Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

"Catch some memories - go fish Texas" is the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center's slogan. Those six words define what the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) is about: families and friends enjoying time together and forging memories that will last a lifetime.

No license is required for adults or children, and all bait and tackle are furnished. Plentiful numbers of sunfish and catfish are available for catching year-around, and rainbow trout are stocked from December through March.

Staff  provide a brief orientation to fishing and your choice of  bait. They will also untangle line, replace lost hooks or bobbers and fix any other equipment problems, leaving you free to concentrate on fishing.

Fishing is available every day TFFC is open, and fishing is a part of special events. These events include:

  • Fly Fish Texas, mid-March. Members of fly-fishing clubs from around Texas teach fly-tying and casting.
  • Outdoor Expo (Outdoor Fools Day), late March. Learn about outdoor recreation opportunities in East Texas and acquire outdoor skills such as archery, camping and outdoor cooking.
  • Athens EggFest, mid-April. Featuring gastric delights and the incredible Green Egg outdoor ceramic cooker.
  • Cinco de Mayo, early May. Celebrate the joint stories of Texas and Mexico with food, dance and, of course, fishing.
  • National Fishing Day, first Saturday in June. In addition to free fishing, this event offers free food and soft drinks.
  • Fireworks at the Fishery, July 4. Admission is free after regular hours, and fishing is allowed until an hour before the fireworks show.
  • Bluegill Family Fishing Tournament, late September. Fun-filled day of trying to catch the biggest Bluegill.
  • Halloween at the Hatchery, held on Thursday before Halloween. Local businesses and organizations hand out free candy and the center is decorated throughout with a Halloween theme.

It’s best to follow a one-hour-for-year-of-age rule when deciding how long to fish with a child. TFFC makes it easy to observe this rule by providing a variety of activities and things to see if interest in fishing wanes. There are 300,000 gallons of aquaria with native Texas fish, a daily dive show, an alligator exhibit and a wetlands trail where kids can go turtle-spotting, see bees at work and walk off steam.

The daily dive show presentation takes place at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

There’s a gift shop with snacks, picnic areas and grassy areas for romping—plenty to keep active youngsters busy for several hours.

Among the exhibits at TFFC is the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and the Game Warden’s Museum. 

The second Saturday of every month, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has a Bird and Nature Walk from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Bird and Nature Walk is free with regular paid admission and no reservation is needed. These outings are perfect for both beginning and advanced birdwatchers. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them, although it is not required, and prepare to learn about the birdlife of the Athens area.


Regular admission is $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors 65 and older, and $3.50 for children ages 4 through 12. Pets are not allowed on TFFC grounds. Season passes valid for one year from date of purchase are available for $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and $8.00 for children. Season pass holders are eligible for a 10 percent discount in the gift shop.

Discounted rates are available for school/youth groups of 10 or more. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance to receive the discounted rate. 

  • Fishing
  • Food
  • Handicapped
  • Hatchery
  • Hiking
  • Museum
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

Opening Hours

Mon: closed

Tue: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM

Wed: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM

Thu: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM

Fri: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM

Sat: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM

Sun: 1:00 PM 4:00 PM


Check in on Foursquare Check in on Find us on Facebook


Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

5550 FM 2495

Athens, TX, 75751

Map: Open a Google map


Telephone: 903-676-2277


Web 1: click for website

Visit the East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society

learn more

Identify historical markers in Henderson County

learn more

2nd Sat of the month: Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

learn more

Gardening The Easy Way

Oct 26 2017

FREE Fall Conference. See event description for details!