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Timely Patterns For Fall Bass
Check out the bass fishing at these prime East Texas locations this month -- and use these patterns to score! ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Texas Family Fishing Fun

Choke Canyon State Park is a kids' wonderland. Inside the park is a 90-acre lake that's perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Sadly, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department won't open it to anything but bank-fishing. I can't get a straight answer as to why you can't fish it with a small, motorless boat or even a float tube. However, the bank-fishing for catfish, bass and bluegills is quite decent.

This park is akin to a zoo, loaded with all sorts of critters like deer, pigs, javelinas, coyotes, armadillos, raccoons and even its share of rattlesnakes and alligators. Wildlife-viewing trails stretch all through the park; there's also a birding trail. In addition, you'll have use of a swimming pool, softball complex, amphitheater, shuffleboard, tennis courts, volleyball and full basketball courts.

Huntsville State Park, about 50 miles north of Houston and just a few miles south of Huntsville, is another top-of-the-line family vacation destination. Inside the park is Lake Raven, covering 210 acres. The park itself covers 2,083 acres of forestland adjacent to Sam Houston National Forest.

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Lake Raven is good for largemouth bass, crappie, perch and catfish. The bass fishing is especially fine in June, during which you can ease along the bank and work spinnerbaits and topwater lures for bass pushing the 12- to 13-pound mark. Over the years, this lake at which catch-and-release bass fishing is mandatory has become a favorite for bass fans. It's particularly well known for its great fly-fishing potential: Fly-fishers can ease along the shoreline and catch perch and bass all day long. And the night-fishing is fantastic! A few years back I caught a 9-pounder while I was working a buzzbait off a point on Raven at about midnight.

An assortment of lures will catch bass at Raven. Early and late in the day, you'll want to use topwater plugs and buzzbaits along the shorelines. As the sun gets up, you'll probably do best with a white/ chartreuse spinnerbait. During the heat of the day, worms and jigs are best. The deep-water area near the dam is a creditable spot for working worms, jigs and crankbaits.

There are two boat ramps at the lake. Any size of boat can be launched, but there is a 10-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Two fishing piers jut into Lake Raven, both lighted and both offering fishing by day and by night. They're perfect for the kids. I've seen catfish, crappie, bream, bass, turtles and even small alligators caught by kids on those piers.

At Huntsville State Parks there's no shortage of family fun. Biking trials are everywhere, one of the best being a 10-mile loop around the lake. Hiking's also popular. The hiking loop around the lake can take the better part of a day, but if day hikes are what you like, this one's perfect. There are nature trails, too. And close to the entrance of the park is a nature center.

There is a designated swimming area and park adjacent to a concession stand. The kids will have a wonderful time diving off the swim platform.

And don't forget to bring the kayaks and canoes, as that's what most people use to get around on Raven. An evening paddle around the lake is very enjoyable. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the lake.

So there you have it: more family vacation (and fishing) fun than you can shake a stick at! The only bad thing about all this is that it will take far more vacation time than you're likely to have available to get around to all of the possibilities. But that's a great problem to have in Texas!

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