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Located 65 miles south of San Antonio, Choke Canyon Lake was impounded in 1982 to supply drinking water to Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Part of the South Texas Plains region, it gets water from the Frio River shortly before the river's confluence with the Nueces River. Managed and owned by the City of Corpus Christi, Choke Canyon Lake is an inland get-away for boaters and fisherman who wish to leave the busy coastline.
Public boat ramps managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are available around the lake including launches at the Highway 99 Ramp, Mason Point, Calliham Unit (located in Choke Canyon State Park), South Shore Unit (also in the state park), and San Miguel Ramp. Choke Canyon Lake ramps are open year-round.
Expect to see largemouth bass, white bass, crappie, blue, channel and flathead catfish, alligator gar, bluegill and redear sunfish. Maps of the lake are available at the Calliham Unit park office in the state park. The most abundant fish in the lake are bass, which can be caught in double-digit numbers during the spring, fall and winter months. In the hot summer, head to the rocky shorelines, submerged roadbeds, and flooded brush near deep water for your best bet at catching bass. For bow fisherman, throw in your line for alligator gar; though they are not as prevalent on Choke Canyon Lake as bass or catfish, they still provide great sport.
For the closest park to the lake, visit Choke Canyon State Park, which is located adjacent to Choke Canyon Reservoir. The park, acquired in 1981 and opened to the public in 1987, has two units, which include the South Shore Unit and Calliham Unit. The South Shore Unit is a day-use park that offers boating, fishing, birding, paddling, restrooms, a 6-lane boat ramp, 2-lane boat ramp, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. There is a lighted fish cleaning station as well as a lake overlook.
The Calliham Unit of Choke Canyon State Park offers camping, RV hookups, hiking, a Choke Canyon Lake beach, softball fields and volleyball courts along with the other amenities offered at the South Shore Unit. It also has a wildlife educational center and group dining hall and recreation hall. The North Shore Equestrian Area, located across the dam from the South Shore Unit, is a 1200-acre area with 18 miles of equestrian trails. This area is only open on weekends from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The wildlife around Choke Canyon Lake includes Rio Grande turkey, whitetail deer, javelina, coyote, opossum, fox squirrel, raccoon, skunk and the American alligator. Besides wildlife the Choke Canyon Lake area is home to evidence of Paleo Native Americans who crossed the Frio River Valley more than 10,000 years ago. A number of Archaic sites have been recorded over the years.
The small town of Three Rivers, 4 miles east of Choke Canyon Lake, provides lodging and amenities. San Antonio, with the famous River Walk, is an hour north. Corpus Christi and the beautiful Padre Island National Seashore are about 80 miles southeast of Choke Canyon. So pack your bags for some exploration of the South Texas Plains.
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