While most eyes will be on the trout and salmon streams up north, down south, the gulf coast is heating up. And if you needed a reminder, Texas has the complete package for angling, especially when it comes to fall fishing.
From stocked lakes to the gulf coast and a few rivers in between, there’s no shortage of fishing opportunities. One minute you could be deep-sea fishing, then onto retrieving fish with a spinning rod and reel combo, riverside. If you get bored with that, whip some flies around. What lands may surprise you?
But, something happens in the lone star state when the seasons change, and notorious big Texas fish are begging to be caught between the freshwater or saltwater hot spots.
Want to know where to catch these enormous fish? No problem! From chain pickerel to redfish, here’s a list of where to go for fall fishing in Texas.
1. Guadalupe River – Trout
Many anglers get caught up in the hype of summer fly-fishing, but in Texas, some of the best fly-fishing comes in the fall. The summer months are intensely hot, and swinging a fly under the sun and on an open river is no fun. Think of it, if you want to seek a cooler spot, so do the fish. This is why fall fishing in Texas is the way to go, notably in the Guadalupe River.
Flowing outside San Antonio, the Guadalupe is a top-notch destination for trout fishing. Anglers have reported excellent fly action around Canyon Dam, with brown trout and rainbow trout stocked every March and November.
However, anglers shouldn’t wait to get their lines in the water. With suitable water temperatures year-round, the trout hang about and start to get lively in October.
There is another secret on the Guadalupe, and that’s some Texas-sized striped bass. With stripers averaging between 20-30 pounds on this waterway, you will want to bring out the heavy gear.
2. Sabine River – Chain Pickerel
Perhaps the best-kept secret in Texas is the chain pickerel or pike when it comes to fall fishing. Although they can be consumed, the pike is more or less not as widely targeted fish. If anything, they are an accidental catch when targeting bass.
Pike are packing on the pounds ahead of going into deeper water for the winter. This means, that the pike are hungry and aggressive. From September to October, they make for an adrenaline-pumping catch.
Pike are found in the watershed of the Mississippi River, such as the Sabine River on the Texas-Louisiana border. With a healthy supply of bait fish, the pike are massive. So much so, that a lunker of 47 inches in length has been pulled from the water. Yet, average lengths are about 30-40 inches for fall catches.
3. Galveston Bay – Flounder
Fall means flounder, and flounder fishing doesn’t get much better than in Galveston Bay. Also known as a fluke in other parts of the US, this odd-looking fish actually loves cold water. Making fall fishing in Texas the optimal time to target this delicious eater.
Galveston Bay is a great location to target the southern flounder because of the shallow yet muddy water, where it can bury itself. Alas, when it comes to tactics, the best way is to bottom fish, more so jigging. The bucktail jig has long been the way to go to nab one, but many anglers have found success with soft plastic baits.
It should be noted that any bays along the north Texas shoreline offer premiere fishing opportunities. Take a look at the neighboring bays of Matagorda Bay or Sabine Lake.
4. Freeport – Mackerel
Freeport has long been a fishing community intertwined with marine culture. While some salt water faves such as red snapper, redfish, and cobia are found just four miles from shore. The number one catch out of these waters are the Spanish mackerel and King mackerel. They are amply called Kingfish in these parts. But further adding to fall fishing opportunities in Texas.
From April to October and, in some robust years, into December, the mackerels feed and are fed on by predators right off the shores. It is a crucial middle link in the food chain, and the season never closes. As such, a charter is always ready to go or check out the jetties for some shore fishing action.
What makes the mackerel so entertaining to catch is their lightning-fast reactions. When it’s fish on, it might feel like a much bigger bite. And being an oily fish, a cooler of these will make for a delectable meal. More so, if you hit on a school of mackerel, enjoy the endless tugs and rod dips. Just be careful of the black tip sharks that feed on them. That much bigger bite might be something with teeth!
5. South Padre Island – Redfish
South Padre Island has long been the go-to spot for all saltwater species. Flaunting snook, speckled sea trout, snapper, tuna, and shark. It doesn’t get much better than this for sport fishing. In the greater scheme of fall fishing in Texas, the redfish, or red drum, is the most sought-after species, and South Padre Island is a mecca for them.
Redfish can be found in abundance around South Padre Island. But, the larger fish show up in the fall, giving you the dog fight of a lifetime. Scout out the seagrass for the smaller guys when shore fishing. Pull in a monster from a sea kayak or a boat near the shore. You’re guaranteed to be left smiling after retrieving one of these hefty fighters.
The Last Word
Texas offers some of the most diverse destinations for angling, and with the fall producing the biggest fish of the year, it could be hard to pick a target. Lakes and rivers offer the opportunity for trophy-sized trout and bass, while the gulf coast brings variety and the best chance to fill a cooler with some migratory species.
But fall fishing in Texas is among the best wherever you go and whatever you chase. And it’s only a matter of time before it’s fish on!
Have you gone fishing in Texas? If so, please let us know in the comments what you caught.