It’s been a strange spring for Houston fishing enthusiasts. By now, most anglers would have had at least a couple of outings under their belt, and many newbies would have taken their first steps with the line and reel. You might not get to fly out to your favorite fishing getaway this spring, but thankfully, you won’t need to.
Why, you ask? The Bayou City has got plenty of incredible angling holes of its own, and today, we’re exploring the best of the best.
Spanning 9 different counties, Houston’s wealth of fishing grounds would take ages to properly explore. To keep things easily within reach, we’ll focus on the best fishing locales within 100 miles from town. These places offer everything from record-breaking freshwater critters, to serene secluded spots, to offshore big game hunting grounds. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Just over half an hour from downtown Houston, Lake Conroe is one of Texas’ favorite outdoor getaways. This place offers activities and amenities for all tastes. From lakeside dining to campsites and barbecues, there’s something for everyone around here. The lake covers 32 square miles, so you’ll have plenty of space to practice social distancing.
The southern side of the lake is a lot more urbanized, so if you’re looking to completely get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head up north. Nature lovers come here to enjoy the picturesque scenery and see birds like the majestic bald eagle.
Fishing-wise, Lake Conroe packs a mighty punch. Largemouth Bass are the signature species, reaching monster sizes on a regular basis. The largest Largemouth caught on Lake Conroe weighed a whopping 15.93 pounds!
But that’s not all. Channel Catfish are the most abundant fish on the lake, and they can get decently large, too. There are also good numbers of Crappie and Sunfish, as well as Hybrid Striped Bass. Lake Conroe has its own bag and size regulations, so be sure to check them out before you go. And before you wet the line, make sure you have a valid fishing license.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
In terms of versatility, nothing beats the fishing action in Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Boasting the best of what Texan inshore and freshwater angling has to offer, this place is a perfect getaway for the avid angler. Best of all, this peaceful fishing haven is just over half an hour away from Houston.
Providing access to the fish-filled waters of East Bay, the Anahuac refuge will put you on the famous inshore trio of Flounder, Trout, and Redfish. If you prefer freshwater fishing, you’ll have your hands full with Largemouth, Catfish, and Crappie.
Fishing in the Anahuac refuge is incredibly popular among kayak fishermen. It doesn’t offer much in terms of creature comforts, but in terms of sheer fishing quality, this place is top notch. Since this is a wildlife sanctuary, we recommend that you register at the Visitor Information Station. Here, you can learn about local rules and regulations, but also get some useful tips on where to cast your line.
One of the largest lakes in Texas, Lake Livingston offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts. From fishing, swimming, boating, and bird-watching to hiking and cycling, there are tons of activities to enjoy here.
For Houston fishing addicts, Lake Livingston is one of the premier Bass fishing locales around. There are Largemouths and Stripers in good numbers, but White Bass are what sets the lake apart. These guys are regularly caught along the springs and creeks that feed into the lake.
But Bass are not the only fish swimming in these waters. Lake Livingston boasts a healthy variety of Catfish species, as well as Crappie and Sunfish.
The lake is home to the Lake Livingston State Park, a pine wood forest of breathtaking beauty. Here, you’ll find boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, a fishing pier, and everything else you need for a perfect day of angling. Before your visit, make sure to check the park’s social distancing guidelines and make an online reservation.
An hour’s drive from downtown Houston, Freeport is one of the best fisheries in the entire Gulf. With superb fishing both inshore and offshore, the town is worthy of any angler’s bucket list. Right off the coast, you can enjoy some of Freeport’s most productive hotspots like San Luis Pass, Chocolate Bay, and Christmas Bay.
These waters hold mind-boggling numbers of all the Texan inshore all stars. From Redfish and Speckled Trout to Flounder, Black Drum, and Sheepshead, anglers will have their work cut out for them.
Head further out, and the fish just get bigger. From Kingfish to Cobia to Sharks, there’s no telling what you’ll run into. But it’s offshore that Freeport’s true fishing treasures lie. Giant Mahi Mahi, huge Tuna, and hard fighting Billfish are all in the cards here. Not bad for a single-day excursion.
Clear Lake Park
Nestled between Seabrook and Clear Lake City, Clear Lake Park is a great place to experience inshore fishing. Ideal if you’re short on time, this lakeside fishing spot is less than half an hour away from Midtown. The park features a public boat ramp and a fishing pier, as well as a large parking space.
The north side of the park has recreational facilities, as well as an open-air pavilion.
If you’re fishing off the pier, you’ll have a nice variety of Panfish to catch. But what most anglers come here for is Flounder. This is actually one of the best spots to catch the tasty Flatfish in the bay.
The pier has plenty of room for social distancing, but if you really want some peace and quiet, hop on a kayak. Heading out to the deeper reaches of the lake will get to experience an action-packed Trout and Redfish bite. Of course, if you’d like the benefit of deeper waters, but aren’t too crazy about kayaking, you can always rent a boat or hire a local fishing guide.
For the Weekend: Sam Rayburn
All the spots we mentioned so far are up to an hour away from the city. But if you have more than a day to spend, we absolutely recommend checking out Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Heck, we’d be tempted to head out for the whole week – this place is that good!
Sam Rayburn is a legendary Largemouth Bass fishery, traditionally bringing in anglers from all over the country. Combining impressive size with sheer abundance, lake anglers see trophy-grade Largemouths throughout the year.
But Sam Rayburn isn’t a one-trick pony. The lake offers equally impressive numbers of Catfish, as well as the kids’ favorite, Crappie. The best part is, you can catch these critters during the entire year.
And when you’re not fishing, Sam Rayburn offers everything from lakeside dining, to golfing, to wakeboarding and hiking.
A Treasure Within Your Grasp
Houston is close to so many beautiful fishing locales, it would take a book to do them justice. As noble as this writing would be, we’ll tell you what’s even better. Visiting these places and experiencing them in full glory. Do this, and you’ll get to enjoy the outdoors, stay active and healthy, and have a blast fishing some of the best grounds in the state. And best of all, it’ll just take you a short drive from home to make it happen.
We know you’re probably yearning to get out on the water again – who wouldn’t be? Before you visit any of the places we mentioned, a word of friendly advice. Check the local safety recommendations, because they can actually save your life. Also, make sure that the local facilities are still in operation – things are changing every day, after all. And last but not least, avoid large groups of people as much as you can. Tight lines!
So there you have it. What are your favorite fishing spots near Houston? Where will you go fishing next? Let us know in the comments below.