San Antonio is deep in the heart of Texas’ outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s smack-dab in the middle of fine inland and coastal angling opportunities as well as camping in dozens of state parks, and most of those have water features.

Redfish, a saltwater species, also thrives in freshwater lakes, such as Braunig and Calaveras. About 15 minutes from downtown, they are two of only three Texas lakes stocked with redfish, and Calaveras is known for producing many — and big ones.

The lake record was landed by fishing guide Manny Martinez of in 2008. It was 41 inches long and weighed 30 pounds. The action is on now and will be hot through the fall.

Choke Canyon, Lake Amistad and Falcon Lake are legendary for bass fishing.

Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River and its chain of lakes also offer plenty of action.

Those freshwater lakes also produce blue and channel catfish, with the best fishing in the evenings and at night as the temperatures fall.

Two community lakes inside the city limits that offer good opportunities for perch and catfish, which will be stocked every two weeks from April through early November, are Miller’s Pond and Southside Lions Park.

More Information

On the web

Canyon Lake:

Corpus Christi:

Fishing guide Manny Martinez:

Port Aransas:

Padre Island National Seashore:


Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: includes information on community lakes, state parks, fishing regulations and Texas Outdoor Family camping workshops

Saltwater fishing is about a three-hour drive to Aransas Pass, Rockport-Fulton, Port Aransas and the Upper Laguna Madre, which offer deep-sea fishing and boating, kayaking and wade fishing in the bays and lagoons for redfish, speckled trout and flounder.

Camping is as close as Government Canyon State Natural Area in northwest Bexar County, which last fall began allowing walk-in camping on Fridays and Saturdays.

Nearby state parks offer camping along with hiking, swimming, fishing, nature viewing and off-road biking. Most parks have primitive and drive-in camping with water and electricity and RV sites.

For camping newbies, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department conducts a series of Texas Outdoor Family workshops covering the basics with tent and gear provided for $65 for a family of up to six.

Garner State Park, on the spring-fed Frio River near Uvalde, is the most popular in the state.

Parks with rivers within a short drive up U.S. 281 are Guadalupe River State Park near Spring Branch, Blanco on the Blanco River and Pedernales Falls on the Pedernales River near Johnson City.

Mustang Island State Park, along with Padre Island National Seashore, allows camping by the dunes just a short, sandy walk from the Gulf of Mexico.

John Goodspeed is a freelance writer. Email him at