How to Stay Busy: Fly Fishing in Texas

Usually by this time of year in October/November, North Texas experiences cold fronts which tend to shut down the lakes, and when I usually hit my local trout river to dip some beads. This year has been different, in the last year we have had tons of rain push into our lakes, which has created some fantastic fishing opportunities. Species including bass, carp, buffalo carp, and my personal favorite Alligator Gar.

The temperature in Texas right now is hotter and drier than usual, October is a hit or miss month, but it happens that this year is one of those warmer ones. With temps being up in the low 90’s I’ve tried to maximize my time on the water, taking advantage of this high water and heat. The lakes I usually fish, Lake Lewisville, and Lake Ray Roberts are reasonably clear due to zebra mussels, this makes for exceptional sight fishing to fish feeding in the shallows.

The hybrid and white bass I usually target are in 30-40 feet of water by now, making them “un-fly fishable”, but at the moment they are holding in about 15-25 feet of water and off large drop-offs. My go-to rig for these fish is a type 3-5 sinking line and a flasher (baitfish imitation)

For the other species such as carp and gar, we are talking totally different setups. Starting off, carp in Texas is unbelievable “dumb” and will eat honestly anything thrown at them, they grow too large sizes and feed in the shallows… my favorite fly is going to have to be the backstabber or a plain black zonker.

Making sure the fish eats and the hook set is key on these fish. Carp will also not move far for a fly, so placing the fly within 2 feet in front of the fish is your best bet. If you can get these 3 things down you are set. Lastly, Alligator Gar. These fish are my favorite, everything from there prehistoric background to grow up to 250+ pounds and then there are the insane eats!

I will typically throw a floating line on a 9-10 wt when they are in the shallow water but when water levels rise I go with a saltwater intermediate with a large 7-8 inch shad/rope fly pattern with a lot of red flashes to imitate and injured baitfish. Slow strips work best for larger gar and fast irrational strips work best for small-medium sized fish. Fishing private water if great but I find that I catch my largest fish in wide open public properties and usually no one is ever fishing there.

A member of the US Youth Fly Fishing Team, Evan has Texas fly fishing dialed In. You can find him on Instagram @evanvanek1

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