Lighthouse Lakes Paddle Trail is the first of several paddling trails staked out by Texas Parks and Wildlife. It consists of tidal lakes, mangroves and saltwater flats where the paddling is excellent and the fishing for redfish and trout are good too. The pelicans, egrets and blue herons are entertaining as they work the shallow water and the black necked stilts dart along the edge harvesting lunch.
My wife and son and I took our kayaks and spent a couple of days paddling and I did some flyfishing as well. Since the lakes are tidal flats, they probably average about two feet in depth depending on tide and the area is a protected seagrass sanctuary.
TPWD has staked out several trails within the lakes, from four to six miles in length. They are marked with numbered signs and the GPS coordinates are available either online or from local outfitters.
When we paddled Saturday morning, we ambitiously determined to take one of the longer trails. We began at high tide but as the tide receded we found ourselves paddling through fairly dense seagrass which assumes the consistency of paddling in molasses. Turkey sandwiches tasted pretty good when we got back to the put-in.
On Saturday, the redfish were tailing everywhere but I had determined to save my fishing until Sunday, since both my wife and son preferred paddling to fishing. Sunday, they paddled and I eagerly paddled out to one of the spots I had observed the day before, anxious to try my new redfish flies. But, alas, they either knew I was coming and conspired against me or they went elsewhere. In my flyfishing, I often entertain the fish more than catch them and that was my fate on that Sunday, but much of the joy of flyfishing is in doing it and fish are an extra bonus.
The Lightouse Lakes Paddle Trail is a cooperative venture of TPWD who marked the trail and the City of Aransas Pass which maintains the park where you can put in and use the picnic tables or the porta-potties.
The cabins where we stayed were adequate but a little pricey for what you got. Since this was our first trip to this park we just picked from websites. There are tidal flats everywhere, some in the park and some not, where access is easy and free. If you want to go to the beach, Port Aransas is right there, although there is a an hour and a half wait for a 2 minute ferry ride to get there.
My boat is a Dagger-Seeker and the other two boats were Old Town Loon 111s.
Most of the many fishermen we observed were using a variety of Sit On Tops
No fees or permits
The park is located about 20 miles north of Corpus Christi at Aransas Pass, Texas on State Highway 361.
Maps of the paddle trail are available on the TPWD website: www.tpwd.state.tx.us
Laminated maps of the paddle trail are available from local outfitters. We found them helpful, although the GPS coordinates for at least one marker were incorrect.