Texas is a catfish-crazy state. The Lone Star State has loads of great rivers, streams and lakes, and you can find all kinds of fish in any one of them, including Mr. Whiskers himself. Catfish are found in almost every nook and cranny of Texas, so as long as you’re near water, you aren’t far from where the cats are.
You can find lots of nice channel cats for eating in just about any Texas watering hole. But, if you play your cards right, you just might hook yourself a 70-pound trophy-winning blue! Here’s a quick guide to Texas catfishing, to tell you when to go, where to go and how to do it.
When to Go?
One of the reasons Texas catfishing is so great is that it’s a year-round sport. You don’t get frozen in the winter, and lake doesn’t get covered in ice, and those cats are biting whether it’s summer, spring, fall or winter. Many locals will tell you that the best time of the year, when the lakes and rivers are really jumping with cats, is during the summer. They do tend to be more active in the summertime. Another great time to catch catfish is during the spawning times, in very early Spring. However, Texas is catfish-crazy all year round. For those who live in the frozen north, Texas makes a great winter fishing vacation.
Where to Go?
Anywhere, just about! That being said, here are some of the top fishing spots in the great state of Texas…
Texoma – Just as the name implies, Texoma is right on the Texas-Oklahoma border. There is some great fishing here in the summer and winter, and quite a few trophy blues have been caught here. The lake is 75,000 acres of reservoir and it’s just full of our little whiskered friends. Texoma is a major catfish destination for anglers from all over the country.
Cedar Creek – Cedar Creek Lake is definitely one of the best fishing spots in Texas, and fishing magazines have always rated it highly. It’s also just about an hour’s drive from Dallas-Fort Worth, which makes it a convenient and easy trip. You’ll find it on the map right between Athens and Corsicana, Texas, south of the Dallas area. This lake is known for its blues, channel cats and trophy fish.
Tawakoni – Also just an hour from Dallas, Lake Tawakoni has been officially named the “Catfish Capital of Texas” by the Texas legislature. You don’t need any more endorsement than that. You may have also heard of Tawakoni from fishing magazines; lots of pro catfishers say it’s the best catfishing in Texas. Lots of trophy blues come from Tawakoni, and the record size keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Choke Canyon – Choke Canyon Reservoir is way down in southern Texas. There is a dam area that’s a great place to catch blues, flatheads and channel cats. This area is known for the sheer number of catfish caught every year, especially little guys that are good for eating. Quite a few trophy blues are landed every year, too. Choke Canyon is not far from San Antone, and while you’re down there, you can also check out Choke Canyon State Park.
Amistad – Lake Amistad is a giant lake way down in the south, near Del Rio. On the other bank is Mexico! Amistad is great for blues and channel cats, and it’s good and muddy, which makes angling in the shallows excellent for catching cats.
How to Catch ‘Em?
Texas catfish are like cats all over the world – they love live bait, especially bait that stinks. In Texas, you can catch lots of shinners, night crawlers, crickets and worms to put at the end of your line. This is also crawdad country, and if you take a little time and catch some, it will pay you big time. Of course the old standards like stink bait, chicken liver, bacon and hot dogs work great. Thank heavens they aren’t picky eaters!
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on Texas catfish fishing here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com