Want to have some fun outdoors? Try one of these options.

Want to have some fun outdoors? Try one of these options.

What is the greatest thing about living on the right side of Texas? The outdoor options – it’s that simple.

Unfortunately the cold front that moved through Southeast Texas last weekend is probably the last one we’ll see for a while. But for the time being we’ve got some mild weather to deal with and if you’re looking to have to fun outdoors now is the time to get there.

Get into crabbing

Topping my list of quick hit things to do along the coast is crabbing. It’s fun and the end result is a whole lot of tasty blue crabs. This is one of the most simple and laid back things you can do. One of the best places for crabbing is McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge about 10 miles west of Sabine. Entry to the refuge is free and there are actually docks made for a combination of crabbing and fishing. The most popular area to crab is near the back of the refuge off the bridge over the 10-mile cut.

If you go, don’t forget that adults need a fishing license. Kids get into the action for free. As for tackle you’ll need some chicken necks, string and a long handled net.

Other good places to crab are at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Sabine Lake, the beach and Keith Lake.

Kayaking our rivers, creeks, lakes and the coast

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more kayaks than now. The “yak” craze started about 10 years ago. Now you can even buy one at Walmart. The thing about kayaking is that it’s a way to escape the world. It’s just you and the yak. It’s a cheap way to go “boating.” Throw your yak in the back of the truck or the top of your car and head out.

My favorite place for a combination of kayaking and fishing is Village Creek State Park in Lumberton. After you pay a park entry fee you can precede to the launch area, drop your kayak or canoe in the water and paddle into some of the most scenic back water areas of Texas. You can simply glide along and admire the scenery or fish. There is also a swimming area, and if you like you can camp out along one of the many sand bars.

On the saltwater side of kayaking you can head over to McFaddin NWR and put in at one of the many estuary lakes or at the 10-mile cut bridge. Keith Lake is an excellent kayaking destination. You can put in at Junior’s Landing or the Fish Pass boat ramp.

Camping at a state park

Right now, while it’s semi cool at night and not blistering hot during the day, I highly recommend camping out at a state park. One of my favorites is at Village Creek State Park. Another top spot in East Texas is Martin Dies Jr. State Park near Jasper. But if you don’t mind putting in some road time there are parks all over Texas.

What can you do at a state park? How about this – fishing, hiking, biking, sleeping in a tent, cooking over a camp fire or simply do nothing. It’s all good.

One of my favorite places to camp is Huntsville State Park. Inside the park is the 210-acre Lake Raven. It’s been a catch and release lake for largemouth bass for years. The fishing is great, so are the biking trails through the forest that surround the entire park.

If you’ll be heading to a state park on a weekend or holiday be sure and make reservations. Go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, click on parks and you are good to go.

Don’t forget to take along plenty of fire wood for a nighttime campfire.

Freshwater fishing

The top rated bass fishing lake in the nation is Toledo Bend. But the number one tournament fishing lake is Sam Rayburn. Both are well known for producing big time numbers of crappie. If you’re looking to load up on catfish head to Rayburn. But if you’re aiming to catch a big op head to T-Bend and bait up a line with a live perch.

Saltwater fishing

Sabine Lake rules. The best trout fishing is along the Louisiana shoreline on Assassins in bone/chartreuse or black/glitter. The heavier trout are best on bone/silver Super Spooks or black/chartreuse Top Dogs early and late. Flounder are very good at the mouths of inlets feeding into the lake. Pilings and bulkheads are holding flounder in the pass.

East Galveston Bay is producing good catches of trout to about 8 pounds. Wading the mid-bay reefs is best with a Corky Fat Boy. Croaker soakers are taking numbers of trout on Hanna’s reef.

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