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3 Great Texas Waterways Which Work Well for an Angler-Paddler

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Tony Maples Photography


There are 46 species of freshwater fish that can be found in the state of Texas, ranging from the Guadalupe bass (the official state fish,) to schools of sunfish. And this state has also been blessed with numerous rivers and streams that offer the perfect fishing spot as well as the perfect place to paddle. For those that like to combine the two, here are three fishing sweet spots accessible to anglers in kayaks and canoes, offering the catch of the day!

Lower Pecos River

3 Texas Waterways Which Work Well for an Angler-Paddler

Photo: Flickr/Thomas and Dianne Jones

A 50-mile-stretch spanning from Pandale to Lake Amistad is the only public access for the Lower Pecos River, which is one of the most pristine and isolated within the state of Texas. But these two positives make for one big negative in the fishing world…it’s logistically-challenged. Teeming with fish, this river presents the opportunity for a minimum 7-day fishing trip in total (we can hear all the avid anglers saying, “Darn it honey, I’ll be gone for 7 days…”), and paddling this length is going to take up 4 of them. Also plan to bring in all of your gear, water, and food, since the locale is fairly isolated. There’s also no cell service, so offer up a map or notations to family and friends for when you’re going in and when/where you expect to be coming back out. Some portaging will also be required as rocky shallows and fierce rapids speckle the span of river you’ll be traversing, but for your troubles, your reward just may be a world-class largemouth bass.

San Saba River

3 Texas Waterways Which Work Well for an Angler-Paddler

Photo: Pixabay

The upper San Saba River, upstream from Menard, is a veritable goldmine for fishing and paddling enthusiasts. The majority of this space is reasonably narrow, allowing for casts clear across. It meanders its way through the outskirts of the Texas Hill County, much of it under a canopy of pecan, elms, and cottonwood trees. A famous hideout for bass, (with largemouths rumored to weigh at least 6 pounds,) you’ll find leisurely pools scattered between small rapids. And along with the bass, you’ll find plenty of Rio Grande perch and redbreast sunfish.

Nueces River

3 Texas Waterways Which Work Well for an Angler-Paddler

Photo: Maxpixel

Many summers, the upper Nueces River in Uvalde and Real counties near Camp Wood can be shallow, rocky, and often nearly dry, but when water levels are up, paddling and angling in this river can present wealthy pools of largemouths, sunfish, and Guadalupe bass in staggering numbers. A fly-fisher’s paradise, the upper Nueces offers up a day-trip with easy access at public campgrounds. All land along the river is privately owned, so plot any overnights accordingly.