TPWD District Fisheries Office

8684 LaVillage Avenue
Waco, Texas 76712
(254) 666-5190
Michael Baird, Biologist

About the Area

Nearby State Parks


Belton Lake

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

BOATER ADVISORY: Zebra mussels have infested 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 zebra mussels is illegal.

Lake Characteristics

Location: On the Leon River in Bell and Coryell counties, 5 miles northwest of the City of Belton off FM 317
Surface area: 12,385 acres
Maximum depth: 124 feet
Impounded: 1954

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 594 ft. msl
Fluctuation: 3-5 feet
Normal Clarity: Moderate

Reservoir Controlling Authority

US Army Corps of Engineers
3740 FM 1670
Belton, Texas 76513

Aquatic Vegetation

Very sparse buttonbush and cattail

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Current Fishing Report
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

Contact local tackle stores or marinas

Fishing Regulations

All game fishes are currently managed under statewide regulations.

Angling Opportunities

Belton Lake is a popular lake for hybrid striped bass, and can also be a good largemouth bass lake at certain times of the year.

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth Bass     yes  
Smallmouth Bass       yes
Catfish     yes  
Crappie   yes    
White Bass     yes  
Hybrid Striped Bass       yes
Sunfish     yes  
Fishing Cover/Structure

Most of the shoreline is very steep, rocky habitat. Majestic tall bluffs and long rocky points are most common, although sand and mud flats can be found up the Leon River and Cowhouse arms. The lake has little or no aquatic vegetation. Timber is also limited. There are four sites of fish habitat structures installed at this lake.

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

Tips & Tactics

Largemouth bass fishing is at its best from late February through April. As the water temperature begins to rise, bass become more active and prepare for the upcoming spawn. The backs of creeks and coves, protected from the north wind, provide the warmest water on the lake. Good creeks to target are Cedar, Bear, Owl, Stampede, and Cowhouse. Spinnerbaits, plastic lizards, jerkbaits, and jig and pork combinations are the preferred baits. From May through September look for bass on main-lake points and flats next to creek channels. Stickbaits, chuggers, buzzbaits, crankbaits, and plastic worms can all be productive under the right conditions. From October through December, bass can be caught from the same areas as during the spawn. Smallmouth bass are generally caught from the dam to the Cedar Creek area at mid-lake. Early spring and late fall, when the water temperature ranges from 55 to 65 degrees, is the prime time to target smallmouth. Spawning occurs in rocky coves protected from the north wind. In summer and fall, long, gently sloping rocky points are good areas to fish. Deep diving crawfish-colored crankbaits, stickbaits, chuggers, buzzbaits, grubs, and small jigs are usually most productive.

Hybrid striped bass (palmetto bass) were introduced to Belton Lake in 1977, and have since become a very popular sportfish in the reservoir. Hybrids tend to travel in schools throughout the main lake. They can be caught bottom fishing with live bait as well as trolling jigs and crankbaits, with or without the aid of downriggers. White bass fishing is best from March through May when they migrate up the lake into the Leon River to spawn. Bank or boat fishing from the Highway 36 bridge north to Mother Neff State Park using small jigs or spinners can be very productive. During summer and fall, white bass sometimes school on the surface. Try fishing for white crappie between late February and the middle of May, when crappie move into shallow water in the backs of creeks and protected main-lake coves. Spawning crappie are fairly easy to catch on live minnows or small jigs fished around stumps and submerged cover in 2 to 5 feet of water. In summer, fall, and winter, crappie can be caught around large isolated trees and submerged brush at 5 to 20 feet. Catfish can be caught all year. Channel cats spawn from May to June, during which time they move into water 2 to 5 feet deep in the backs of creeks or along flats just off the river channel. Shad, shrimp, blood bait, and stinkbait all work just fine. Blue catfish, particularly large blues, can be targeted in winter months, February through April. Although statewide length and bag limits apply, anglers should consider returning blues larger than 10 lbs as they comprise the majority of the spawning population. Smaller blues are also better eating than bigger fish!