The state of Texas offers plenty of opportunities for excellent fishing. Texas has thousands of lakes, countless ponds, creeks, rivers and over 360 miles of coastline. It is known for producing tons of 10lb + bass.
Laws & Regulations
Educate yourself on Texas’s fishing laws and regulations to ensure you stay legal and avoid costly fines.
Where to Fish in Texas
Best Fishing Lakes in Texas
- Lake Fork – The state records for largemouth bass, white x yellow bass, bowfin, and yellow bullhead were all caught on Lake Fork.
- Lake Texoma – The state records for black buffalo, blue catfish, and goldeye were caught caught at Lake Texoma.
- Lake O’ the Pines – The spotted bass state record was caught on Lake O’ the Pines.
- Toledo Bend – The state records for grass carp, black crappie, and redfin pickerel were caught caught on Toledo Bend.
Best River Fishing in Texas
- Colorado River – The Colorado River has produced multiple species state records including: guadalupe bass, and white bass.
- San Marcos River – The state records for guadalupe X smallmouth bass, rock bass, red-bellied pacu, and longear sunfish were caught on the San Marcos River.
- Brazos River – The state records for striped bass, black bullhead, and striped mullet were caught on the Cumberland river.
Fish Species in Texas
Texas has over 240 species of fish, most of which are not seen by anglers. Below you will find the common game fish that anglers typically see when fishing in Texas.
Texas has 8 types of bass including: largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, striped, hybrid stritped, white, yellow, and guadalupe bass.
Largemouth bass are the most targeted species for freshwater anglers. They can be found in every state other than Alaska. They are the largest species of bass.
Learn more about largemouth bass
Smallmouth bass are the most aggressive bass which makes fishing for them a ton fun. They have a ton of fight which makes up for their smaller sizes. Even though they are smaller than largemouth they still can get pretty big.
Learn more about smallmouth bass
Spots are similar to largemouths except they have horizontal rows of small black spots on the lower side. The notch between their spiny and soft dorsal fins is shallower than largemouths.
Spotted bass also have smaller mouths and a circular patch of teeth on the tongue.
Learn more about spotted bass
Striped bass started out as saltwater fish but were added to freshwater where they survived and adapted. They are a schooling fish, so if you catch one it is very likely there are more around.
- Silver-white to pale green color
- Dark back, with white sides and belly
- narrow dark stripes through the length of their sides
- White bass look like shorter versions of striped bass.
Learn more about white bass
- Smallest species of bass
- Brass to yellowish coloring
- Broken stripes on their sides that are offset on the lower side of their anal fin
- Two dorsal fins that are connected by a membrane whereas both white and striped bass are separate.
Learn more about yellow bass
Hybrid Striped Bass
- Hybrid mix of striped and white bass
- Broken horizontal strips on body
- Two separate tooth patches on back of tongue
Learn more about hybrid striped bass
- Green coloring
- Jaw doesn’t extend passed eyes
- Only found in Texas
Texas has 5 types of catfish including: blue, channel, flathead, yellow, and black catfish.
Blue catfish have a flat dorsal fin and forked tail. They have smooth scaleless skin with a light blue body and white belly. They have four pairs of whisker-like barbels.
Blue catfish can grow up to 5ft long and more than 100 lbs. The average size you see is 1-2ft long.
Learn more about blue catfish
Channel catfish have a slender scaleless body with a forked tail. They have an olive green to light grey color body with small black spots along their body.
Channel catfish can grow up to 52 inches long and 60lbs. The average size you will see is 1-3ft long and 1-15lbs.
Learn more about channel catfish
Flathead catfish have a flathead and a smooth scaleless body. They have a pale yellow to light brown colored body with a cream belly.
Flathead catfish can grow up to 3-ft long and weight 123lb. The average size you will see is 10-15lbs.
Learn more about flathead catfish
- Yellowish brown on back and sides
- Yellow to white belly
- Rear edge of the tail fin is nearly straight
- Anal fin rays usually number 24–27
- Dark greenish or yellowish brown
- belly is yellowish or white
- Black chin barbels
- Upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw
- Anal fin usually has 17–21 rays
Texas has both black and white crappie.
Black crappie have white bodies with a dark green and black back. Throughout their bodies they have black and brown spots.
World Record: 5 lb 7 oz – 19.25 inches long
White crappie have a white to silver body with a dark green back. They have blotches that make vertical bars across their sides.
World Record: 5 lb 3 oz – 21 inches long
Texas has 6 types of panfish including: bluegill, green sunfish, redear sunfish, longear sunfish, redbreast, and warmouth.
- Large, deep bodied sunfish with a small mouth
- Sides are dark bluish-green in color with vertical bars throughout their body
- They have a large dark spot at the rear of the soft dorsal fin
- Their belly is deep orange to rust color
- Adults can grow to 16 in. but usually reach 6-11 in.
Learn more about bluegill
- Large, robust sunfish with a large mouth
- Blue irregular stripes of color on the sides of their head
- Large black spot at the rear of their soft dorsal fin
- Adults can grow to 12 in. but usually reach 8-10 in.
Learn more about green sunfish
- Large, deep bodied sunfish with a small mouth with long, pointed snout and small mouth
- Adult males have a red margin on the gill cover flap while females have a light orange flap
- Adults can grow to 15 in. but usually reach 8-11 in.
Learn more about redear sunfish
- Small sunfish with a deep body and small mouth
- Bright red-orange color with iridescent blue spots on their back and sides
- Their belly is mostly red-orange in color
- Has a long gill or “ear” flap, and wavy blue lines on cheek and gill cover
- Adults can grow to 9 in. but are usually less than 6 in.
Learn more about longear sunfish
Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)
- Small sunfish with large mouth
- Females have a pale red and yellow body with dark blotches along their lateral lines
- Males have an olive to bronze colored body with a yellow belly and blue streaks on their cheek , back, and upper side.
Learn more about redbreast sunfish
- Medium-sized, robust sunfish with a large head and mouth
- Dark olive to grey colors with brownish sides and yellow markings
- Dark red-brown lines flowing from the back of their eye
- Adults can grow to 12 in. but most are less than 10 in.
Learn more about warmouth
Texas has 3 types of carp including: common, grass, and silver carp.
- Babels in each corner of their mouth
- Olive-brown to reddish-brown with a yellow belly
- Large and thick scales
Learn more about common carp
- Olive-brown back with silver sides and a white belly
- Large, crosshatched scales with dark edging
- Do not have barbels
- Short, pointy dorsal fin with 7-8 rays
- Their anal fin have 9 or fewer rays
- Both their dorsal fin and anal fin are barbless on the leading edge
Learn more about grass carp
- Silver body with a gray head and dorsal surface with a white belly
- Eyes on the lower side of their body
- Lack barbels and are toothless
Learn more about silver carp
Texas has 4 type of gar including: alligator, longnose, shortnose, and spotted gar.
- Olive brown color
- Diamond-shaped interlocking scales
- Rounded tail fin
- Dorsal and anal fins are far back on body
- Upper jaw has a dual row of large, sharp teeth
- Largest gar species
- Brown to dark olive coloring
- Dark spots on back, sides, and fins
- Elongated jaws that form a needle-like snout nearly three times the length of its head
- Upper jaw has a row of cone-shaped teeth
- Diamond-shaped interlocking scales
- Brown to olive green coloring
- White belly
- Black spots on the top of the head and on paired fins
- Upper jaw has one row of cone-shaped teeth
- Beak is only about 5 1/2 times as long as its narrowest width
- Brown back that gradients to a silver to white belly
- Has dark spots on its head, fins, and body
- Upper jaw has one row of cone-shaped teeth
- Maximum length of 3ft
Texas has 7 other types of trout including: rainbow, brook, brown, and cutthroat trout.
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
- Distinct red pink stripe down their side
- Black spots throughout body
- Square, broad tail
Learn more about rainbow trout
- Humped back with sloping forehead
- Gray body with bronze reflection and white lips
- Rounded triangular tail
- Red to copper back fading to light belly
- One or more dark spots at base of tail
- Lower jaw lack barbels
- More elongated body than other drum
- Green and brown coloring on side and back
- Silver to white colored belly
- Black spot surrendered by orange ring on tail
- Paired fins and anal fin are bright green
- Jaw has strong conical teeth
- Gray or green in color
- Wide mouths with large, paddle-like snouts
- Smooth skin lacking scales
- Small eyes
- Elongated opercle flap over their gills
- Dark green to yellowish green coloring
- Dark chain-like markings over body
- Large dorsal and anal fins positioned close to the tail
- Common to have dark bar under eye that extends straight down
- Hard bony scaled flap covering gills
Texas Fishing Records
Find Texas’s fishing records for over 80 species and how to qualify & submit your catch for the record fish program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common fish in Texas?
The most common fish in Texas are bass, catfish, crappie, and various panfish.
Are there wild trout in Texas?
Trout have been introduced to various creeks and streams throughout Texas. You can find a list of streams and when they are stocked on Texas Parks Wildlife’s site.
Is there snakehead in Texas?
Snakehead are not known to be found in Texas. They are illegal to possess, sell, or release within the state.
What is the biggest fish caught in Texas?
The largest fish ever caught in Texas was an alligator gar weighing 279 lbs on the Rio Grande on Jan 1, 1951.