Texas as a whole has some of the best freshwater fishing in the industrial world. We have Lyndon B. Johnson to thank for that. His rural electrification programs have speckled this state with massive reservoirs, entirely artificial environments filled with whatever sport fish the state cares to stock.
Within the Austin city limits, the fishing opportunities are more restricted. Virtually anyone with a fishing pole has walked down to Zilker Park and tried their hand at Lady Bird Lake at one time or another, a body of water which swings between the best and the worst fishing man can endure. It’s a lake which has provided record carp, bass, stripers, and freshwater eels. But it’s also produced a legion of frustrated anglers with empty hooks.
For the best fishing hole in Austin we’re looking for something a little more intimate and a lot more reliable. It’s a fishing spot that has everything going for it, central location, hungry fish, and a unique Austin style.
The first thing you notice about the rainwater runoff pond behind the Austin Convention Center is that they took the extra effort to shape it like the state of Texas. Even though it’s sunken and located along a semi-derelict creek front where hardly anyone will ever see it. This pond embodies all of Austin’s values: Environmental engineering, Texas branding, and Austin kitsch, all in one pool the size of a two-car garage.
And of course wherever you have a year-round source of water, you also have fish. You can stand anywhere on the neatly manicured and easily accessible shoreline and cast to anywhere else in the pool. I like to stand right about the position of Nuevo Laredo. With a topwater cast to the region of Nacogdoches you might catch a two-year-old green sunfish. A sinking nymph in the region of Lubbock could produce a hungry bluegill. And if you’re into bait fishing, a worm sunk in the center of Waco might bring you a largemouth grown fat on gambusia and juvenile panfish (or in perplexing Texas terminology, ‘perch’).
You can expect to get a strike on nearly every cast, and like most urban fishing it offers the additional thrill of dubious legality. It’s definitely a spot to watch. The fish will only get bigger and hungrier in upcoming seasons, feeding off runoff cheetos and conventioneer hot dogs.
But whatever you do, don’t eat the fish. That’s just disgusting.
605 E. 3rd St.
Austin, TX 78701