Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



Reel Easy

The Night Life

WHEN THE EVENING SUN GOES DOWN — hat tip to Willie Nelson — you will find anglers hanging around Purtis Creek State Park for some great fishing. Sixty miles southeast of Dallas, the park, with its 355-acre lake, is a great place to catch freshwater fish from a pier at night.

What makes Purtis Creek unique? Its illuminated appeal to anglers who thrive in the fishing nightlife.

The lake, designed specifically for fishing, opened to the public in 1988. The park has two lighted piers that make night fishing accessible for everyone. Anglers have been known to bait their hook at 8 p.m. and still be on the pier at 8 a.m. in search of the perfect catch.

Fishing at night provides a blessed reprieve from the searing Texas summer heat, which makes a trip to the water after dark even more relaxing. Bonus: The fish are attracted to the light and tend to actively feed there.

If fishing from a pier isn’t your style, the park offers boat ramps and plenty of bank fishing opportunities. If you want to give fishing a try for the first time, you can borrow rods, reels and tackle boxes for use in the park. A fishing license isn’t required, but there’s a $2 individual overnight permit that expires at 6 a.m.

Catfish and crappie are plentiful — take them home for a tasty meal. Both species like to frequent the piers; the daily limit for crappie is 25..

Summertime is also prime for targeting largemouth bass. Unlike most Texas reservoirs, Purtis Creek comes to life with quality largemouth bass during spring, summer and fall. The west pier is a great place to start, if reeling in a potential ShareLunker is on your bucket list. Goldfish are a favorite snack on the menu here. Just be aware of a special 16-inch maximum length for largemouth bass (with exemptions in place for ShareLunker Program entries).

If you’re looking to beat the heat with some after-hours pier fishing, the night life is certainly the good life at Purtis Creek.  

 Maegan Lanham | TPWD


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Martin Creek Lake State Park

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