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 designate the park superintendent with the responsibility to control the use of the park to insure public safety, administration effectiveness, resource protection, fish and wildlife management, and public use and enjoyment.
As with any 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, that public safety is paramount, that the property and resources are protected, and that normal activities and operations are continued.
The NPS is required by the United States Code (16 USC § 3a) to recover certain costs that are incurred when managing special park uses. The NPS is further 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 (DO/RM-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 $25.00 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 after receipt. The addresses for the application are as follows:
Forms: Special Use Application Form 10-930 (60 KB)
Written: Amistad National Recreation Area
Phone: (830) 775-7492 ext 2202
Email: e-mail us
For fishing tournaments of ten(10) boats or less, the tournament director/organizer shall notify the park by phone at (830) 775-7492 x 2202 at least 72 hours before the tournament date. The notice should include the following:
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 $25.00 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 $25.00 fee will be charged).
Lake Use Fee: All recreational boats on Lake Amistad, including those in fishing tournaments, must display a valid permit costing $4.00/day (24 hours) , $10/3 days (72 hours) or $50.00/annual (12 months). This permit is available at Amistad Visitor Center, Rough Canyon, and Diablo East. Annual permit receipts obtained from the machines must be exchanged for a sticker at the Visitor Center within 14 days or it will be invalid.
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. NOTE: The above fees are negotiable and will be based on the projected costs to the park.
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:
The tournament director/organizer will develop boat launching, vehicle parking, and fish weigh-in station plans in coordination with the park (unless the director/organizer arranges private facilities outside of the park).
In coordination with the State of Texas and The Republic of Mexico, the park will work as a partner in managing the fisheries for the lake. The plan developed by these agencies to manage the fisheries will be made available to tournament directors at the time of request for special use permits.
There may be occasions where certain zones and times may have fishing restrictions. The park will consult with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to establish criteria for fish mortality predictions. When completed, the fisheries management plan, including tournament criteria, will be made available to all interested persons, tournament directors and the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce Lake Committee, and will be used for any restrictions imposed.
Comments or suggestions to improve management of fishing tournaments are welcome at any time.
A form will be provided to the tournament director by the park that can be used for this summary. It is requested that the form be mailed to the park at the address above within 10 days. The park will, in turn, forward a copy to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for their use in fisheries management.
Last updated: January 30, 2020