TPWD District Fisheries Office

505 Staples Road
San Marcos, Texas 78666
(512) 353-0072
Patrick Ireland, Biologist


Lake Buchanan

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

BOATER ADVISORY: Zebra 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 zebra mussels is illegal.

Lake Characteristics

Location: On the Colorado River in Burnet County and Llano counties, west of the town of Burnet
Surface area: 22,211 acres
Maximum depth: 132 feet
Impounded: 1937

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Fluctuation: Considerable
Normal Clarity: Clear at the dam; gradually becomes more turbid as you move upstream

Reservoir Controlling Authority

Lower Colorado River Authority
3700 Lake Austin Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78703
(512) 473-3200 or 1(800) 776-5272

Aquatic Vegetation

No significant aquatic vegetation present

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Current Fishing Report
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

Several commercial vendors offer good contour maps sold at map, tackle, and sporting goods stores. Free, downloadable maps of the lake and surrounding areas are available in the map section of the LCRA website.

Fishing Regulations

All species are currently managed under statewide regulations. Bow fishers on this lake are subject to special regulations enforced by the LCRA.

Angling Opportunities

Lake Buchanan is noted for its excellent striped bass and white bass fishing. It also contains under-rated largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass populations. White bass and striped bass runs occur in the spring (February-May) with most of the fishing occurring from Beaver Creek up into the Colorado River. Striped bass do not naturally reproduce in the reservoir and are stocked by Texas Parks and Wildlife. A low-density white crappie population is present. The upper end of the reservoir produces many large white crappie each year. Blue, channel and flathead catfish occur throughout the reservoir.

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

Lake Buchanan offers a variety of cover and structure. The area near the dam and the east side of the lake up to the Silver Creek area is rocky. This area has numerous rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock banks. This area is reminiscent of a highland-type lake. The west side from mid-lake up looks more like a flatland type reservoir with numerous flat coves that have a lot of flooded brush to fish when the lake is up.

Fish habitat structure has been added to this reservoir. Habitats were placed by TPWD in cooperation with the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation, a local Friends of Reservoirs organization. Anglers may use GPS in conjunction with a fish finder to locate these structures.

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

Tips & Tactics

Largemouth bass anglers have their best success on Lake Buchanan during the spring and fall months. The area from Beaver Creek to the Colorado River is usually stained. This keeps the largemouth bass shallow regardless of the water temperature. In the lower section of the reservoir where the water remains clear, topwater lures, metal flake willow leaf spinnerbaits and shallow to medium depth crankbaits work well along rocky banks. When the reservoir is at full pool or higher, flipping boat docks, flooded willows and laydown logs with jigs and plastic worms can be productive.

Starting in February, white bass and striped bass begin their annual spawning run up the Colorado River. Anglers should concentrate their efforts from Beaver Creek into the Colorado. Information on fishing the river above Lake Buchanan is available in Fly Fishing the Texas Hill Country by Kevin Hutchinson. Productive lures for white bass include twister tail jigs, small hair jigs, small crankbaits, and small topwaters. Live bait fishing with minnows is also productive. For stripers, live shad fished with a carolina rig type set up on the bottom on humps and along dropoffs is almost always productive. Topwater fishing is good in late spring and again in the fall. Anglers should concentrate on main-lake points and humps. When birds are sighted working schools of shad, this usually indicates stripers or white bass chasing bait just below the surface. During the heat of the summer anglers may have to use downriggers to effectively target striped bass. White or yellow bucktail jigs and trailers work well behind downriggers. Electronics can help locate main-lake structure for this type of fishing. Anglers should set their downrigging balls just above the thermocline depth, usually 20-30 feet.

Catfish anglers can find channel, blue, and flathead catfish throughout the reservoir, with blues dominating the fishery. Stinkbaits and cutbaits work well for the blues and channel cats, while live bait is preferred by large flathead catfish.