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Sailing on Canyon Lake in Texas – Fishing and Navigating Guide

What are the codes and regulations of Sailing on Canyon Lake? What are the most essential items to have onboard? When is the best time to visit and sail on the lake? And how one can access to the lake via a PWC? All—and even more—answered here!

Sailing on Canyon Lake in Texas – Fishing and Navigating Guide

Sailing on Canyon Lake in Texas – Fishing and Navigating Guide

Located in the north of New Braunfels, this is one of the well-liked reservoirs in Texas. Thanks to its clean, deep water, sailing on Canyon Lake is now a trendy on-water activity for locals and visitors.

So, the Sailingyes team decided to roll up the sleeves and provide you with the ultimate guide on angling and sailing on Canyon Lake. Below you’ll find out what are the codes and regulations, what are the best seasons for on-water doings, and how one can enter the lake with a PWC.

It’s not a large reservoir, but having several coves, and being inviting for different water goings-on has made it one of the top choices in The Lone Star State.

Things to Know Before Heading Out (Codes and Regulations)

Boater Safety License

  • Boater Safety License

Anyone born after August 31, 1993, must own a valid boater safety pass. This is an obligatory condition and includes all the operators of 15-feet and larger vessels. Plus, the rule applies to all skippers of the windblown vessel over 14 feet and all the PWC captains.

Vessels with an uncertified skipper have no right to navigate on Canyon Lake. And the Coast Guard officers can apply punishments encountering such crafts. The captain or the overseer of such a boat will face penalties.

  • PWC Age Requirements

Operators who’re are 12 years old or younger cannot be on the deck by themselves. In this case, it’s compulsory to have a certified adult (18 or older) onboard. There’s no exception to this rule and the charges will be triggered at the titleholder of the vessel.

If the skipper is 13-17 years old, the presence of an adult is only obligatory when they’re uncertified. That said, a 13-17-year-old boat operator who has a TPWD-approved pass can be on the water all by themselves.

People who’re not exempt from this regulation must carry their licenses all the time. Coast Guard officers can randomly inspect the commuting crafts asking for documentation. So, captains who refuse to show their boater safety license will face a penalty—regardless of the reason.

  • Exempt Boaters

In case you’re boating on private waters, having a pass is unnecessary. Plus, age requirements do not apply on such occasion and the captain can be of any age. But you’re better off without letting teen-agers skipper on their own.

If there’s an 18+ TPWD-approved license owner on the deck, the skipper is not required to be a certified person. The operator can be of any age as long as accompanied by a qualified adult.

Non-natives operators who have a safety pass issued in another city are exempt from this rule. However, they must own a pass that is approved by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Otherwise, the navigator is technically an uncertified person on the Texas waters.

  • Texas Certificate of Number

Crafts larger than 13 feet and those who’ll navigate on Texas public waters for more than 90 days must be registered. The owner/skipper should carry a copy of this registration card while navigating on Canyon Lake.

Non-motorized crafts (e.g. canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rubber rafts) do not need registration.

  • Necessary Pieces of Equipment

Every one sailing on Canyon Lake must wear a PFD. This is an obligatory condition with people of all ages. The only exception is that minors (under 13) can take it off while the vessel is not navigating.

Moreover, all the crafts navigating on the lake must carry safety tools and pieces of equipment. Below you can find a list of musts for PWCs and 16- to 26-feet boats.

Texas Required Equipment PWC Boats Less Than 16 Ft. Boats 16 Ft. to Less Than 26 Ft.
Boater Education Certification Card and
Photographic Identification on Board
✓1 ✓1 ✓1
Certificate of Number on Board
Validation Decals Displayed
PFDs: Type I, II, III, or V ✓2 ✓3 ✓3
PFD: Type IV
Type B-I Fire Extinguisher 1 B-I 1 B-I 2 B-I or 1 B-II
Engine Cut-Off Switch
Backfire Flame Arrestor
Ventilation System
Muffler
Horn, Whistle, or Bell
Daytime Visual Distress Signals ✓5
Nighttime Visual Distress Signals 6 ✓5 ✓5
Navigation Lights 6

 

  • Zebra Mussel Alert

According to the official website of TPWD, “to prevent the spread of zebra mussels, the law requires draining of water from boats and onboard receptacles when leaving or approaching public fresh waters.”

Zebra mussel is an exotic aquatic species that can harm the ecosystem of TX. So, anyone transporting them to the area will face penalties immediately. Right now, all vessels entering the Canyon Lake must be drained of water. This will help to prevent the growth of such species in the district and save the wildlife.

On-Water Activities

On-Water Activities

  • Tubing: it’s a popular activity as there are several spots on the lake when you can tube. There are also a handful of stores in the area offering rental tubes. So, you don’t have to bring yours.
  • Fly Fishing: guides are willing to take you out on the water and teach you how to fly fish. It’s a technique through which an angler utilizes artificial bait (i.e. flies) to catch fish.
  • Swimming: the water is always great for swimming and you can jump in it whenever/wherever you want.
  • Boating and Sailing on Canyon Lake: navigating on the calm waters of this lake is a must-experience. Each year, lots of tourist sailors come to skipper their vessel here. However, you can always rent a vessel for a fair price and start a solo journey too.
  • Watersports: kayaking, paddleboarding, foiling, and wake skiing are among the trendiest on-water sports.

Best Season for Sailing on Canyon Lake (Regarding Weather Conditions)

late May to mid-September is the best period for sailing. The average temperature during these months is approximately 90°F which is great for navigating a vessel daytime.

If you want to sail on a clear day, opt to visit this lake from May 5 to July 7. This is when the cloud coverage is only 40% (approximately) and the sky is all clear 72% of the time.

The clear sky in Canyon Lake lasts for 2.1 months each year. So, sailing after July 7 is not recommended to boaters who like to avoid cloudy weather conditions and rain.

July and August are the driest months of the year. So, if rain is a concern, opt to sail on Canyon Lake from Jul to Aug.

In case your priority is to enjoy daytime cruising, June is the best bet. You get to have the longest days during this month, 14+ hours! November and December are the worst months for sailing on Canyon Lake regarding daylight average. There are only 10 hours of sunlight per day in these months.

Some believe that this district has muggy (i.e. dry and humid) climate. And that’s not totally wrong. However, during late May to mid-September, the meteorological conditions become comfortable. According to Weather Spark, this period scores 81 out of 100 (with 100 being the most comfortable situation).

The average wind speed in this area is 9.4 mph. But if you feel like more wind power means better sailing, visit the lake in March where the airstream speed is above 10 mph.

Note: the best time for kayaking on the lake starts in July and ends in early September. That is so because the precipitation in this period drops to 1.3 inches on average.

Best Fishing Season

Best Fishing Season

There are several fish types stocked in the lake. So, it’s best to define the best angling season specifically for each of them. Below you can find practical information on what are the best seasons for fishing the 3 most popular species in Canyon Lake, TX.

Largemouth bass: September to 1 to May 31 is the most excellent time to angle this fish. However, the chances are too small to catch a satisfying amount during summer. So, plan your angling through fall, winter, and/or spring for the finest results.

White and Striped Bass: June 1 to August 31 is the preeminent period to catch these fishes. They are more active during summer and that makes you track the schooling before angling. But no worries; you can effortlessly find a scholar of fish in the area at this point of the year.

Some professional anglers manage to catch White and Striped Bass even when the summer is over. But the chances decrease largely after the early fall.

Note: White bass spawning migrations occur from February through April.

The Most Common Fish Types in the Area

Fish Type Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth Bass

 

Smallmouth Bass

 

Catfish

 

White & Striped Bass

 

Sunfish

 

Where to Find Shoals of Fish

There are roughly 44 fish attractors installed in the Canyon Lake. These structures are made of harmless materials such as wood, and their main purpose is to create a shelter-like construction for the fish.

However, anglers can utilize the locations of these attractors to track the scholars of fish and catch them effortlessly. Below you can find 10 most used fish attractors list. (Use your GPS to locate these places).

Latitude Longitude Description
29°51.697′ -98°13.027′ The mouth of Turkey Cove on east main lake points along with the river channel drop.
29°52.762′ -98°13.514′ End of west Jacobs Creek main-lake point.
29°52.762′ -98°13.514′ End of west Jacobs Creek main-lake point.
29°53.020′ -98°14.797′ On edge of hump extending from main lake point near Tom Creek.
29°54.571′ -98°14.239′ End of extended point west of Canyon Park area near drop off.
29°53.974′ -98°15.828′ River channel edge, east of Potters Creek.
29°54.246′ -98°17.323′ Along ledge between Cranes Mill Park and water pipelines.
29°53.492′ -98°17.690′ Cranes Mill fishing pier. Along the northern edge of the pier and in the middle pier hole.
29°54.033′ -98°15.873′ Along ledge on the east side of Potters Creek Park.
29°51.835′ -98°11.844′ Southeast corner of the dam.

 

Tips on Angling

Tips on Angling

If your angling Largemouth Bass in the early morning or evening, utilizing topwater baits such as Buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, and Pop-R’s. Remember that topwater activities are almost constant on cloudy days. So, plan the catch accordingly.

Fishing Bass along with the main-lake points, rocky shorelines, and flooded timber requires Crankbaits. They are available at all angling supply stores around the lake.

You can employ plastic baits too. The most common plastic baits are worms, spider grubs, grubs, and soft-jerk baits.

Anglers on Canyon Lake usually use topwater baits, jigging spoons, grubs, and rattletraps for catching White and Striped Bass. However, the most excellent method for fishing these kinds is trolling with in-line spinners and crankbaits and vertically jigging white bucktail jigs.

Bear in mind that the migrations of White Bass occur from February through April. During this period, you can find them at the river fraction of the lake. It’s best to employ tools like small in-line spinners, small jigs, jigging spoons, small crankbaits, and live bait presentations to catch them at this period.

Determining the finest strategy for angling catfishes depends on its type. Right now, there are three species of this water creature living in the lake, channel, blue, and flathead catfish.

In case you’re going to fish channel and/or blue catfish, using stink bait and cut bait will result in a satisfying catch. But flatheads like live baits better, and you’re better off without plastic baits when going for them.

Canyon Lake’s Marinas

Canyon Lake’s Marinas

  • Cranes Mill Marina

This place offers boats, pontoons, and wave runners for rental at a fair price. But boaters like it due to their large, wide boat launching ramp. Some other stuff you must expect to get at this marina is in water, covered storage, and fuel.

Their location is 16440 Cranes Mill Rd, 78133. And they operate from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. every day.

  • Canyon Lake Marina

Most people who’re sailing on Canyon Lake stop by this marina to grab something to eat at The Baja BBQ and refill their tank. There’s a fuel station in the area and you can park your vessel/vehicle here while going for shopping.

The good news is that they just updated all their slips; plus, the gas is reasonably priced! You can find this marina at 280 Marina Drive, Canyon Lake, TX 78133. (They are open from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. But you’re better off without visiting it from 2-4 P.M. as it gets crowded).

Accessing the Lake via PWC

Here’s a list of access points on the lake for those who’d like to enter the lake via their personal watercraft.

Note: all the access points operate free year-round. (B6 & C1 have their specific schedule).

A1: Rebecca Creek

  • Northside of the lake in Rebecca Creek
  • Has a 1-lane boat ramp (available space for 8 crafts)

A2: Potter’s Creek Park, West Ramp

  • Northside of the lake approximately 10 mi. west of Canyon City
  • A 2-lane boat ramp (available room for 30 crafts)

A3: Potter’s Creek Park, Main Ramp

  • Northside of the lake off FM 306. (10 mi. west of Canyon City)
  • 2-lane ramp (30 vessels at most)

A4: County Ramp 23

  • Northside of the lake off FM 306
  • 3-lane ramp. Available space for 40 crafts and 30 trailers.

B1: Cranes Mill Park

  • Southside of the lake (FM 2673)
  • 2-lane ramp. (Enough space for 45 crafts)

B2: Cranes Mill Marina

  • Southside of the lake
  • 2-lane ramp. Capable of having 25 boats

B3: Tom Creek 2

  • Southside of the lake in Tom Creek
  • 2-lane boat ramp. (Capacity: 13 max.)

B4: Tom Creek 1

  • Southside of the lake
  • 2-lane boat ramp (max. 16)

B5: Comal Park 1

  • Southside of the lake in Comal Park
  • 2-lane boat ramp (max. 16)

B6: Comal Park 2

  • Southside of the lake in Comal Park
  • 2-lane ramp (max. 56)
  • Operating from March 1st to September 30th

C1: Canyon Park

  • Northside of the lake (5 mi. north of Canyon City).
  • 3-lane ram (max. 100)
  • Operating from April 1st to September 30th

C2: Jacob’s Creek Park 1

  • Northside of the lake, 2 mi. west of Canyon City (FM 306)
  • 4-lane ramp (max. 45)

C3: Jacob’s Creek Park, North Ramp

  • Northside of the lake (2 mi. west of Canyon City)
  • 2-lane ramp (max. 55)

D1: Turkey Cove

  • Northside of the lake (2 mi. west of Canyon City)
  • 1-lane ramp (max. 22)

D2: Skyline Park/Canyon Dam

  • South of the dam off FM 2673 west of Sattler
  • 2-lane ramp (max. 22)

Reference (s):

Sailing Fundamentals

 

 

 

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