Find A Guide
Cameron County, Texas.
Bahia Grande ends in Port Isabel, Texas.
20062883.49 miles (32288091.16 sq kilometers)
About The Bahia Grande
Bahia Grande, which means “Big Bay”, is a 6,500-acre tidal basin situated in southeastern Cameron County. This expansive wetland is on the southernmost tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s linked to the Lower Laguna Madre system and is affected by changes in its tides. To the north, it is bordered by Laguna Vista and State Highway 100 and the Laguna Madre Complex to the northeast. While to the southeast, it’s framed by State Highway 48 and the Brownsville Ship Channel.
The Brownsville Ship Channel impacted the Bahia Grande by cutting it off from its natural sources, obstructing its tidal flows, and caused its wetlands to dry up in the late 19th and early 20th century. For almost 70 years, it was deemed a dry and desolate basin until efforts in 2000 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took ownership of the Bahia Grande Unit which is included in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Restoration began five years later, beginning with creating a pilot channel underneath State Highway 48 that would link the basin to the Brownsville Ship Channel once again. In 2007, two additional channels connected the basin to the Little Laguna Madre and the Laguna Larga, restoring the tidal flow of the ecosystem.
Bahia Grande Fishing Description
Bahia Grande is considered one of the largest victories in wetland restoration in the United States and still a work in progress today. The inlet channels are being expanded to allow for a greater exchange of tidal flows to decrease the water’s salinity. With over 10,000 acres of wetlands, the local wildlife and fisheries are beginning to improve. The area now serves as a rich nursery for red drum, southern flounder, mullet, gulf menhaden, black drum, and spotted seatrout. Shellfish are also known to be abundant here, as well as blue crabs, shrimp, and American oysters. Several species of waterbirds are returning to areas to breed, which include gull-billed terns, skimmers, and brown pelicans. The surrounding communities are now able to enjoy the area for recreation, and tourism is also experiencing a boom, boosting the local economy once again.
Bahia Grande Seasonal & Other Description
Fishing in the Bahia Grande is currently not allowed to make way for the ecosystem to heal, the nurseries to thrive, and help progress restoration efforts. However, the San Martin Lake nearby (located within the Bahia Grande Unit) can be accessed by anglers by using the Highway 48 boat launch. However, only kayaks and other similar non-motorized vessels are allowed. Fishing on the banks is also allowed between Highway 48 and the refuge boundary signs. All other bodies of water in the Bahia Grande Unit are currently classified as non-navigable and employ a strict no-access policy.
Bahia Grande Fishing Charters & Fishing Guides