A public-private partnership is giving anglers in Texas the opportunity river fishing stretches previously inaccessible.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has leased access areas with Texas landowners. Now, access for anglers has been expanded along reaches of the Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, Llano, Neches, San Marcos and South Llano rivers.
This summer, three more leases are set to begin on the Colorado, Nueces and Sabine rivers.
"These leases are intended to offer a serene, wilderness experience and a high-quality fishing opportunity on Texas' scenic, wild and storied rivers," says Timothy Birdsong, habitat conservation chief for TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division.
Unlike riverside parks, the access points are fairly bare bones, with few or no staff on hand, likely no facilities or running water and little to no cell phone reception. Some access points, according to the TPWD, require advance reservations to prevent overcrowding. Others require an access code to open gates.
Fishing opportunities allowed by a typical lease between landowners and the TPWD include river fishing from the bank and launching of canoes and kayaks. Some sites allow camping.
The TPWD reminds anglers who make use of the new access points that the land is still private property, and that they are guests. Landowners make the rules that must be followed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program is the primary source of funding for the new river fishing access points. This federal grant program offers funding to state and tribal governments to encourage public recreation on privately held land.