Whether your kid needs a fishing license in Texas depends on their age. In Texas, if you are over the age of 17, you will need to get a valid fishing license. The one exception is if you are fishing in waters that are completely enclosed by a state park or from the bank in a state park.
Texas Fishing License
If you are taking any fish, clams, mussels, crayfish, or aquatic life in the Texas public waters, it is required that you have a saltwater or freshwater endorsement on your valid fishing license. Although a child does not need a fishing license until they are 17 years of age in Texas the parent may need to purchase stamps, endorsements, or tags for their kid when they fish in certain bodies of water. This rule applies to non-resident and residents of Texas.
Fishing With Kids
If you enjoy fishing, you can start to teach your child at a young age, as young as four years old. Even if they do not have an interest in fishing at that age, you should start to teach them about water safety basics. When they are too young to understand how to be safe around or in water, make sure that they are wearing a life jacket. To help a kid enjoy fishing more, make sure that you get them involved in all steps of fishing along the way. Start by showing your child how to bait the hook safely without getting hooked and how to feed the reel.
They should start with a spin rod or a simple bait caster with a bobber on the line. Using a bobber on the line is a good way to teach them to watch and see when the fish makes their strike. If they are not able to cast out themselves, help them do it but let them try to reel in the line themselves.
For children, reeling in the line, especially if there is a fish on the hook, may be their favorite part of the fishing trip. Once they reel in the fish be sure that you show them how to remove the hook and then how to release the fish if it is a catch-and-release when they are ready. If they do not want to touch the fish don’t make them. If you make them touch the fish when they are not ready it may turn them off wanting to go fishing again. They will touch the fish when they are ready.
When you first start fishing with your kid, do not push them too much. Let them take their time. The more they get used to all the steps the more comfortable they will be with baiting the hook to touching the fish.
When you first start teaching your kid to enjoy fishing, it is not important for them to have the most expensive fishing rods or equipment. Start your kid out with one of the smaller toy rods. The reason is that most of these rods have characters and designs from their favorite shows and they are more likely to stay interested in learning to fish longer.
You should also make sure that you purchase them a small tackle box so they can hold some bobbers and hooks. Sometimes the toy rods come in a kit that includes a tackle box to match the fishing rod. The only other things they will need are bait and line weights. No fancy bait is needed for your kid. Start off with some worms or grasshoppers and if they do not seem to be working, you can use some type of artificial bait, bread, or corn.
Fish Kids Can Catch in Texas
- Crappie — this is the most abundant fish you can catch in Texas. The two types that you find there are black and white. The black crappies are silvery-green with irregular black blotches. The white crappies have a silvery-white, dark-green, or silvery-green belly with several vertical lines on their sides. Read our other article to learn more about Crappie Fishing.
- Catfish — you can find flathead, blue, and channel catfish in the water of Texas. They do not have scales so they have the appearance of being naked. They are ray-finned with a long cylindrical body. The channel catfish range from state-blue to olive-brown on their sides and back with silvery-white on their belly. The blue catfish have a white belly and a slate blue back. The flathead catfish gets its name from the shape of their head.
- Sunfishes — they form a large portion of the various types of fish in Texas. These include longear, redear, greed, warmouth, and redbreast sunfish and bluegills. The largest sunfish found there is the redbreast one.
- Bullheads — there are two types of bullheads found in Texas; yellow and black bullheads. The yellow bullheads are light yellow to olive green on their back and white to yellowish on the belly. Their chin barbells are white. The black bullheads have grey-white bellies and greenish-black on their back. Their back may appear to be yellowish-brown when they are in the muddy water. Their chin barbells are never white but are black or dark brown.
Some other fish you might find in Texas are carp, minnows, grass and common carp blacktail, Texas, red, and golden shiner.
Where to Take Your Kid Fishing in Texas
No matter the age of your kid, there are many places in Texas where you and your kids can bond over a fishing weekend.
- Bane Park Lake, Houston — this lake is stocked each year with rainbow trout but you can also fish for largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish.
- McGovern Lake, Houston
- American Legion Park, Missouri City — this is a great place to go fishing for freshwater fish from two floating piers or the banks.
- Mary Jo Peckham Park, Katy — here you are limited to five rainbow trout and bass each day. You can catch an unlimited amount of catfish.
- Tom Bass Regional Park, Pearlan — there are three sections in this park from which you can fish, which includes a fishing pier. Here you can catch catfish and trout.
- Eldridge Park Pond, Sugar Land — here they have a well-stocked fishing pond.
- Sheldon Lake State Park, Houston — there are many well-stocked fishing ponds and for children under the age of 12, they can participate in free catch-and-release fishing. Here is where you can do bank fishing.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Park, Houston — fishing is done along the shady banks of this park.
- Herman Brown Park Pond, Houston — here you will be able to fish in a well-stocked fishing pond.
- Challenger Seven Memorial Park, Webster — here you can fish on the bank or from the pier, and at the large stocked fishing pond.
- Carver Park, Texas City — there is a large fishing pond for fishermen of all ages.
- Burke Crenshaw Park, Pasadena — here you will find a pier that extends out over a large pond.
- Clear Lake Park, Seabrook — you can fish off the bank or off the pier that extends out into the lake.
There are other places where you can take your kid fishing and in some places, they even offer pole rentals or complementary poles that the kids can use.
- Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Athens — this is almost like a fishing theme park for kids and adults alike. Poles are sitting just waiting to be used and the staff there will even help them with baiting the line and removing their catch.
- Chisholm Park, Hurst — the pond here is stocked each week during the summer with channel catfish. From November to February the pond is stocked with rainbow trout.
- Woldert Park Lake Tyler — this is a family-friendly park that is stocked with rainbow trout during the winter and channel catfish during the summer. You can borrow tackle and poles at the park.
- Horace Caldwell Pier, Port Aransas — this is the ideal place to go saltwater fishing on some of the pay to fish piers on the coast. Most will be glad to sell your bait and rent you a pole.
As you can see, there are many places to go fishing with your child in Texas. If they are under the age of 17 years old, they will not need a fishing license in Texas. Start them early and build some great memories that will last a lifetime.
The first Saturday in June is considered Texas’s annual Free Fishing Day so no one on that day will have to have a fishing license. When taking your kid fishing, remember that when they are little, their attention span is not always that long and they could get bored easily. If they start to act bored, take a break and let them do something else that is fun.
There are many varieties of freshwater fish you and your child can fish for in Texas. Pack your fishing gear and go fishing for fish for that great fish cookout with friends and family.