The Return of Falcon Lake

Straddling the US/Mexico border, Falcon Lake once was the talk of the bass fishing world. Tournament records were broken here on a consistent basis. However, a decade-long drought left the lake well below normal pool level. So low, in fact, that boat ramps suddenly were hundreds of feet from the water.  The lake, though still supporting a population of bass, panfish, hybrid stripers and catfish, was so inaccessible that anglers stayed away in droves.  As a result, guides left, hotels and restaurants closed and the fishing phenomenon that was Falcon Lake drifted from bass angling consciousness.

Recent years, however, have seen a reversal in these fortunes. Heavier than normal rains began to fall in October 2003, starting Falcon on the road to recovery. Despite a healthy bass population existing during the times of drought, as the lake level continued to rise, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began aggressively restocking the lake with shad and bass. This effort was aimed at helping the lake regain its former stature at an accelerated rate.

The rising water also re-flooded miles of shoreline that had remained exposed for several years. During the period of low water, this exposed shoreline to begin developing vegetation. As a result, Falcon now has the appearance of a newly-flooded lake, despite the fact this lake was originally dedicated in 1953.

Beginning late in the summer of 2004, fishing began to be reminiscent of the "good ol' days." Double-digit days of three-pound bass became common again. Fish pushing 10 pounds also began showing up again.

Anglers interested in catching sheer numbers will do best to concentrate on working the deep huisache "forest" that extends some 50 yards or so around the lake shore. Though the fish found near these flooded limbs are mostly around a pound or two, don't go too light with rod selection. Since there are trees and limbs literally every few feet, even average-size fish can be tough to pull from cover..

Those looking for true trophy fish should try the old town of Zapata. Like Atlantis, Zapata used to be high and dry, but now lies in a watery world some 30 feet below Falcons surface. The town relocated to accommodate the flooding of the reservoir, but the old buildings remain and provide excellent deep water structure.

The only problem with Falcon, which some may view as a benefit, is its remoteness. Located about 65 miles southeast of Laredo, Falcon is not a lake you will just "happen by." In order to fish Falcon, you have to try to fish Falcon. But, to be sure, the action is worth the effort when it comes to fishing this storied reservoir.

For fishing reports, lake levels or area information, contact Speedy Collett at Beacon Lodge on Falcon Lake at (956) 765-4616.

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