Public Fishing, Paddling Access Expands on Brazos, San Marcos, and Llano Rivers

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AUSTIN – Anglers and paddlers have some new options for their next fishing and paddling trips. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is pleased to announce two new opportunities to hit the water on the Brazos and San Marcos rivers while reopening public access at a former leased site on the Llano River.

The three public leased river access sites secured by the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program include the new locations of Brazos Outdoor Center and Spencer Canoes and Shady Grove Campground along with a renewed lease at the Kingsland Slab RV Camp.

“Texas has over 40,000 miles of perennial rivers and creeks, and with 95% of the land held in private ownership, it can be a real challenge finding safe legal access for paddling and fishing.” said John Botros, TPWD River Access Coordinator. “These three newest leased access areas are great locations for bank, wade, and kayak fishing and paddling opportunities for the public.”

The Brazos Outdoor Center is downstream from Lake Granbury and provides a third public access site along the Brazos River. The site features 200 feet of river frontage for bank and wade fishing. Canoes and kayaks can be rented, and shuttle services are available for various lengths of paddle experiences depending on the time of year and river flow conditions. Additional amenities include restrooms, outdoor shower, and boat washing station. Access at the site is open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for bank angling and launching non-motorized boats, canoes, or other floatable devices for the purpose of fishing.

Spencer Canoes and Shady Grove Campground is located near Martindale and is one of two access sites along the San Marcos River. The site boasts 200 feet of river frontage for bank or wade fishing and provides very different paddling / fishing experiences depending on the direction one floats to/from Spencer Canoes. The 5-mile float from the San Marcos River Retreat to Spencer Canoes offers swift water river sections such as Cottonseed Rapids as well as a portage around Martindale dam. The 5.25-mile section downstream of Spencer Canoes offers excellent fishing opportunities in the slower backwaters of the San Marcos River down to Staples dam. In addition, camping is available at the Shady Grove Campground for an extra charge.

The Kingsland Slab RV Camp is one of five public access sites established on the main stem of the Llano River. The site has 750 feet of river frontage for bank or wade fishing along with RV camping that includes electric, water, and sewer available throughout the campground. Kingsland Slab is an excellent place to catch White Bass when they are running upriver in the early spring. When rains provide flow and water temperatures reach 55 to 60°F, White Bass gather in the upper ends of Lake LBJ and begin migrating into the Llano River. White bass spawn over gravel or rock in 2 to 8 feet of flowing water.

The objective for TPWD is to establish lease agreements with landowners, resulting in increased river access for both anglers and paddlers. Since 2012, more than 20 public river access leases have been established with cooperating landowners. These agreements for leased access areas enabled or enhanced paddling and river fishing on more than 211 miles of 10 different rivers across Texas. A map, area descriptions and special conditions on public use for each site can be found on the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas webpage.

River Access and Conservation Areas are funded by a combination of sources including donations from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, sales of the Texas Rivers Conservation License Plate, and grant awards through the U.S. Farm Bill and Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

 Find out more information about other river access initiatives including our Texas Paddling Trails Program by visiting the TPWD River Fishing page.