Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Closing to the Public Starting Aug. 28 for Renovations

ATHENS The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens will be closed to the public starting Aug. 28 for major renovations and updates.

The nearly 300,000 gallons of aquariums will be updated, new larger aquariums will be added, the dive theater and other existing indoor exhibits will be updated, and new exhibits will be developed. Enhancements to recreational fishing ponds like Lake Zebco are also included in the renovation project.

The closure will also enable staff to develop new educational programming and volunteer opportunities. The tentative date for completion and reopening to the public is Spring 2025.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) has raised more than $4.5 million in private donations to fund the massive project. Looking ahead to the next 25 years, these enhancements will ensure the next generation can learn about, appreciate and enjoy the amazing freshwater fisheries resources that Texas offers.

“TFFC is a special place that represents the amazing fisheries resources of Texas and the fisheries professionals that serve and manage them,” said Tom Lang, TFFC director. “We are grateful for this opportunity, afforded us by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and so many amazing donors, to take TFFC to new heights for millions more visitors to enjoy.”

TFFC has been delighting visitors for more than 25 years. The facility has welcomed more than 1.1 million visitors to marvel at the schools of fish in the indoor and outdoor aquariums, study the exhibits and learn how Texas’ diverse inland waterways support and connect all living creatures. The well-stocked fishing ponds provide an opportunity for visitors of all ages to wet a line, and thousands of new anglers have caught their first fish here.

TFFC was the first major public-private partnership between TPWF and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The 106-acre site came to life in 1996 through the generosity of many organizations and individuals who supported the landmark project.

Located in Athens, TFFC includes a working fish hatchery, 300,000 gallons of aquaria focusing on Texas fish and wildlife resources, recreational fishing ponds and fisheries science exhibits. It is home to the Toyota ShareLunker Program, which invites anglers to donate largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more for research and breeding purposes. TFFC also houses the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, which honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas.

TFFC is also home to the statewide Angler Recognition Program, which recognizes record fresh and saltwater catches. Additionally, TFFC facilitates the annual Fish Art Contest in Texas, which is part of a conservation education program designed to spark the imaginations of students while providing valuable lessons about fish and the importance of conserving Texas’ aquatic resources.

Until Aug. 28, TFFC operates from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Hatchery production, the Toyota ShareLunker Program, Angler Recognition Program, Fish Art Contest, and Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame selection and induction will all continue normal operations during the renovation. Educational courses and other small events will also still occur in TFFC’s Hart-Morris Conservation Center.

For additional information about TFFC, visit the TFFC website and Facebook page.