Fishing and Boating

Pole in hand, a young man stands fishing on the bay.

Enjoy excellent fishing and crabbing along the Texas coastline with your free entry.  Or try your luck with freshwater fish on East Bay Bayou.

Some of the best wade fishing in Texas can be found on the refuge shorelines along East Galveston Bay. Whether you are wading or launching a boat, anglers looking for speckled trout, redfish and southern flounder can enjoy free access 24 hours a day on the refuge. Two boat ramps provide access to East Bay and Oyster Bayou. * Unless otherwise noted, boating is not permitted on inland waters of the refuge except for the boat canal at the Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp.*

Three fishing piers and a concrete bridge along the banks of East Bay Bayou at the Skillern Tract offer anglers without a boat an opportunity to catch freshwater species like crappie, large mouth bass, gar, bowfin, channel and blue catfish. Small, non-motorized boats may be launched along East Bay Bayou at the canoe launch at the Skillern Tract.

All boat motors greater than 25 HP and with more than a 9inch propeller, are prohibited.


We allow fishing and crabbing on designated areas of the refuge in accordance with State regulations subject to the following conditions:

1. We only allow fishing and crabbing with pole and line, rod and reel, or handheld line.  We prohibit the use of trotlines, set lines, jug lines, limb lines, bows and arrows, gigs, spears, and crab traps. Handheld line cannot be attached to any structure, vegetation, or other property not owned by the visitor.

2. We allow cast netting for baitfish for personal use along waterways in areas open to the public and along public roads.

3. We allow fishing and crabbing on shoreline areas on East Galveston Bay, along East Bay Bayou on the Skillern Tract, along West Line Road to the southern end of Shoveler Pond, along the canal from the Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp to the southwest corner of Shoveler Pond, and along the banks of Shoveler Pond.

4. We prohibit boats and other floatation devices on inland waters.  You may launch motorized boats in East Bay at the East Bay Boat Ramp on Westline Road and at the Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp (boat canal).  We prohibit the launching of airboats or personal watercraft on the refuge.  You may launch non-motorized boats only along East Bay Bayou and along the shoreline of East Galveston Bay.

5. We prohibit fishing from or mooring to water control structures.

6. Visitors must maintain a clean and neat area while on the refuge, trash must be kept inside trash receptacles or containers.




Learn about other fishing opportunities on your National Wildlife Refuges!