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Reel Easy

Pretty Parks with Piers

Pier fishing isn’t just a location, it’s a culture.


When you’re looking for an easy place to fish, a pier over a lake or pond checks all the boxes. Many of us caught our first sunfish or catfish from the weathered boards of a pier, our poles resting against the railing as our trembling hands fumbled to remove the hook.

Piers offer many benefits — access to deeper water (no boats or waders needed), plus railings for safety and relatively good surfaces for those unsteady on their feet. Many have lights for nighttime fishing.

Best of all, piers are places where anglers of all skills mingle. If it’s your first time, no worries. Stop and ask a question of just about anyone as you walk by; before you know it, you’ll get advice on what’s biting where and what to use for bait. If you appear to be struggling, a helpful neighbor may lend a hand.

Another benefit? The legs of a pier provide a sanctuary for fish; the presence of little fish attracts bigger fish. Sometimes a reservoir’s authority or local group installs natural or artificial fish-attracting structures around the lake, including the piers.

That’s why fishing’s better than ever at the big pier at Lake Arrowhead State Park (above). Conservation license plate funds provided habitat enhancements — artificial structures and woody debris under the pier — and new green lights for night fishing. The wheelchair-accessible pier stays busy day and night, with anglers catching crappie, white bass, blue catfish and largemouth bass.

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Palmetto State Park has an accessible pier over 4-acre Oxbow Lake, which was formed by erosion when the San Marcos River changed directions. It’s regularly stocked with Florida largemouth bass, rainbow trout (winter) and channel catfish, but you can also catch carp, crappie and sunfish.

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Working with local partners, TPWD installed several types of fish attractors at Inks Lake State Park piers. The park created a network of 10 gravel beds, bordered by brush piles, under the north fishing pier to attract sunfish and other popular game species. Underwater lights and cedar-tree piles attract fish to the south fishing pier. Both piers are wheelchair accessible, with concrete paths from the parking area.

Many state parks across Texas have piers and offer loaner equipment and the opportunity to fish without a license. Find out more at tpwd.texas.gov/fishing.

 top: TPWD; Palmetto: Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD; Inks Lake: Chase Fountain | TPWD

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