Weekend Angler: Austin
Fifteen miles below the Canyon Lake Dam, the Guadalupe River is a limestone, tree-lined river holding rainbow and brown trout stocked by both Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited (GRTU). These stockings usually begin in November and continue through February or March. Most of the stockers range between 12 and 15 inches with the occasional larger one stocked. These hatchery fish grow fast in this fertile river and anglers have realistic chances at 20-inch trout. Anecdotal evidence suggests that natural reproduction is taking place on this tailwater and if true, the Guadalupe River would be the southernmost self-sustaining trout fishery in the United States.
Fishing this tailwater reminds me of fishing the world-famous San Juan River in northwestern New Mexico. No need to bring the dry flies because like in the San Juan, you will be fishing with tiny mayfly and midge patterns weighted deep, mended to keep an absolute dead drift. Fishing the drift with a Leisenring Lift will sometimes entice a strike on this flat, sometimes featureless water. The river hosts a healthy population of caddisflies along with forage food including crayfish and minnows. Anglers need to be conscious of the ledges and crevices and little divots in the river bottom, for these lies are where the trout are holding.
The fish often hold in the deeper pools and runs found below the fast riffles. Look for the trout to stack up between the prevalent limestone ridges found along the riverbed. Studded felt wading boots are ideal for wading the slick limestone.
Much of the water has private land access so it is often difficult to figure out where to get in the water. The state has several public access areas but these areas are not the best water. GRTU has leased several private access points that are available to its members. Not all of the public access areas are well marked so if you are uncertain, ask permission. Once in the river, you are allowed to wade within the high-water mark as far as you like. For a list of stockings and access points contact TPW (512-389-4800) or GRTU (800-834-2419).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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