Inks Lake Hill County, Texas
Inks Lake is a freshwater reservoir in Hill County, near Burnet in Texas. Impounded in 1938 by the construction of Inks Dam on the Colorado River. The purpose of construction was to provide flood control in tandem with Lake Buchanan while featuring the smallest hydroelectric power plant on the Highland Lakes chain.
Meanwhile also serves as a venue for outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, swimming, camping, picnicking and more. With a surface area of 831 acres and a maximum depth of 60 feet, the lake has an annual fluctuation of around 1 foot with clear to slightly stained waters.
The Reservoir Controlling Authority is the Lower Colorado River Authority who may be contacted on (512) 473-3200 or 1(800) 776-5272.
Predominant Fish Species
Structure and Native Vegetation
While no significant aquatic vegetation is present, the lake offers a variety of cover and structure. The shoreline contains numerous rock piles, ledges, chunk rock banks, brush piles, and gravel beds placed near the fishing piers. Furthermore, several private boat docks located on the west side of the lake hold fish year-round.
Inks Lake Boat Ramps, Camping, Docks & Parking
While many private boat docks exist on the lake, there is only one public access point through Inks Lake State Park which borders approximately a third of the eastern shore. However, when operating on or around water, please wear your Personal Flotation Device for your own safety.
Inks Lake State Park
Inks Lake State Park is located 9 miles west of Burnet. From Burnet take Texas 29 to Park Road 4 and continue south for 3 miles to the park’s headquarters.
This facility offers the public ADA-Accessible restrooms, parking, picnic areas, and camping facilities. As well as a two-lane concrete ramp with a courtesy dock and a lighted fishing pier with plenty of shoreline access.
While the facility is open all year, they do charge a park entrance fee. Due to the park’s popularity is a good idea to make reservations well in advance especially for camping.
Operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that may be contacted at (512) 793-2223 for information and reservations.
Fish and Fishing
Inks Lake with its picturesque scenery provides good fishing opportunities to anglers. Often providing good fishing opportunities for Largemouth Bass, including Guadalupe Bass and Sunfish. While Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, White Bass and Striped Bass fishing is fair. Furthermore, low densities of White Crappie are present, but fishing is poor.
The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a carnivorous species of freshwater game fish. Has an olive green to greenish grey body with dark, sometimes black blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank.
Meanwhile, the upper jaw extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit. Reach lengths of 29.5 inches weighing around 25 pounds.
Feed on snails, crawfish, crayfish, frogs, snakes, salamanders, bats, shrimps, insects, small water birds, mammals, baby alligators and small fish. Including bluegill, banded killifish, shad, yellow perch, ciscoes, shiners, sunfish, catfish, walleye, bass, and trout.
Larger bass occupy deeper water and prey items may be as large as 50% of the bass’s body length or larger. While they prefer open areas with little or no cover.
Meanwhile, in areas with overhead cover such as overhanging banks, brush, or submerged structures, they use their sense of hearing, sight, vibration, and smell to attack and seize their prey.
Generally, spawning occurs in spring from March until early July. Often caught on Spinnerbait, plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits, and live baits such as worms, frogs, crawfish, shiners, and minnows.
While there is a strong cultural pressure among largemouth bass anglers encouraging catch and release practices of larger specimens. Furthermore, bass have a white, slightly mushy meat which is of a lower quality than that of the smallmouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, walleye, or crappie.
Bass anglers have great success using topwater lures, metals flake willow leaf spinnerbaits and shallow to medium depth crankbaits along the rocky banks in Inks Lake. While flipping boat docks with jigs and plastic worms is also productive. You may even find good specimens of Guadalupe Bass in the lake.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about Largemouth Bass.
The sunfish is a species of freshwater fish in the Centrarchid family, order Perciformes and genus Centrarchus. A ray-finned fish comprising of 34 different living species. Native to North America. Mostly valued for sport fishing and have been introduced in many waterways.
Generally, they have laterally compressed body shapes with 3 – 8 anal spines and 2 fused dorsal fins. However, there are two main groups, the Lepomis and the Micropterus. The Lepomis are defined by a deep rounder body shape, smaller mouth that obtain food by suction feeding.
While, the Micropterus have more streamlined body shapes, larger mouths and primarily consume prey by ram feeding methods. They prefer clear, warm, slow moving water. Preferring to live in and around aquatic vegetation. Further, found in various water columns within a body of water.
Generally, spawning occurs in spring and juveniles emerge in the late spring to early summer.
Their diets consist primarily of insects, snails, and small invertebrates. Therefore, they can be caught on nightcrawlers, crickets, grasshoppers, waxworms, or mealworms. As well as small flies and lures on light spinning tackle.
Common Sunfish in Inks Lake include Bluegill and Redbreast Sunfish. Generally, specimens of 8-inches in length can be caught using meal worms, crickets, and nightcrawlers under floats anywhere along the shoreline. However, larger specimens are caught in slightly deeper water fishing without a float.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Sunfish.
The Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is the most abundant type of catfish species in North America. While being the official fish of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee.
The Channel Cat is popular for food. Therefore, there has been a rapid expansion of aquaculture of the species in the United States. Cavity nesters laying eggs in crevices, hollows, or debris to protect them from swift currents.
Have a keen sense of smell and taste. With taste buds distributed over the surface of their entire bodies and their nostrils. Further, the fish has four pairs of barbels surrounding the mouth allowing the catfish to find food in dark, stained or muddy water with relative ease.
Generally, are omnivores and feed on a variety of natural and prepared baits including crickets, nightcrawlers, minnows, shad, freshwater drum, crawfish, frogs, bullheads, sunfish, chicken livers and suckers. While they are even known to take Ivory soap as bait and even raw steak.
Meanwhile, popular fishing methods include juglines, trotlines, limb lines and bank lines in addition to the traditional rod-and-reel fishing techniques. While another method of fishing for the catfish includes noodling or hand fishing.
Channel Catfish may be found throughout Inks Lake especially when fishing with stinkbaits and cutbaits.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Channel Catfish.
The Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) also known as the Mudcat or Shovelhead Cat is the second largest species of North American freshwater catfish, reaching lengths of up to 61 inches and weighing around 123 pounds. While the maximum lifespan is 24 years.
Generally, voracious carnivores feeding on fish, insects, annelid worms, and crustaceans. However, they also feed on almost anything that moves and makes vibration.
Generally, spawning occurs in late June and early July. Furthermore, sport fishing for the mudcat is either by rod-and-reel, limb lines or noodling. With the common elements for the location of flatheads seek submerged wood cover such as logs and roots especially at bends in rivers.
Furthermore, a good spot for flathead include an area which is relatively deep with moderate currents with access to plentiful bait fish such as carp, drum, panfish or suckers.
Meanwhile, ideal bait would include river herring, shad, sunfish, bluegill, suckers, carp, goldfish, drum, and bullheads. Furthermore, the current world record is 123 pound 9 ounces.
Flathead Catfish may be found throughout Inks Lake on various baits including Stinkbaits and Cutbaits. However, larger specimens prefer live bait.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Flathead Catfish.
The White Bass (Morone chrysops) is a freshwater fish in the Moronidae family of temperate basses. While the state fish of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, other names include the Silver Bass or Sand Bass.
Further, the fish is silver white to pale green in color. While, the back is dark, and the sides and belly are white with narrow dark stripes running lengthwise on the sides.
Furthermore, has large rough scales and two dorsal fins. While the more anterior dorsal fin is much harder and appears to have spines on them. Meanwhile, the more posterior dorsal fin is much softer.
While the body is deep and laterally compressed. Moreover, the bass tends to grow to 10 – 12 inches but may reach up to 17 inches in length.
Furthermore, as the vertebrae do not extend into the tail, the white bass has a homocercal tail. While the dorsal and ventral portion of the tail angle inward toward a point, creating a clear angle. Furthermore, has a notched tail.
While a carnivorous fish eating calanoida, cyclopoida, daphnia and leptodora. However, when not frightened, they will easily bite at live bait such as worms and minnows. While larger fish may feed on other fish.
Generally, spawning occurs from mid-March to late May. Furthermore, young fish live in the shallows as adults move to deeper waters. Generally, the current world record on fishing tackle for the White Bass is 6 pounds 13 ounces.
White Bass in Inks Lake congregate in the upper end of the reservoir from February for spawning and anglers often catch them using twister tail jigs, small hair jigs, small crankbaits and small topwater lures.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the White Bass.
The Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) is an anadromous perciform fish in the Moronidae family. Primarily found along the Atlantic coast of North America though widely introduced into inland recreational fisheries across the United States.
Other names for the fish include Atlantic Striped Bass, Striper, Linesider, Rock or Rockfish. Meanwhile, the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. As well as the state saltwater fishes of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire. Travel and spawn up most rivers in the coastal North East.
They have streamlined, silvery body marking with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. Generally, grow to between 20 to 40 pounds. With record weights of 124 pounds. Further, these fish live up to 30 years.
Stripe bass spawn in freshwater. While adults spend their lives in saltwater. However, there are some specimens that have had to adapt to landlocked lives. The Stripe Bass has significant value for sport fishing and have been introduced to many waterways.
Some angling methods include trolling, surf casting with topwater lures and bait casting with live and dead bait. These baits include bunker, clams, eels, sandworms, herring, bloodworms, mackerel, shad, bluegills, worms, crayfish, bucktail jigs, silver spoons and sassy shad baits.
Striped bass have a white meat with a mild flavor and a medium texture. While being extremely versatile in that it can be pan-seared, grilled, steamed, poached, roasted, broiled, sautéed, or deep fried. The current world record for Striped Bass is 81 pounds 14 ounces.
Some specimens of Striped Bass occur in Inks Lake making for fair fishing using worms, bucktail jigs and crawfish.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Striped Bass.
The Crappie is a freshwater fish in the Pomoxis genus. A North American fish in the sunfish or Centrarchidae family. A species of popular pan fish. Other names for Crappie include Papermouths, Strawberry Bass, Speckled Bass, Speckled Perch, Crappie Bass or Calico Bass.
Further, the crappie is divided into the White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis) and the Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus). Both species feed predominately on small fish including the Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Walleye and Crappies. While, farther feeding on zooplankton, insects, and crustaceans.
They are less active during the day and will concentrate around weed beds or submerged objects such as logs and boulders. Meanwhile, they feed during dawn and dusk, moving in open waters, or approaching the shore. Considered among the best tasting freshwater fish due to their diverse diets.
While, crappie can be caught on many different lures and baits including light jigs, plastic jigs, lead jig heads, crankbaits, trolling with live minnows and small spinnerbaits. As well as spider rigging. While some anglers even chum or dump live bait into the water to attract the fish to bite their bait.
Generally, crappie is targeted and caught during the spawning period from May to June. The current world record for black crappie is 5 pounds and for white crappie is 5.2 pounds. Crappie in Inks Lake are generally caught using live bait such as minnows.
However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Crappie.
Inks Lake Alligator and Alligator Safety
Inks Lake is a water source within Texas. As we are aware, there are alligators in Texas. Let us not fret over whether there are or are not alligators. Rather, take necessary precautions and always be on the lookout. Alligator safety does not take much time and it may save your life or the life of someone else around you.
Should you detect an alligator, regardless of size, do not feed them to allow them to get food as they will become a problem to everybody. Alligator safety is covered in our article Alligator Safety, but here is a quick breakdown.
If the gator hisses, you are too close, move away! In encounters, back away slowly.
Report the alligator to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Do not attempt to remove it.
If you have a pet with you, place it on a leash and keep it under control.
Do not swim in the water where there are alligators.
Killing or harassing or attempting to move an alligator is prohibited by state law.
In short, Inks Lake offers plenty of fishing opportunities, swimming, jet skiing, boating, camping, and picnicking. Has a fluctuation of about a foot per annum with clear to slightly stained water. Constructed on the Colorado river to provide flood control and provide hydroelectric power.
No significant aquatic vegetation occurs but a variety of cover and structure exists ranging from rock piles, ledges, rock banks, brush piles, gravel beds and fishing piers. Should you have any queries or need information feel free to contact the Lower Colorado River Authority on (512) 473-3200 or 1(800) 776-5272. However, should you wish to make reservations for camping, contact Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on (512) 793-2223.