Friday Classic: Don’t Write Off Texas – It Should Be On Your Fly Fishing Tick List

It’s the second largest state in the union, yet contains only two percent public land. High fences abound and expensive private leases are often required to hunt or fish, making it easy to write off Texas as a destination for the average sportsmen. However this winter my eyes were opened to another side of the Lone Star state.

Photos by Steven Brutger

At roughly 130 miles long by 20 miles wide the Laguna Madre is a lagoon ecosystem containing a flats system that is nearly perfect. Running south from Corpus Christi to South Padre Island, it is protected by a national wildlife refuge, a national seashore and the privately owned King Ranch. There is minimal development and endless habitat for redfish and a host of other aquatic species. The Laguna Madre also serves as important winter habitat for an astounding number of migratory birds, including 75% of all Redhead ducks.
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While it might not be wilderness with a capital “W” the Laguna Madre is a wild place. The flats can be accessed by skiff, kayak, or wading; creating angling opportunities to match your budget and preferred fishing style. With calf deep water stretching to the horizon, only interrupted by tailing fish, you might think you are in the Bahamas. Combine the quality of the fishing with the ease of travel, and the Laguna Madre should be on the list of considerations for anyone planing a saltwater adventure.
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4 Comments on “Friday Classic: Don’t Write Off Texas – It Should Be On Your Fly Fishing Tick List

  1. Also don’t write off Texas for public land hunting either. There are plenty of draw and non draw hunts. Or don’t, Im still trying to draw my aoudad hunt. Also there are plenty of places to hunt without high fences, its the exception…not the rule.

    • Glad to hear there are even more opportunities than I was aware of. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment,

  2. Glad you had the opportunity to check out the Lagoon. It is a special place, indeed. As a South Texas resident, I can assure you there is significantly more excellent water down here than you might think. It is a secret I would just rather keep, but there is also an excellent snook and tarpon fishery that receives almost no attention from the massive hordes who instead flock to more highly publicized venues in South Florida and elsewhere. Public land is also the rule for waterfowl hunting, which would also impress even the most die-hard Arkansas or Mississippi duck nut. I know because I host trips for our southern sporting counterparts every season. I can’t really argue with your points about public land access once you leave the coast, however.

    Did you know that Texas boasts a large and expanding elk herd? They live almost exclusively on large West Texas ranches and were even delisted as a game species thanks to the exotic species lobby that wanted unfettered rights to stock elk where they simply don’t belong for their well-heeled urban clients to shoot. As a result, Texas Parks and Wildlife cannot budget one dime to count or study the elk herd or take steps to expand their range or ensure their survival. And, yes, you can shoot an elk (quite legally) 12 months out of the year. Bizarre.

    Keep up the great articles. I truly enjoy receiving your blog.

    • Don, thanks so much for the thoughts. My comments were a bit tongue and cheek and I’m glad to hear you have an abundance of great sporting opportunities accessible to all. I would love to do some water fowling in TX! Thanks so much for reading STS and keep us posted on your adventures!

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