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Fall Means Fishing, Camping in Texas State Parks
ATHENS—With cooler weather just around the corner and cabin fever taking its toll on those of the outdoor persuasion, people are ready to start enjoying the outdoors again. In North Texas, Meridian and Cleburne State Parks offer fishing opportunities close to home with excellent hiking and camping opportunities as well.
Both these lakes have ample shoreline access for those who prefer to relax on dry ground while waiting for a bite. If you have a boat to float, both parks have boat ramps. (With drought conditions being what they are, call ahead to make sure the boat ramp is useable.) These lakes are “no-wake lakes,” so boats with outboard motors may only idle while moving from spot to spot. This rule, however, makes these lakes ideal for paddle-powered crafts, so bring your canoe or kayak.
Meridian State Park’s 505 acres are located about three miles southwest of the city of Meridian off State Highway 22. The park is scenic and heavily wooded with many campsites. On weekends with good weather, the park can be a popular place, so call (512) 389-8900 to make reservations if you plan on camping.
You can also just access the park for the day and take advantage of a surprisingly diverse fishery. The 50-acre lake is surrounded by campsites on the lower end. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has placed large piles of brush within casting distance of some of the more accessible shoreline areas in order to improve angling opportunity and provide valuable fish habitat within the lake. Bass, crappie, catfish and sunfish can be targeted and anglers will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of bluegill, redear, longear and redbreast sunfish. Nightcrawlers (earthworms) or crickets under a bobber on light tackle can set your kids up for some fast-paced fishing.
Cleburne State Park is a 528-acre park located 10 miles southwest of the city of Cleburne on Park Road 21. The park offers a 107-acre lake in which one can pursue bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish. TPWD has placed multiple brush piles in this lake as well. Many of these are within easy casting distance from the shoreline. Bring your bikes and challenge yourself on the 5.5-mile mountain bike trail if you’re not worn out from catching fish.
You can fish without a license in lakes totally enclosed with a state park. However, it is important to remember that length, bag limits and other regulations still apply. Park entrance fees must be paid in order to gain access to the lakes. Both Meridian and Cleburne State Parks charge $5 per day per person 13 and older; children 12 and under are free.
For more information on fishing in these and other state parks, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/freefishing.
On the Net:
- Free fishing in state parks: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/freefishing
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