Largemouth bass is the most popular and most abundant sport fish in Canyon Lake. White bass and striped bass also provide an excellent fishery. Stripers provide excellent angling because of their growth potential and strong fighting characteristics. An annual TPWD stocking program maintains the fishery because striped bass do not successfully reproduce in this reservoir. Crappie fishing is generally poor, although occasionally good catches can be made, especially along standing timber in the river. Angling for redbreast sunfish can provide an excellent fishing experience for the family. Channel, blue, and flathead catfish are present in good numbers. Smallmouth bass are also present in small numbers. They tend to prefer rocky habitat found in main lake areas.
Canyon Lake is dominated by steep rocky banks, isolated flooded timber, and clear water typical of a highland reservoir. The water becomes stained as one moves up the reservoir and into the river. In most of the lake rock ledges, rock piles, steep drop-offs, flooded timber, and a few marinas provide cover for game fish. The river portion of the reservoir is dominated by flooded timber, rock ledges, and laydowns. When the water level is high, largemouth bass anglers should concentrate on the flooded terrestrial vegetation.
Tips & Tactics
Largemouth bass anglers are most successful on Canyon Lake during the spring, fall, and winter months. Bass fishing in summer on this highland reservoir can be difficult even for the most experienced anglers. Topwater baits such as buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, and Pop-R's are popular in the early morning and evening hours. On cloudy days consistent topwater action can occur all day. Crankbaits are also very popular fished along main-lake points, rocky shorelines, and flooded timber. Popular soft plastic baits include worms, spider grubs, grubs, and soft-jerkbaits. Try spinning gear and light line (6-10 lb.) in main-lake clear water situations.
For white and striped bass in the summer and early fall, look for schooling activity around main-lake points and humps. These fish can be caught using topwater baits, jigging spoons, grubs, and rattletraps. Popular techniques for striped bass are trolling with in-line spinners and crankbaits and vertically jigging white bucktail jigs. Live bait presentations for both striped and white bass are popular at all times of the year. White bass spawning migrations occur from February through April. During these months, white and striped bass can be concentrated in the river portion of the reservoir. Anglers catch them using small in-line spinners, small jigs, jigging spoons, small crankbaits, and live bait presentations.
Catfish anglers can find channel, blue, and flathead catfish throughout the reservoir. Channel catfish dominate the fishery. Stinkbait and cutbait work well for channel and blue catfish, while live bait is preferred for flathead catfish. The most consistent catches come from the upper third of the reservoir. Trotlining is very popular for flathead catfish.
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