Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the ninth largest in the U.S. It draws an estimated 27 million visitors every year. Dallas is known for excellent retail stores, the Dallas Cowboys games, art, museums, scrumptious down-home restaurants, and lively clubs and bars.
In addition to all of this, Dallas has some spectacular bodies of water that are perfect for boating, fishing, and exploration! We’ve got your back with all the best water activities to do when in Dallas:
- Go fishing in Dallas
- Fish in the Dallas Area
- Where to fish in Dallas
- Fishing 101: When in Dallas
- Watersports in Dallas
Read the entire post to catch additional Pro Boatsetter Tips.
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Go Fishing in Dallas
Within Texas, you’ll find hundreds of lakes, each populated with different types of fish. Dallas is home to some of the best bass lakes in the state. If you’re looking to cast out in Dallas, read for everything you need to know about fishing in the Dallas area (Boatsetter Tip tease: Fish in Fort Worth!)
What is the best time of year to go fishing in Dallas?
The best times of year to fish are spring and fall, as the fish are not too hot and still have a healthy appetite. During these seasons, cast near the shallower waters.
In the summer, you should go to the deeper areas of the lake and the shadier, deeper sections of the streams. It may be a bit more work to get something to bite, but the fishing is still pretty good.
During winter, you should go to deeper areas again. The fish will not be as interested in the bait because they aren’t very hungry, but when you do catch something, it is much more likely to be heftier. Have your scale and measuring stick ready!
Fishing 101: When in Dallas
Most lakes in Texas are man-made reservoirs that were created in the last century by damming a stream or river and flooding valleys. You’ll have to adapt your fishing tactics to accommodate the water levels that have vast fluctuations and lack aquatic plant diversity.
When fishing in creeks and rivers, try:
- Flyfishing for trout.
- Casting out artificial spinner bait.
- Sending fresh-cut sunfish or crappie fish down to the bottom of the stream for carp and catfish (for all three species).
- Using natural freshwater baits like worms, crayfish, crickets, grasshoppers, leeches, and minnows.
- Using jigs near the mouth of the river.
- Casting upstream in calm areas of the river (called eddies), then let the fly or lure slowly drift downstream.
- Going to the downstream side of an island or pile of rocks, then casting up to the calm section of water behind the rocks or island.
- A Carolina rig. Bounce soft plastic or live bait along with the current for smallmouth bass.
- River jigging with 1/4 ounce jigs in slow currents along the shores to catch walleye fish.
When fishing in the lakes and reservoirs, try:
- Fishing for the drop-off areas and cliffsides.
- Casting near the dam, especially where the original riverbed used to be.
- Move to spots with vegetation mats, dead-standing trees, overhanging brush, or thick aquatic vegetation. Docks, piers, ramps, and floating houseboats work as cover too.
- Going simple and back to the basics. Use a rod, line, sinker, bobber, and natural bait on a hook. Bluegills love these setups and can often be found near logs, docks, and aquatic grass.
You can get your Texas Hunting and Fishing Licenses here, no matter if you’re a Texas resident or nonresident.
Fish you’ll find in the Dallas-area
When you’re fishing in the Dallas, Texas area, there are two types of fishing: river fishing and lake fishing.
In the streams, creeks, or rivers:
- bass (largemouth, smallmouth)
- bluegill, carp
- catfish (blue, channel, flathead)
In the lakes:
- bass (hybrid striped, spotted, white, largemouth, smallmouth)
- catfish (blue, channel, flathead)
Where to go fishing in the Dallas-area
- Benbrook Lake for hybrid striped bass.
- Trinity River for largemouth bass and spotted bass, and blue catfish.
- The East Form of the Trinity River catfish.
- Eagle Mountain Lake for big white bass and crappie.
- Pro Tip: Go to the upper end of the lake for the reed beds. Also, the lowest section of the lake has a lot of rocks, drop-offs, rocky points, and steep bluffs for fish. You’ll find the white bass near the boat houses.
- Lake Arlington for largemouth bass.
- Lake Worth for catch and release fishing only!
- Lewisville Lake for catfish, crappie, and white bass.
- Grapevine Lake for white bass, blue catfish, and largemouth bass.
- Joe Pool Lake for largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and white bass.
- Pro Tip: Boat to the dam to find largemouth bass, near bridges for crappie. White bass tends to hang out in the lower third of the lake. As their name indicates, channel catfish stay close to the creek channels.
Before you move on to the next section check out this Pro Tip on Fort Worth, Texas:
Trinity River’s West Fork, located in Fort Worth, is home to a surprising variety of fish. Anglers there have caught catfish, crappie, redear sunfish, and more. Even biologists were caught off guard! Fish in Trinity River for a good catch and make sure to check out our fishing in Fort Worth, Texas guide before heading out there.
Watersports in Dallas
Dallas waters are open to a world of exhilarating watersports activities. Here are a few you should consider trying:
- Stand-up paddleboarding on Grapevine Lake.
- Wakeboarding on Lake Lewisville.
- Kayaking down the Trinity River.
- Rowing on Joe Pool Lake.
- Sailing on White Rock Lake.
- Paddleboard yoga in a cozy cove at Lake Arlington.
- Kite surfing, windsurfing, or kiteboarding on Lake Ray Hubbard.
- Snorkel and scuba dive at the Scuba Ranch in Terrell.
- Whitewater raft or whitewater kayak the Nolan River.
Wanna learn more about boating in the Dallas and Fort Worth area?
Check out more Texas boating guides:
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