Walter E. Long
Austin, TX
Texas Outside Rating: 5.9

Acres Of Water & Miles Of Shoreline
1,269 acres and 0 miles of shoreline


Brief Overview:
Walter E Long Lake was formerly known as Decker Lake. Walter E. Long Reservoir is located just a few miles east of Interstate 35 off of Highway 290 in Austin, near the Convention Center. Walter E. Long is a small, fairly clear lake with a 55' maximum depth. There is a typically olive greenish cast to the water; and the lake has a shoreline that is about 20% developed. This development includes a municipal park (and the only lake access), the dam area, and a power plant located on a large peninsula that separates the northern half of the lake from the southern half of this horseshoe-shaped water body. The undeveloped portions of the lake are densely populated with bulrushes. This lake is considered a warm water or pwoer plant lake as water is drawn at ambient temperature from one side of the lake, used to cool process equipment at the adjacent energy production facility, and is then discharged on the other side of the lake at a slightly higher temperature.

Walter E. Long Reservoir is managed by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. Contact them at this website or (512) 974-6700 to check on entrance fees, special events, and seasonal hours of operation.

Texas Outside has not visited this lake, the information in the review and the rating are from visitors familiar with the lake.

A Typical Texas Outsider Day
You might come to Walter E. Long Reservoir in order to be on the water in Austin without mixing with the crowds that you'll find on Town Lake and Lake Travis, which get much more recreational traffic from the capital city.

Other Cool Things To Do:
In the warmer months, just strip down to your swimsuit and hop on in the lake from the swimming area at Metro Park. You can also launch a kayak or canoe from this area and enjoy the protected waters of this small body of water.

What To Do If No Boat:
If you don't have a boat and like to fish, then call Bob at Holding the Line Guide Services and let him take you out after white bass, hybrids, largemouth or panfish. Bob knows the lake and is the holder of 6 State Fishing records; he even offers fly fishing trips for long-rod enthusiasts.

If you want to go it on your own, just check with the good folks at the Hog Eye Bait Shop (512-926-3522) for the latest on bank fishing information. They've got all manner of bait, tackle, ice, and convenience items at the store.

Nearby Activities:
You have the entire City of Austin at your beck and call with tons of fun things to do including: shopping, golf, cultural stuff, hiking, biking, canoeing, tennis, etc. To find out what there is to see and do in Austin, click here.

Restaurants, Bars, & Music:
Walter E. Long is a bit off the beaten path, and the nightlife is a little lacking for that very reason. There are no restaurants or bars on the lake. If it is the water loving fun bunch you'd like to rub elbows with, make the short drive to Lake Austin. Lake Austin is one of our favorites for restaurants and live music. Hula Hut (fun crowds, good variety of food and drinks), Ski Shores (good burgs and music), and County Line (good BBQ)all have some good food, and nice decks. Ski Shores has live music on most weekends.

Wake Boarding & Skiing:
Due to the small size of Walter E. Long, and the narrow configuration at the ends of it's horseshoe-shaped layout, water skiing is generally confined to the deeper, open water area parallel to the dam. On any given summer weekend 10-20 ski boats can be seen sharing this open water area with room to spare.

If you want to land a big one, then you need to call Bob at Holding the Line Guide Services He's been fishing the lake for years so he knows the spots.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Walter E. Long Reservoir contains excellent populations of largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass. Largemouth bass in the 8-10 pound range are commonly caught, but the reservoir is primarily noted for producing good numbers of slot sized (14-21 inch) bass. Hybrid striped bass are stocked annually, and fish larger than 5 pounds are prevalent. Channel and flathead catfish are present in low numbers. This reservoir has a good population of bluegill and redbreast sunfish. Many of these sunfish are more than 8 inches in length.

This power-plant cooling lake has an abundance of bulrush along the periphery. During some years there is also an abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation (most commonly hydrilla and pondweed species). Because most of the shoreline is owned by the City of Austin, no private boat docks/houses appear along the water's edge, but there are distinct creek channels, dropoffs, and submerged tank dams in parts of the reservoir. The water remains warm during the winter if the power plant is generating. Part of the discharge canal is open to fishing from a boat.

Tips & Tactics - Largemouth bass anglers should concentrate their efforts along the edges of submerged aquatic vegetation and in the bulrush that lines the perimeter of the reservoir. Try pitching/flipping plastic worms and jigs into the bulrush. Topwater baits can also be productive early and late in the day along the edge of the bulrush. If the submerged aquatic vegetation is abundant, lipless crankbaits cranked over the top of the grass can be effective. Other popular artificial lures include Carolina-rigged soft plastics and jerkbaits. For live bait fishing try minnows suspended under corks along the bulrush and weedlines.

For hybrid striped bass, live shad fished suspended in the water column or on the bottom can be very effective. Downrigging with bucktail jigs and using jigging spoons also can be effective. During the heat of the summer, look for largemouth bass and hybrid striped bass schooling as they chase shad. Small topwater lures and leadhead curly tail grubs are effective for both species when they are schooling.

Channel catfish can be caught using stinkbait or cutbait, whereas flathead catfish prefer live bait. Sunfish can be caught using meal worms, crickets, and earthworm pieces fished under floats in and around bulrushes and submerged vegetation. During summer, these fish can be seen and caught on their shallow water spawning beds. *Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Species Poor Fair Good Excellent
Largemouth Bass
Hybrid Striped Bass

*Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Camping, Waterfront Lodging, and Day Use Parks

Walter E. Long Metro Park is the only means of access to this body of water. A gated entrance-way located off of Blue Bluff Rd. is the sole means of access. The park is open from 7:00am to 10:00pm daily, and admission is $5.00 per car on weekdays, and $8.00 per car on weekends.

The park is well equipped with ample open areas and ample parking, 2 unlighted volleyball courts, 95 picnic tables, a picnic pavilion, a reservable area, fishing docks, a swim area, and both indoor and portable toilets

Ramps & Marinas
The gated entrance-way located off of Blue Bluff Rd. is the sole means of access. The park is open from 7:00am to 10:00pm daily, and admission is $5.00 per car on weekdays, and $8.00 per car on weekends; there is no extra charge for boats and/or trailers. There are two adjacent two-lane ramps complete with very nicely done multiple courtesy slips made of pressure treated lumber and equipped with rubber rub guards to tie up your boat as you park and prepare for your water fun.

There are no marinas on the Lake.

Texas Outside Rating of Walter E. Long
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Texas Outside Rating of Walter E. Long
(scale of 1 - 10)
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Texas Outside Lakes Rating Scale

Texas Outside rates lakes on a 1 to 10 scale based on:

  • Beauty: high scores are given for lots of trees, hills, or pretty houses
  • Water Clarity: if you’re standing in two feet of water and can’t see your toes or the water has a deep brown color, we’re talking a 1
  • Water Conditions:  rough water with waves over a foot (good for PWCs or surfing) due to consistent wind or boat wakes don’t rate high on our scale
  • Skiing & Board Conditions:  on the weekends if you can typically find a good cove or part of the lake with glass, we’re talking a 10
  • Beaches:  don’t you hate those beaches when you step into the water you sink in mud up to your knees and loose your flip-flops or it’s all slime and weeds or small rocks – if so, that’s a 1
  • Fun Scale: lakes scoring a 10 have fun restaurants and bars, great coves for raft ups or swimming, and fun rental toys
  • Cruising & Touring:  if you can cruise the lake and look at beautiful houses, nice marinas, pretty coves, or anything similar it will score high
  • Restaurants & Bars:  nothing better than cruising over and having some good food and listening to some great music on the deck of a fun restaurant – the ride back with smooth water and a fun moon is also pretty cool – we’re talking a 10
  • Safety Level: lakes with lots of wild and crazy jet skiers or fast cigarette boats will score low
  • Camping:  we’re looking for beautiful spacious sites right on the water with a nice sandy beach to swim and park the boat
  • Fishing:  the bigger the better and they have to be easy to hook


*Fishing information was provided with permission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife ( in 2006. Texas Parks and Wildlife does not endorse Texas Outside or information presented on ©Copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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