Fishing

Fishing Regulations

 

Largemouth bass is the most popular and most abundant sportfish in the reservoir. White bass and striped bass also provide an excellent fishery. Stripers provide excellent angling because of their growth potential and strong fighting characteristics. An annual TPWD stocking program maintains the fishery because striped bass do not successfully reproduce in this reservoir. Crappie fishing is generally poor, although occasionally good catches can be made, especially along standing timber in the river. Angling for redbreast sunfish can provide an excellent fishing experience for the family. Channel, blue, and flathead catfish are present in good numbers. Smallmouth bass are also present in small numbers. They tend to prefer rocky habitat found in main lake areas.


Fishing Cover/Structure

 

Canyon Lake is dominated by steep rocky banks, isolated flooded timber, and clear water typical of a highland reservoir. The water becomes stained as one moves up the reservoir and into the river. In most of the lake rock ledges, rock piles, steep drop-offs, flooded timber, and a few marinas provide cover for game fish. The river portion of the reservoir is dominated by flooded timber, rock ledges, and laydowns. When the water level is high, largemouth bass anglers should concentrate on the flooded terrestrial vegetation.

 

Tips & Tactics

Species
Poor
Fair
Good
Excellent
Largemouth Bass yes
Smallmouth Bass yes
Catfish
yes
Crappie
yes
White & Striped Bass
yes
Sunfish yes

Largemouth bass anglers are most successful on Canyon Lake during the spring, fall, and winter months. Bass fishing in summer on this highland reservoir can be difficult even for the most experienced anglers. Topwater baits such as buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, and Pop-R's are popular in the early morning and evening hours. On cloudy days consistent topwater action can occur all day. Crankbaits are also very popular fished along main-lake points, rocky shorelines, and flooded timber. Popular soft plastic baits include worms, spider grubs, grubs, and soft-jerkbaits. Try spinning gear and light line (6-10 lb.) in main-lake clear water situations.

 

For white and striped bass in the summer and early fall, look for schooling activity around main-lake points and humps. These fish can be caught using topwater baits, jigging spoons, grubs, and rattletraps. Popular techniques for striped bass are trolling with in-line spinners and crankbaits and vertically jigging white bucktail jigs. Live bait presentations for both striped and white bass are popular at all times of the year. White bass spawning migrations occur from February through April. During these months, white and striped bass can be concentrated in the river portion of the reservoir. Anglers catch white and striped bass at this time using small in-line spinners, small jigs, jigging spoons, small crankbaits, and live bait presentations.

 

Catfish anglers can find channel, blue, and flathead catfish throughout the reservoir. Channel catfish dominate the fishery. Stinkbait and cutbait work well for channel and blue catfish, while live bait is preferred for flathead catfish. The most consistent catches come from the upper third of the reservoir. Trotlining is very popular for flathead catfish.

Illustration © TPWD
Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

Other Names

 

Black Bass, Green Trout, Bigmouth Bass, Lineside Bass

 

Description

 

Largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) during their first year, 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in two years, 16 inches (40 cm) in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye.

 

Life History

 

Except for humans, adult largemouth bass are the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem. Fry feed primarily on zooplankton and insect larvae. At about two inches in length they become active predators. Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish. Larger fish prey upon smaller bass.

 

In Texas spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60°F. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state. Males build the nests in two to eight feet of water. Largemouth bass prefer to nest in quieter, more vegetated water than other black bass, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs. As in Guadalupe bass, once the female has laid eggs in the nest (2,000 to 43,000) she is chased away by the male who then guards the precious eggs. The young, called fry, hatch in five to ten days. Fry remain in a group or "school" near the nest and under the male's watch for several days after hatching. Their lifespan is on average 16 years.

 

Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. Sometimes several bass will gather in a very small area, but they do not interact. Largemouth bass hide among plants, roots or limbs to strike their prey.

 

Habitat

 

Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear quiet water, but will survive quite well in a variety of habitats.

Distribution

 

Largemouth bass were originally distributed throughout most of what is now the United States east of the Rockies, including many rivers and lakes in Texas, with limited populations in southeastern Canada and northeastern Mexico. Because of its importance as a game fish, the species has been introduced into many other areas worldwide, including nearly all of Mexico and south into Central and South America.

 

Other

 

Two subspecies of largemouth bass exist in Texas: the native Micropterus salmoides salmoides and the Florida largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides floridanus, which has been introduced into many Texas lakes. The largemouth bass is by far the most sought-after fish in Texas. When anglers were asked to "name the fish you prefer to catch in freshwater in Texas", they chose largemouth bass three to one over striped bass, four to one over white bass, nearly five to one over channel catfish, and nearly ten to one over flathead catfish and white crappie. Because of the strong interest in largemouth bass fishing, there are hundreds of bass angling clubs in Texas devoted to fishing and conservation. Bass fishing adds greatly to the Texas economy each year and largemouth bass are highly prized for their value as food. Because of the species' popularity, it has been introduced into many waters in which it did not originally occur. As with nearly all aquatic species, pollution and drought are the biggest threats to the largemouth bass population.

Illustration © TPWD

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)

 

Other Names

 

Brown Bass, Brownie, Bronze Bass

 

Description

 

The smallmouth bass is generally green with dark vertical bands rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13-15 soft rays in the dorsal fin, and the upper jaw never extends beyond the eye. Known maximum size in Texas exceeds 7.5 pounds. Micropterus is Greek meaning "small fin" [see Guadalupe bass for further explanation]. The species epithet dolomieu refers to the French mineralogist M. Dolomieu.

 

Life History

 

In small streams a fish's activity may be limited to just one stream pool or extend into several. Spawning occurs in the spring. When water temperatures approach 60°F males move into spawning areas. Nests are usually located near shore in lakes; downstream from boulders or some other obstruction that offers protection against strong current in streams. Mature females may contain 2000-15,000 golden yellow eggs. Males may spawn with several females on a single nest. On average each nest contains about 2,500 eggs, but nests may contain as many as 10,000 eggs. Eggs hatch in about 10 days if water temperatures are in the mid-50's (°F), but can hatch in 2-3 days if temperatures are in the mid-70's (°F). Males guard the nest from the time eggs are laid until fry begin to disperse, a period of up to a month. As in other black bass, fry begin to feed on zooplankton, switching to insect larvae and finally fish and crayfish as they grow.

Habitat

 

Smallmouth bass prefer large clear-water lakes (greater than 100 acres, more than 30 feet deep) and cool streams with clear water and gravel substrate.

 

Distribution

 

Smallmouth bass originally ranged north into Minnesota and southern Quebec, south to the Tennessee River in Alabama and west to eastern Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas. Today there are few states, east or west of the Rocky Mountains, where populations have not become established. Florida and Louisiana are apparently free of smallmouth bass. In Texas the species has been stocked in numerous areas, particularly streams of the Edwards Plateau.

Illustration © TPWD

Guadalupe Bass (Micropterus treculii)

 

Other Names

 

Black Bass, Guadalupe Spotted Bass

 

Description

 

Micropterus is Greek, meaning "small fin" and is a rather unfortunate misnomer arising from an injured type specimen that made it appear that the posterior rays of the soft dorsal fin formed a small separate fin. Treculi refers to Trecul, the French compatriot of Vaillant and Bocourt. Trecul actually caught the specimen. The Guadalupe bass is generally green in color and may be distinguished from similar species found in Texas in that it doesn't have vertical bars like smallmouth bass, its jaw doesn't extend beyond the eyes as in largemouth bass, and coloration extends much lower on the body than in spotted bass.

Life History

 

Guadalupe bass do not grow to large size because they are adapted to small streams. However, a propensity for fast flowing water, and their ability to utilize fast water to their advantage when hooked, make them a desirable sport fish species. Their preference for small streams enhances their allure to anglers because of the natural setting where small streams are usually found. Specimens in excess of 3.5 pounds have been landed.

 

Both males and females become sexually mature when they are one year old. Guadalupe bass spawning begins as early as March and continues through May and June. A secondary spawn is possible in late summer or early fall. Like all other black bass, Guadalupe bass build gravel nests for spawning, preferably in shallow water. As with spotted bass and smallmouth bass, males tend to build nests in areas with higher flow rates than largemouth bass. When a male has successfully attracted a female to the nest she may lay 400 to over 9,000 eggs. The female is then chased away and the male stands guard over the incubating eggs. After hatching, fry feed on invertebrates and switch to piscivory as they grow older. Very young fish and older adults tend to include more invertebrates in their diet than do largemouth bass. Juveniles and younger adults tend to include more fish in their diets than do largemouth bass.

 

Habitat

 

Typically, Guadalupe bass are found in flowing water, whereas largemouth bass are found in quiet water.

 

Distribution

 

The Guadalupe bass is found only in Texas and has been named the official state fish. It is endemic to the northern and eastern Edwards Plateau including headwaters of the San Antonio River, the Guadalupe River above Gonzales, the Colorado River north of Austin, and portions of the Brazos River drainage. Relatively small populations can also be found outside of the Edwards Plateau, primarily in the lower Colorado River. Introduced populations exist in the Nueces River system.

 

Other

 

The Guadalupe bass, like other "black bass" including largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, is not a true bass at all but a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae.

Illustration © TPWD

White Bass (Morone chrysops)

 

Other Names

 

Sand Bass, Barfish, Streaker, Silver Bass

 

Description

 

Morone is of unknown derivation. The species epithet chrysops is Greek meaning "golden eye." As with other true basses, the dorsal fin is clearly double, separated into spiny and soft-rayed portions. White bass are silvery shading from dark-gray or black on the back to white on the belly. Several incomplete lines or stripes run horizontally on each side of the body. Adults resemble young striped bass, and the two are often confused. However, striped bass have two distinct tooth patches on the back of the tongue, and white bass have one tooth patch. Striped bass have two sharp points on each gill cover, as opposed to white bass which have one, and the second spine on the anal fin is about half the length of the third spine in striped bass, whereas it is about two-thirds the length of the third spine in white bass.

 

Life History

 

White bass are active early spring spawners. Schools of males migrate upstream to spawning areas as much as a month before females. There is no nest preparation. Spawning occurs either near the surface, or in midwater. Running water with a gravel or rock substrate is preferred. Females rise to the surface and several males crowd around as the eggs and sperm are released. Large females sometimes release nearly a million small eggs during the spawning season. After release eggs sink to the bottom and become attached to rocks, hatching in 2-3 days. Fry grow rapidly, feeding on small invertebrates. White bass may grow eight or nine inches during the first year. Adults are usually found in schools. Feeding occurs near the surface where fish, crustaceans, and emerging insects are found in abundance. Gizzard and threadfin shad are the preferred food items. White bass more than four years of age are rare.

 

Distribution

 

White bass are native to the the central US west of the Appalachians, including the Great Lakes, as well as river systems in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. In Texas the species is native to the Red River drainage.

 

Other

 

White bass are the fifth most preferred species among licensed Texas anglers. Schools of white bass feeding on shad generate much excitement in the fishing community. Once a school has been located, successful anglers often fish the surface with spoons or spinners. Bottom fishing at night with live bait may also produce great success. White bass are excellent fighters, and are considered superb table fare.

Photo courtesy USFWS

Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)

Other Names

 

Channel Cat, Hump-back Blue

 

Description

 

Ictalurus is Greek meaning "fish cat", and furcatus is Latin, meaning "forked", a reference to the species' forked tail fin. Blue catfish have a forked tail, and are sometimes very similar to channel catfish. However, only the Rio Grande population has dark spots on the back and sides. The number of rays in the anal fin is typically 30-35, and coloration is usually slate blue on the back, shading to white on the belly.

 

Life History

 

The spawning behavior of blue catfish appears to be similar to that of channel catfish. However, most blue catfish are not sexually mature until they reach about 24 inches in length. Like channel catfish, the blue catfish pursues a varied diet, but it tends to eat fish earlier in life. Although invertebrates still comprise the major portion of the diet, blue catfish as small as four inches in length have been known to consume fish. Individuals larger than eight inches eat fish and large invertebrates. Blue catfish commonly attain weights of 20 to 40 pounds, and may reach weights well in excess of 100 pounds. It is reported that fish exceeding 350 pounds were landed from the Mississippi River during the late 1800's.

 

Habitat

 

Blue catfish are primarily large-river fish, occurring in main channels, tributaries, and impoundments of major river systems. They tend to move upstream in the summer in search of cooler temperatures, and downstream in the winter in order to find warmer water.

 

Distribution

 

Blue catfish are native to major rivers of the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi river basins. The range also extends south through Texas, Mexico, and into northern Guatemala. In Texas it is absent from the northwestern portions of the state including the Panhandle, but present elsewhere in larger rivers.

Other

 

The blue catfish is the largest freshwater sportfish in Texas. Where mature populations exist, 50-pounders are not unusual. Typically, the largest fish are caught by trotliners, some of whom have landed specimens in excess of 115 pounds. The Texas rod-and-reel record is 100 pounds. Catfish is the second most preferred group of fish among licensed Texas anglers, and blues rank third behind channel and flathead catfish. Like the channel cat, the blue catfish is considered an excellent food fish.

Illustration © TPWD

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

 

Other Names

 

Willow Cat, Forked-tail Cat, Fiddler, Spotted Cat, Lady Cat

 

Description

 

Ictalurus is Greek and punctatus is Latin, meaning "fish cat" and "spotted", respectively. Channel catfish are easily distinguished from all others, except blue catfish, by their deeply forked tail fin. Unlike flathead catfish, the upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw. Coloration is olive-brown to slate-blue on the back and sides, shading to silvery-white on the belly. Typically, numerous small, black spots are present, but may be obscured in large adults. The anal fin has 24-29 soft rays, in contrast to the blue catfish which always has 30 or more rays in the anal fin.

 

Life History

 

Channel catfish spawn in late spring or early summer when water temperatures reach 75°F. Males select nest sites which are normally dark secluded areas such as cavities in drift piles, logs, undercut banks, rocks, cans, etc. A golden-yellow gelatinous egg mass is deposited in the bottom of the nest. Males guard the nest, and may actually eat some of the eggs if they are disturbed. The eggs, if not devoured, typically hatch in about a week. Fry remain in the nest, under the guardianship of the male, for about another week. In clear water, young fish appear to be much more susceptible to predation and survival rates during the first year of life are much lower. Channel catfish less than 4 inches in length feed primarily on small insects. Adults are largely omnivorous, feeding on insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and even some plant material. Sexual maturity is reached in two or three years in captivity, whereas data from natural populations indicates channel catfish in Texas reach sexual maturity in 3-6 years. Most are mature by the time they reach 12 inches in length.

 

Habitat


Channel catfish are most abundant in large streams with low or moderate current.

 

Distribution

 

Channel catfish are native to North America east of the Rockies from southern Canada, south into northeastern Mexico, and east of the Appalachians with the exception of much of the coastal plain north of Florida. The species has been widely introduced in other areas as far west as California. Today channel catfish range throughout Texas, however, it is believed that the species was not native to the upper Rio Grande and Pecos basins.

 

Other

 

Channel catfish ranks behind only bass and crappie as the most preferred fish to catch in Texas. Popular with trotliners as well as rod-and-reel anglers, channel cats may be captured on a wide variety of baits including liver, worms, grasshoppers, shrimp, chicken, cheese and stinkbait, among others. Undoubtedly, part of the reason for their popularity is their delicious flavor when cooked. Channel catfish in excess of 36 pounds have been landed in Texas waters. The North American record stands at 58 pounds.

Photo courtesy USFWS

Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)

 

Other Names

 

Yellow Cat, Opelousa Cat, Pied Cat, Mississippi Cat, Mud Cat, Shovelhead Cat

 

Description

 

As the common name suggests, this catfish has a flat head, but other than that, it looks like any other catfish: it has smooth, scaleless skin, whisker-like barbels around the mouth, and long, sharp spines on the dorsal (back) fin and one on each side of the pectoral (shoulder) fin. Flathead catfish reach a length of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 m) and their weight can exceed 100 pounds (45 kg). Pylodictis is Greek meaning "mud fish", and olivaris is Latin for "olive-colored". Flathead catfish are typically pale yellow (hence the name "yellow cat") to light brown on the back and sides, and highly mottled with black and/or brown. The belly is usually pale yellow or cream colored. The head is broadly flattened, with a projecting lower jaw. The tail fin is only slightly notched, not deeply forked as is the case with blue and channel catfish. Young fish may be very dark, almost black in appearance.

 

Life History

 

Unlike other catfish which are scavengers, flatheads prey only on live fish. Young flathead catfish feed mostly on invertebrates such as worms, insects and crayfish. When 10 inches or larger, their diet consists entirely of fish-shad, carp, suckers, sunfish, largemouth bass and other catfish (including their own kind). Flathead catfish are eaten by alligators, water snakes, turtles, larger fish, and humans. They reach sexual maturity between the third and sixth year. Spawning season is from late May through August, when the water temperature is between 75° and 80° F.

 

Males select hollow logs, caves or areas beneath the banks for their nest sites. Males may even improve their selected sites by creating shallow depressions for the females to lay their eggs. Egg number varies greatly depending on female size, but the average is up to 100,000 eggs at a time. Scientists estimate that a female will lay 1200 eggs for every pound she weighs. A female flathead that weights 50 pounds might release 60,000 eggs at a time. After an incubation period of four to six days, the fry (very young fish) will school together at the nest for several days after hatching; afterwards they will seek shelter beneath rocks, roots and other cover and begin their independent lives. Average lifespan of the flathead catfish is 12 to 14 years, but one recorded flathead catfish lived 24 years.

 

Adults are usually solitary, each staking out a favorite spot under a tree or in a cove, in deep water. At night, they move into shallow areas to feed. Males defend their nest and eggs aggressively. They will fan the nest with their tails to keep the eggs clean and provide them with oxygenated water. If females have been eating poorly, their bodies may conserve resources by not releasing eggs. Poor overall health and certain environmental conditions such as drought or flood can reduce flatheads' ability to spawn. In healthy times, clutches can reach 100,000 eggs, but only a small number will survive.

 

Habitat

 

Flathead catfish prefer deep pools of streams, rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs, where the water is turbid (cloudy) and the currents are slow.

 

Distribution

 

Flathead catfish range from the lower Great Lakes through the Mississippi River watershed to the Gulf states.

 

Other

 

In size, flatheads are the second largest sport fish in Texas after their cousin, the blue catfish. Among those who selectively fish for catfish, flatheads fall just behind channel catfish as a prized species. Where mature populations exist, 50-pounders are not unusual. Typically, the largest fish are caught by trotliners, who have landed specimens in excess of 110 pounds. Rod and reel anglers may have the greatest success with flathead catfish just below reservoir dams. "Catfish" is the second most preferred group of fish among licensed Texas anglers, and flatheads rank second behind channel catfish. Because of their popularity with anglers, they have been introduced in many other states where they have adapted well. In some cases, however, they have out-competed the native fish species, causing those native fish populations to decline sharply, disrupting some natural ecological processes.

Catfish have long, sharp spines on the front edges of their dorsal fins that are connected to venomous glands. Although the spines can tear skin, the glands excrete venom. The venom is irritating and some people have had serious problems with infection afterward. (If you are "stung" by a catfish and are worried about it, please call your doctor.).

Information Courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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Canyon Lake Texas is a true hidden treasure of the Central Texas Hill Country. With breathtaking waterfront and lake views; this is the place where many are starting to call home. White tailed deer, foxes, roadrunners, and other wildlife are in abundance in the Texas Hill Country and especially at Canyon Lake. The Texas Hill Country is famous for its hilly terrain, live oak trees, limestone rocks, native animals, and clean fresh air.

 

Canyon Lake, Texas has so much to offer: Boating/Sailing, Water Skiing, Kayaking, Fishing, Scuba Diving, Helicopter Tours, Parasailing, Hiking, Dining, Shopping, and much more. Canyon Lake is located just forty miles north of San Antonio and twenty-five miles west of New Braunfels and San Marcos. Just like Home Advisor or any other service provider, Canyon Lake has many many positive reviews from people who have visited there. Of course unlike review websites, like Home Advisor Reviews, you won't need to read other people's experiences to know that Canyon Lake will be a fun and exciting adventure for you and your family.

 

Canyon Lake has eight Corps of Engineer Public Parks, 23 boat ramps, two marinas, campgrounds, golf course, country club, and yacht club. The lake has a surface area of 8,230 acres and 80 miles of shoreline. Canyon Lake releases water down stream into the famous Guadalupe River.

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