TOP 12 Spots for Tilapia Fishing [Expert-Approved List]

Where to Fish for Tilapia

Tilapia fish can be found in various waters around the world, including lakes, ponds, and streams in certain parts of the US. Although not native to US waters, it spread around and became popular among anglers.

At first sight, this fish may not look very impressive, but it is extremely tasty! Catch and release here is rare as anglers want to enjoy a delicious meal.

If you are wondering where to fish for tilapia, the answer is that you have many choices, but the best locations are in Texas, Alabama, and Florida. From ponds to streams, even brackish waters, tilapia live there in high numbers. And the best of all, this fish is not complicated to catch!

Besides being popular among anglers, tilapia is one of the most consumed species all around the globe. Due to its fast growing, many fish farms raise it.

No matter if you are a beginner or a pro, tilapia fishing can be very fun.

If you want to know more about the best locations, check out the chapters below!



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Where do Tilapia Live in the World?

Firstly, you must know that tilapia is a name used for a wide group of fish. The one that frequently ends on your hook, at least in the US, is blue tilapia. Other well know tilapias are Nile and Mozambique. In some parts of Florida, Mozambique tilapia was introduced for the anglers.

This quite small fish originates from Africa and Middle East where it is native to local waters.

Blue tilapia was introduced into the US for a specific reason. Plant based diet of this fish was a way of controlling algae population.

Besides Africa and US, tilapia fishing is popular in Australia too, where tilapia was also introduced to local waters.

Where to Fish for Tilapia - World Locations

In What Water Type Do Tilapia Live?

Where to fish for tilapia in terms of world-wide locations is easy to answer, but in what kind of waters should you present your bait?

Tilapia prefers shallow waters, and you can find it in many ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. Among best places for fishing are estuaries.

Tilapia can also be found in brackish waters.

If you are wondering how to know if tilapia is present in any waters, check is there any food interesting to this fish. On tilapia menu you can find all kinds of algae, various aquatic plants, roots, and sometimes even larvae.

Warmer waters, above 80 degrees, are its favorite. This is why you can find them in the shallows that heat up faster. That is also a reason while southern states have an abundance of tilapia.

Where to Fish for Tilapia? [Here are the Top Spots]:

Now enough with theory and let’s get to the topic! Here are the top places where to fish for tilapia in every state that has an abundance of this specie!

Tilapia Fishing in Florida

Being southern and warm state, Florida is excellent for tilapia fishing! From May to March, you can fish in almost any water as that is the peak season for this fish.

Tampa Bay

Tilapia can tolerate brackish waters well, and that is the reason you can find it in coastal areas around Tampa Bay. These waters have more salt than freshwater, however salinity is much lower than the sea. You can choose any shallow place near freshwater inlets and present your bait!

Orlando Lakes

Orlando lakes is a group of different lakes near the city of Orlando. Tilapia numbers vary across seasons, but you can always find them there. I recommend starting at Lake Kissimmee where you can find an abundant population!

Where to Fish for Tilapia - Orlando Lakes

Tilapia Fishing in Texas

This fish can be found in many Texas waters, and if you visit the area think about the following spots!

Squaw Creek Reservoir

Tilapias exist in great numbers here, however, some capture it with nets. You can fish using rod and reel very successfully if you know where to look for. Search for warmer and shallower parts, especially during wintertime.

San Antonio River and San Marcos River

These two rivers are excellent locations not just for fishing but for sightseeing and family fun too. Tilapias number increased in these waters, and you can enjoy adventurous river fishing.

Where to Fish for Tilapia - San Antonio River

Tilapia Fishing in California

In California, I would like to point out two places.

Lake Balboa

This lake is located near LA, which means that it is easily accessible, and you have a lot more things to do and see if you stay more than one day. Balboa lake is famous for very big tilapia, including blue tilapia, but also the Nile type!

Palo Verde Lagoon

Although called lagoon, this is actually a freshwater body of water that is excellent for fishing. Large numbers of tilapia live here, and it is an interesting fact that this place holds some of the biggest ones. In the past, it held a record for the biggest one landed in CA!

Tilapia Fishing in Houston

Texas was already mentioned as a state, but in case that you are searching around major cities like Houston, here is my recommendation:

Brays Bayou

This is an excellent fishing place, especially if you are looking for tilapia. Some anglers will say that the water is not clean, but you can see it on the spot. Many anglers enjoy their tasty tilapia!

Where to Fish for Tilapia - Brays Bayou

Tilapia Fishing in Arizona

If you are a fan of river fishing for tilapia, Arizona is the place for you!

Gila River

This river and its surroundings look incredible, when you compare it with usual tilapia locations. Shallower areas and canals are the best places to present your baits! And if you want to explore the area even more, try your luck at Salt River.

Alamo Lake

Fishing is popular at Alamo Lake, however, tilapia fishing is unfairly underestimated here. Healthy population exist, and it may be very good if you are the only tilapia angler nearby!

Where to Fish for Tilapia - Alamo Lake

Tilapia Fishing Around the World

Real adventurers can hop on a plane and go for a fishing spectacle on the other side of the world! Here are TOP 3 destinations for Tilapia:


Uganda is a sports fishing paradise. Incredible nature that surrounds tilapia rich lakes are something worth visiting.

Among the best is Lake George, however there are many great locations such as Lake Victoria, and lake Mburo!

Brisbane, Australia

Many ponds and lakes around this area hold high numbers of tilapia, and many locals enjoy catching it too! Albert River and Stanley River near Gold Coast are the best.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an excellent destination worth visiting, especially for an active fishing holiday. Arenal Lake is the top spot that I would definitely recommend.

Where to Fish for Tilapia - Arenal Lake


Tilapia may not be the biggest or the hardest fish to catch, but it is among the tastiest and it is a healthy one!

Where to fish for tilapia depends on which part of the US (or the world) you are planning to visit. Search for shallower and warmer waters that offer a lot of plant-based food. When you find that, you will find tilapia!

Wherever you go, whether the place is listed here or not, make sure to check local rules and regulations and buy a license!

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