TPWD District Fisheries Office

12861 Galm Road #7
San Antonio, Texas 78254
(210) 688-9460 or 688-9516
Mitch Nisbet, Biologist

About the Area

Local Information

Nearby State Parks:


Amistad Reservoir

Quick Links: Fishing Regulations | Angling Opportunities | Cover & Structure | Tips & Tactics

BOATER ADVISORY: Quagga mussels have invaded this reservoir! CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY your boat, trailer, livewells/bait buckets, and other gear before traveling to another water body. Draining water is required by law and possession and transport of invasive mussels is illegal.

Lake Characteristics

Location: On the Rio Grande, 12 miles northwest of Del Rio in Val Verde County
Surface area: 64,900 acres
Maximum depth: 217 feet
Impounded: 1969

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 1117 ft. msl
Fluctuation: Depends on rainfall and downstream irrigation demands. Annual fluctuations can be 5-10 feet. Historical fluctuations have dropped lake as much as 50 feet below conservation pool.
Normal Clarity: Clear to slightly stained

Reservoir Controlling Authority

International Boundary & Water Commission

Aquatic Vegetation

Coverage is dependent on water level. In 1999, a survey indicated approximately 1,000 acres of aquatic vegetation, primarily hydrilla.

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Current Fishing Report
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

A free map of the Amistad National Recreation Area is available from the National Park Service's Amistad Visitor Information Center.

Fishing Regulations

On the Texas side of the lake, all species are managed under current statewide regulations. For recreational anglers fishing Mexican waters, a Mexico fishing license is required for everyone in the boat. Mexico boat permits are no longer required. For information on Mexico's fishing regulations, visit the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA) website.

Mexico licenses can be purchased in Del Rio at Amistad Marine (Highway 90 West, 830/775-0878) or Fisherman's Headquarters (Chevron at the intersection of 90 & 277 N, 830/774-5670.

Angling Opportunities

Largemouth bass are the most popular and most abundant sportfish in the reservoir. Channel and blue catfish are present in good numbers with an occasional flathead showing up. Striped bass are popular and sought by anglers due to their strong fighting characteristics and their potential for trophy sizes. Frequent stockings by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department maintain the striper population because they have not successfully reproduced in this reservoir. White bass provide popular seasonal fishing during spring spawning runs. Smallmouth bass are present; anglers report better success with this species in the Devils River arm of the lake.

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth Bass       yes
Smallmouth Bass   yes    
Channel & Blue Catfish     yes  
White & Striped Bass     yes  
Fishing Cover/Structure

Amistad Reservoir is dominated by rocky structure. The lake abounds in rock ledges, steep rocky drop offs and rocky points and shorelines. Additional structure is provided by isolated flooded timber, and TPWD has worked with local organizations to place a Christmas-tree fish habitat near the Governor's Landing camping area. Periodically, flooded terrestrial vegetation (brush) provides important fish habitat following water level increases.

Use the Habitat Structure Viewer for an interactive map of fish habitat structures and downloadable GPS coordinates.

Tips & Tactics

Largemouth bass anglers are most successful during the fall, winter, and spring months. Topwater baits, buzzbaits and spinner baits work well in the early morning and late evening. Crankbaits can be effective along rocky shorelines, points and dropoffs. At midday many anglers turn to plastics such as Texas and Carolina rigged worms or grubs to effectively fish the deeper waters near vegetation or rocky structure. Catfish anglers can find channel and blue catfish throughout the lake. Stinkbait and cutbait work well for both species. Many anglers try to improve catch rates by "baiting" catfish holes with sour grain to attract the catfish. The best action for white bass is during the spring spawning runs. These occur from late January through March as whites migrate up rivers to spawn. Effective baits include rattle traps, jigging spoons and live bait such as minnows.