TPWD News Release — Nov. 1, 2005
FULTON, Texas — The Aransas County Navigation District today assumed control of the former Copano Bay State Fishing Pier, transferring pier management from the state park system to the local district. For the fishing public, this means that a Texas fishing license and saltwater stamp endorsement are now required to fish from the pier since it is no longer a state park.
For more than a year, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been promoting the Family Fishing Celebration in State Parks, in which adults are not required to have a fishing license to fish within the boundaries of a state park. The purpose is to promote state parks and fishing as a family recreational option and encourage youth fishing.
The department’s State Parks Division has operated the fishing pier since 1967, after it was transferred to TPWD from the predecessor of today’s Texas Department of Transportation. The pier is actually the remnants of the old causeway bridge over the bay. After a hurricane damaged the causeway, the swing bridge in the middle was never replaced, leaving two sections of causeway sticking out into the bay. These later became the state fishing pier, in effect two piers, the 6,190-foot north pier and the 2,500-foot-long south pier. Two bait and tackle shops, one on either pier, have been operated as a leased concession by Danny Adams of Rockport since the piers opened as a public park. Adams was recently awarded a one year contract to operate the fishing pier after the transfer.
The current transfer has been in the works for almost two years. It is one of the outcomes of HB 2108, a bill passed by the Texas Legislature several years ago that provides a process to transfer operation of state park sites that would be more appropriately managed by local entities. At the time, TPWD sent letters to local governments seeking possible transfer partners. The navigation district contacted the department in early 2004 about the possibility of transferring the pier.