It’s a good thing that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is headquartered in the city of Austin.

It’s a good thing that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is headquartered in the city of Austin.


Because in recent weeks, the fishing in and around the Capitol City of Texas has been nothing short of red hot, so much so that it is keeping the record keepers at TPWD headquarters a bit on the busy side.


This year’s string of hot fishing near the home of the Texas Longhorns began about a month ago on Lake Austin, the 1,599-acre water body on the Colorado River that lies within the city itself.


In recent years, the moderately sized lake has produced a slew of ShareLunker sized largemouth bass including six such bass weighing 13-pounds or better back in 2012.


Last year, the lake slowed down a bit, producing only one such SL fish. This year? Also a single SL bass — so far at least — a 13.19-pound largemouth caught on Feb. 21, 2014 by Robert Whitehead of Austin.


All told, Lake Austin has produced a total of 20 SL bass since 1994, including an amazing total of 13 since 2010.


Only Lake Fork (256 SL bass), Alan Henry (25), O.H. Ivie (25), Sam Rayburn (23), and Falcon (20) have produced as many ShareLunker fish as Lake Austin has.


The lake even had a couple of ShareLunker near misses earlier this week during a Wednesday night Texas Tournament Zone event held on the lake.


Matt Moccia and Logan Wood won the tournament despite weighing in only two bass. Of course when one of those fish weighs 12.58 pounds and the other weighs 11.04 pounds — for a total of 23.62 pounds if you’re keeping score at home — that can certainly be good enough.


"(The) crazy part is Lake Austin hasn’t really turned on just yet!," wrote Andy Nuyen on www.texasfishingforum.com as he reported the tournament’s results.


When it does turn on — and that should be any day now — don’t be surprised if the lake spits out two or three or even four more ShareLunkers this spring.


But the truth of the matter is that Lake Austin is only one of several top end fishing destinations around the Austin area.


Just this week, Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake), the kayak and paddleboard friendly water that lies below Interstate 35 in downtown Austin, produced a "March Madness" kind of giant bass.


(Editor’s note: Incidentally, this is the same urban lake where millions of bats fly out every evening from under the city bridges that cross over the water.)


That Lady Bird Lake bass, a 13-pounder, was caught on Tuesday, March 18th by New Braunfels angler Ken Leonard. The fish is a new pending lake record and is the first ShareLunker ever produced by the urban fishery.


But even then, that’s not the biggest big fish news to come out of the Capitol City in recent days. That honor goes to a record bass pulled from the Colorado River just below the city of Austin last month.


Dr. Bryan Townsend, a fly fisher from Austin, caught the new state record Guadalupe bass on Saturday, Feb. 1 while fishing with Orvis-endorsed fly fishing guide Shea McClanahan of All Water Guides (www.allwaterguides.com/; 512-571-3073).


After Townsend landed the 3.71-pound, 17-inch long fish — also a pending International Game Fish Association world record — guide McClanahan contacted TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Marcos De Jesus.


De Jesus met the pair of anglers at the river and helped transport the fish to the Cabela’s store location in Buda where it was weighed on official scales. After getting an official weight, Townsend donated the fish to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens where it will live and swim in the big dive tank found in the TFFC theater.


If you don’t know, the Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii) — or more technically the Guadalupe spotted bass — is a black bass species native only to Texas waters found in the central portion of the state.


The official state fish of Texas, the Guadalupe is a smaller bass given its habitat of flowing streams and rivers located in the northern and eastern Edwards Plateau region.


In recent years, the species has come on strong on the Colorado River downstream of all of the hub-bub of the Austin metro area.


"The Colorado River below Austin, from Longhorn Dam to La Grange, has been a special bass fishery for many years," said De Jesus. "Productive waters and excellent habitat have helped support a healthy black bass population composed of largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass.


"Recently, with reduced pulses due to drought, aquatic vegetation exploded all over this river segment. Flood events in October flushed a lot of it downstream, making it easier to fish."


De Jesus noted that many large Guadalupe and largemouth bass are caught by anglers every year from this stretch of river.


TPWD says that Guadalupe bass in the two- to three-pound range are frequently caught and that 50- to 100-fish days are not uncommon.


"Spring and fall are good times to catch large numbers of fish," said De Jesus.


Interested in giving the Colorado River a try?


"TPWD has been working with local governments and private landowners to develop public river access in this stretch to allow paddlers to enjoy this resource," said De Jesus. "There are a number of public access points available, including the Bastrop paddling trail."


What does all of this mean? That it sounds very much like yours truly needs to head to Austin, soon and very soon I might add.


So that I can see my daughter at the University of Texas, of course.


Even if I do so with my kayak and fly rod loaded up in the back of my pick-up truck.