Medina Lake, TX Review: Sailing, Fishing, Recreation

Our Medina Lake Review will let you plan the best sailing trip possible. We’ve included everything you need to know about the sailing laws and regulations as well as a list of must-see places. So, read on and let us show you the district while you sit back and relax…

Medina Lake, TX Review: Sailing, Fishing, Recreation

Medina Lake, TX Review: Sailing, Fishing, Recreation

At Sailingyes, we care about the people who choose Texas for having fun! We do know that The Lone Star State is a potential recreation spot for most of the boaters in the USA. But having so many reservoirs has also made it a confusing location for the first-timers.

So, we provided a Medina Lake Review to reduce the confusion and lend a hand with knowing “what’s what.”

General Information

General Information

Full name: Medina Lake

Location: Bandera / Medina counties, Texas

Coordinates: 29°32′25″N 98°56′01″W

Purpose: providing irrigation water for local agricultural use

Water source: Medina River

Deepest part: 152 Feet

Current water level: 1,063.01 Feet MSL

2019 Maximum water level: 1,064.45 Feet MSL (January 18)

Surface area: 6,060 acres

Approximate coast length: 110 miles

Boating and Sailing Codes

Boating and Sailing Codes

Our Medina Lake review will help you get to know the area properly and plan your onboard trips. However, you will need something more than a review when it comes down to boating and sailing on Medina Lake.

You must be aware of the codes and regulations to make sure that your trip will be completely legal. So, to help you with that, there’s a list of all legal stuff a boater/sailor should know before heading out on the water.

  1. Equipment

According to the state regulations, anyone on the deck of a vessel must wear a PFD. The only exception to this law is that children younger than 13 may take the PFD off when the boat is not navigating.

Note that everyone older than 13 years of age cannot refuse to have a PFD—even if the craft is not navigating.

Plus, every 16-feet and larger vessels must carry a Type IV (throwable) PFD. However, kayaks and canoes are exempt from this rule—regardless of the craft size.

All the boats who will be navigating through the night must have:

  • Sidelights
  • Stern Light
  • Masthead Light
  • All-Round White Light
  1. License

The law urges everyone born on or after August 31, 1993, to have a TWPD-approved Boater Safety license. So, one of the musts for sailing on Medina Lake is getting such a license.

The rule applies to the skippers of over 14-feet windblown crafts, PWCs, and vessels over 15 hours of power.

However, those who will skipper on the private water, or are accompanied by a certified adult (18 and older) are exempt from this code. Plus, boaters who have a license issued in another state may skipper a craft in Texas as well. That said, they don’t have to retake any courses or get a new certification for sailing on Medina Lake.

  1. Skippering Age Limit

There is no age restriction for skippers in Medina Lake. Nevertheless, those who are 13 or younger are not allowed to navigate a vessel solo. The presence of a certified adult on the deck is compulsory when such a skipper is behind the helm.

In case the skipper is 13 or older, they can navigate a vessel solo only if they own a TWPD-approved Boater Safety license.

Note: if the adult on the deck is exempted from the license law, the current skipper (of any age) is exempted too.

  1. Vessel Size & Capacity

The size of a watercraft indicates the necessary equipment that must be carried. For instance, vessels larger than 16 feet should have a throwable PFD while the smaller crafts are excepted. So, you have to determine the length of your boat by measuring the distance between the bow and stern, or by checking the boat’s documentation.

Moreover, the overseer of a boat should be aware of its capacity. This is a number usually typed on a plate attached to the back end of the watercraft. Some capacity signs include the maximum number of passengers to have on the deck as well as the carriable weight.

Having excessive passengers or carrying extra weight is illegal on Medina Lake. And the overseer of such a boat will face punishment.

  1. Registration

Any craft that is navigating on Medina Lake must have a Texas Certificate of Number (aka registration card). This is a serial number that must be printed on both sides of the bow after being obtained.

However, the rule doesn’t apply to the sailboats under 14 feet and non-motorized vessels such as kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and rubber rafts. Added to that, any craft owning a TWPD-approved registration card of another state can navigate on Medina Lake—unless they will stay in the area for more than 90 days.

  1. Navigation Rules

All the navigating crafts on Medina Lake should follow the navigation rules. These are the set of regulations helping the skippers to understand what to do when encountering another watercraft.

There are two main principles to consider when it comes to the navigation rules. First, who’s the stand-on? And second, who’s the give-way? The former is a term that indicates the vessel which doesn’t need to change its course or speed during the encounter. The latter, however, indicates the opposite, meaning that such a watercraft must modify its course and speed to avoid a collision.

So, a sailor/boater must know the rules to determine what’s their vessel’s role in each encounter. Below you can find a guide to three main situations where you must either be the stand-on or become the give-way. (Bear in mind that the type of your watercraft can change your task enormously).

  • Meeting Head-On:

This is the situation where the bows of the two boats are meeting each other. In this case, if both are powered vessels, neither is allowed to be the stand-on. By contrast, the two of them must give way to the other by keeping right.

However, if the situation includes one powered boat and one sailboat, the latter is the stand-on. So, if a sailboat is in the same course with a powered craft, it doesn’t need to change its speed or course as the powered craft is the give-way.

  • Crossing Situations:

It’s a condition where one watercraft is going to cross through the current path of another craft from left or right. If the two of them are powered crafts, the one on the left side of the skipper is the give-way. However, if one of the crafts is a sailboat, the give-way is always the powerboat, regardless of the direction and position.

  • Overtaking:

It’s a situation where one vessel wants to pass the other from behind. In this case, regardless of the boat type, the one trying to overtake is the give-way.

Fishing on Medina Lake

Fishing on Medina Lake

The reservoir was developed to fulfill the need for irrigation water for local agriculture. However, thanks to stocking programs of TWPD, the lake is now one of the main attractions for fishers as well.

Right now, several fish types are living in the Medina Lake waters (see below). Catfish is the most popular one due to being one of the easy catches in the area. But you can find several other species in the lake for sure.

Angling Details and Tips

Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass are stocked in the lake.

The following table will show the likeliness of angling each species.

Species Poor  Fair  Good
Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
White Bass
Hybrid Striped Bass

Note: the information included in the table is according to the latest TWPD report.

Freshwater Bag and Length Limits

Excessive angling is prohibited in the Medina Lake. The Freshwater Bag and Length Limits helps the Texas Wildlife & Parks Department to control the fishing attempts in the area, preventing extreme activities.

According to this rule, each angler must catch a limited number of fishes each day. The restrictions are based on the type of fishes, and the fishers must check the limitations for each species separately.

The following table shows the maximum number of fishes one can carry on the Medina Lake.


Daily Bag Minimum Length
Largemouth Bass 5 fish (for any combination) 14 inches
Smallmouth Bass 5 14
Crappie 25 10
White Bass 25 10
Hybrid Striped Bass 5 18
Catfish 25 12


Places to Visit in Medina Lake District (Lake Hills)

Places to Visit in Medina Lake District (Lake Hills)

The Median Lake review would not be complete without introducing the must-see places. Below, therefore, you can find a list of the several main attractions in the area that would spice up your trip.

  • Bandera County Medina Lake Park

If head to 14444 PR 37, a beautiful waterfront park will be there for you. People opt to choose this place for kayaking, fishing, BBQ parties, and/or hiking. However, since the water is always crystal-clear, you can also add swimming to the available activities.

There are several portable bathrooms in the area for visitors. Plus, you can choose a shady spot in the picnic zone to spend the day near the lake.

The Parking lot is close to the waterfront space; so, don’t worry about your vehicle’s safety while your picnicking.

  • Medina Lake RV Campground

What you get in this campground is a large, level, solid surface, and private spaces in the Ram section. There’s also a community hall with activities and weekly potlucks for the guests.

All the amenities are to guarantee a satisfying stay for you. Having a laundry room, a putt-putt, and a playground in the site shows that the owners want to make you feel at home and have nothing but fun.

You can find them at 215 Spettle Rd, Lake Hills,

  • Paradise Canyon

We’re talking about a must-see in the heart of Rio Medina. It’s a spectacular spot where you can fish, sail, camp, and swim all year long. The entry fee is $40 per car but it’s worth it as you get a pleasing number of amenities.

They have a rustic lodge in a scenic canyon featuring a river and abundant wildlife. So, this is going to be all about nature.

The most well-liked activities are swimming, hiking, barbecuing, and lounging around. That’s why the owners have added some changing rooms and showers to the area. However, having pets and glass containers is not legal in this campsite to assure coziness for all the visitors.

Overnight camping is available, but you better stop by early to find a proper spot as it gets jam-packed soon. The best time to go to avoid crowdedness is on a regular weekend or during the week.

They are at 2220 Co Rd 2615, Rio Medina.

Top 4 Eateries/Restaurants in the Area

Top 4 Eateries/Restaurants in the Area

  • Red Cove Cafe & Marina

Located at 255 Co Rd 2611, Mico, it’s a multifunctional spot that has always find its way up into the Medina Lake reviews – in a positive way. Do you want to grab a burger before heading back into the water? Well, this is the best bet. Do you want to rent kayaks? Just let them know—their prices for renting such a craft starts at $5. But wait; you’d like to launch your vessel for a fair price? Again, this is the place!

They have a boat ramp (slipway) that opens at 7 A.M. and serves the boaters for $15. So, this is one of the most cost-effective locations to launch a vessel.

The food is also great and you get to have cheeseburgers, fries, and sodas for about $20 for 2 people! But the coffee is next in popularity as well. So, give it a try on a clean day because it would be an ultra-refreshing choice.

Bear in mind that pets are not allowed inside the café, but you can have them with you on the patio section.

  • The 4 Way Bar & Grill

Looking for a place to make new friends, play bar games, and grab a meal or drink? Just head to 9742 FM1283, Lake Hills, where the 4 Way Bar & Grill is located. They have an outdoor patio for those who’d like to eat in the open area. Bu their interior design is also a second of none when it comes down to the Texan atmosphere.

This eatery is known for having some of the best burgers, hot dogs, and grilled cheese in the district. So, it’s not surprising that it gets jam-packed in the drop of a hat every day—especially on the weekends.

There are pool tables for people who want to spice up their meals. Better yet, other games up in the back, big screens, and jukebox are accessible as well.

  • La Cabana Café

The good news is that everything you see on the menu is a fresh homemade dish. You must try the breakfast tacos, corn & flour tortillas, and—of course—Tex-Mex food.

They are at 9600 FM1283, Lake Hills.

  • Dancing Bear Cantina

It’s a low-key chilled out bar overlooking Medina Lake with not-fancy, just laid-back atmosphere. You get to order the most delicious Bear Burger and fried mushrooms here while being accompanied by the live music.

They are located at 7794 Co Rd 271, Mico.

Reference (s):

Sailing Fundamentals


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