Lake Whitney on the Fly

| July 15, 2014

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I have been to Lake Whitney a very few times, but consider it to be one of the more dramatic looking lakes in Texas with it’s high cliffs – and giant homes falling off them into the lake. Once again, I digress …

The town of Whitney gets its name from a good old fashion industrialist; J.P. Morgan was a principal shareholder in the Houston & Texas railroad which was at the root of the founding of the town of Whitney, Texas. Morgan named the land purchased for the town after his brother-in-law Charles A. Whitney.


The history of the lake is interesting from an economic standpoint. When it was finally done, it spelled the end of the farming town and a reliance on a small ranching economy. That spelled downturn, and the population of Whitney declined precipitously.

The lake itself has been subject to more than its share of golden algae blooms in recent years, and that has had an effect on the quality of fishing and a serious impact on the quality of fishing below the dam where the Brazos River continues to wind its way through Texas.

I’ve fished below the dam when there was no signs of a bloom, and it is a fun experience with interesting access on both sides. As you look downriver it’s easy to imagine hopping in a kayak and just seeing where the current takes you. It was beautiful at that time. I haven’t had a look since the blooms took their toll on that part of the River though. I have been on the Lake post bloom, and the water looked pretty eery, and the fishing was extremely lame. The lake is held in pretty high regard for its striper population, and virtually all species found in Texas’ lakes are also represented at Lake Whitney. If you take a look at the stocking records for Lake Whitney, it’s easy to see just why they are known for striper action, but the stocking numbers are also pretty healthy for smallmouth bass as well. Now that IS interesting.

That’s not what this trip is about though. We were looking for buffalo and carp, and we had heard they were congregating on the rocky outcroppings, visible and in numbers.


The Lake appeared to have the bulge from the downpour at Granbury, Texas, last week (last week of June), completely absorbed — which is showing at something like a four foot rise in a few days. That means the fish are in an adjustment mode, and the habitat? Well this lake has been essentially flooded although it is still low. There are bushes, grasses and small trees – that had plenty of time to grow and spread during the extreme low water times – submerged to differing extremes. There is a lot of fine debris in the Lake everywhere, most of which probably was washed from the shore. If you’ve never seen a massive influx of water into a lake, like Whitney, you should take a look. There are places where you can easily kayak to and fly fish, but a boat is a huge bonus, and the possibilities are almost endless. It’s easy to imagine targeting smallmouth, striper, largemouth and the population of carp and buffalo. Although we didn’t see much of any one species, once the fish get equalized – new water temperatures and new water levels (deluging great habitat) – this Lake should be hot.

Stay tuned. I may just have to go back for a second helping of Lake Whitney sooner rather than later.

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Category: Adventure, Culture on the Skids, Fishing Reports, Flats Boats, North Texas, On The Road, TIPS

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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