Best Places to Fish in Texas: Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Located in the heart of East Texas, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is considered one of the best and healthiest fisheries in the state. This huge, fertile body of water is a fishing haven and regarded by many anglers as one of the top bass lakes in Texas, if not the nation. Host to hundreds of fishing tournaments every year, the reservoir boasts a robust and thriving population of largemouth bass. Some local experts believe the first 20-pound fish swims in this water. Fishing opportunities on the lake also include pursuing crappie, white bass, hybrid striped bass and all three species of catfish.
Created and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sam Rayburn Reservoir was impounded in 1965 with the primary purposes of providing flood control and hydroelectric power to the area. Extensive recreational opportunities are available on the lake as it has numerous boat ramps, parks, marinas and water-based services available.
Fishing structure and cover on Sam Rayburn Reservoir is considerable. Pre-impoundment timber remains standing and provides excellent fish habitat. Fish find ample cover in over 12,000 acres of hydrilla and another 2,500 acres of other types of vegetation. There are some brush piles, but these privately placed attractors do not play a significant role in Rayburn’s aquatic environment.
6 Revealing Tips for Locating and Catching Fish on Sam Rayburn Reservoir:
Largemouth bass will begin a pre-spawn pattern starting in early February. Bass begin staging near the shallow spawning grounds. Sloping points along the north side of the lake will produce fish on hard and soft jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and red Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps like the Rayburn Red Craw. Exposed flooded timber along the south shore will offer early season action in the shallows.
Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps like the Rayburn Red Craw
- Following the spawn, largemouth bass will move into deeper water. Points and drop-offs will attract fish. Chartreuse crankbaits and chatterbaits should be used near points in 3- to 10-feet. Texas-rigged worms and crankbaits will produce bass in 15- to 25-feet around drop-offs.
- Crappie do not vary their feeding pattern from season to season to any extent. You will find fish near deep water that is close to shallow areas with wood cover during most any time of the year.
- In spring, when white bass move up river and into creeks to spawn, cast jigs, spinnerbaits and in-line spinners to the shore and work the bait into deeper water. Shad-colored fishing baits are hot in spring.
- Baited holes and cheese is the local recipe for catching catfish. Within 20 to 30 minutes after baiting a timber or brush-covered spot with sour maize, catfish with an appetite for cheese should be attracted. The fish move both horizontally and vertically a great deal so explore flats anywhere from 14- to 50-feet.
- Find even more fishing tips, including an interactive map for Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and fishing reports across the state of Texas on Fishidy.