include the resident freshwater fishing package, the resident saltwater fishing package, the resident all-water fishing package, and the non-resident all-water fishing package, among others. The type of license you need depends on your residency status and the type of fishing you plan to do. For instance, if you’re a Texas resident planning to fish in freshwater bodies, you’ll need a Resident Freshwater Fishing Package.
Step 2: Purchase Your License
You can purchase your fishing license online through the Texas License Connection sales website. Note that a $5 administrative fee will be charged for online transactions.
To order your license by phone, call (800) 895-4248 Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CST. A $5 administrative fee will be charged for phone transactions.
You can also buy your license in person at approximately 1,700 locations throughout the state, including sporting goods stores, gun shops, department stores, discount stores, bait and tackle shops, grocery stores, and many other types of stores. Additionally, licenses can be purchased at TPWD offices and Texas State Parks.
Step 3: Choose Between a Digital or Printed License
When purchasing your license, you’ll be asked to choose between a digital or printed license. If you choose a printed license that includes tags, or if the license you purchase is only available in printed format, you must use the paper license tags that will be sent in the mail on harvested animals that require tagging.
Step 4: Show Proof of License
You can now use a mobile device to show proof of hunting and fishing licenses for activities that do not require tagging or physical stamps. Just enter your license information in the Outdoor Annual mobile app “Licenses” section of the app.
Step 5: Understand What Your License Fees Fund
100% of your hunting and fishing license fees go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts that help make Texas one of the best places in the country to hunt and fish. Fish stocking, wildlife management, habitat restoration, land conservation, and Texas Game Wardens are just some of the initiatives funded in part by your license fees.
Remember, the type of license you need, its cost, and where you can purchase it can vary, so it’s important to check the most up-to-date information on the TPWD website or at a local TPWD office.
Supporting Conservation Efforts in Texas
When you purchase a fishing license in Texas, you’re not just buying a ticket to enjoy some of the best fishing in the country. You’re also making a direct contribution to conservation efforts that help preserve the state’s rich biodiversity and ensure the health of its aquatic ecosystems. Here’s how your fishing license fees support conservation in Texas:
One of the primary uses of fishing license fees is fish stocking. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) operates five fish hatcheries that produce millions of fish each year. These fish are released into Texas’ public waters to enhance fishing opportunities and restore populations of native species. The stocking program includes popular game fish like largemouth bass, catfish, and rainbow trout, as well as threatened and endangered species.
is another crucial aspect of TPWD’s conservation efforts. This includes monitoring fish populations, conducting research, and implementing regulations to ensure sustainable fishing. TPWD biologists work to balance the needs of recreational anglers with the need to protect fish populations and aquatic habitats.
is a key part of TPWD’s conservation work. Healthy aquatic habitats are essential for fish populations to thrive. TPWD undertakes various projects to restore and enhance these habitats, such as removing invasive species, replanting native vegetation, and improving water quality. These efforts benefit not only fish but also a wide range of other wildlife species.
Fishing license fees also support land conservation. TPWD manages over 1.4 million acres of public land, including state parks, wildlife management areas, and natural areas. These lands provide important habitat for wildlife and offer recreational opportunities for the public. Land conservation efforts include acquiring new lands, managing existing lands, and working with private landowners to conserve wildlife habitat.
Texas Game Wardens
Texas Game Wardens
play a vital role in conserving the state’s natural resources. They enforce hunting and fishing laws, respond to wildlife emergencies, and educate the public about conservation. Fishing license fees help fund the work of these dedicated professionals.
When you buy a fishing license in Texas, you’re supporting a wide range of conservation efforts that help protect the state’s natural resources for future generations. So, the next time you cast a line, you can feel good knowing that you’re helping to conserve Texas’ rich fishing heritage.
In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, obtaining a fishing license in Texas is a straightforward process. So, Get your fishing license now and enjoy the diverse fishing opportunities that Texas has to offer!