Love whiskerfish? Most Texans do. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department promotes the beloved cats and stocks waters annually, making these fish some of the easiest to catch. Anglers will find blue, channel and flathead catfish, as well as black bullheads and yellow bullheads, with channel cats being the most abundant of the species. Daily limits are 25 fish per bag for channel and blue cats (including their hybrids and subspecies) with a minimum length of 12 inches. Flathead catfish are limited to 5 per day with a minimum length of 18 inches. The best catfish lakes will have submerged structures (trees, buildings, foundations) where the fish can feed and hide. During warm months, catfish swim deeper where the water is cool. Cool weather and spring bring cats closer to the surface. Anglers love whiskerfish--it's the second most popular fish in Texas.
Anglers heading to South Texas typically think of the big, border lakes: Amistad and Falcon. Both lakes are fairly reliable for channel cats, but both lakes have felt the crunch of netting. Not as well known are Calaveras and Braunig, two small lakes south of San Antonio. Calaveras holds large, blue cats as well as channel cats. Braunig has channels. An even better secret? Head to Avernoff in Brush Country, outside of Crystal City. Channel cats are there for an angler's picking.
If you're looking to hook flatheads, channels or blue cats, Choke Canyon Reservoir is the spot. Blue catfish are the most plentiful, but you're certain to catch flatheads and channels, too. Trot- and juglines snag the largest catfish at Lake Corpus Christi, where blue, channels and flathead catfish provide excellent fishing.
For channel cats, head to Pichland-Chambers, which is considered to be the best lake for big channels. Closer to Dallas, Lake Tawakoni is great for bank fishing and contains blue and channel cats. What is East Texas' best kept secret? Lake Pat Mayse, close to Paris. The lake is not as well known, and is an excellent source of big channel cats.
North Central Texas
Lake Texoma is North Texas' crown jewel for blue catfish. The lake holds world records for the size and weight of blue cats caught, of which the largest was 116 pounds. Both Lake Mineral Wells and Lake Nocona offer easy fishing for blue and channel cats.
Dry seasons keep lake levels fluctuating in the Rolling Plains/Panhandle region, but typically Fort Phantom Hill Lake, fifteen miles north of Abilene, is good fishing. The reservoir sports blue catfish and yellow bullheads, with blue cats being the most abundant.
Ashlee Simmons has written professionally for more than 10 years. Her writing focus is travel, equestrian and health and medical articles, but she enjoys writing human interest stories as well. Simmons graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a liberal arts degree.