TPWD District Fisheries Office

PO Box 116
Mathis, Texas 78368
(361) 547-6222, dial 5 Ext:241
Dusty McDonald, Biologist

About the Area

Nearby State Parks


Choke Canyon Reservoir

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

Lake Characteristics

Location: Frio River watershed in Live Oak and McMullen Counties, 4 miles west of Three Rivers
Surface area: 25,670 acres
Maximum depth: 95.5 feet
Impounded: 1982

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 220.5 ft. msl
Fluctuation: High and frequent, 10-20 feet
Normal Clarity: Clear to slightly stained

Reservoir Controlling Authority

City of Corpus Christi
PO Box 9277
Corpus Christi, Texas 78469
(512) 880-3000

Aquatic Vegetation

Isolated beds of water stargrass, American pondweed, coontail, cattail, rushes, moderate densities of hydrilla and seasonally abundant water hyacinth

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Current Fishing Report
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

Maps of Choke Canyon Reservoir are available at the Calliham Unit park offices. More detailed fishing maps are commercially available at most bait and tackle dealers in south Texas.

Fishing Regulations

This reservoir has special regulations on some fishes. See bag and size limits for this lake.

Angling Opportunities

Largemouth bass and catfish are the most popular sportfish in the reservoir. Bass are abundant with frequent reports of double-digit fish being boated. Blue catfish are the most abundant catfish species, but flathead and channel catfish also provide excellent fisheries. White bass provide excellent angling opportunities in the main Frio River channel during the cooler months and along the northern shoreline during summer. Although crappie fishing has recently been poor, respectable catches are not uncommon. The reservoir offers ample Alligator Gar angling opportunity. Catches of trophy fish (> 6-ft) by anglers are frequent.

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Alligator Gar      
Largemouth Bass       yes
Blue & Flathead Catfish       yes
Channel Catfish       yes
Crappie     yes  
White Bass     yes  
Sunfish     yes  
Fishing Cover/Structure

Choke Canyon reservoir has varied types of habitat including steep rocky banks, flooded timber, shallow brushy flats, and creek channels. Water in the lower portion of the reservoir remains fairly clear throughout the year, while the upper portion of the Frio River channel is typically stained. Small coves and protected creek channels stay fairly clear throughout the year. In addition to the cover submerged timber and brush provide for gamefish species, stands of native aquatic vegetation and hydrilla provide excellent habitat in most areas of the reservoir. Structure in the lower portion of the reservoir consists of numerous islands, submerged humps and roadbeds, and long sloping points extending into deeper water. During periods of high water, flooded terrestrial vegetation provides excellent habitat for all game fish species.

Tips & Tactics

Largemouth bass anglers are most successful on Choke Canyon during the spring, fall, and winter months. Popular spring baits include spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, rattletraps, crankbaits, and unweighted soft plastic worms or jerkbaits. Summer bass fishing on Choke Canyon can be frustrating for even the most experienced angler. Topwater baits such as buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, or Pop-R's, presented very early or very late in the day near weedbeds, are popular and can be productive throughout the day if cloud cover is present. Flipping jigs, plastic worms, or tube baits in heavy shaded cover are often productive when nothing else seems to work. Remenber to spool up with a minimum of 20 lb. line or heavier when fishing thick cover: dead huisache and mesquite brush fray lighter line quickly. As summer temperatures rise, some anglers concentrate on shaded areas in submerged vegetation while many experienced anglers go deep. Deep water bass fishing is best using crankbaits , Texas-rigged worms, Carolina-rigged plastics, or jigging spoons. Brushy main-lake points, rocky shorelines, submerged roadbeds, and flooded brush near deep water or a dropoff are highly recommended targets for bass when temperatures reach 90°F or higher.

White bass congregate in the Frio River channel from December through February to gradually head upstream to spawn. Although live minnows are popular baits during this annual "e;run," many anglers catch their limit using small rattletraps, shad raps, small spinnerbaits, small grubs, and other minnow imitating artificial baits. As the weather warms, white bass will school in deeper water located near the northern shoreline of the main reservoir. Jigging spoons or small rattletraps trolled deep near main lake points and humps often put fish in the cooler when white bass are hard to find.

Catfish anglers can find channel, blue, and flathead catfish throughout the reservoir. Although many catfish anglers prefer deeper water, catfish are often found in relatively shallow areas (8 feet or less) of flooded terrestrial vegetation. Cheesebait and cutbait produce impressive stringers of blue catfish, while the larger flathead and blue catfish seem to prefer live bluegill and shad. Experienced flathead anglers concentrate on creek channels and the main Frio River channel. Trotlines and juglines account for many of the larger catfish caught every year at Choke Canyon.

Alligator gar, although not present in large numbers, still provide great sport for the bow-fishing enthusiast.