Weekend Angler: Austin
The major drainage flowing through the Hill Country is the Colorado River. Sixty miles north of Austin, the river flows into Lake Buchanan, one of seven power-generation and flood-control lakes and dams. Lake Buchanan is known throughout Texas as a fabulous sand bass (also known as white bass) fishery. The deep lake presents a problem for fly fishers not willing to fish heavy sinking lines. During the winter and spring, the bass make their runs out of the lake and up the Colorado River as it flows through Colorado Bend State Park near Bend, Texas. The primitive state park and a couple of neighboring private campgrounds allow fishing for a nominal daily fee.
Basic patterns should include Clousers, Deceivers, and Woolly Buggers ranging from size 6 to size 10. White bass are bottom feeders, sustaining on a diet of bait fishes that include minnows and crayfish. Concentrate in the deeper pools and runs in early winter; as spring approaches look for the whites to school up in water as shallow as two feet. Be certain to use lots of lead or heavily weighted patterns to fish on the streambed. Don't waste time in the low-producing waters. Thoroughly cover the waters where you first pick up a bump, since the bass will be schooled up.
Anglers with access to canoes or personal pontoon boats should consider working the inlet of the river at Lake Buchanan. Full sink lines are advisable for the deeper water in the inlet. Not only do the white bass stage their runs here, but you might just hook into a striper. In the state park and private campgrounds it isn't rare to land carp, crappie, and/or perch.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication