Do you know what are the boating and fishing regulations at Lake Buchanan? Do you have information about the attraction of this district? What about the best sailing season in this district? Well, we do! This article will give you all the necessary information for sailing at Lake Buchanan.
Everything About Sailing at Lake Buchanan in Texas
- Boating and Sailing Regulations
- Lake Buchanan Sailing Weather Information
- Best Time to Sail
- Available On-Water Activities
- Fishing Rules
- Hunting Rules
- Boat Rental Stores, Fishing Guides, and Cruises
- Cabin Rental Providers
- Closest Recreation Areas
- Marinas at Lake Buchanan
- Nearby Coves
- Best Restaurants in the District
- Boat Repair Stores (Address & Phone Number)
- Supply & Provision Stores
- Annual Festivals and Events
Burnet is home to one of the most known lakes in Texas, Lake Buchanan. However, it’s unfortunate that there are not enough guides on sailing at Lake Buchanan. And this sometimes makes the first-timers quite confused about the rules, places to visit, things to do, etc.
So, as always, the Sailingyes is here to put an end to all that confusion and provide every sailor with a complete guide on sailing at Lake Buchanan. The following is a list containing every detail you need to know about this district before traveling.
Boating and Sailing Regulations
The TPWD (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department) urges every sailor/boater who is born after August 31, 1993, to have a boater safety license. This rule applies to those of this group willing to skipper a vessel over 15 horsepower, a windblown vessel over 14 feet, and/or a PWC.
Safety licenses issued by other states’ department-approved organizations are valid at Texas. So, you’re not forced to retake any courses before sailing at Lake Buchanan.
Skippering certifications are not essential if you’re going to navigate in a private reservoir. Furthermore, all the minor or adult skippers who are navigating in the presence of an exempted adult are not required to have any license.
Having a skipper on a PWC who’s 12 or younger requires the accompany of a certified adult, 18 or older. The presence of a licensed adult is compulsory only if the navigator is an uncertified 13-17 years old person.
What Are the Safety and Equipment Codes?
- Every person on the deck (including the Coastal Guard officers) must wear a PFD if the vessel is on the water. However, as an exception, children younger than 13 years of age can take PFDs off only if the craft is not navigating. (The penalty for violating this regulation is $25-500).
- Carrying safety equipment (e.g. extra PFDs, throw line, etc.) is compulsory. Coastal Guard officers are legally allowed to inspect the boats randomly and apply punishments if necessary.
- Every vessel must obey the Boat Navigation Rules.
Lake Buchanan Sailing Weather Information
Considering the annual precipitation rates, the best time to visit this district is from late May to mid-September. That’s mostly because the rainfall during this period drops to 1.2 inches on average. Plus, humidity scores 77 on a scale of 1 to 100—with the highest number being the most comfortable weather.
Since the mid-core temperature during these months is 90°F, hot-weather or summertime activities are recommended.
However, if recreational sailing on Lake Buchanan is your priority, manage to go on a trip in late May or June. That’s because you get to have the clearest sky during these months.
June also offers the longest daylight compared to all other months. You get 12 hours of sun presence during each day, which allows experiencing longer navigations. Moreover, it’s one of the windiest months of the year with the average wind speed of 10.0 miles per hour.
Best Time to Sail
June is the best sailing time at Lake Buchanan. That’s because it has one of the windiest weather conditions (10.0 MPH) while offering the longest daytime (12h), least rainfall (1.2 inches), and the most comfortable humidity level (77 out of 100).
Note: sailing at Lake Buchanan was not possible during 2012 due to a low water level. However, the current water level at this lake is 1,017.88 feet MSL, which is great for sailing year-round.
Available On-Water Activities
Fishing tops the activity list on Lake Buchanan as there are several fish types stocked by the TPWD—or are reproducing naturally. Catfish, White Bass, and Hybrid Striped Bass are the most plenteous fish types, whereas you may encounter Largemouth Bass and Crappie species as well.
Hunting, on the other hand, is the next in popularity. And boaters sometimes opt to brush up on their shooting skills in this district—but remember, hunting on the lake is illegal. There are many species available for hunters such as alligator, white-tailed deer, mule deer, exotics, feral hogs, javelina, and turkey.
Watersports are also a common choice in this area as you can go for jet skiing, kayaking, wakesurfing, and/or paddleboarding. Several rental stores can provide you with proper watersports’ equipment and craft. (Some of them are listed further).
- Anyone fishing in public waters of Texas must own a valid license. Exceptions are native and non-native fishers younger than 17 years old or older than 85, and people dealing with non-visible disabilities.
- According to the TPWD official website, Louisiana resident 65 years of age or older who possesses a valid Louisiana Recreational Fishing License and Oklahoma resident 65 years of age or older don’t need a fishing license as well.
- Having a certification, pass, or license is not compulsory when the anglers are on the private waters.
- 70 state parks offer free fishing in Texas. You are not supposed to own any pass to fish at these districts; however, you must follow all other fishing regulations, such as length and bag limits.
- Angling in public fresh waters requires an additional pass called the Freshwater Fishing Endorsement. Every angler who’s not exempt from owning a valid certification must have this one as well. However, the immunity of others applies to this rule too.
- The length and bag limits of Texas waters is an obligatory rule that restricts the amount of daily angling for each person. This rule proposes different boundaries for every fish type. (you can find the numbers on the table below).
- Frogs and turtles are animals; so, taking their lives require a hunting pass. (See below).
|Catfish||25 in any combination||12 inches|
|Hybrid Striped Bass||5||18|
- Every local or non-local person hunting in the area must possess a lawful permit. These animals, however, are exceptionally available for hunting with no need to permission:
- Cayotes (in case of a threat caused by them).
- Depredating feral hogs.
- Fur-bearing animals, if the hunter possesses a commercial trapper’s license.
- Depredating fur-bearing animals.
- Hunters born on or after September 2, 1971, must have a certification to prove that they have completed the Hunter Education Training Course.
- The youngest person who can legally take animals’ lives is 9 years old.
Places to Visit While Sailing at Lake Buchanan (Parks & Museums)
Black Rock Park
The entry fee is $5 (for a day-use pass). There are several picnic tables and grills in the area and regular maintenance is scheduled to keep it as clean as possible. Plus, you can have your dog(s) with you if it’s on a leash. People usually choose this place for camping, swimming, boating/sailing, kayaking, and/or paddleboarding.
The downside to residing in this park is that the camping area is too close to the road, making it a bit of a noisy place.
You can find this park at 3400 TX-261, Buchanan Dam, 78609. (Open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.).
Llano County Park
This place is an all-free park with a great boat ramp and an angler-friendly environment. If you don’t like fishing or boating, go either picnicking and hanging around—or maybe swimming.
However, bear in mind that the shoreline is full of rock piles; so, your vessel may get stuck during beaching.
“Overlooking the Colorado River and Buchanan Lake, this relaxed resort is 7 miles from Buchanan Dam and 14 miles from Inks Lake State Park.” This is the description provided by the officials of this park. But visitors believe having 5 rustic cabins with kitchens, patios, and BBQ is the most exciting aspect of this park.
There are also 2 boat launches in the area as well as a fish-cleaning station and boat storage. Plus, if you’re an RV owner, there’s a chance to rent an RV pad near your cabin or tent. (Pets are welcome for free).
Address: 8138 Ranch Rd 261, 78609.
This is a small area where you get to see a functioning lighthouse while swimming or fishing. People like this place as it’s not jam-packed during weekdays and weekends. Overall, it’s a quiet zone to relax, swim, and fish.
Find it at 201 Light House Dr, 78609.
Old Bluffton Ghost Town
This is not a tourist attraction to visit under normal circumstances as it is at the bottom of the lake! Yes, the Old Bluffton Ghost Town is a natural underwater museum that you can only see while diving.
If it was 2012, you could see the remains of an old town driving by the district as the water level was so low. However, it’s now fully under the water and not visible to the naked eye.
Fort Croghan Museum
In brief, it’s a free-to-visit gallery of the remains of a frontier fortress. It features original buildings including a hospital, huts & sheds. Moreover, there are some historic cabins and farm equipment available for the visitors/tourists as well as artifacts and photos. (This is where several civil war generals were stationed).
Location: 703 Buchanan Dr, 78611.
Highland Lakes Squadron- Commemorative Air Force
They have created a collection of World War Two memorabilia, including uniforms and radios and weapons. This is where you and your kids can find lots of pictures and stories to learn from.
Bear in mind that it’s only open during Saturday (10 A.M. to 4 P.M.), Sunday (1-4 P.M.), and Wednesday (1-4 P.M.).
Address: 2402 S Water St, 78611.
Hill Country Motorheads Motorcycle Museum
It’s a classic off-road bike museum, including informative displays on the innovations that debuted on each model. Plus, it has rider displays, showing how riders did on some models. You can either watch Classic cruisers and choppers or bikes from the ’60s and ’70s. And better yet, It’s only 14 min (11.0 miles) away from the Lake Buchanan.
The museum is not open on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays of each week. But accepts guests on other days from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Find them at 2001 W State Hwy 29, 78611.
Austin Steam Train: Burnet Depot
Every Saturday the train comes to Burnet, TX for a few hours so the tourists can browse & shop the downtown area. Summer schedules are expanded so check their website for more current information. The station is just south of the HEB grocery chain. Some restaurants may have shuttle service from the station but everything is close.
Location: 401 E Jackson St, 78611.
Boat Rental Stores, Fishing Guides, and Cruises
Splash Boat Rentals
This store is known for its satisfying customer services. They can deliver the boat(s) to and pick them up from your private dock. Plus, they offer 10% off for active-duty military. And it’s just 18 minutes away from the lake. So, you can effortlessly rent a jet ski, ski boat, etc. in-person.
Address: 1924 Ranch Rd 1431, Kingsland, 78639. (Open 9 AM–6 PM).
Wave Chasers Boat Rentals
Pontoons, Sea-Doo, and other types of vessels are available at this store. They serve the customers from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. But you better off without the last-minute reservations as they may run out of crafts for the day.
Find them at their current location: 1006 Ranch Rd 1431, Kingsland, 78639.
Vanishing Texas River Cruise
In case you’d like to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the scenery, this is the best bet. Vanishing offers a tour that would take you all around the place and satisfy your desire to go sailing at Lake Buchanan.
The guides will tell you stories, anecdotes and create an overall educational experience comparable to a summertime talk with the Dad who knows everything! There are enclosed cabins with a/c systems as well as accessories, tables & chairs, bathrooms, and drink services.
The upper deck is covered but open on all sides; so, you will be able to observe the landscapes easily and take pictures.
Location: 443 Waterway Ln, 78611. (Reservation time 9 AM–8 PM, weekdays).
Empty Pockets Fishing Guide Service
Being one of the most known fishing guides in the area, Empty Pockets has always been a go-to. However, this fame has led to some issues such as people faking their services and charge customers online with no service in return.
So, bear in mind that Capt. Jackie (i.e. the owner) and his team do NOT take online payments or scheduling and never have. Only book a guide through phone calls, and don’t pay in advance.
Their current location: 109 S Chaparral, Burnet, TX 78611. (Open from 6 A.M. to 7 P.M.).
Alexander Boat Dock
Cabins with 2 separate bedrooms, full kitchen, bathrooms with showers, and BBQ grills near the lake are what this dock offers you. Plus, there are picnic tables in the district so that families with or without pets are always welcome.
Fishing, however, is the most popular on-water activity at this dock. So, it’s a good place to beach your vessel and get some rest, maybe fish a bit, and ready yourself for another day of sailing at Lake Buchanan.
Address: 251 Alexander Dr, Tow, 78672.
Cabin Rental Providers
Willow Point Resort
They have cabins that are on the water with panoramic views! This is the best resort for boaters or sailors who want to spend the night off the boat. It’s also a great place for those who don’t own a vessel as there’s a boat ride available for the guests.
Moreover, you can also opt to enjoy other on-water activities such as kayaking, jet-skiing, canoeing, and/or just sitting by the campfires.
Location: 427 Ellison, 78609. (Open from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.).
Cedar Lodge Texas
A game room is there to fulfill your kids’ “playing” needs as you’re getting some rest after sailing at Lake Buchanan. It’s a quiet place where you can rent a cabin very close to the water and enjoy the rest of your trip while fishing and/or swimming. There’s also a boat ride service for residents and guests.
Find them at 1400 Ranch Road 261, 78609.
Black Rock Cottages
The owner says “Leafy property offering humble cabins with kitchens, plus lake views & a fish cleaning station.” So, we recommend you to add residing in one of their cabins to your to-do list as they just rock!
Closest Recreation Areas
Buchanan Community Center
It’s not a fancy district as you only get several tables and chairs near the water. However, the main draw of this place is the landscape. It’s a great destination to arrange a meeting, hang out with friends, or have a date.
Location: 2395 Ranch Road 261, 78609.
Some spots here are right on the water. Plus, you can rent paddle boats and canoes to have your own on-water fun. They also have a nice swimming pool near the rental cabins. But the main downside to this recreation area is that you can’t have your dog with you.
Address: 400 Emerald Cir, 78609.
Cedar Point Recreational Area
A 24/7 active zone offering great views, boat ramp, and plenty of fishing spots. There are also some spots for a tent with fire rings and grills for those campers who’ve been sailing at Lake Buchanan or hiking the nearby parks.
Moreover, it’s a first-come-gets area; so, you may not be able to reserve a spot. (It’s not an RV-friendly area as there’s only one spot available).
Location: Peninsula Tow, 78672.
You can its vicinity upriver and down and swim in its waters whenever you want. It’s a geological anomaly with some pink granite that is formed million years ago. Then thousands of years ago, water started flowing over it, slowly eroding the hard granite down to the eddies and rivulets that is its current state making for some of the greatest body surfing ever.
There’s also a cool pool right before a gradual with strong white water that’s a favorite. However, if you’re planning to go on the weekends, think again. This place gets really packed during Saturdays and Sundays each week and you may not be able to find a parking spot.
Things to know before visiting The Slab:
- Wears sunscreen.
- Wear PFDs—especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Address: 7300 River Oaks Dr, Kingsland, TX 78639.
Marinas at Lake Buchanan
“Set on the shore of Buchanan Lake, this rural property is 15 miles from Inks Lake State Park and 8 miles from Chimney Slough.” They have cabins with full amenities as well as other facilities such as a playground, pool, and boat dock.
Fishing, hiking, and sailing/boating are the trendiest doings here. (You can rent a pontoon boat or bring your own vessel).
Location: 200 Greenwood Hills Trail, 78611.
Hi-Line Lake Resort
They have one main dining room, several cabins, and a handful of camping lots. It’s a good place for angling and morning logging as the landscape is beautiful and the area is quiet most of the time.
Hi-Line Resort also offers a cheap-but-delicious breakfast menu at the grill. Plus, they want you to feel free utilizing the nearby pool, which is open until 10 P.M.
Find them at 2421 Ranch Rd 3014, Tow, 78672.
Looking for a place where you can beach your craft after sailing at Lake Buchannan and go fishing? Then these coves are the best bet for you. On each of the locations, you get to have access to the land while still being close enough to all the school of fish around.
Some of these resorts also have rental rooms/cabins and camping lots so that you don’t have to spend the night on-water.
- Jackers Cove
- Wirth Haven Cove
- Cottonwood Cove
- Cedar Lodge Texas
- Log Country Cove
Best Restaurants in the District
With the newly extended menu, Dam Grill is the second of none at Burnet. They have a great drink and solo dining services. comfort food, kids’ menu, quick bite, small plates are all obtainable and opt to utilize their takeaway service.
Their current address: 16082 TX-29, Buchanan Dam, 78609. (Closed on Mondays but open 7:30 AM–2 PM all other days).
The Old Drive-in
A casual eatery for those who don’t want to waste their time sitting in a restaurant eating. This drive-in eatery would provide you with a satisfying meal before getting back on the deck and sailing at Lake Buchanan.
Address: 220 Ranch Rd 261, Buchanan Dam, 78609.
Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub
You may not think about the world of pub food. But you’ll change your mind after trying Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub Cheeseburger, onion rings & grill chicken sandwich, or the ½ pounders and fries.
However, if you’re into bar games, or just want to grab a drink while watching some sports on TV, this is the best place to be. They have awesome drink service combined with live music and outdoor seating.
Meet them at 19605 TX-29, Buchanan Dam, 78609.
Alfredo’s Mexican Restaurant 2
They have an excellent traditional Tex-Mex comfort food at a reasonable price. Cheese Enchiladas are very good. And you must try guacamole and fresh salsa while you’re there. The best dessert at this eatery is Sopapias with cinnamon and honey provide. Overall, it’s an ideal place for families to spend some quality time and eat good food outdoors or indoors near the lake.
Current address: 4139 W, Ranch Rd 1431, Kingsland, 78639. (Closed on Sundays but serving the customers from 11 A.M. to 8:30 P.M.).
Boat Repair Stores (Address & Phone Number)
- Buchanan Boat Works
Location: 720 Old Spanish Trail, 78609.
Phone number: (512)-793-2987
- Anchors Aweigh Marine Services
Location: 9840 Ranch Rd 1431, Buchanan Dam, 78609.
Phone number: (512)-793-4197
Supply & Provision Stores
Re-provision is one of the most important tasks when sailing at Lake Buchanan. So, you must know what are the closest stores before heading out on the water. However, if you don’t want to face food- and drink-related problems, pack 20% more provision than you need.
That said, if you’re going to stay on-water for 10 days, it’s best to bring as much food and drink as you’d need in 12 days.
15355 E, TX-29, 78609. Open at 8 A.M. each day and closed after 9 P.M. This is a great choice when it comes down to re-provision.
J&S Food Mart
2045 Ranch Rd 261, 78609. Open at 6 A.M. and closed after 10 P.M.
Buchanan General Store
10240 TX-29, Burnet, 78611. Closed every Monday—working 9AM-5PM. It’s a general store where you can find everything from clothes to tools and pieces of equipment.
Annual Festivals and Events
Whipp Farm’s Burnet Gun Show
This show starts on Nov 30th and ends on Dec 1st, 2019. The Burnet Community Center which will be hosting the whole event and you can pay a visit on Saturday (from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.) and Sunday (from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.).
The entrée fee is $7 and kids younger than 15 are exempt. For any vendor who’s willing to use this event as an opportunity, each 8-feet tables are hirable for $65.
The Lake Buchanan/Inks Lake Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament
This may not be a related activity if your priority is sailing at Lake Buchanan. But since spending some time onshore would help you get rid of the navigating stress; this event might come in handy.
You can either sign up as a golf player (if you pay the $65 entrance fee) or join the game as a fan. Either way, you get to enjoy the amazing scenery and quietness of the landscape. Plus, it’s just 14.9 miles away from the lake; so, it’ll only take a 20-minute drive to visit them.
Their current location is 600 Delaware Springs Blvd., Burnet.