How to Go Fly Fishing in Texas: The Complete Guide for 2024

Jan 11, 2024 | 10 minute read
Reading Time: 10 minutes

In a state as big as Texas, you can’t go wrong. No matter what you’re looking for, the Lone Star State has it, and that’s true of fishing, too. From Trout streams to mighty rivers and lakes, all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico, everything is possible. But today we’re here to talk about one exciting way to experience it. Fly fishing in Texas doesn’t get the credit it deserves, and we’re here to change that.

An aerial view of the electric blue Guadalupe River in Texas

In this guide, we’ll take you through the top species you can target, the best locales to cast your fly in, and much more, such as seasons, gear, and rules and regulations. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be ready to head to Texas to indulge in some world-class angling action and enjoy some true southern hospitality. So let’s get started…

Top Fly Fishing Targets in Texas

With great fishing opportunities both in fresh and saltwater, we decided to split the sections up to make it a little easier for you. Not that that will help too much, though, as we’re sure you’ll want to experience the best of both worlds!



A trophy-size Guadalupe Bass being held by an angler at night.

“Everything’s bigger in Texas,” they say. But maybe it should be “There’s a lot more on offer in Texas!” After all, where else would you get Largemouth, Smallmouth, White, Striped, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Guadalupe Bass? The Guadalupe Bass can only be found here and is actually Texas’s state fish. It’s a prized target for any visiting angler, and you can target it on the fly for plenty of fun.

As for the other species? Everyone loves a battle with them. Known for their fighting prowess, Black Bass are among the nation’s most-loved creatures. But the addition of monster Stripers to fresh bodies of water makes Texas stand out among the best places to cast a line in the country. Don’t miss out!


An angler kneeling in shallow waters, posing for a photo with a big Brown Trout he caught

If you’re picturing a more traditional fly fishing adventure, don’t worry – Texas has you covered. Head to the northern waterways or the famous Hill Country in Central Texas, and you could be battling it out with Trout. Just like with Bass, there’s plenty on offer. Rainbow and Brown Trout are among the favorite targets here, but some Brookies have also been stocked, depending on where you head.

These creatures are a fly angler’s bread and butter, but you’ll need to work hard to get them. Get ready to head to remote streams surrounded only by wilderness, as you look to attract these quick-paced, yet small creatures onto the end of your line. And when you feel the hit, it’s all about to go off!

And More!

An angler standing on a boat holding a fishing rod and a White Perch which he has just caught.

Bass and Trout are top of the list of fly fishing targets in Texas for a reason, but that doesn’t mean the action ends there. Beginners and children often opt to test their skills against Panfish such as Sunfish to kick things off. These delicious creatures are a great first catch, while also giving the opportunity to fill the cooler, so the whole family can join in!

Then there are other freshwater trophies, such as Perch. These fish are known all too well for their meat qualities, but they also give a different kind of challenge on the fly. They’re hungry feeders, so you’re sure to entice them. And then the fun begins, as you try to keep them on your line while they try to wriggle away.


Saltwater fly fishing in Texas has come into its own in the last 20 years or so, so the secret really is out. Head to the flats along the Gulf Coast and the opportunities are endless. Here are some of our favorite targets.


A smiling angler holds a large Redfish along with his fly fishing gear

Also known as Red Drum, these impressive, golden beasts are a joy to behold however you target them. But nothing quite beats fly fishing. When the season hits, they show up in their hundreds of thousands along the flats, and you can spot them from a long way away, as they swim with their tails out of the water. 

They come in all shapes and sizes here, meaning there’s something for anglers of all skill levels. However, you’ll want to know how to cast far out into the flats – up to 50 feet. This will make sure you avoid spooking them. But that’s all part of the fun! Don’t miss out on targeting their siblings, Black Drum, who also inhabit the same waters. Both will reward you with a tasty supper after a challenging day, so get ready to reap the rewards!


Two anglers in the water hold a Speckled Trout caught fly fishing in Texas

If you thought we were done with Trout, think again! Speckled Trout are famous inshore fish across the Gulf Coast and beyond, and they make for great fly fishing action and delicious table fare. Despite their name, these creatures are not members of the Trout family, rather they belong to the Salmonids. That should tell you all you need to know about their fighting strength and food qualities!

Just like Redfish, Speckies live and feed in shallow flats, and they tend to come in around the same time. That means two for the price of one when it comes to casting on the Gulf Coast! While not as big as their golden friends, these fish are plenty of fun, with beginners able to land their first catch, and more experienced anglers able to fill the cooler.

And More!

A stunning photo of an angler holding a big Jack Crevalle catch

Texas inshore fishing is legendary, and you can catch pretty much any fish that call these waters home on the fly. However, we’d need an entire encyclopedia to cover them all here. When summer comes around, Tarpon and Jack Crevalle steal the show in the shallows, with anglers from all over the world attempting to “bow to the King” and go after a flats slam.

Head further out and the sky’s the limit. The Gulf of Mexico is full of monster fish just waiting to be caught. Head out with a charter and there’s every chance that you could land a Tuna, Mahi Mahi, or Sailfish – although we don’t recommend this for beginners! In any case, an impressive story to tell is in store. 

Where to Go Fly Fishing in Texas

So we’ve covered what you can target, but how about where you can find these prized fish? With such a range of species on offer, you can bet that the fishing grounds are going to be diverse too. It’s difficult to choose where to go in a state so big, but hopefully this section will give you an idea or two.

Guadalupe River

The blue Guadalupe River streams through greenery on a sunny day

We mentioned the Guadalupe Bass as a native of Texas. Where better to get your hands on one than in its namesake river? The Guadalupe is possibly the best-known fly fishing destination in Texas and is easily accessible from Austin and San Antonio.

Explore the wild lakes along the river in the famous Texas Hill Country, which offers stunning scenery and incredible angling action. Or head up to the famous Canyon Lake, where some of the best action is on offer. Multiple Bass species and Panfish are all available to make your fly fishing dreams come true, with even Trout making an appearance in the northernmost streams.

Blanco River

A dam on the Blanco River on a sunny day

In the heart of Texas Hill Country, the Blanco River is a strong contender to take the Guadalupe’s crown as the best fly fishing destination in the Lone Star State. Miles and miles of water are at your disposal, with Guadalupe Bass, Sunfish, and Trout all on offer.

Hit the region near the State Park and set up camp for a day or longer, or explore the more wild areas in the north, such as the Pedernales. A fly fishing escapade here can be whatever you want it to be!

Lampasas River

A dam on the Lampasas River regulates the water flow on a sunny day

If you’re looking to go fly fishing in Northern Texas, the Lampasas River has just what you need – when the conditions allow, that is. The waters here are affected by the nearby dams and streams, so try to come when it’s been dry for a few days, otherwise you may miss the bite.

However, when it’s good it’s great. And that occurs most in winter (paradoxically). Wrap up warm and settle in for a thrilling day battling it out with a number of prized fly fishing targets that call this river home.

Red River and Lake Texoma

A kayaker pushes his boat into Lake Texoma

There used to be a joke that the best fly fishing in Texas was actually in Oklahoma! And it’s easy to see why when Oklahoma claimed all of Lake Texoma for itself. But today, the special Lake Texoma fishing license will give you all the privileges you need to fish there (more on that later), so we count it as a part of Texas. 

Here, the Red River opens up and plenty of fish congregate to give you the chance of maxing out. Fish from shore or with a charter guide, and you could get your hands on anything from Panfish to Striped Bass. 

The Texas Coastal Bend

An aerial view of the inshore flats in Laguna Madre's wetlands

Saltwater fly fishing is possible all along the Gulf coast, but that’s a little bit of a wide net. The flats are best for focusing your attention, with Redfish and Speckled Trout available when the season hits the calmer waters. Here are our top picks for where to start your journey.

  • Laguna Madre. Head out of South Padre Island and cast your line from the jetty or a boat, and you won’t go wrong. The action is almost as impressive as the scenery, with the option to cast in the lagoon or Gulf. 
  • Corpus Christi to Rockport (via Port Aransas). This central area is prime fly fishing country. There are several lagoons and plenty of bays for you to explore, and all come full of fish. From Corpus Christi Bay to Aransas Bay, Copano, San Antonio, Espiritu Santu, Matagorda… the list is endless!
  • Houston. This metropolis actually offers saltwater and freshwater access, making it a top place to go fly fishing in Texas. Surprisingly, it often gets overlooked. But we think the bayous on offer just a stone’s throw from downtown deserve your attention.

When to Go Fly Fishing in Texas

A view of the cityscape along the Bayou River at nightfall during winter

Most anglers think that spring and fall are the best times of year to go fly fishing, and Texas certainly offers great angling opportunities then. But that’s not all. The mild winters can bring top fly fishing targets to the fore in the colder months. The Guadalupe River gets stocked full of Rainbow Trout from December onwards, so we suggest making the most of that.

When it comes to Striper fishing, summer is the peak season. And Black Bass also hit their stride around this time of year. This is the time to escape to some of the lesser-known lakes and rivers, where a treat awaits for those of you in the know. 

On the coast, winter can be rough, so most coastal anglers pack up from mid-December through February. Spring kicks up with a Redfish and Trout frenzy, before Tarpon and other more elusive creatures show up in summer. It can get crowded out there during peak season, though, which can impact the fly conditions. Come before Memorial Day weekend or from October onwards to beat the crowds and make the most of the incredible fishing action.

How to Go Fly Fishing in Texas

Fly fishing gear rests upon a branch against a background of inshore waters, including a rod and reel and flies

If you’re an experienced fly angler, you’ve probably already got a war chest full of armor to enter into battle with. But who knows, maybe there’s something new you could learn? In this section, we’ll introduce you to some of the most popular rigs and flies used in Texas. 

Rod and Reel

First of all, you’ll need an appropriate rod. This impacts everything else you’ll need, so it’s vital you get this bit right. Texan anglers prefer something akin to a 9′, 6wt rod for freshwater fishing. There’s no one-size-fits-all, though, but this kind of rod gives you the ability to cast poppers of all sizes. Hitting saltwater? Something a little heavier and longer is probably best.

We’ll keep it short on reels, as you can always opt for a rod-reel combo – a “fly-rod outfit,” to give it its real name. This is a great option for beginners, as it’ll save you from having to learn about drag types, arbor size, and much more.


There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right line for your rod. You’ll need to select between a spey or shooting-head line, and a floater or a sinker. Beginners prefer spey lines as you’ll need to strip (manually pull your line back) less. You’ll probably also want a floating line, keeping your fly atop the water. This is what most traditional fly fishing looks like, while sinkers mean mixing it up a bit more. 


You can choose whether you want a leader and tippet or not, but you can’t ignore the need for a fly. There are plenty of options out there, with some more suitable for certain fish. However, in saltwater, clouser minnows are popular when conditions are good. Meanwhile, glass minnows can do the trick from the surf. Freshwater anglers try to “match the hatch,” but crickets and grasshopper imitations are favorites. In any case, we recommend checking with local anglers or a nearby bait and tackle shop to see what’s been working most recently. 

Anything else?

An infographic featuring the flag of Texas and text that says "Texas Fly Fishing Regulations What You Need to Know" on a dark blue background.

Before we let you go, there are just a few things you should know. First of all, every angler over the age of 17 will need a fishing license. Thankfully, we’ve put together another handy guide to help you get yours.

Then, there are regulations concerning each individual fish. These relate to bag and size limits, and differ depending on what you’re targeting and where you’re fishing. Check with the Texas PWD before you go to get the most up-to-date information. Or head out with a reputable guide who’ll make sure you stick to the law.

And You’re Good to Go!

An aerial view of Rockport, TX, with piers sticking out into the sea

So that concludes our guide to fly fishing in Texas. You’re now ready to go out and experience the wonders of the Lone Star State. From the Gulf coast up to the Hill Country, all the way to Lake Texoma, there’s plenty to explore. The only thing that’s left to do is actually get out there and enjoy it! 

Have you ever been fly fishing in Texas? Have any tips that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line in the comments below!

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Growing up next to a river, Rhys was always on the water. From Carp fishing in his native Wales to trying his hand at offshore fishing when traveling abroad, Rhys has vastly expanded his horizons when it comes to casting a line and continues to test new waters whenever he has the opportunity.

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