Location: On the Leon River in Bell and
Coryell counties, 5 miles northwest of the City of Belton off
Surface area: 12,385 acres
Maximum depth: 124 feet
Current Lake Level
Conservation Pool Elevation: 594 ft. msl
Fluctuation: 3-5 feet
Normal Clarity: Moderate
Reservoir Controlling Authority
US Army Corps of Engineers
3740 FM 1670
Belton, Texas 76513
Very sparse buttonbush and cattail
Predominant Fish Species
Contact local tackle stores or marinas
All game fishes are currently managed under statewide regulations.
To prevent spread of invasive zebra mussels, anglers and boaters leaving this lake will need to empty all bait buckets, live wells, bilges, and any other receptacles, containers, or systems that could contain water in order to avoid spreading microscopic mussel larvae. The same restrictions apply to the Leon River below the dam, downstream to where it meets the Lampasas River. A person who travels on a public roadway via the most direct route to another access point located on the same body of water needn't drain water until leaving for a different water body or other destination. Boaters are also required by law to remove any visible mussels or exotic vegetation from boats, trailers and other equipment. For more details, see Possession and Transport of Exotic Aquatic Species.
Belton Lake is a popular lake for hybrid striped bass, and can also be a good largemouth bass lake at certain times of the year.
|Hybrid Striped Bass|
Most of the shoreline is very steep, rocky habitat. Majestic tall bluffs and long rocky points are most common, although sand and mud flats can be found up the Leon River and Cowhouse arms. The lake has little or no aquatic vegetation. Timber is also limited.
Largemouth bass fishing is at its best from late February through April. As the water temperature begins to rise, bass become more active and prepare for the upcoming spawn. The backs of creeks and coves, protected from the north wind, provide the warmest water on the lake. Good creeks to target are Cedar, Bear, Owl, Stampede, and Cowhouse. Spinnerbaits, plastic lizards, jerkbaits, and jig and pork combinations are the preferred baits. From May through September look for bass on main-lake points and flats next to creek channels. Stickbaits, chuggers, buzzbaits, crankbaits, and plastic worms can all be productive under the right conditions. From October through December, bass can be caught from the same areas as during the spawn. Smallmouth bass are generally caught from the dam to the Cedar Creek area at mid-lake. Early spring and late fall, when the water temperature ranges from 55 to 65 degrees, is the prime time to target smallmouth. Spawning occurs in rocky coves protected from the north wind. In summer and fall, long, gently sloping rocky points are good areas to fish. Deep diving crawfish-colored crankbaits, stickbaits, chuggers, buzzbaits, grubs, and small jigs are usually most productive.
Hybrid striped bass (palmetto bass) were introduced to Belton Lake in 1977, and have since become a very popular sportfish in the reservoir. Hybrids tend to travel in schools throughout the main lake. They can be caught bottom fishing with live bait as well as trolling jigs and crankbaits, with or without the aid of downriggers. White bass fishing is best from March through May when they migrate up the lake into the Leon River to spawn. Bank or boat fishing from the Highway 36 bridge north to Mother Neff State Park using small jigs or spinners can be very productive. During summer and fall, white bass sometimes school on the surface. Try fishing for white crappie between late February and the middle of May, when crappie move into shallow water in the backs of creeks and protected main-lake coves. Spawning crappie are fairly easy to catch on live minnows or small jigs fished around stumps and submerged cover in 2 to 5 feet of water. In summer, fall, and winter, crappie can be caught around large isolated trees and submerged brush at 5 to 20 feet. Catfish can be caught all year. Channel cats spawn from May to June, during which time they move into water 2 to 5 feet deep in the backs of creeks or along flats just off the river channel. Shad, shrimp, blood bait, and stinkbait all work just fine. Blue catfish, particularly large blues, can be targeted in winter months, February through April. Although statewide length and bag limits apply, anglers should consider returning blues larger than 10 lbs as they comprise the majority of the spawning population. Smaller blues are also better eating than bigger fish!