The sport of fishing lends itself to maintaining a healthy separation. You don’t want your quarry to have too many hooks from which to choose. Luckily, you don’t have to travel a great distance to enjoy your socially distant pastime as Fort Worth’s waterways offer a number of options for you to catch a few fish while not catching anything else.
Lakes, Rivers + Fish Species
The Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has put a great amount of effort into equipping the Trinity River to host urban anglers. If you’re near the TCU/Zoo neighborhood, the TRWD built a fishing pier nearby. It's located next to the Woodshed Smokehouse off the Trinity Trail at the intersection of Rogers Road and Riverfront. Please note that capacity is limited, so be mindful of proper distancing.
This location also hosts one of six kayak launch locations along the river. When you cast from your self-propelled watercraft, it really is just you and the fish and the big river. Not too far away is Panther Island Pavilion. Located near downtown, this popular launch spot serves as the home to Backwoods Paddlesports where one can rent fishing kayaks.
You can also fish in the city’s lakes. Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth make especially good spots to find crappie, catfish and white bass. Please note that invasive zebra mussels have infiltrated both lakes, so it is vital to clean, drain and dry your boat and other gear before traveling to any other lakes, including Marine Creek Lake. Finned river natives include varieties of catfish and sunfish. The TRWD restocks those species periodically and also deposits largemouth bass and trout. They’ve worked to improve the fish habitat as well, including sinking some two dozen pipe structures at Marine Creek Lake to encourage fish to congregate.
Fishing Events + Tournaments
Speaking of (safely) congregating, Fort Worth provides its share of opportunities to fish in a tournament setting. The TRWD will hold its annual Flyfest every spring (Mark Your Calendar: March 13, 2021), regulations permitting. Held along the Trinity’s Clear Fork by the River Park Trailhead, the free event aims to offer a lot more than competition. Activities typically include educational presentations and booths, fly tying demonstrations, casting classes, kids activities, food trucks, vendors, live music and more.
Backwoods looks to stage its Trinity Bass Battle Kayak Fishing Tournament near Panther Island Pavilion when conditions permit. In addition, Mariner Sails puts on “Working Man” kayak bass fishing tournaments in Fort Worth.
Also in March, Fort Worth will serve as host city for the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. Many of the world’s top anglers will be in town for the sport’s biggest event. Cowtown will host all the festivities surrounding the tournament, with fishing events being held at Lake Ray Roberts in Denton and the Expo at Dickies Arena.
Fishing Laws + Licenses
Texas allows fishing year-round. Be aware that before you drop a line, you’ll need to have your fishing license. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department requires all anglers fishing Texas public waters to have a license, and they are available for residents and non-residents alike. There are a few exceptions for age and one can also fish without a license in state parks (Fort Worth has no state parks within the city limits, although there are a number in North Texas). In general, however, fishing without a license carries both criminal and civil penalties, so it’s not a bad idea to stay buttoned up on that aspect of the activity. And if you’re new to fishing, the TPWD offers a handy PDF of tips on its website. The site also includes information on allowable sizes and quantities for various kinds of fish you might hook.