Texas Outland Fishing's owner and chief scout, Mike, boasts more than three decades of fishing experience, garnered in lakes, rivers, and streams around the world. He's hunted Alaskan king salmon on the Deshka River, pulled giant striper from the waters of Arkansas, and hooked saddam bass in Baghdad during his tours of duty overseas. One of his favorite fish to pursue, though, remains the Texas alligator gar. The giants can grow up to seven feet in length, weighing over 150 pounds and shopping only in the river's Big and Tall sections.?
Mike guides gar-seeking group excursions from afar, quietly stalking through the waters to spot the animals. He then contacts the guide and tour group, maneuvering them in boats to the best fishing spots along the bank. Visitors arrive, then cast their lines, setting their hands at the reel. Once a fish is hooked, the battle begins; should the angler win, he or she gets a photo and bragging rights, since Mike only runs catch-and-release boat trips. Of course, wrestling with such a fish isn't the only thing to enjoy on one of Mike's cruises: the Trinity River which he sails weaves through scenic landscape and one underwater gift shop stocked with souvenir muddy sticks.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Fishing trips for individuals or groups
Pro Tip: Weekday trips are more productive than weekend trips due to reduced boat traffic/fishing pressure.
Good for Kids: Yes
Largemouth and guadalupe bass fin through the Colorado River rapids while birds soar above river islands and swimmer-friendly sandbars. Moored in a nook along this artery, Texas native and outdoor enthusiast Danny Walker—known as “Pops”—and his son—“Dan the Man Omega Mega”—equip adventurers by renting regular, tandem, and fishing kayaks, as well as standup paddleboards, from MOC Kayaks. To elevate river adventures from Huck Finn–style floating to Rambo-style hunting, pros outfit customers with fishing poles and tackle, sending them off to catch some of the river's more than 20 varieties of perch. For those who'd rather drop their lines in stiller waters, MOC Kayaks takes paddlers to Lake Travis and Lake Austin, and those who seek coaching on how to catch finned bounty can take advantage of guided trips. Dedicated adventurers can also buy their own kayaks to craft custom adventures or to take home and paddle around neighbors' pools.
Ski Chalet proffers the latest in snow-slicing technology with professional in-shop services and top-flight gear. Prep your skis for mountain season with a thorough tune-up, which delights snow gliders with an indulgent stone grind, bevel, and hot-wax treatment before whispering inspirational quotes in their ears and sending them back to the slopes. Lift loafers can peruse skis, boots, bindings, and poles in the pro shop, or they can complete a preexisting mountain-defeating arsenal with protective wear like GoreTex-laced gloves ($64.95) or ear warmers ($30). Newer skiers can count on friendly, helpful service to pair them with appropriate equipment.
Fisherman's Corner outfits groups of anglers with the necessary accouterments before sending them out to two expansive on-site fishing ponds. The bait shop hawks an extensive line of lures, hand-tied flies, and waterproof neon signs proclaiming, "Catfish Eat for Free Today." Four sizes of minnows, seasonal crawfish, crickets, hybrid perch, and other varieties of live bait help tempt the most finicky of catfish palates ($2.50–$7). Lines cast out into two roughly 100'x250' ponds stocked with 5,000 pounds of farm-raised catfish, allowing groups to gather round and socialize or engage in a cross-pond staring contest.
Action Angler & Outdoor Center, a stream-side fly-fishing shop, offers access to a unique segment of the Guadalupe River, replete with trout, bass, and panfish, and reserved exclusively for fly-fishing. The shop's owner and TXPW-licensed lead guide, Chris Jackson, draws on his 30 years of fly-fishing experience, which began at age 12, when he caught his first trout on the fly in the Rio Grande's headwaters. Patrons can buy or rent equipment ranging from kayaks by makers such as Outcast and Diablo to rods, reels, and wading boots, ideal for jogging into the depths during races with your reflection. Once outfitted, visitors can strike out independently, or opt for guided floats and fly-fishing lessons on the Guadalupe. Guides can also chaperone full-day floats on the San Marcos River, Colorado River, and Lady Bird Lake.