Inks Lake Drawdown Facilitates Fish Habitat Restoration Project

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AUSTIN –Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) fisheries biologists and local partners took advantage of the temporary drawdown of Inks Lake to restore fish habitat and enhance fishing opportunities at the Inks Lake State Park fishing piers Thursday, Feb. 8.

Assisted by park staff and the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation, fisheries staff renovated the existing brush-and-gravel bed complex and placed 50 bundles of natural cedar around the parks north fishing pier.

“This is the first time the lake has been lowered since 2011 – the year we initially installed the fish habitat,” said Marcos De Jesus, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for San Marcos-Austin. “These submersed brush piles naturally degrade and become less effective after a few years, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to place additional habitat and ensure anglers continue to enjoy a high-quality fishing experience at Inks Lake.”

The habitat was composed mainly of mountain cedar gathered from pruning projects on state park trails and facilities.  De Jesus said the complex brushy nature of the trees makes for very effective and inexpensive habitat for the entire food chain, topped off by the large predator species anglers seek. The pier is also surrounded by several gravel beds that attract large spawning sunfish for anglers.

The state park’s south pier was renovated with new underwater green lights to provide night fishing opportunities and to attract open-water species like white bass and hybrid striped bass.

Although it’s known mainly for largemouth bass and sunfish, Inks Lake also contains the state fish, Guadalupe bass, and other popular sportfish species like catfish, crappie and white bass.

“Not everyone has a boat or kayak to access the lake, so the natural habitat and lights placed around the piers offer a great opportunity for everyone to experience the excellent fishing that Inks Lake offers – day or night,” said Cory Evans, Inks Lake State Park Superintendent.

Inks Lake, located an hour from Austin, is a 768-acre impoundment of the Colorado River. Inks Lake State Park – which borders 30 percent of the lake’s shoreline – has two fishing piers, multiple fish cleaning stations, a boat ramp and an official TPWD Angler Recognition Program weigh station with a certified scale and Toyota ShareLunker holding tank. Anglers do not need a fishing license to fish from a pier or the shore in a state park, and the park offers a tackle loaner program for those who need to borrow equipment for a day of fishing.

Although lake access at Inks Lake State Park is currently closed due to the drawdown, park staff expect to reopen the boat ramp, fishing piers and boat rental facilities after the completion of the drawdown Feb. 14.

Directions to Inks Lake State Park, which offers the only public boat ramp access to the lake, can be found online on the TPWD website here.

News Images Available – Images of the fish habitat restoration project are available at 

News Video Available – Video of fish habitat restoration is available on YouTube at