‘We’ll take whatever the lake will give us.’ Lubbock area lakes come alive for fishing as the weather warms up

A 2023 catch at Lake Alan Henry, image courtesy of the Texas Sharelunker website

Queston Evans takes advantage of the local parks, fishing at Mackenzie Park and Mae Simmons “more than enough” throughout the weeks.

Evans targets catfish, using homemade “punch bait” to attract the fish.

“We’ll take whatever the lake will give us but normally catfish,” Evans said.

Lubbock recently restocked the ponds in the local parks with catfish, bass and crappies, he said.

“Make sure you have your license because they will come check you,” Evans said.

If you’re a novice at fishing, Ty Ladue, owner of Lubbock’s BaitKandy Bait Shop, suggests using live bait.

If you’re more experienced, he suggests lures, but there’s a learning curve to know what colors work best in dark Lubbock-area waters.

Ladue’s had the most success at Buffalo Springs, Mackenzie Park, Mae Simmons and Dunbar Lake.

It’s also important to learn how weather and wind can impact your success. As the weather warms, so do the temperatures of local lakes. It makes the fish more active and interested in things you drop below the water line.

Evans said, “They’re slow, and it is because it’s still kind of heating up here. We’re getting into the hot summer months … hopefully it’ll pick up, but we got us one today.”

“Come by and drop your hook in the water, see what you can catch,” he added.

What’s where?

Ladue offered advice on each of the surrounding lakes and what fish they produce.

  • Buffalo Springs offers striped bass, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and perch, he said.
  • Mackenzie Park is good for catfish along with some pretty good-sized crappie and decent-sized bass.
  • Mae Simmons is particularly good for catfish but not so much for bass.
  • The local playa lakes offer lots of perch and occasionally some bass.
  • Decent-sized catfish have been coming out of Lake Alan Henry along with a lot of big crappies and good-sized Persian Sunfish.
  • White River has big catfish, especially yellow cats that people are catching off the banks, Ladue said.

“All of them are very accessible, and they’re free except for Buffalo,” Ladue said.

Weather and fishing

Fishing in Lubbock depends on the weather – not just hot or cold but also the wind, Ladue said.

“Right about May and June, fishing gets really hot. And then you start slowing back down in November, December,” Ladue said.

“You have your cold-fishing guys out catching catfish and stuff, but there’s fishing year-round here. Lubbock’s weather is up and down. Look at the weather today and then Saturday. It’s totally something different,” he said.

The fish are biting the most early in the mornings and in the evenings when the water is cooler, especially in the summer months when the fish are in cooler deeper water, he said. In Lubbock, people are usually fishing for catfish, bass and crappie.


For beginners Ladue recommends live bait.

“If you’re a seasoned veteran … you’re going to do real well with lures, but trying to learn lures here is tough. I suggest you go out with somebody that knows how to use lures and colors because different lakes use different colors. Sun brightness has a lot to do with using colors and lures and stuff like that,” he said, adding people just need to keep trying.

Ty Ladue and his wife in Lubbock, Texas.
Ty Ladue and his wife, courtesy image.

“You’ll go through different colors and worms and flies and eventually you’ll start getting hits with that color, but that color might work today and not tomorrow in the same spot,” Ladue said.

For plastic lures, he recommends chartreuse, green, pumpkin, bright silver, white and fluorescent green lures due to how dark the water is in Lubbock.

When fishing for catfish, Ladue uses live shad and giant worms while setting up a big pole in the ground that’ll stay there until he gets a bite.

Ladue recommends beginners use push button rods while veterans would be best off using more expensive gear.

“I wouldn’t buy anything too expensive. Just in case you don’t like the sport, you don’t invest too much in it,” Ladue said. “What a lot of the bass anglers are using here, they’re using the bait casters.”

No structures

The biggest challenge for fishermen in Lubbock is the lack of structures in the water at local lakes, he said.

“Fish are going to migrate and live around structures, and here the bottom is flat everywhere. You got some deep areas, but if Lubbock had more stuff in the water, it would probably help with more reproduction of fish,” Ladue said.

Teaching anglers

For families, Ladue recommends Mackenzie Park and Dunbar Lake while he recommends Buffalo Springs Lake for avid fishermen looking to reel in big fish. Most of your boat fishing will take place at Buffalo Springs Lake or Lake Alan Henry, he said.

“Those are the guys that are going after the big giant bass, and they’re going after the striper. A lot are guides (who) take people out. So, they know where the fish are because they catch it and release,” Ladue said.

Ladue’s store, BaitKandy, is one of the only bait stores in Lubbock – selling live bait along with acting as a training site for amateur anglers.

“We teach probably 3,000 to 5,000 people a year to fish out of our tank here and our boat that we take into schools and hospitals and organizations. We fill that with fish and take it to the libraries and middle schools and let kids fish out of the boat who’ve never fished,” Ladue said.

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Author: Caleb Kostencki