10 Best Catfish Lakes in Texas – A Definitive Guide for Catfish Hotspots

Catfish may be found all around Texas. You can catch catfish from large lakes covering hundreds of hectares of land to unlisted wetlands. 

Usually, springtime is the ideal season to go catfish fishing. The best time to locate catfish along the riverbank in ten feet of water is from April to June. It’s easy to catch catfish when they breed at various periods throughout Texas. 

Catfish swim their daylight hours underwater in the summertime, then come back to the upper shallow water to eat at midnight. You won’t be catching them at midnight so spring would be the best time to visit a lake. 

Top 10 Catfish Lakes in Texas 

If you stay in the northernmost point of Texas, you will be surrounded by some great sites to catch catfish. This is due to the fact that nearly every location in Texas contains a river, lake, or other water body suitable for creating big catfish. 

My mentioned lakes provide year-round fishing possibilities in Texas. These ten lakes must all be on your radar since you are seeking spots to catch catfishes in Texas. 

Texoma Lake

Texoma Lake
Texoma Lake

Lake Texoma is a massive Red River reservoir on the Oklahoma-Texas border. It stretches more than 75,000 acres. It has long been renowned as an excellent fishing location and particularly for large catfishes.

Catfishes with state records in both Texas and Oklahoma have been caught in Lake Texoma. Weighing a whopping 125.5 pounds was also a world record breaker at one point. There are also plenty of monster catfishes in this famous lake. 

Jug-lining in lake waters with whole or chopped shad is a common catching technique for large blue catfishes in Lake Texoma.

You can always capture a lot of lake catfishes if you truly desire to have them for dinner. Springtime is the ideal period because lake catfish invade several fishermen in the middle of the lake. 

Many fishermen use fish entrails as bait in the springtime. But, when the temperature heats up during summer, sliced eels appear to become more useful.

Lake Texoma has a long lakefront with plenty of jetties and lake-bank access. Hagerman Wildlife Refuge and Eisenhower Park are two of the greatest places to catch catfishes from the lake banks.

Lake Texoma is among the great spots that allow you to catch almost every catfish, starting from largemouth bass to striped bass.

Livingston Lake

Livingston Lake
Livingston Lake

Lake Livingston is a massive water source on the River of Trinity that spans 85,000 hectares. The location is just filled with catfish. Also, it’s noted for its quantity of fish rather than for the lake volume.

Lake Livingston is located 45 miles to the north of Austin. The lake banks are quite shallow, even with the lake’s huge size. Also, the water here is muddy. That is good news for catching catfish. 

Lake Livingston has 2 characteristics that make it ideal for catfishing. One advantage is that there is plenty of feed and organic cover at varying depths. Also, on the other hand, the top portion of this lake where the Trinity River emerges is where the catfishes are abundant. 

The uppermost lake area has a section called the Jungle. This area is a fantastic springtime catfishing place with a mix of submerged wood and bushes.

Catfish may be fished in this lake pretty throughout the entire year. Use cut or live baits to drift over the central channel and in streams that join the primary lake area.

The largest fish are captured near the lake’s underwater stretches throughout the summertime. Anchor or float cut shad over the lake and then start fishing. The best time to go shoreline fishing is at nighttime near stream openings and lower areas in the lake. You can try it from the shores of Lake Livingston Park.

Overall, Lake Livingston is considered one of the top catfishing lakes in the Texas area. Fortunately, it is also a terrific spot for bass catfishes and crappie catfishes. 

Lake Tawakoni

Lake Tawakoni
Lake Tawakoni

Lake Tawakoni, called the Catfish Capital of Texas, is a reservoir of approximately 38,000 acres here on the River of Caddo Creek and Sabine. This lake is only a short drive from Dallas. 

In terms of both quantity and size, it’s possible that there’s no nicer lake in Texas for catfishing. Lake Tawakoni has some really large channel catfishes, according to the 50-pound state record. 

Colored catfishes are also plentiful, and monster blues are most commonly caught in the winter. Flathead catfishes can also be found in small quantities.

The top part of the lake is inhabited by coves fed by streams and creeks. They are excellent locations throughout the year for lake catfishing (Especially in springtime). 

Lake Tawakoni Nature Reserve has numerous fishing opportunities for both lake bank and sailboat fishermen.

Native experts regularly bait catfish with holes on this lake also by using corn and stuffed poultry pellets to make them effective. That is an excellent technique to secure fishing days, but it’s not necessary to use it to catch catfish here. 

Whenever the water level rises in the springtime, many catfish migrate to low-wet areas in lake coves. And the finest fishing can be found just within the flooded willow trees and native grasses.

A common technique used here is fishing with newly trapped gummy worm shad. This technique is particularly used in the cold months. To overcome the breeze while float fishing, many native experts use drifting socks. 

Choke Canyon Lake

Choke Canyon Lake
Choke Canyon Lake

Choke Canyon Lake is located in the River of Frio watershed near San Jose and Christi Corpus. This is among the northernmost important Texas catfishing lakes.

The most common catfish species here are both the blue and largemouth bass. These two species made a list of the greatest largemouth bass catfishing lakes in the Texas region. The lake, as well as the Frio River that flows into it, is also the greatest white bass cat fishing place in Texas.

However, do not get too carried away since this lake is also filled with catfish. According to Texas Wildlife and Parks studies, blue catfishes are the main catfish species in Choke Canyon Lake, followed by channel flatheads and other catfishes. 

Searching for water roosts on Choke Canyon Lake is a method to find catfishes. These fish-eating birds usually rest in branches that overshadow the bodies of water, and their excretion serves as organic bait for catfishes. Just remember not to keep staring when you are fishing. 

During the summers, big blue catfishes prefer to swim underwater before moving to shallow water in the autumn. From September to November, search for catfishes on ledges ten to fourteen feet deep during the daylight hours and nearby lowlands at nighttime. 

This is an excellent lake for fishing after sunset. Choke Canyon Pond is also a superb winter and springtime lake due to its southwestern location.

Choke Canyon Nature Reserve has enough shoreline availability as well as various boat points throughout the lake. A renowned boat pier is also located right off Route 99, at a bridge that crosses at the lake’s mouth. 

Sam Rayburn Lake

Sam Rayburn Lake
Sam Rayburn Lake

Sam Rayburn is a massive 125,000-acre lake in South Texas, besides being one of Texas’ best crappie and bass fishing lakes. Both of these are sometimes buried under other various fish names. But keep in mind that this lake is filled with catfish.

Sam Rayburn Lake has a strong stock of channel catfishes in all size classes if the principal target is channel catfishes. This includes plenty of superb big-size fish as well as larger catfishes reaching up to 12 pounds.

Blue and flathead catfishes have the ability to be the biggest fish in this lake despite not being as common. Catfishing is greatest in March and June, but there is a good possibility all year on hook baits and whole bait fishing. 

The majority of the trash stacks are buried along feeder streams and coves. The easiest approach to finding catfishes is to sail from the center of the lake to the dams while keeping a watch on the fishing equipment.

Brushing heaps are often identified with underwater markers. However, there may be more effective trash stacks spread around the indicated one. Veering or angling fishing in Texas regions is an excellent approach to catching a lot of channel catfish. 

Caney Creek State Park and Sabine Fishing Piers are managed by the US National Park service. So before fishing in this lake, it’s better to give access to Sam Rayburn Lake.

Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Lake
Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Lake is also a massive Louisiana-Texas border pond covering over 182,000 acres. This is considered to be one of the top fishing lakes in the area for nearly everything that swims inside this lake. 

Catfish fishermen have a number of alternatives in this area. Fishermen catch channel catfishes at almost every stream entrance point, particularly in locations with submerged logs and woods. 

Jug hooks are frequently used to catch large blue catfish. But some fishermen particularly hunt for flatheads with bait fish. When flathead catfishes emerge from their underwater burrows to stalk the shoreline water at nighttime, they get caught on bait.

Lake catfishes are not so monstrous in this area, and everything above 10 pounds is considered the best catch. 

However, several extremely large flathead catfishes have been captured in Toledo Bend Lake. And this includes a lake record of over 55 pounds. 

Usually, catfishing is best when the lake is full and murky. This condition of the lake is normally in early summer and late spring. The Sabine River enters the lake at its northernmost tip, and the lake’s top end is reliably effective for catfishing.

Native fishermen are known to use grains or hemp seed biscuits to bait certain sweet spots for catfishing.

There are over 30 public access spots on the Texas end of Toledo Bend Lake alone. So fishermen will have plenty of opportunities to get something from the lake. Ragtown State Park and Haley’s Speedboat Ramp in the Sabine State Forest provide access to the fishermen to catch the big cats. 

Palestine Lake

Palestine Lake
Palestine Lake

Lake Palestine is a 15,500-acre lake located on the River of Neches in Tyler, Texas. The 97-pound giant flathead catfish that holds the statewide record for Texas was captured here in 1997. 

Despite its reputation for monster flatheads, blue and channel catfish are more abundant here. Float boating using smaller fish as bait, grub worms, and poultry livers around Hawn Points and the Route 166 bridges is a popular technique on Palestine lake.

If you are looking for flatheads, the first week of May would be the best time to go for them. Lakeside catfish are primarily taken on trotlines and sling hooks fed with fresh herring or other panfish during most part of the year. However, in June, pole-and-reel fishermen have the best possible chance of fishing from the shoreline.

When the water temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees in May, keep an eye out for flatheads along the lake bank. They build their nests in water caves or holes that might range from an overarching bank or twisted tree root to a submerged tire or decaying barrier.

Flatheads may nap in the hollow chambers inside the lake with their heads turned outwards and will savagely strike anything that approaches.

The top portion of the lake, from Kickapoo Creek Arms to Cottonwood, provides the finest catfishing. An excellent length of rip-rap at the lake pier is usually effective for fishing from the shoreline.

Chandler Riverfront Nature reserve is situated at the lake’s northwest corner. This is another great option with a shoreline entry point facility. Hinterlands and waterlogged woods in this region are home to catfishes almost all year.

Conroe Lake

Conroe Lake
Conroe Lake

Lake Conroe is about 20,000 acres in size. This lake is less than an hour’s drive from Austin through the Western Fork of the San Joaquin River. Despite its reputation as one of the top bass fishing lakes in the Texas region, channel catfishes are the most prevalent sport fish in this lake.

This lake has some really large channel catfishes, as indicated by the 19-pound catfish lake record. This is also an excellent location for catching little, eating-size catfish in this lake. On a nice day, the fishing could be uninterrupted, and you can fish using poultry livers, red wigglers, and small eels. 

There are also a good amount of blue catfish. Flatheads are less frequent, although some true giants have been captured here in the past.

Lake Conroe is primarily a large, open lake with little natural cover. The finest catfishing occurs in the top section of this lake, where the waters are generally a little darker, and there are more trees and wildlife.

Shrub stacks in 16 to 24 feet of water are the most effective for the majority of the year when catfishes swim shallower. But these techniques are with the exception of autumn and spring. The majority of shrub stacks have been dug near lake points, ridges, and streams, so you need to be careful with catfishing. 

In the springtime, few native fishermen take a more aggressive approach. They throw sliced eels toward the shoreline of the lake around the rip-rap and bush.

On the top end of the lake, Cagle State Park is a wonderful area for camping, fishing from the shoreline, or renting a canoe.

Richland-Chambers Lake

Richland-Chambers Lake
Richland-Chambers Lake

Richland-Chambers Lake is about an hour from Houston. It is a big lake encompassing 42,000 acres in the center of the Texas Prairies Area. It has 2 major arms that are supplied by Chambers and Richland creeks, and both provide excellent catfishing.

The lake is home to both blue and channel catfish, and throughout the springtime and early summer. One may catch catfish almost anywhere. Sliced baits, poultry livers, maggots, and stink bait all work well as catfish baits.

In the springtime, in the stands of waterlogged wood where many catfish can be captured in 12 feet of water.

Jug lines and trot lines are baited with chopped fish that can catch a lot of blue catfishes, but channel catfishes prefer trap hooks. 

Around winter, catfishes follow a similar pattern but with deeper movement. The Richland Arm contains some waterlogged hardwood at 22 to 32 feet at the entrance of Crab Fork that yields all year. 

The Crab Fork Ramp on the Richland Arm and on the Chamber Arm are both popular entrance and landing points to start catfishing. 

Fork Lake

Fork Lake
Fork Lake

Lake Fork is a 28,000-acre Sabine River reservoir. This represents one of Texas’ best all-around catfishing lakes. Lake Fork is widely recognized as a monster bass lake preferred by Texas-area fishermen. It has a great catfish fishing spot for those who are interested. 

The most common type is channel catfish, which are found all over this lake. Although fishermen frequently capture a diverse range with a few bucktails and the rare huge blues.

Channel catfish respond well to a variety of bread and eel baits, but worms or bait fish are more likely to catch a flathead catfish. Punch bait is a form of bread bait that is “punched” onto a treble hook with a rod. Many fishermen have luck catching catfish from underwater in the summertime using this baiting technique. 

Springtime is the ideal time to catch catfish on Lake Fork. This lake has several low corners that provide excellent breeding shelter. Catfishes gather in these regions in July when water temperatures reach around 75F. 

Lake Fork also features numerous significant dam spans that are excellent places to catch catfishes.

The Sabine Creek Authority manages the W.C. City Park on the lake’s Eastern and western coast. They provide boat facilities and lake-bank fishing near Route 55 Bridges.


Which lake contains the most catfish?

The largest catfish may be found at Santee-Cooper Lakes. Giant flatheads, some weighing more than 75 pounds, swim here. Channel catfishes weighing more than 25 pounds are pretty common. The world record for an 85-pound catfish was caught in this lake in 1965. This raises the possibility that there are still giants out there that need to be discovered.

When is the greatest time to catch catfish?

Early April, May, and late June offer a lot of the greatest blue catfishes of the year in terms of both quantities of fish and giant class catfishes. Channel catfish activities are usually great and steady during this time. 

What is the finest location to catch catfish?

Search for large-river cracks around structures, outside corners, and stream openings. Sonar is also useful for locating these types of cracks. “Cooped up” catfishes frequently remain immobile. They wait for food to float around. Catfish baits must come near catfish to trigger bites, and then they can be captured. 


Catfish have bad eyes and prefer to remain in muddy waters away from direct sunshine. They usually prey through their senses of taste and smell rather than their vision.

They swim underwater in their daylight hours in the summertime, then come back to the top shallow water to eat after sunset. So it’s better to catch them in the spring season when they swim in shallow waters. And there’s a good possibility of catching catfish if you fish at nighttime. 

Catfish is among the most popular species in the Texas region. They may be captured in Texas’s reservoirs, streams, wetlands, and lakes. Texans seek channel catfishes for food. Also flathead and blue catfishes of trophy size, which can be found in many of my mentioned lakes. 

With this list of the greatest fishing lakes in Texas, you can find the ideal areas to throw your hook and catch a giant catfish.

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