Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Reel Easy

Zesty Fun at Zebco

THE TEXAS FRESHWATER FISHERIES CENTER (TFFC) in Athens is a world-class hatchery and home of the Toyota ShareLunker Program, Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and fascinating exhibits displaying the wonderfully diverse aquatic life of Texas. But did you know that the TFFC also has its own place to fish, Lake Zebco? 

The 1.2-acre pond is stocked with channel catfish in the summer and rainbow trout in the winter, but you also might catch a bluegill or bass. All you need is a pole and bait, which are provided at no charge. The patience to catch a fish is up to you. All the fishing at Lake Zebco is from the bank, and hundreds of unforgettable “first fish” are caught there every year. Bank fishing at TFFC makes the waters accessible to everyone, regardless of skill level or gear.

Even better, the seasoned TFFC staff and volunteers offer tips and tricks in the angler’s pavilion. They will give you the inside scoop on what type of bait to use for which type of fish, or what color has had the best bites lately.

So, where are the Lake Zebco hotspots? Some favorites are in the deep end, where chunky catfish cruise the waters. To catch these whiskered giants, stinkbait or hotdogs often do the trick. Anglers have caught bass up to 11 pounds in the pond, but you may need many hours of patience to wait for them to bite.

The simplest but most popular bait — corn — is guaranteed to catch a sunfish or rainbow trout during winter stocking months. Whether you’re a regular or a first-timer, you’ll get an opportunity to catch a variety of fish at any time of the year.  

 Chase Fountain | TPWD

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