TPWD District Fisheries Office

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

About the Area

Nearby State Parks


Lake Waco

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

Lake Characteristics

Location: On the Bosque River just off Texas Highway 6 within the Waco city limits
Surface area: 8,465 acres
Maximum depth: 90 feet
Impounded: 1965

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 462 ft. msl
Fluctuation: 2-6 feet
Normal Clarity: Stained to murky most of the year

Reservoir Controlling Authority

US Army Corps of Engineers
Route 10, Box 173-G
Waco, Texas 76708
(254) 756-5359

Aquatic Vegetation

Mostly water willow, although lotus, cattails, pondweed, and buttonbush are present

Predominant Fish Species

Lake Records
Stocking History
Latest Survey Report

Lake Maps

Contact the Corps of Engineers office at (254) 756-5359

Fishing Regulations

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

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

This impoundment of the North, Middle, and South Bosque Rivers is dominated by natural shorelines, including bedrock, clay/silt, and sand and gravel flats. Submerged timber and flooded terrestrial vegetation add to the diversity of natural habitat for fish while man-made habitats include submerged roadbeds, the old dam, boat ramps, marinas, piers, docks, and bridge pilings. The Waco Inland Fisheries District built and deployed rectangular PVC fish habitat structures in three locations near mid- reservoir to help attract and hold sportfish for anglers. The three freshwater reef locations are located near Koehne Park, Island Cove, and Lakeshore Cove. Previous freshwater reefs deployed into Lake Waco were comprised of Crappie Condos, made with bamboo from local stands, however the lifespan of these natural structures has passed. To date, a total of three freshwater reefs exist in Lake Waco. 

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 in March and April. Coves protected from the north wind, and the backs of creeks, are excellent places to look for spawning bass at this time of year. White or chartreuse spinner baits and black/blue or black/chartreuse jig and pork combinations are the preferred baits. From May through September, look for bass on windy points on the main lake and flats next to river channels. Hog and Flatrock creeks are also good at this time of year. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, chuggers, and plastic worms are popular baits. Crappie fishing is tough to beat at Lake Waco. White crappie predominate, but black crappie are occasionally caught. In the spring, from late February through April, crappie move into water less than two feet deep. The best places to look for spawning crappie are main lake coves that provide protection from the north wind or shallow flats next to creek channels. Keep moving to find concentrations of fish. Best catches are usually around standing timber, submerged brush, or aquatic vegetation. In summer, anglers fishing deep brush piles in the main lake can be very successful.

Catfishing for channel catfish is generally best in the spring and early summer. The North and South Bosque rivers are favored spots for trotliners. Drift fishing over main lake points, submerged structure, and flats is popular among rod and reel anglers. Shrimp, blood bait, and stinkbait work well for channel catfish. Anglers after blues and flatheads have their best success with live shad, sunfish, or fresh cut bait. Larger blues are often caught in the winter months. White bass fishing is best from February through April. Spawning runs up the rivers result in dense concentrations of fish. Good catches are also made along sandy beaches and submerged roadbeds on the main lake throughout spring and summer. Trolling or casting jigs and other small baits work well for these schooling fish. Sunfish can be caught using live worms or crickets most of the year, although late spring is best. Fish cover along the shoreline for best results, although bigger fish are usually found on submerged woody cover in deeper water.

Hybrid striped bass or palmetto bass were re-introduced to the lake in 2009. Anglers began catching legal fish (larger than 18”) in late 2011 and this fishery is expected to improve as more fish reach legal size. Fishing for hybrids is similar to fishing for white bass in the main lake: anglers should target underwater roads, points, and similar structure. Contact the TPWD Fisheries office for the latest information on palmetto bass.