Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


 Dustin Doskocil


‘May’ You Catch Your Limit

May’s the time for coastal seatrout and lesser-known bass lakes.

Oak Creek Reservoir (2,375 acres), about 30 miles south of Sweetwater in the semiarid Edwards Plateau region of West Texas, is best known for its bass fishing.

Oak Creek has produced many catches over 8 pounds the past few years, including a new lake record (13.68 pounds) caught in spring 2019. Good numbers of Florida-strain largemouth bass have been stocked over the past four years to enhance trophy potential.

Anglers will find many different types of habitat to target bass. The backs of creek arms contain shallow flats and a mix of flooded timber and submerged vegetation. The main lake areas contain rocks and boulders with points and steep drop-offs into deep water.

Anglers targeting white bass have done well at Oak Creek. Last year’s sampling revealed the highest abundance of white bass in more than 20 years, with many legal-size fish in the population. Anglers who troll main lake areas have seen the most success. LDW



Your odds range from good to excellent on this 11,450-acre reservoir in Washington County. The fishing began to pick up in late March and should continue well into summer.

Lake Somerville does have some quality bass waiting to be caught. In 2018 and 2019, high water and flooding limited access in the state park units at peak catching times. The result is a good population of fish that have not been highly pressured. Largemouth bass can be found in aquatic vegetation and woody areas or sometimes on rocky or gravel banks.

Crappie like to hang around the artificial fish attractors that have been placed around the lake. Before summer hits, bank anglers find that crappie are sometimes accessible.

Somerville is also a great white bass destination — plus, some large hybrids are often caught. As summer approaches, both white bass and hybrid species will follow schools of shad. At times the shad schools approach the bank, especially in the Birch Creek Unit of the state park, where there is plenty of bank access. The shad spawn a little later in the spring, so it opens up opportunities to anglers chasing sport species when the shad are in shallow water.

Lake Somerville, about 30 miles from Bryan/College Station, is not highly publicized although it is within reasonable driving distance of the Houston and Austin areas.

There are two state park facilities on the lake. The Nails Creek Unit is on the southern shore of the lake, while the Birch Creek Unit is on the northern shore. Both offer camping and boat-launching ramps. RB



Spotted seatrout on the Texas northern Gulf Coast are highly prized. Luckily, the population is thriving.

The marsh surrounding Sabine Lake — and its smaller nooks such as Keith, Salt and Shell lakes — are areas where you can find an ample supply of “specks,” something to consider on those less-than-perfect days or days when you want to explore areas away from the open water of Sabine Lake.

Some of the best locations include short rigs just offshore, Lighthouse Cove, the south side of the Keith Lake Cut — basically the northeast area of Keith Lake, where shell hash was laid a number of years ago and now provides substrate that spotted seatrout seem to favor.

Action picks up in mid-spring, peaks in the summer and remains steady through November. The most aggressive bite seems to change from Sabine Lake to the channel leading to Sabine Pass as the seasons change from spring to summer. Artificial baits such as the shallow-diving swimming image (Heddon) or Gulp (Berkley) plastics are the best lures in the earlier months of the year (until June); live bait such as croaker and shrimp work later in the year.

Anglers fishing in the Sabine Lake system should be aware that the Sabine River, Sabine Lake and Sabine Pass Channel follow the Texas/Louisiana boundary. Anglers should be familiar with both state’s regulations. CG

back to top ^

» Like this story? If you enjoy reading articles like this, subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.


    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine