I often find myself daydreaming of fly fishing on a river all alone with no one else around. There are not many places in the world where this is possible, but Devil’s River in Texas gives me a chance to live this daydream. Located in Southwestern Texas, Devils River gives adventurous fly anglers everything they would want in a trip. Remoteness, healthy fish and physical challenges are all waiting for you in these waters.
On top of the river being extremely remote, public access isn’t easy to find. It’s a heavily protected 94-mile river that’s surrounded by a few natural areas as well as a large amount of private land. Fly fishing Devils River requires a large amount of planning, but once it’s all situated, you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.
The most common access point to Devil’s River is Baker’s Crossing. It also happens to be the northernmost access point on the river. The closest large city is San Antonio which is about 200 miles away. Comstock is the closest smaller town being about 20 miles away! If you’re planning on fishing at Baker’s Crossing, make sure you’re prepared with food and water for the day.
It’s located off of State Highway 163 and there’s a large parking lot for you to park your car and spend your day near the access point wetting your line. If you’re planning a float trip, this is likely where you’re going to start.
The water is extremely clear and can be a bit shallow depending on the time of year you visit. You’ll find a nice grasses near the access point that give you a chance to land carp and smallmouth bass.
It’s not going to be overly challenging to fish, but make sure you’re presenting your flies well. Cast near the grasses, let your fly get to the bottom and work them from there.
You’re not going to find wide-open fishing on the largest part of the river. However, you’re going to find some more technical fishing with great access to fish. Pay attention to the private property signs! Ranchers are especially particular about trespassing, so don’t put yourself at risk.
Guide Tip: Can you find great fly fishing in Texas? Oh Yah! Read more -> 9 Best Places to Fly Fish in Texas
San Pedro Point
San Pedro Point is located within the Del Norte Unit of the Devils River area. This is the most common day-use area for people who aren’t looking to take a multi-day float trip down towards Lake Amistad.
Access to the river is possible, but you will have to hike the final mile to get to the river. Motor vehicles aren’t allowed past the Mile Gate.
At this point of the river, you’ll find that it’s fairly angler friendly. Good seams, pools and rock shelfs make fishing extremely exciting. With a good pair of polarized glasses, you can sight fish your way around this access point. Take a 5 or 6-weight 9’ rod to San Pedro Point. The wind can pick up, and you’ll find that the added power is helpful to fight fish and get through the wind.
The beauty of this river is that you can use streamers to target the fish! They’re willing to eat crayfish and baitfish patterns. Do some scanning before you make your casts, and don’t be surprised if you see fish swimming. Cast deep and work your way up the water column to find what the fish want.
If you want to access Devil’s Back, you need a Devil’s River Access Permit which you can purchase from the Texas Game and Fish Department website for $10. You can reserve these permits up to 5 months in advance.
Devil’s Back is located within the Dan A. Hughes access area! You’re able to access this point if you have the permit and you’re with a Texas Parks and Wildlife Approved Outfitter. You can find the verified outfitters here.
Devil’s Back is a beautiful area to fish with a nice amount of rock and grasses to help hide fish. Cast your 6-weight into the rock shelves and grasses and you’ll have plenty of success landing fish.
Again, Devil’s Back is ideal for the anglers looking to do a multi-day float! Multi-day floats are the best way to experience what the river has to offer.
Why Devils River is Perfect for Fly Fishing
Devils River fish are not heavily pressured. Regardless of what you’re throwing, you have a wonderful chance at landing some of these fish. You can land beautiful smallmouth bass, carp and the occasional trout depending on the winter stocking season.
This river is also almost completely spring fed, so you’re getting healthy fish that have opportunities to grow. You can test all of your fly fishing skills as well as your adventuring skills.
It truly is the ideal location for anglers looking to escape some of the more popular fly fishing rivers of the west and experience one of the most unique areas in the entire United States. You can camp, see beautiful waterfalls and limestone rock formations and be completely secluded!
Deep pools, rock shelves, riffles and just about any other type of water you want to fish, you can. Plus, you get to use large flies. Large flies almost always mean large fish, so what can go wrong?
Favorite Flies for Devils River
Some of my favorite flies for Devils River are streamers and poppers. These fish eat larger prey, so be prepared to represent the prey as best as you can with the following flies!
1.Clouser Minnow, Size 4- Clouser Minnows in chartreuse, white and green are great. You can get them deep in the water column and will often get the fish to chase them! Vary your retrieval methods, but you can almost guarantee success with a Clouser.
2. Poppers, Size 4- Poppers are also a great option if you start seeing the bass feed on the surface. Make sure you’re using yellow, white and green!
3. Cowbell Cray, Size 6- The Cowbell Cray is a perfect representation of the crayfish you’ll find in the Devils River. They move quite a bit as you retrieve and always look like a fleeing crayfish. Make sure to have a half a dozen of these in your box when you fish the Devils River.
Fly Rod and Reel Setup for Devils River
When fly fishing the Devils River, you want to use a 6-weight to 8-weight fly rod with a matching reel. Make sure your reel has a large arbor! You have the possibility to tie into a 3 to 5-pound smallmouth, so you want to be prepared.
Guides and Fly Shops
Professional Guides are somewhat plentiful for the Devils River. Since fishing the Devils can be a bit confusing, hiring a guide is a great way to familiarize yourself with it.
Reel Fly- Reel Fly offers 3 nights and 2.5 days of fishing with their guide service. The trip is going to cost around $2000 per person, but almost everything you need is provided! They also have a fly shop for you to visit before your trip!
Expedition Outfitters- Expedition Outfitters is an authorized guide service according to the TGFD. They provide a bit of a more luxurious trip. You’ll stay in cabins instead of camping along the way down the river!
If you’re up for the challenge, fly fishing the Devils River is going to be one of the most rewarding and exciting trips of your life. It’ll test you in every way possible, but it’s going to be well worth the effort. If you’re hoping to combine the Devils River with more Texas fly fishing adventures, visit our guide here!
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills – These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout – Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish – Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon – Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.
Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fly fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fly fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It’s a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels