Perhaps the most popular of the Highland Lakes for both water sports and fishing is Lake LBJ. Its 6,449 acres of water surface make it perfect for motor and sail boats, skiing and fishing.Lake LBJ begins in Kingsland and travels along the Colorado River footprint for 21 miles to Horseshoe Bay. It was originally named Lake Granite Shoals when it was first formed by Wirtz Damn in 1951. It was renamed in 1965 in honor of President Lyndon Baines Johnson because of his work building the dams to bring electricity to the Hill Country.
Operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority, Lake LBJ is a constant-level lake with a maximum depth of 90 feet. It is occasionally lowered for dam and dock repairs or to prepare for flood waters from upstream.
The dam that formed it was built to generate electricity. The lake itself serves as a reservoir and to provide cooling water for LCRA’s Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in Horseshoe Bay. Some of the best fishing in the lake, in fact, happens right around the plant’s warm-water discharge.
LCRA keeps the lake stocked with largemouth bass, white bass, crappie (pronounced croppy) and catfish.
The best time for fishing white bass are when they begin their annual runs up the Llano River from February to May.
The crappie fishing in Lake LBJ is the best of any of the Highland Lakes chain, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s fishing report webpage.
According to TPWD, largemouth bass fishing is best in the fall and spring months. Fish shallow waters with lures for best results.
Lake access for boaters is easy with two main public boat ramps in Cottonwood Shores and Kingsland along with several small public ramps in Granite Shoals.
The Wirtz Dam/Cottonwood Ramp is located on the south shore near the dam. From Marble Falls, take FM 2147 to the sign on the right. It’s a one-lane concrete ramp open year-round. Launching from the ramp is free.
Kingsland Community Park (formerly Kingsland Lions Park) charges a fee to launch from the ramp on the Llano River arm — the north side of the lake. Also a one-lane concrete ramp, this one is day use only, year-round.
Boat or no-boat, Kingsland Community Park is a great place to splash down in Lake LBJ!