The National Park Service (NPS) allows special park uses at Amistad National Recreation Area, which includes fishing tournaments. Fishing is specifically authorized for Amistad National Recreation Area by legislation. These laws also give the park superintendent the responsibility to regulate the uses of the park to insure public safety, administration effectiveness, resource protection, fish and wildlife management, and public use and enjoyment.
As with any other special park use, a permit must be requested in advance to allow the park superintendent to confirm that the tournament follows the appropriate laws, is within the values and purposes for which the park was established, ensures public safety is paramount, maintains protection of the property and resources, and allows normal activities and operations.
The NPS is required by the United States Code (16 USC §3a) to recover certain costs that are incurred when managing special park uses. Additionally, the NPS is required to develop the policies and procedures to do so.
The Code of Federal Regulations governing Special Events (36 CFR §2.50) and the NPS Special Park Use Guidelines (Director's Orders/Resource Manual-53) establish the procedures for special use permits. In order to comply with these regulations, the park has developed policies and procedures to manage fishing tournaments and recover certain costs. These procedures were developed after study and data gathering. Recognizing that each special use fishing tournament will have different requirements from the park, flexibility will be used in issuing the special use permits, and the park will work with the tournament directors/organizers to determine the requirements and provisions necessary to minimize the impacts. In turn, the tournament directors/organizers are expected to have established procedures and rules to assist the park in following the required policy and procedures.
Permits: A Special Use Permit will be required when any fishing tournament exceeds ten (10) boats. The application for special use permits must be received by the park at least 72 hours before and no earlier than 12 months in advance of the tournament start date. A permit processing fee of $50 must be submitted with the application. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and a permit or other response will be given by park within one week of receipt. The process to apply is:
1) Fill out form: Special Use Application Form 10-930 Fillable PDF (749 KB)
2) Send to:
Amistad National Recreation Area
10477 Highway 90 West
Del Rio, TX 78840
Attn: Ranger Activities
Exceptions: Certain unexpected conditions may occur at the lake that could affect a fishing tournament. These conditions could include: significant changes in lake level, adverse fisheries impacts, public safety problems, or other major problems. These conditions must be considered by park managers, realizing a necessary decision to modify permit conditions could impact tournament schedules. Recognizing the potential impact on fishing tournaments, the park superintendent will make a decision only after working closely with the tournament director/organizer. Any decision will be made as soon as possible and with the intent to minimize or eliminate any adverse impacts, before finalizing the permit.
Application Processing Fee: The above-mentioned, non-refundable application processing fee of $50 shall accompany the application. If a tournament director/organizer submits one application for more than one tournament in the calendar year, only one permit will be issued for all the tournaments and only one $50 fee will be charged.
Tournament Fee: Under Title 16 and Title 31 of the U.S. Code, the U.S. Congress expects the NPS to be self-sustaining and to charge for a service provided in a fair and cost-effective way. After extensive research and experience, the park has established a standard fee for service provided for a fishing tournament. The fee can include projected costs of preparing for, monitoring, supporting, and cleaning up after the tournament. These costs can be mitigated based on prior arrangements and agreements made at the time of application or up to 72 hours before the tournament start date. Fees must be received prior to tournament permit completion. The tournament fees are listed below:
TOURNAMENT FEES (*) (**) (***)
* Does not include any negotiations between the park and director/organizer.
** Park staff overtime costs are the only standardized costs being recovered. In the event there are additional costs incurred by the park, the NPS will notify the tournament director/organizer before finalizing the permit.
*** In accordance with Title 36 CFR, even though the park superintendent may require the filing of a bond in the amount adequate to cover costs and the acquisition of liability insurance, this will not be required with the payment of the above fees.
Lake Use Fees: All recreational boats on Lake Amistad, including those in fishing tournaments, must display a valid permit. This permit is available at the Visitor Center and each boat ramp.
Fluctuating lake levels may restrict facilities that are available for boat launching and vehicle parking. Tournament organizers are responsible for limiting their participants to a number that can be accommodated by existing NPS public facilities at that time or arranging for additional private facilities outside the park. The maximum number of tournament participants on any one day, as determined by all parking and launch ramp facilities, is 600 boats. All public facilities are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved for exclusive use by tournaments. Current capacities for combination vehicle and trailer parking (assumes efficient parking in lots that have no road striping or delineators) are:
Other Useful Information
Visit our Tournament Information page for a list of current (and past) tournaments, links to fishing reports and the statuses of the park's boat ramps, and other helpful information.
Last updated: December 12, 2023