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Texas Family Fishing Vacations

And there are plenty of alligators, -- some rather large ones, so don't get out of the swimming area.

One of the most scenic chunks of land and water in Texas can be found at Pedernales Falls State Park. The Pedernales River is one of the prettiest in Texas, and the section that flows through the park is absolutely beautiful. Thousands come here each year just to see the river from the lookout area.

This park covers 5,211 acres and is located on the Edwards Plateau between Austin and Johnson City.


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The fishing on the river is not that great, but it's certainly worth a shot. I've caught lots of perch, and a number of Kentucky spotted bass in the big pools below the observation area.

What's really fine about Pedernales Falls State Park is the swimming, hiking and biking. The facilities include campsites with water and electricity; a sponsored youth group area, which can be used by any youth group with an adult sponsor; hike-in primitive campsites and picnic sites; restrooms with and without showers; a trailer dump station; 19.8 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails; 10 miles of equestrian trails; and 14 miles of backpacking trails.

The park has a covered bird viewing station with feeders and a drip bath. Food is provided all year. The station can accommodate about 15 people. There is no charge to use the viewing station other than standard park entrance fees. This is a wheelchair accessible facility.

Although the Pedernales River is the focal point of the park, there are other areas of interest to hikers, nature lovers, and general visitors. Well-marked trails pass through hills that are dotted with oak and juniper woodlands and provide access to more heavily wooded areas of pecan, elm, sycamore, walnut, and hackberry in the major drainages. Ash, buttonbush, and cypress grow on the terrace adjacent to the river.

Wildlife in the park is typical of the Texas Hill Country and includes white-tailed deer, coyotes, rabbits, armadillos, skunks, opossums, and raccoons. More than 150 species of birds have been seen in the park, and about a third of them are permanent residents.

Birds seen throughout the year include ravens, vultures, herons, quail, doves, owls, roadrunners and wild turkeys.

The absolute best park you can camp at for a combination of wildlife viewing and fishing is Choke Canyon.

Choke Canyon State Park, consisting of two units, South Shore and Calliham, is located on the 26,000-acre Choke Canyon Lake.

The Calliham Unit, containing 1,100 acres in McMullen County, was opened to the public on Aug. 21, 1987. The South Shore Unit, opened to the public on March 5, 1986, contains 385 acres in Live Oak County.

The lake provides excellent fishing for bass, crappie and catfish. I've been fishing this South Texas lake for years. The topwater fishing is excellent in June, but once the sun gets up you'll want to tie on a spinnerbait or a jig.

Some of the best crappie fishing will be on small jigs worked around the lake's many flooded mesquite trees.

If you like to catch catfish -- and who doesn't? -- you're going to love this lake. You can set out trotlines or bait a hole with soured grain. What a lot of anglers do here is fish a glob of stink bait about 2 feet under a float. Those rigs are fished under the roost trees of cormorants. The waste from the birds draws in shad, and the shad bring in the catfish. Lots of them! The best time to fish under the trees is the first hour of daylight.


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