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Texas Free Fishing in the Parks Program

Texas free fishing is all yours at most state parks.

Fishing: the quintessential pastime, steeped in memories of childhood, of family, of contemplative solitude, of peaceful reflection on Nature’s bounty. To fish is to know the scent of water and the whisper of the wind through cattails, to have heard the mournful calls of waterfowl in early morning’s light.

Of course, anglers know something else, too: the cost of a pile of bloody expensive gear, licenses, and permits.

Dedicated fisherfolk have long since accepted the cost of their addiction, perhaps even come to relish the steep price of a futuristic, ultra-light and ultra-tough rod or precision-engineered reel. Getting into the hobby, however, can be daunting for a lot of folks, particularly if they’re in the early stages of full-blown fish fever, curious but tentative.

Lots of people want to get out on the lake, in the river, or out on the pier and wrangle some fish, but balk at the steep investment they think it requires. Luckily, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has got you covered with their year-round “Free Fishing in State Parks” program.

The TPWD has opened up more than 50 state parks and many more Wildlife Management Areas to people interested in fishing (you can check the complete list of parks here).

They’ve waived all licensing and permitting fees, meaning that once you pay the entrance fee to the park, you can fish to your heart’s content anywhere within the bounds of the park. Of course, bag limits, length limits, and other regulations still apply.

Additionally, the TPWD has also instituted a tackle loaner program at many of these same parks. The program is analogous to a trip to your local library. You show up, fill out the loaner card, and then you get to borrow the gear for up to seven days.

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Some places do require a deposit, which you can get back upon the safe return of the borrowed tackle. Saltwater fishing is covered too, either off a pier, shoreline, or wade fishing along coastal properties in marine adjacent parks.

Additional events associated with the TPWD’s Free Fishing in state parks program are also available throughout the year at various parks, many of them geared towards younger and beginner anglers.

It’s a fairly remarkable program that offers people a chance to really use and enjoy the public lands and natural resources available to them in the Great State of Texas.

Texas Free Fishing in the Parks Program