11 Best Striped Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas

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Although they aren’t native to the Lone Star State, striped bass offer some of the most exciting fishing opportunities in Texas.

Both striped bass and hybrid stripers have been introduced into several large Texas reservoirs, where they’ve assumed a position at the top of the food chain and in the hearts of many anglers in largemouth bass and catfish country.

This article details the best dozen striped bass fishing lakes across Texas.

Striped bass are capable of surpassing 50 pounds (the TX state record, caught in 1999, tipped the scales at 53 pounds) but fish in the 5- to 10-pound range are more common.

Any lake on this list has the potential to connect a 20-pounder to the end of your line. 

About Striped Bass

Favoring slightly cooler water than most Texas game fish, stripers spend the warmer months roaming deep, open water, pursuing the schools of shad that sustain them. Spring and fall offer your best opportunities to catch them in shallower areas. 

In general, the best places to find stripers are main lake points and humps, and along ledges and drop-offs. Live shad and shad-imitating spoons, crankbaits and soft plastics are the baits of choice.

Hybrid stripers, a genetic cross between striped bass and white bass, have also been introduced into many Texas lakes. Although they run smaller than stripers, they’re tough fighters that bite readily. They rarely surpass 10 pounds.

Hybrids have a deeper, stockier body shape than stripers, but are similar in overall appearance. Their stripes are often broken rather than solid, and may be less distinct than those of a true striper.

There’s also a bit of name confusion when it comes to hybrid striped bass. They’re often simply called “hybrids” in Texas, and in some places also commonly referred to as “wipers,” a blend of “white” and “striper.”

You might also hear the terms “sunshine bass” or “palmetto bass.”

Technically, sunshine bass are produced using eggs from white bass with sperm from striped bass; palmetto bass are produced using eggs from striped bass with sperm from white bass. You may encounter both variations in Texas lakes.

Best Striper Fishing in Texas

Without further ado, this first section reveals the very best lakes if you want to get serious about catching striped bass in Texas.

Lake Texoma

We could argue all day about the second-best striper lake in Texas, but there’s no real competition for the top spot. It has to be Lake Texoma. 

Spanning over 74,000 acres on the Texas/Oklahoma border, Lake Texoma is a massive impoundment on the Red River. It’s been called the Striper Capital of the World, and no lake in Texas cranks out striped bass in greater numbers. 

Striped bass were first stocked here in the 1960s, and while striper populations in all other Texas lakes are maintained by consistent stocking, Texoma is the only place in the state where they reproduce naturally. 

These fish spawn when water temps hit 60 degrees or so, and they make a massive spawning run up the length of Lake Texoma toward the Red and Washita rivers. April and May are the best seasons to catch your limit of stripers in shallow water.  

During summer, stripers seek out deeper, cooler waters, especially in the lower end of Lake Texoma near the Denison Dam. There’s a very productive stretch of steep bluffs near Eisenhower State Park where stripers corral schools of shad in summer mornings. 

Deep water at the mouth of Little Mineral Creek can also be productive, and there’s a large flat in the lower lake known as the Table Top, which has a ledge at about 60 feet where stripers often feed. 

By fall, the waters of Lake Texoma begin to cool off and stripers are more likely to be shallow. October is a great month to find schools of 10-pound-plus striped bass feeding on shallow sandbars, often in less than 10 feet of water.

Gizzard shad are stripers’ primary forage in Lake Texoma, and any shad-imitating lure can potentially draw a strike.

Deep-diving crankbaits are great for trolling for deep stripers. Some anglers use jigging spoons vertically when a school is feeding actively in deep water.

When stripers are blitzing shad on the surface, topwaters and soft jerkbaits are go-to options. You can even fly-fish for them with large streamers if that’s your thing.

Of course, a live shad will get a bite when all else fails.

Lake Texoma, naturally, also is one of the best striper lakes in Oklahoma, and it fares nicely among top prospects for other types of fishing, including some of the biggest catfish in Texas.

More: Lake Texoma Fishing

Lake Tawakoni

Located about an hour east of Dallas, Lake Tawakoni is a large reservoir on the Sabine River that encompasses nearly 38,000 acres. It’s an outstanding fishery that boasts large numbers of both striped bass and hybrid stripers.

Oftentimes, it’s a toss-up as to which species you’ll catch on any given day. Both favor similar habitats, and spend much of their time chasing Lake Tawakoni’s abundant schools of gizzard shad in open water.

But even when these fish are seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, they’re usually still relating to some kind of structure. A glance at a topographic map of Lake Tawakoni reveals a bottom dominated by a fairly flat basin and numerous humps and points closer to shore.

Those points and humps are especially productive in spring and fall, when comfortable temperatures draw stripers into relatively shallow water to forage. 

Experienced anglers look for flocks of gulls and egrets that are attracted to the commotion generated by stripers and hybrids feeding on the surface. Bring a pair of binoculars and scan the surface for activity.

Bring polarized sunglasses too. The water in Tawakoni is often clear enough that you can spot wolf packs of stripers prowling close to the surface.

The striped bass at Lake Tawakoni get a lot of pressure. Approach them as slowly and quietly as you can to avoid spooking them.

It’s always wise to have multiple rods ready to fish at varying depths. Topwaters like Chug Bugs and Pencil Poppers are great when stripers are close to the surface, while a Sassy Shad on a 1/2-ounce jighead is great for fishing deeper.

The best fishing is usually in the lower half of the reservoir, and there is some very productive structure off Finger Point, around the mouth of Wolf Cove, and toward the east end of the dam.

Lake Tawakoni State Park is an excellent place to launch.

Tawakoni also happens to be another great catfish fishing lake, among the best near Dallas-Fort Worth.

Lake Whitney

23,500-acre Lake Whitney is a prime striper lake about 30 miles northwest of Waco. It’s mainly fed by the Brazos River, and offers some of the most consistent quality catches of striped bass in Texas. (The Brazos also produced that aforementioned state record striper.)

Expect to catch a lot of fish in the 7- to 9-pound range, with a legitimate shot at a fish close to 20 pounds.

The best fishing tends to be from March to early May. Although stripers aren’t known to spawn successfully in inland lakes in Texas, they still have the urge to do so.

When temperatures inch toward 60 degrees, stripers head upstream toward Lake Whitney’s tributaries, especially the Brazos and Nolan rivers. Local anglers catch them from shore this time of year using live shad around sandbars and gravel banks.

Throughout the rest of the year, stripers bite readily off main lake points, and in areas where the river channel bends close to the bank.

During the warmer months, most stripers are caught in the lower lake, between the Lake Whitney Bridge (also referred to as Katy Bridge) and the dam.

The Lake Whitney Bridge is often a good spot in and of itself. Stripers often congregate under the bridge at varying depths. Other prime spots include Cedron Creek, Bee Bluff, and the deep side of the island just off Walling Bend.

Some stripers also reside in the section of the Brazos River below the Lake Whitney Dam too, and anglers who prefer to fish moving water often find success in spring and fall casting spoons of fly-fishing with Clouser Minnows.

The US Corps of Engineers maintains more than a dozen boat ramps at various parks around Lake Whitney. Walling Bend Park is one of several prime launch sites on the lower lake.

Lake Whitney has plenty of other fishing, including being having some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in Texas.

Possum Kingdom Reservoir

Possum Kingdom Reservoir is also located along the Brazos River, more than 15 miles above Lake Whitney. It’s a historically great striper lake, known for kicking out tremendous numbers of 5-pound stripers as well as quite a few fish over 15 pounds. 

In the last few years, Possum Kingdom Reservoir has been on the rebound.

A period of low water in 2018-19 and a golden algae bloom in 2020 took their toll. But there are still plenty of stripers in the lake. With further stocking from Texas Park & Wildlife, there’s hope that numbers will continue to bounce back.

Possum Kingdom Reservoir covers around 15,000 acres, and is well over 100 feet deep at full pool. It’s a long, meandering lake with multiple arms and several deep coves. 

The shoreline of the lower lake is dominated by rugged cliffs, many of which drop off steeply into deep water. There are also numerous parks and access points for shore fishing, and steep slopes mean that stripers are often close enough to catch from the bank. 

Live shad and shad-imitating cranks and jerkbaits are popular lures on Possum Kingdom Reservoir. Look for the flocks of birds and surface disturbances that are telltale signs of stripers feeding on shad near the surface.

Gaines Bend, Frank Harris Bend and the Long Hollow area are some of the more productive striper fishing areas.

Possum Kingdom State Park is one of several excellent access sites, offering boat ramps, lakeside campsites, shore access and a fishing pier. 

Worth noting is that Possum Kingdom Reservoir usually stratifies in summer. Stripers will stay above the thermocline for the most part.

Striped bass seek out areas where they can enjoy the coolest possible water while still getting enough oxygen, so pinpointing that depth can be key to your summertime success.

If you’re in the area in the late fall through winter, you might also be interested in knowing that the Brazos River immediately below the reservoir is nicely stocked with rainbow trout in colder weather, making it one of the top trout fishing spots in Texas.

Lake Ray Hubbard

Lake Ray Hubbard, a 21,000-acre reservoir just east of Dallas, might just be the best hybrid striper lake in Texas. The 19.66-pound state record hybrid was caught here in 1984.

These days Ray Hubbard doesn’t seem to get as much attention from anglers in pursuit of hybrids as it used to. Part of the reason may be that the lake can get excessively crowded due to its proximity to the city. 

Even so, there are huge schools of hybrids here, with loads of fish weighing in the neighborhood of 5 pounds. Throughout most of the year, the best way to find them is to either look for surface disturbances, or keep a close eye on your electronics. 

Hybrids behave similarly to true stripers, and their preferred hunting grounds are steep main lake points and rocky humps, of which Ray Hubbard has many. 

In spring and early summer, the submerged levees off Robertson Park are routinely productive. In winter, check out the warm water discharge from the Lake Hubbard Generating Station. 

Rat-L-Traps and blade baits like Cabela’s Mean Eye are great for hybrids here, as are shad-imitating swimbaits, soft jerkbaits and curlytail grubs. Slab spoons get the call when bass are deep enough to make vertical jigging a good option.

Hybrid stripers don’t reproduce naturally. They are sterile, and populations are maintained entirely through stocking.

Even so, the hybrids will still make a good run at Lake Ray Hubbard’s tributaries in springtime, especially if there’s been a lot of rain. Look for them up in the East Fork of the Trinity River in April.

Ultimately, it’s probably best to visit Lake Ray Hubbard on a weekday to beat the crowds, but don’t write this lake off. It’s still one of the most productive hybrid striped bass lakes in Texas.

As if you need more convincing to fish here, Ray Hubbard also is an excellent white bass and largemouth bass fishing lake, and it’s one of the best catfish fishing lakes in the Dallas area to boot.

Lake Buchanan

Spanning around 22,000 acres in Central Texas, Lake Buchanan is a beautiful Hill Country reservoir on the Colorado River. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from Austin.

Lake Buchanan has depths greater than 130 feet at full pool. On top of that the water, at least in the lower reservoir near the dam, is quite clear.

Stripers and hybrids have both been stocked here consistently at Lake Buchanan over the years, and both are available to anglers. Stripers seem to fare better in this particular lake and tend to dominate catches.

Stripers get moving and start feeding on deep humps as early as February. A live shad fished close to the bottom on a Carolina rig can’t miss during late winter and early spring.

The fish will often head toward tributaries in March.

Although successful reproduction has not been documented in Lake Buchanan, spring nevertheless offers a great opportunity to pursue striped bass in relatively shallow water. Check the area from Beaver Creek up into the Colorado River.

In late spring, stripers are more likely to feed on the surface, and will happily smack a topwater plug when they’re in a frenzy. Early fall offers a similar period of intense surface action. 

Lots of stripers here weigh around 5 to 7 pounds, but there are a few much bigger fish. The real giants tend to be a little deeper than the little guys. Use lures that imitate gizzard shad, and keep your bait moving quickly when the bite is hot. 

During summer, trolling for deep fish with a downrigger is your best bet. Look for steep ledges, drop-offs and main lake points. Bass may be anywhere from 15 to 20 feet down. Bucktail jigs work well on a downrigger setup.

A good contour map is a great resource on this lake. Throughout most of the year, the best striper fishing is in the deep, lower end of the reservoir near the dam, and there are a lot of prominent humps in this area.

Black Rock Park is a good launch site.

Lake Buchanan also is among our picks for best all-around bass fishing lakes near Austin.

Honorable Mentions

Plenty of additional lakes offer a chance to connect with striped bass and hybrid stripers in Texas. Be sure to keep these other lakes on your radar; they can be just as good as our top picks some years.

Lake Granbury

Lake Granbury is an 8,300-acre reservoir on the Brazos River, located between Lake Whitney and Possum Kingdom Reservoir. The striper fishery here might not be quite as great as in Lake Granbury’s larger neighbors, but it’s still pretty darn good. 

Lake Granbury’s stripers typically roam close to the surface near the dam early in the morning, especially in late spring and early fall.

Try topwaters at sunup, and then switch to bottom fishing nearby ledges and drop-offs later in the day.

DeCordova Bend Park is a great launch site close to the dam.

If you’re fishing earlier in the spring, try the upper end of the lake where the river feeds in.

Overall, this is a lake where you can fill the boat with 4- to 7-pound stripers on a good day, with a fair shot at one over 10 pounds.

Canyon Lake

An 8,300-acre reservoir on the Guadalupe River, Canyon Lake is just northeast of San Antonio.

This lake has produced a handful of giant stripers over the years, and hosts vast numbers of smaller 3- to 7-pound fish. 

Some of the best fishing for stripers on Canyon Lake is right along the edges of the river channel in spring. The lake has a distinct (and very deep) river channel, and there are several places where it swings close to the bank.

Try fishing deep with umbrella rigs or live shad. Topwater action starts to pick up in May, especially in the morning.

There’s a large hump just off the point that extends out from North Park where stripers often school.

Canyon Lake is also a favorite for all-around best bass fishing near San Antonio.

Cedar Creek Reservoir

Hybrid striped bass are stocked annually in Cedar Creek Reservoir, making it an excellent lake for catching consistent numbers of feisty hybrids about an hour southeast of Dallas.

As is so often the case, the easiest way to find any kind of striper is usually to follow the gulls and egrets.

Cedar Creek Reservoir spans over 32,000 acres. The lower end of the reservoir is deep and fairly clear, while the upper end is typically shallow and muddy.

Points and humps in the lower half of the reservoir often provide the best striper fishing. Caney City Public Ramp is a good place to put in. 

That being said, it’s worth moving up to the river end in summer, when hybrids feed on young white bass that are returning to the lake.

Slab spoons and Sassy Shad swimbaits are excellent lures, and there are a lot of hybrids up to 5 pounds here.  

Lake Livingston

Encompassing 90,000 acres, Lake Livingston is a huge lake in the Texas Piney Woods Region, just northeast of Houston.

Lake Livingston is a reliably good striper lake, although it’s fair to say that it’s more of a numbers lake than a trophy striper fishery. 

Lake Livingston has a ton of interesting bottom structure, from submerged roadbeds and ponds to flooded timber and stump fields.

Following the river channel is always a good tactic, and a lot of stripers are caught over mid-depth flats adjacent to the channel.

The area around Pine Island is often productive, and the best striper spot is arguably the area right around the 190 bridge. Patrick’s Ferry Boat Ramp is a good launch site close to the bridge.

Start out by trolling, and then switch to vertical jigging spoons or live shad once you find the fish.

Lake Livingston is justifiably one of the best fishing lakes near Houston and also offers excellent angling for bass, catfish and crappie.

Cooper Lake

Also known as Jim Chapman Lake, Cooper Lake is an often-overlooked reservoir of about 19,000 acres in northeast Texas.

Located 95 miles from Dallas, it’s a solid hybrid striper fishery that commonly yields mixed bags of hybrids and white bass.

You’ll find several prominent humps in the lower end of Cooper Lake near the dam, which top out between 10 and 20 feet (sometimes less during low water years) and are almost always productive.

Jigging spoons, bucktail jigs and swimbaits are all productive when fished near bottom.

Switch to topwaters if you spot commotion on the surface.

Cooper Lake State Park is an excellent starting point, offering boat launch facilities, shore fishing access and campsites.

Catch More Stripers

Check out our Complete Guide to Striper Fishing in Lakes and Rivers