AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is increasing public fishing and paddling opportunities in the state thanks to the addition of two leased river access sites through the River Access and Conservation Area (RACA) program. The new sites are located on the Brazos and San Marcos rivers, giving the public more options and flexibility to access these incredible waterways.
The new site on the Brazos River is in Milam County near Calvert and features two access areas downstream of FM 979. The new RACA site on the San Marcos River is at the Scull Road Bridge near Martindale.
“Both rivers are just a short drive away from major urban areas like Houston, San Antonio and Austin,” said John Botros, TPWD river access coordinator. “Historically in Texas, recreation on rivers has been limited by a lack of public access points. These new sites are an important step in expanding the public’s options for safe, legal and high-quality fishing and paddling access on rivers.”
Brazos River site: Area 1 of the TPWD River Access site in Milam County (10794 FM 979) offers a complimentary parking area for TPWD leased access users. Through this access point, visitors can access the Brazos River to paddle and fish. Area 2 (5988 County Road 259) offers a parking area along with access to the Brazos for paddling and/or fishing purposes. However, a landowner-provided shuttle is required to get from the parking lot to the access point.
Access to these site areas is open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for wade fishing and launching non-motorized boats, canoes or kayaks to paddle or fish on the river. Visitors are asked to call 979-219-4808 prior to arrival to get the necessary gate codes and check site conditions. Shuttle services must be prearranged with the landowner.
This segment of the river offers ample opportunities to cast for largemouth, spotted and white bass while channel catfish, freshwater drum and sunfish are also prevalent. Anglers and paddlers should note that current water levels at these areas are extremely low and these river conditions pose additional challenges.
San Marcos River site: TPWD has established a new parking area 0.16 miles southwest of the Scull Road Bridge access site for leased access users. Access is open daily from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for launching non-motorized boats, canoes or kayaks to paddle and/or fish. Angling opportunities are abundant on this segment of the San Marcos River for largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass and channel catfish.
Visitors are asked to text 512-787-5574 before arrival to acquire the correct gate code and ensure that parking is available. The immediate area around the bridge is for loading and unloading only. Bank fishing and parking at the access site is prohibited.
River Access and Conservation Areas are currently funded by a combination of sources, including donations from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, grant awards from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program and U.S. Department of Agriculture – Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, as well as sales of the Texas Rivers Conservation License Plate.
To learn more about the RACA program and meet members of the team, watch Accessing Our Rivers: The RACA Team.