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Amistad Reservoir

Lake Characteristics

Location: On the Rio Grande, 12 miles northwest of Del Rio in Val Verde County
Surface area: 64,900 acres
Maximum depth: 217 feet
Impounded: 1969

Water Conditions

Current Lake Level (in meters)
Conservation Pool Elevation: 1117 ft. msl
Fluctuation: Depends on rainfall and downstream irrigation demands. Annual fluctuations can be 5-10 feet. Historical fluctuations have dropped lake as much as 50 feet below conservation pool.
Normal Clarity: Clear to slightly stained

Reservoir Controlling Authority

International Boundary & Water Commission
HCR #3, Box 37
Del Rio, Texas 78840
(830) 775-2437

Aquatic Vegetation

Coverage is dependent on water level. In 1999, a survey indicated approximately 1,000 acres of aquatic vegetation, primarily hydrilla.

Predominant Fish Species
  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Guadalupe bass
  • Catfish
  • White & striped bass


Lake Maps

A free map of the Amistad National Recreation ARea is available from the National Park Service's Amistad Visitor Information Center.

Fishing Regulations

On the Texas side of the lake, all species are managed under current statewide regulations. To fish Mexican waters, Mexico boat permits are required and everyone in the boat must have a Mexico Fishing License whether fishing or not.

Angling Opportunities

Largemouth bass are the most popular and most abundant sportfish in the reservoir. Channel and blue catfish are present in good numbers with an occasional flathead showing up. Striped bass are popular and sought by anglers due to their strong fighting characteristics and their potential for trophy sizes. Frequent stockings by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department maintain the striper population because they have not successfully reproduced in this reservoir. White bass provide popular seasonal fishing during spring spawning runs. Smallmouth bass are present; anglers report better success with this species in the Devils River arm of the lake.


Poor Fair Good Excellent

Largemouth Bass


Smallmouth Bass


Channel & Blue Catfish


White & Striped Bass


Fishing Cover/Structure

Amistad Reservoir is dominanted by rocky structure. The lake abounds in rock ledges, steep rocky drop offs and rocky points and shorelines. Additional structure is provided by isolated flooded timber. Periodically, flooded terrestrial vegetation (brush) provides important fish habitat following water level increases.

Tips & Tactics

Largemouth bass anglers are most successful during the fall, winter, and spring months. Topwater baits, buzzbaits and spinner baits work well in the early morning and late evening. Crankbaits can be effective along rocky shorelines, points and dropoffs. At midday many anglers turn to plastics such as Texas and Carolina rigged worms or grubs to effectively fish the deeper waters near vegetation or rocky structure. Catfish anglers can find channel and blue catfish throughout the lake. Stinkbait and cutbait work well for both species. Many anglers try to improve catch rates by "baiting" catfish holes with sour grain to attract the catfish. The best action for white bass is during the spring spawning runs. These occur from late January through March as whites migrate up rivers to spawn. Effective baits include rattle traps, jigging spoons and live bait such as minnows.


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