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Texas Sportsman
Texas Family Fishing Vacations

Other activities include hiking, swimming, mountain biking and wildlife and bird watching. There are canoes, kayaks, bikes and flat-bottomed boats for rent. On the weekends there are naturalist activities. On the third Saturday of each month there are canoe trips down the Angelina and Neches rivers.

The most exciting thing to do at Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is to paddle or take a boat ride up the Neches to its confluence with the Angelina River. This is called the forks. One of the most scenic river runs is up the Angelina. What I like to do is transport the kayaks, with a big boat, up the river to one of the many sloughs. The boat can be tied off, and the kayaks offloaded. From there you can paddle into the sloughs.

One of the most popular kayaking tours is up Bee Tree Slough. Talk about wild adventure! The kids will love it, and so will you. I don't know if this slough ever ends. It snakes way on up into the forest. Along the way you stand a good chance of seeing anything from a big alligator to a white-tailed deer.


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The bass fishing on the Angelina River is very good. The same goes for crappie. One of the best tactics for catching bass on this river is to flip or pitch small jigs to the bushes along the bank. Let the jigs fall vertically. That's a killer tactic on big bass.

Fly-fishing on the Angelina is fantastic. Bream can be caught on poppers and small Clousers all day long. The water in the Angelina is relatively clear, so it's a natural for good fly-fishing.

Huntsville State Park has been one of my favorite escapes for close to 45 years. It's got a little bit of everything from trophy bass fishing to hiking, biking, swimming and lots of wildlife.

This is a favorite quick-hit family vacation destination for lots of folks from Houston to Dallas. It's located about six miles southwest of Huntsville in Walker County. The park covers 2,083-acres and was opened in 1938. It's not only one of the state's oldest parks, but also among the most visited.

This park lies in the Pineywoods of the Sam Houston National Forest, near the western edge of the Southern Pine Belt. These woodlands, dominated by loblolly and shortleaf pines typical of the East Texas Pine Belt, provide attractive camping and picnic areas.

The park is wrapped around one of the most scenic lakes in Texas. Lake Raven covers 210 acres and offers catch-and-release fishing for bass. There are two fishing piers, a boat ramp and a designated swimming area. Canoes, kayaks, flat-bottomed boats and paddleboats can be rented next to the swimming area. This is a great sailing lake. Any size boat can be used on Raven, but the speed limit is idle-speed only.

My family used to come to this park when we were kids. I've continued fishing it for decades, and can say from much experience that the bass fishing is fantastic. This lake is perfect for all kinds of fishing. Crappie, catfish, perch and bass can be caught off the lighted fishing piers. The bank-fishing is good, too. If you're a flyfisherman, you will love this lake. It's relatively clear, has lots of vegetation and is perfect for fishing out of a canoe or one of the small two-man bass fishing boats.

When you get tired of fishing you can take the kids to the playground. Or you can hit the 19-miles of hiking and biking trails. If you've got lots of energy, you might try biking or hiking around the lake on the well-marked trail. This is a scenic trail that goes through all sorts of terrain. It's an all-day hike, or a three- to four-hour trip on a bike.

Hiking trails have been constructed so that wildlife and birds can be observed in a natural setting. White-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, armadillos, migratory waterfowl, and fox squirrels are just a few of the animals that can be seen in the park.


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