Everything is bigger in Texas- including the fish. The Lone Star State is a hotbed for bass fishing. Anglers travel from all over the world to try and catch a double digit fish in the thousands of lakes spread across the state. The majority of these anglers use spin tackle. These fish rarely see flies so fly anglers have an automatic advantage if they choose to target bass.
The Texas Game and Fish Department recently started stocking trout in several areas throughout the state in the winter months. Don’t write off Texas as only a traditional tackle state. Fly anglers will have plenty of success and be able to catch some of the best and largest freshwater game fish in the country.
Here is a list of the best nine places to fly fish in Texas:
1. Devils River – Legendary Among Texas Fly Anglers
The Devils River is legendary to anglers in Texas. It’s an extremely beautiful river filled with large and catchable bass. Located in the southern portion of the state, this river doesn’t seem to belong in the desert. It’s spring fed and crystal clear. The bass are spooky and are a wonderful challenge to try and catch.
The river has pockets, rapids and deep pools. Fly anglers can truly test their skills on this river. While it’s only 94 miles long, this river offers a nice amount seclusion for anglers looking to escape the traditional Texas waters. The Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations can be a bit difficult to understand but follow this link to gain a better understanding.
On top of the bass, anglers can try their hand at catching carp on the fly. These fish are extremely difficult to catch and always present a challenge.
Where to fish on the Devils River:
Access the river at Dolan Falls:
From here, you can work your way through the pools and pockets. If possible, float this river. There are ample opportunities for a multi day float if you have the time and resources. It’s a river that should be explored over an extended period of time.
Gear to use on the Devils River:
You’ll need 4 or 5x fluorocarbon tippet on the Devils. The water is extremely clear and the fish will spook at any sign of something unnatural. That being said, your flies don’t need to be small. Here are a few great options for flies:
- Craft Fur Streamer
- Gutless Frogs
- Wooly Buggers
- Panfish Attractor
You’ll want all of your flies to have natural looking colors. The bass eat baitfish so anything you have that represents a minnow is going to work. For your rods, you’ll need your 6-weight. Even though there are tight seams and pockets, you need the power of a 6-weight to fight these strong fish.
Bring both sinking and floating line for the Devils. You’ll try a variety of tackle to land these fish, but it’s well worth the effort.
2. Blanco River – Long Casts and Light Leaders
The Blanco is much more friendly than the Devils. You’ll be able to fish this river from shore and have plenty of access. Being that it is Texas, you’ll find panfish as well as small and largemouth bass. The river is wide open all year for fishing, but summer time is busy.
This water is fairly clear during the non-rainy seasons so you’re going to need to practice your long casts before your trip to the Blanco. These fish will spook, but the amount of cut banks available to fish is amazing. You’ll run into overhanging trees so don’t be careful on your follow through.
The fish will head into the creeks and rivers in the winter so be sure to target the Blanco then.
Where to fish on the Blanco River:
There are ample access points on the Blanco River. However, there are residential areas that line the river and you must stay off of the river banks in Texas. If you have a float tube or kayak, the Blanco River is a great place to bring them.
Here is a solid wade fishing point:
Once you gain access, you can wade downstream without running into private property.
Gear to use on the Blanco River:
The Blanco is fairly clear so be sure to have 4 or 5x tippet and 3x leader. You’ll need the lighter line to not spook the fish, but still need power to fight the larger bass. Remember, casting into the cut banks and pools is the way to go.
Here are a few flies you need to bring to the Blanco:
- Clouser Minnows
- Leech Patterns
- Beadhead Wooly Buggers
You’ll also want to be sure to bring your 6-weight rod. These fish will fight with quite a bit of power and you’ll need the force from your 6-weight to prevent them from wrapping themselves up in some dangerous areas.
GUIDE TIP: When fishing for bass, you want to be sure your flies are creating plenty of commotion in the water. They’re protective fish that are willing to strike anything that may be threatening.
3. Guadalupe River – One of Americas’ Best for Flies
The Guadalupe River holds the only wild-born Texas river trout in the entire state. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Serve along with the Guadalupe River chapter of Trout Unlimited have worked hard to keep a population of rainbow and brown trout in the river year round.
This is a perfect river for anglers looking to scratch their trout fishing itch. It’s even listed in America’s 100 Best Trout Streams and is the United States’ southernmost trout fishery. The record trout pulled out of the Guadalupe is 28 inches so the river is nothing to scoff at!
Don’t pass up the opportunity to fish this unique water. Plus, in many of the other sections of the river, there are trophy bass waiting to be caught. The Guadalupe is a must visit for anyone passionate about angling in Texas.
Where to fish on the Guadalupe:
You can find public access at Guadalupe Park as well as Camp Huaco Springs. There are several access points that cost a daily fee of around $10. This river is open from late November until May. It’s the opposite of many rivers across the United States.
Here is a nice access point near where the Texas Game and Fish Department stock trout:
Again, be careful of landowner regulations in Texas. The best areas to fish are the public access points because landowners in Texas aren’t too fond of anglers trespassing on their property.
Gear to use on the Guadalupe:
If you’re strictly targeting trout, you’ll only need your 5-weight rod. The trout will give you a fight, but you won’t need anything substantial to land them. If you want to target both bass and trout, a 6-weight is going to be your best bet.
Bring both your sinking and floating line to the Guadalupe. There’s no guarantee of where the fish will be in the water column so it’s best to be prepared. Also, be sure to have 4 or 5x tippet to help you with the spooky trout.
Here are a few flies to use on the Guadalupe:
- Wooly Buggers
- Clouster Minnows
- Pheasant Tail Nymphs
- Hex Nymphs
The Guadalupe is unlike any river in the country. Be sure to make a visit on your next trip to Texas!
4. Llano – Great for Swinging Streamers
The Llano River is in the heart of Texas in hill country. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of landscape in the Llano. It has beautiful cliffs, rock formations and a nice amount of vegetation. Be aware of the overhanging vegetation on the Llano. It’ll snag your flies!
You’ll find bass as well as nice size sunfish in the midst of these clear waters. The river bottom is mostly granite and sand so be prepared for some great sight fishing opportunities. The best fly fishing is going to be on the Lower Llano near the towns of Kingsland, Llano and Mason.
You’ll want to swing streamers, dead drift nymphs and throw the occasional popper in this river. There are a nice amount of pools, seams and riffles throughout the river. Bring your 5 or 6-weight to handle the bass! Also, a light fluorocarbon leader is going to be important. These fish can spook so be stealthy and practice your long casts. You may have to make a 40 or 50’ cast to entice some of these fish to eat.
Some great flies to use are Clouser Minnows, Poppers, Gutless Frogs, Deceivers and Wooly Buggers. Bass can be picky so be sure you’re equipped with your sinking and floating line. Wade fishing is great on the Llano so you can easily spend a few days exploring this river!
GUIDE TIP: Don’t hesitate to get creative with your casting and presentation techniques when targeting bass. These fish are moody and the bite can change in a matter of minutes.
5. Lampasas River – Rain Can Affect Fly Fishing
The Lampasas River can be found in northern Texas and gives southern anglers a taste of a mountain stream. The water is narrow, shallow and vegetation is thick along the banks. It’s a great place to bring your 4-weight and test the quality of your finesse casts.
The Lampasas receives quite a bit of water from smaller creeks that flow into it so water clarity often varies depending on how much precipitation there has been. The extra water from the smaller creeks helps create some wonderful pools. Try fishing this river near Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The consistent flow out of the lake keeps the fish active.
You’ll want to be equipped with 4 or 5x tippet for the Lampasas. Also, you’ll want your floating line because the dry fly fishing is often very successful! The terrestrial flies are common to find on the Lampasas. Bring your beetles, ants and hoppers.
It’s also smart to strip baitfish and crayfish patterns through the deeper pools.
The Lampasas is a great river to visit in the winter. In the summer, the water temperature becomes very warm and the fish are more sluggish. If you do fish in the summer, the fish are going to hold in the deep pools. Spend most of your time here! It’s a unique river that doesn’t receive as much pressure as the rivers down south.
6. Pedernales River – Bass Strike Flies HARD
The Pedernales River is another beautiful river in the midst of Texas Hill Country. It is around 100 miles long and flows directly into the Colorado River. If you’re planning on fishing the Pedernales, fish it within Pedernales Falls State Park. You can spend a weekend camping and checking out the rest of the state park.
The river bottom is all limestone that creates beautiful pools all throughout the 100 miles. These pools hold nice size bass and carp. Sight Fishing is fairly simple on the Pedernales, but if you’re unable to locate fish, focus on the deeper pools. The water can heat up in the midst of the summer so the fish are going to dive deeper.
Cast your flies into the riffles and let them drift into the pools. Once it reaches the back half, start stripping aggressively towards you. These bass will chase the flies and strike! You may also feel a strike as soon as the fly enters the pool. It’s not uncommon for the fish to hit the fly as soon as it falls out of the riffles.
You’ll need your 5-weight for the Pedernales. Also, bring your weight forward and floating line. The pools aren’t going to be all that deep so the weight forward line is going to reach those necessary depths. You can fish the Pedernales with a variety of flies. Be sure you’re equipped with crayfish patterns, Clouser Minnows, Wooly Buggers, Terrestrials, poppers and Gutless Frogs.
GUIDE TIP: Bring your polarized sunglasses to Texas rivers. They stay fairly clear and you’ll want the extra ability to see. I absolutely LOVE my Smith Optics – Read more here – Best Sunglasses for Fly Fishing
7. San Gabriel River- Easy Fly Fishing Access
The San Gabriel river begins in the far east of Texas hill country and is broken up into three sections: south, middle and north. The North and South forks are going to be your best bet for fly fishing. The majority of the middle fork is located within land so access can be difficult.
A great place to access the San Gabriel is right in the heart of Georgetown. The city limits hold nice populations of white bass, largemouth bass as well as panfish. You can have a great time targeting a variety of species and have success in catching all three.
Bring your 4 or 5-weight to the San Gabriel. The fish aren’t going to be massive, but the clear water makes it a great place to test your fishing abilities. These fish are fast and can spook. Take along light tippet and some realistic baitfish flies.
Crayfish patterns, Deceivers, Clouser Minnows and Wooly Buggers are going to be your best bet. Also, small poppers in the morning or evening will catch fish. You’ll enjoy your time spent on the “Gabe.”
8. San Marcos – A Special Fly Fishing River
The San Marcos river is a special fishery. The amount of diversity within the waters make it one of the best places to fish in the entire country. You’ll catch Guadalupe Bass along with largemouth and smallmouth bass.
You can access the San Marcos near the towns Fentress, Staples and Martindale. Bring your 6 or 7-weight to the San Marcos. These fish are large and will give you one entertaining fight! If you can, float this river. It’s wide and the heavy vegetation along the banks can lead to some unnecessary frustration.
Bring your poppers, crayfish streamers, Wooly Buggers and Clouser Minnows. These fish are going to test your patience, but the wait is worth it. They’re well-fed so it’s not always easy to catch them during a time when they’re not actively feeding.
There are several guides that work on the San Marcos. It’s not a bad idea to book one of these trips for your first visit to the San Marcos. The river takes a bit of time to learn, but one trip will provide you with enough information to be successful on your next trip to the San Marcos.
9. Colorado River – Mighty Even in Texas for Flies
The Colorado River is the longest river within the Texas border. The best areas to fish the Colorado River are near Columbus, Bastrop, La Grange, Austin as well as Ballinger. There is a nice diversity in scenery along the Texas portion of the Colorado.
You can catch largemouth, smallmouth as well as Guadalupe bass. Panfish are also plentiful throughout the waters. It’s not uncommon to find bass around 6 or 7 pounds in these beautiful waters.
Fly anglers also have success landing catfish out of the Colorado River. You’ll need to throw bright baitfish streamers deep in the water column to land these fish! The bass will hit poppers, Gutless Frogs, Wooly Buggers and terrestrials.
If possible, fish this river via boat. There is a large gap between access points so you can cover quite a bit of unfished water in a boat. The access areas get pressured, but a few hundred yards up or downstream rarely get touched.
You’ll want your 6 or 7-weight when fishing the Colorado. Also, bring your floating and sinking line along! It’s important to have 2 or 3x leaders with 4x tippet. These fish aren’t as spooky due to the lack of water clarity, but it’s still necessary to stay hidden.
Fly Fishing Clubs in Texas
Texas has numerous fly fishing clubs spread across the state. If possible, join one of them! You’ll gain valuable knowledge on where the fish are biting as well as learn what sorts of tackle to use.
- Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited is the LARGEST Trout Unlimited Chapter in the USA. The Chapter has a neat benefit of being a member in that you get access to the a limited access area of the Guadalupe River. Just think about having limited access and helping a conservation organization. Check out GRTU here – Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited
- Dallas Fly Fishers– The Dallas Fly Fishers meet on the first Monday of every month to discuss all things related to fly fishing in Texas.
- Texas Flyfishers of Houston– The Texas Flyfishers of Houston is a group focused on the conservation of waters and educating the general public on Texas fly fishing.
Fly Fishing Guides in Texas
- Alvin Dedeaux Fly Fishing– Alvin Dedeaux Fly Fishing focuses mostly on trips within central Texas as well as excursions along the Texas coast.
- River Hills Outfitters– River Hills Outfitters also spends their time guiding in the Texas Hill Country. They put substantial time in at the Guadalupe River!
Government Fishing Site that Help Fly Fishers
- The Texas Parks and Wildlife website has all of the information you need on licenses as well as different locations to fish. Here is a link to the website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/
- State parks in Texas are often located around fishable water. Here is the website that provides information to the parks: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/
Looking for Other Great Fly Fishing States By Texas?
- Read this article for the BEST places to Fly Fish in Arkansas
- New Mexico is become one of my FAVORITE Places to fly fish. Read more about Where to got in this article. 11 Best Places to Fly Fish in New Mexico
- Colorado isn’t far for Texas – here’s where to go. Best Places to Fly Fish with Maps in Colorado