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Hook, Line, and Sinker: Exploring Denton’s Fishing Spots for Unreel Fun

A look at the best fishing holes in Denton

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Whether you’re an experienced angler or someone who has never fished before but really wants to, here’s some good news — there are a number of great places right here in Denton for every fishing level.

Here’s a look at some of the best places for fishing in Denton, information on getting a fishing license, and a look at two upcoming events to help hook you into this fun sport.

Neighborhood Fishin’ in Denton

The most widely-known fishing pond in Denton is located at South Lakes Park, says Carin Zeman, outdoor recreation coordinator for Denton Parks and Recreation. This pond is part of the Neighborhood Fishin’ program from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

“It’s our largest pond in the city, so it’s got a pier (and) a lot of side spots,” she continues. “You can take the whole family and if the family doesn’t want to fish with you, there’s a huge playground and trails, so it’s a great family place.”

According to Raphael Brock, district biologist/fisheries biologist for the DFW area at Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Neighborhood Fishin’ program is a program designed to provide quality fishing throughout the year.

South Lakes Park, Denton, TX
South Lakes Park, Denton, TX

“We basically stock the lake every two weeks, starting with catfish in late April all the way through the end of October,” he says. “We skip the month of August because the water temperatures can get really high and the water quality can get a little rough for the fish. And then we usually stock our (rainbow) trout in late November and wrap those up in early March.”

Brock says it’s important for those going to fish at South Lakes Park to know the regulations. He says currently, the regulation is if you’re fishing for catfish, you can keep five catfish per day, and there’s no minimum length limit — they can be any length.

However, he says those regulations will change slightly as of September 1, 2023. “Come September 1st, … a new regulation allows you to keep five fish total, whether they’re catfish (or) largemouth bass,” he explains.

“For now, you can keep five catfish but you can also keep other species based on their current regulations,” Brock continues. “But that’s just going to change (September 1st) where if you go fishing there and you want to take fish home, you can only take five home (total), so it’ll be a little stricter.”

Other Denton Fishing Spots

Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center

On the other side of town at North Lakes Park is another popular fishing spot, Zeman says. “They have two ponds — one is off Windsor and it’s a very pretty walk from our playground area down to that pond,” she details. “And then the other one is off Bonnie Brae, and it’s perfect for fishing off the banks. That one also has some catfish and it’s a good place to find bass in the city.”

Zeman’s personal favorite spot for casting her fishing pole is Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center. Here Zeman says you can find a number of different types of fish, including catfish, bass, and alligator gar.

“It is a great place to basically hike into an amazing fishing spot,” she explains. “There’s sandy banks you can fish from up high on the bank, or (fish from) a lower bank. It’s absolutely beautiful and … can sometimes be a little bit quieter than our city ponds.”

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Photo by Darrin Miller, Denton, Texas - Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Greenbelt
Photo by Darrin Miller, Denton, Texas – Ray Roberts Lake State Park – Greenbelt

For those up for a drive, Zeman says nearby Ray Roberts Lake State Park offers great fishing opportunities. “We’re lucky to have that very close to us and it’s not a very long drive,” she says. “(In Ray Roberts Lake State Park) you are going to find more bass and catfish. I have heard of some trout being found there, sometimes some perch, but I know a lot of my bass fishers that’s where they go.”

And Brock says not to count out nearby Lake Lewisville for fishing. “It’s a heavily recreational lake, but it’s also very good for fishing, too,” he continues. “It’s a pretty good fishery for all the main species — largemouth bass, particularly blue catfish, and also white bass and hybrid striped bass are very good in that lake.”

Don’t Forget Your License!

Zeman says anyone over age 17 or older who wants to fish in Denton has to have a Texas fishing license. And she says licensed adults can bring a child with them to fish.

She says fishing licenses can be purchased at sports stores like Academy Sports + Outdoors or at the Denton Civic Center. “Just go to the front desk and get one there,” she adds. “You can also give us a call and we can start the process before you get there.”

And Brock also says anglers can purchase their fishing license through the Texas Parks and Wildlife app available at Google Play or the Apple Store.

“The good thing about it is if you have that app on your phone, you don’t need a hard copy of your fishing license (with you),” he says. “If you get checked by a law enforcement official, bring your phone out and show that you have a license.”

Ray Roberts Lake - Greenbelt
Ray Roberts Lake – Greenbelt

When it comes to fishing at Texas state parks, such as Ray Roberts Lake State Park, Brock explains sometimes an angler will need a fishing license and sometimes they won’t.

“If you’re fishing from state park grounds, like if I’m sitting in Ray Roberts Lake State Park and fishing, I do not need a fishing license no matter what age — there is free fishing in state parks,” he details. “Now if you get in a boat and get on the water then yes, no matter if you launched your boat there in the state park, as you get into the water there, you’ll have to have a fishing license to fish.”

However, Brock says these rules can change depending on what state park you are at and its boundaries, so he strongly advises everyone fishing to always have a fishing license with them.

“The fine without a fishing license will be a lot more expensive than buying the fishing license — it’s always best to be cautious for sure,” he adds. “I just try to remind people that the main funding for all these fisheries programs comes from the sale of state fishing licenses because that’s the only funding we get. We don’t get any special tax money from sales tax or local taxes. I always encourage people if they’re interested in fishing and they really like it a lot, and if they can afford it, to really contribute to conservation and purchase your license if you can.”

However, Brock did mention Texas Parks and Wildlife will be hosting a Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 3rd where anyone can fish anywhere in a state park without a fishing license.

Come Out to Family Fishing Day

And another great way for families to start fishing is 4 to 4 Ever Family Fishing Day on Saturday, May 13th at South Lakes Park. Zeman says this event is a partnership with an organization called Pond Hopper Nation — families can register online for the event.

For those interested in starting fishing, Brock says not to be intimidated by all the fancy gear available. “People have been fishing for a long time … it’s not real complicated,” he continues. “There’s information available on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website to get you started. There are basics like what kind of hook you need to buy, how you tie the knots, things like that, but there’s nothing real complicated.”

And Brock reminds people that fishing is a great way to connect with the outdoors. “We all know the benefits of being outside as far as our mental health and physical health, so I always encourage people to just go out there and give it a try,” he adds.

And Zeman urges Dentonites to try all the spots listed in this article. “There’s a spot pretty much for everybody at any level, from beginner to even highly-experienced anglers, and you can get variety,” she says. “And even rotating through the parks, like South Lakes and North Lakes — the environment is similar, but they’re still different when it comes to wind and water and even sometimes the shade factor. Variety is often the key to life and it’s the same with finding a really good fishing spot.”

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