Braunig Lake San Antonio Hybrids
Braunig Lake is one of San Antonio's neighborhood fishing holes. The 1,350-acre lake has served that role for most of its 42-year history.
In its early years, Braunig was known as a black bass fishery, and the lake still produces largemouth bass of 6 pounds and heavier. Not bad for a fishery that lies next to a busy interstate and less than 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio.
The allure of Braunig angling, though, goes deeper than black bass. The lake holds exotic hybrid striped bass and large freshwater redfish as well as tons of catfish, both blues and channels.
Built on a forage base of tilapia and shad and fueled by nutrient-rich water drawn from the nearby San Antonio River, the Braunig fishery is thriving.
According to a recent Texas Parks & Wildlife Department survey, anglers take about 10,300 catfish, 9,000 hybrid stripers and 2,500 redfish a year from the lake.
TP&W stocks the fishery occasionally, adding 62,000 fingerling channel catfish at Braunig in 2005 plus about 90,000 hybrid stripers and more than 1 million fingerling redfish since 2000. Last month, Lonestar Aquafarms donated another 7,500 redfish 13 inches long.
Fingerling (1-inch-long) redfish will reach their legal minimum length for anglers (20 inches) at age 31/2 years. The 13-inch hatchery reds will be legal about this time next year. Fingerling hybrids should reach legal keeper size at age 3 years.
Braunig Lake offers more than a mile of bank-fishing access and there is a pier, but fishing from the bank consists mostly of sitting in lawn chairs and watching the birds fly by and not so much catching.
It's out on the water where the action is at Braunig, and a guide seen year-round on the lake is Harry Lamb, who operates a pontoon fishing barge.
Lamb fishes by the calendar and offers some insights on catching at Braunig Lake:
"It's always catfish time if you know where to look," Lamb said. "A good place to start looking is on the rocks where there is current." There are rocks on the dam, along the dike and in discharge channels.
Current is created in a power-generation pond like Braunig when the generators are working. Fish Big Marv's Cheesebait on a No. 6 treble hook with a slip sinker in 2-10 feet of water.
The hybrid striped bass bite is Braunig's shortest bite of the year. "Hybrids start biting in March sometime and it's all done and over by June. The water gets too hot. Surface temperatures in June reach 89-90 degrees and the hybrids stop biting."
During the 10-week hybrid bite, trollers can drag No. 13 Tony Aceta spoons in 10-15 feet of water on ledges and points. Get gold spoons with green feathers or silver spoons with yellow feathers.
Natural hybrid baits are live shad and tilapia. A good bait length is 2-3 inches. Bait soakers can sink fresh chicken livers to the bottom at 20-25 feet. Use a weight and tie on a stout treble hook.
"You won't have to guess if the hybrids are down there and hungry," Lamb said. "If they're there, they'll jump on it hard."