WALLEYE & SMALLMOUTH IN TEXAS?

TEXAS FRESHWATER by Matt Williams
April 25, 2018
NUGENT IN THE WILD by Ted Nugent
April 25, 2018

LARGEMOUTH BASS, channel catfish and crappie dominate freshwater fishing in Texas.

Those are by far the most popular and abundant species on reservoirs, streams, creeks and rivers across the state but there is more. Did you know that Texas has good quality smallmouth bass and walleye fishing in numerous water bodies?

Here is an in-depth look at both species in Texas and where you can catch them.

Smallmouth Bass

Viable fisheries exist at Texoma, Amistad, Whitney, Canyon, Belton, Grapevine, the Devil’s River, Meredith, Stillhouse Hollow and portions of the Guadalupe River.

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass are more widely distributed in Texas than most would suspect.
(Photo: Public Domain)

smallmouth bass stocking

Smallmouth bass stocking has been a part of Texas fisheries management for decades, but it has slowed down some. In 2017 there were only 39,643 and they were all stocked in Meredith. There were none stocked in 2016 but 2015 saw 54,573 fingerlings stocked at Lake Belton.
(Photo: Public Domain)

Much of the fishery suffered with golden alga blooms. Looking at the top 10 smallmouths in Texas you will see all of them were caught in the 1990s with Lake Whitney at that point, being the strongest fishery by far.

Now anglers are reporting great catches on Texoma, Stillhouse Hollow and Canyon. Although it’s not clear whether Texas will see a smallmouth renaissance, there is no question the fishery seems to be on an upswing.

Compare this to 128,061 stocked in 1995 among Belton, Cisco, Georgetown and Whitney, and you can see overall stocking has declined greatly.

Top 25 Texas Smallmouth

Rank Water Body Weight (lb.) Length (in.) Date Angler State Record Water Record
1 Meredith 7.93 23 3/13/98 Timothy Teague X X
2 Whitney 7.72 22 11/20/88 Ronald Gardner X
3 Whitney 7.68 23.25 10/14/97 Ronald Gardner
4 Whitney 7.55 24.25 12/18/97 Ronald Gardner
5 Whitney 7.46 25.13 3/9/94 Ronald Gardner
6 Bridgeport 7.41 23 3/21/97 Mike Roberts X
7 Whitney 7.37 23.38 10/28/96 Ronald Gardner
8 Whitney 7.25 21 1/4/98 Darrell Ferguson
9 Whitney 7.21 25 2/11/96 Ron Gardner
10 Whitney 7.06 23.13 4/6/95 Ronald Gardner
10 Texoma 7.06 22.75 1/29/06 Jay Fuller X
12 Brazos River 7 22.5 5/7/97 Chris Shafer X
12 Greenbelt 7 21 8/3/91 Jim Braswell X
14 Whitney 6.96 23.5 10/4/95 Gary Payne
15 Whitney 6.94 24.25 12/25/98 Gary Mitchell
16 Whitney 6.91 22.5 4/5/95 Wendell Walker
16 Texoma 6.91 24 1/22/96 Yarri Schreibvogel
18 Whitney 6.9 23.5 3/7/94 Chris Shafer
19 Whitney 6.89 24.25 4/10/92 Ron Gardner
20 Whitney 6.88 23 12/8/97 Thomas Peterson
21 Whitney 6.87 23 10/24/94 Ronald Gardner
22 Possum Kingdom 6.8 24 1/28/99 Bob Borg X
23 Stillhouse Hollow Lake 6.75 22 1/31/93 Arnold Bragewitz X
24 Bridgeport 6.68 22 2/2/97 Damian Kline
25 Stillhouse Hollow Lake 6.65 22.63 11/28/92 Chris Hadash

Cuda

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Walleye

According to Texas Park & Wildlife Department officials, high summer water temperatures restrict walleye growth and survival in much of Texas.

“However, in the north Texas lakes, such as Lake Meredith, the species does very well,” TWPD said. “Six-to-eight pound specimens are common at times. The state record comes from Lake Meredith and stands at 11.88 pounds. Walleye is considered an excellent food fish from Texas to the northern states.”

walleye

Walleye stocking is on the increase in Texas. In 2017 5,105,992 fry were stocked in Greenbelt, Meredith and Wheeler Branch Reservoirs. In 2016 3,244,428 walleye were stocked in Fryer, Meredith and Wheeler Branch Reservoir. Another 1,331,375 were stocked in Palo Duro Reservoir, Theo at Caprock Canyon, Wheeler Branch and White Reservoir in 2015.
(Photo: Public Domain)

Walleye are present in Wheeler Branch, O.C. Fisher, Moss Creek, White River, Meredith, Mackenzie, Buffalo and Palo Duro Reservoir.

Texas anglers do not have to travel great distances to catch the great northern fish they have read about in national fishing publications. They can do it right here, and in some cases do it quite big—Texas style.

 

—story by MATT WILLIAMS

 

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