Many people are attracted to Austin by the laid back, music-centric, computer-driven lifestyle.
Those are good enough reasons, to be sure. But another aspect of an easy-going existence in the Texas Hill Country is outdoor living, something more than walking and hiking and biking.
Like fishing. Sometimes you just have to go fishing, and even though we don’t have the large bodies of water that grace East Texas, there’s still plenty of opportunity for Austin-area folks to grab a rod and reel and go have some fun with a fish.
Let’s talk about a few of the best fishing opportunities for Central Texans. You’ll need a boat for a few of these but some will require nothing more than a car to get you to the water.
Catfish: There’s no lake better for catfish than Granger Lake, just a few miles northeast of the city of Taylor. Granger is a great place for crappie, too, but that requires a bit more knowledge of where to find brush piles and other underwater structure.
The catfish are easy pickings for an angler with any kind of aluminum boat, kayak, canoe or giant bass boat. All you’ll need are a few floating jugs such as used detergent or bleach bottles with lengths of stout fishing line attached. Your jug needs to be marked with your name and address.
Throw in a weight and a hook, some blood bait or live perch, and you’ll have a jug line that’s almost guaranteed to catch fish. Drop them on one side of the lake and let the wind blow them across. Instant catfish.
Bream: Pick a lake. Lady Bird, Lake Austin, Travis or Fayette County near LaGrange. All of them have bream, or perch if you prefer, that are close to shore and easy to catch for anyone with a pole, line and a cricket or grasshopper to dip.
The one thing to remember about any fishing activity in Texas is that most of the land, even land around lakes, is privately owned. Lady Bird Lake is open in most places for walk-up traffic but most other lakes require permission from landowners or that you fish in areas designated as parks and open spaces.
Urban fishing: One way around the public access issue is to utilize any of the many urban fishing and community fishing lakes in Central Texas.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has a community fishing program that stocks catfish and rainbow trout in certain lakes and also designates certain areas as community fishing spots. Lakes contained within the boundaries of a park allow adults and children to fish without having to purchase a fishing license.
Buescher State Park Pond at Buescher State Park near Smithville is one of those lakes. This small lake offers bass and bream for anyone who wants to fish. In Round Rock, TPWD recommends anglers check out Bright Lake in Old Settlers Park and Meadow Lake on Settlement Drive. Both are considered to be special places to fish that don’t get a tremendous amount of fishing pressure.
For information about community fishing and urban fishing opportunities, see the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/cfl.phtml.