Lake Austin is a reservoir on the Colorado River, formed in 1939 by the construction of the Tom Miller Dam. It is one of the seven Highland Lakes created by the Lower Colorado River Authority, and it is used primarily for flood control and electrical power, as well as recreation. The lake is technically the same body of water as Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake), although that name is usually reserved for the stretch of Lake Austin that creates the southern edge of downtown.
You’d Rather Be Fishing
People who love water sports love Lake Austin. Pleasure boating, water skiing and fishing are the most common forms of recreational pastimes on the lake which is regularly stocked with large mouth bass, bluegill, redbreast, redear, sunfish, and flathead and blue catfish. The bass are particularly abundant, and during spawning season can be found in high concentrations. Be forewarned — fishing can be difficult on particularly nice days, since boat traffic tends to scare the fish off. Night and early morning fishing, however, can almost always yield a plentiful catch.
For the more active outdoors adventurers, kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are also popular. The beautiful weather brings out water sport enthusiasts in high numbers; and admittedly, in Austin, there are few better ways to enjoy the Texas sun than out on the water with friends. There are several places along Lake Austin that offer canoe, kayak, paddle board, and boat rentals, if you lack your own.
There are also a few noteworthy landmarks along the bank. The Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the 360 Bridge, spans the river and connects northwestern Austin to the southwestern part of the city. The bridge has been an icon of the area for more than 30 years, and it is frequently seen in pictures and postcards. Another major attraction is Mount Bonnell, Austin’s oldest sightseeing spot (since the 1850s), on the northern bank of Lake Austin, just a few miles west of downtown. Made of limestone, the peak of Mount Bonnell rises almost 800 feet above the lake, offering unparalleled views of the Austin skyline, as well as lake and Hill Country vistas.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience on the lake, head to the Lake Austin Spa & Resort, a 40-room spa located on the shore northwest of Austin. Outdoor activities include kayaking, pedal boat workouts, pontoon boats, and water skiing lessons. The real draw, however, is the intense relaxation that only a spa can offer. Whether it’s a Swedish massage, an acupuncture treatment, or a fig-scented scrub and hydrotherapy bath, true relaxation is within reach on Lake Austin.
Rest assured, you don’t need to spend money to enjoy Lake Austin. The lake is a great place to while away a sunny summer day, dipping your feet or wading into the lake’s clear, cool waters. Austinites will be happily kayaking its waters and fishing along its shores for a long time to come. You should join them!