TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By Shane
#2248962
I'm planning a trip next month to the Lower Guad. It's been a few years since I fished it, and I've never been on it with my kayak. If flows are good for that when we're there, I'd want to find a shuttle service if possible. I was figuring on floating from Rio Raft down to L&L. Is that still a good section to fish, or should I think about a different section? I may have a buddy with me that will need to rent a kayak. Who has rentals and/or shuttle service?

If, for some reason, we end up not taking the kayaks, where are some good wade fishing spots? I wouldn't mind doing the GRTU lease if needed for good fishing. I wish I were closer and had more time to fish it. If so, I'd do the lease for sure.
#2249002
Not sure about kayaking, but I fished at Rio Raft a few times a couple of years back. Caught some BIG trout, but being hatchery fish, they don’t do much other than pull back like a speck or walleye. Still, it makes for a fun place to hook some rainbows. They like the deeper channels just off the limestone shelves just upstream and downstream of the bridge. Some monster stripers lurk there too, chomping on the rainbow snacks. Never hooked one, but I may give it another try sometime with a big Swimbait like a BBZ-1.


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#2249250
Cuervo Jones wrote:Not sure about kayaking, but I fished at Rio Raft a few times a couple of years back. Caught some BIG trout, but being hatchery fish, they don’t do much other than pull back like a speck or walleye. Still, it makes for a fun place to hook some rainbows. They like the deeper channels just off the limestone shelves just upstream and downstream of the bridge. Some monster stripers lurk there too, chomping on the rainbow snacks. Never hooked one, but I may give it another try sometime with a big Swimbait like a BBZ-1.


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I might be able to shuttle

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#2249253
Shane wrote:
Kayak buddy wrote:I might be able to help out with a shuttle

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Cool. Thanks. I'll check with you when we get closer to making the trip.
I might be part of the fishing party if you dont mind. Work needs to start shaping up

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#2249256
I was on the GRTU board for 20 years, 5 years VP Chapter Affairs, and still run Trout in the Classroom for Texas.
I filmed Trout Unlimited On the Rise in the Guadalupe, taking Frank Smethurst and his camera crew out - we were done early the 3rd morning and let the camera crew catch big rainbows
Frank called them Guadalupe steelhead.
Imagecameraman catching big buck on my 1918 FE Thomas cane rod - his first trout ever - while the producer still has a camera submerged to film the fish - that's Frank in the blue shirt, and Jimbo Roberts bringing the net
Here's Jimbo with a buck the day before
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I can recommend joining GRTU Lease Program as the best fishing bargain extant.
Parking and Wade-in access at 16 spots over the best 10 miles of the Guadalupe tailwater.
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Examples of October holdovers caught before any winter stocking
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As far as Cuervo's editorial, my rosy red - maybe his spot was dragging up fish that had been caught 5 times earlier that day
The Guadalupe is featured in America's 100 Best Trout Streams, and as the No. 1 Southern Tailwater to Fly Fish
What you want to do on the Guadalupe is bust away from the pounded spots, and find the fish that have settled into wild niches
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here's an old post
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=223142&p=2110032
you can see the photos in context with a free Add-On
viewtopic.php?p=2248836#p2248836

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spawning rainbows in the Guadalupe
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Guadalupe wild-spawned male
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#2249272
I've fished trout all over the country, including Alaska every week of the summer into September.

While mountain trout is a great destination, there's nothing superior about the fishing, in fact, the fish are as dumb as their 6 IQ denotes.

Tailwater fishing is always more technical, and even stocked trout settle into the natural feeding pattern within a week - they don't remember anything else. If they're pounded, they get defensive and begin feeding on a cycle. When one fish makes a feeding move, competition takes over. Fear is the first motivation of a big fish - that's how they got big.

Here's a September Alaska rainbow and dollie. Kicking salmon carcasses out of the way to step in, the black slate bottom pink with salmon eggs, what possesses a wild native fish to take your plastic bead - one every 3rd cast. Image
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
#2249275
That'd be great.

Kayak buddy wrote:
Shane wrote:
Kayak buddy wrote:I might be able to help out with a shuttle

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk


Cool. Thanks. I'll check with you when we get closer to making the trip.
I might be part of the fishing party if you dont mind. Work needs to start shaping up

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
#2249276
Ron, thanks. It's been 25 years since I fished the Guad. I can't believe it's actually been that long, but it has. Crazy. I've fished everywhere from South Padre to the Green River in Wyoming and Islamorada to Kauai since then, but haven't been back to the Guad. I'm looking forward to fixing that issue. :D
#2249278
A good early-season tactic is watch for redhorse suckers. They graze the bottom.
Their fallout kicks nymphs into the current and you can find holdover trout following them, the same way Kenai rainbows follow salmon (stingrays and redfish, etc.)

A day fishing with my buddy Floyd Burkett
my redhorse
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his rainbow, from the same pool after I moved down
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In March, sucker spawn flies make a great attractor, with a thread midge dropper - orange and chartreuse are both good colors
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In November you can try your really big nymphs for attractors also size 6-8 hex dries - still usually fish those with a thread midge dropper tied to the hook bend. Don't be afraid to skitter your hex dry - that will often draw strikes. Hex hatch will last well into December. We also have a size 10 slate drake. Either big mayfly will look like a little sloop sailing down the river. But don't count on seeing them, because they usually crawl up the bank. Sometimes they crawl up you.
Many years ago, I had a shut-out day - when I was pulling my waders off, there was a size 6 yellow hex on my shirt, laughing.
Big mayflies live in calm water.

as most tailwaters, midges make up 70% of the Guadalupe biomass
size 22 is usually small enough, and will just barely take 5x tippet.
The 8-lb rainbow in my first post was caught on a size 22 midge.
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Here's my swimming BWO dropper, tied on a size 18 scud hook - killer fished on the swing in a BWO hatch - usually faster water - head of a pool coming off a riffle and/or chute, pocketwater
Image XS copper bead
8/0 rust or brown thread
tail - 2 pheasant tail fiber tips, longer than the body
body - twisted emerald green flashabou
collar - sparse brown fur dubbing
- if you only get one fly on the Guadalupe

a BWO nymph - those frog legs are for hanging onto rocks in fast water
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and a dun
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it's the eggs in the females that make them olive
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and a cloud of BWOs - there's a long riffle and fast chute just upriver (behind me) - swinging BWOs is always productive in the long run for as far as you can see
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here's a good sun-lit profile of a BWO in flight - you can see they're all tail
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Caddis occupy the same water as BWOs, and they often hatch together - both actively swim when they hatch.
A caddis looks like a small moth skittering above the surface.
Two good caddis attractors (fished with the BWO dropper)
sparkle nymph (size 14 sproat is my favorite hook)
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also size 14, Guadalupe Prince - bead-head prince tied with antron wing
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another good dropper tied on size 18 scud hook, Dave Hughes serendipity
I showed this to one guy and he's never fished another fly on the Guadalupe
Imagesuper simple - strands of antron beneath the base thread wrap, midge lace, clip the antron - this has XS yellow glass bead

trailing shuck midge tied on a size 18 scud hook
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the advantage of using this hook is it ties like a size 20 and hooks like a size 16
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
#2249297
This will be my fourth year as a Grtu lease member, and it is an awesome program. I have to disagree with Cuervo about the way the trout fight. From my experience, the trout on the Guadalupe are great fighters. They will peel drag, jump higher than a bass, viscously shake their heads, and when you think you finally have them, they will charge between your legs. Now if we are talking about the 10inch state stockers than I agree. With all that said I've never had the opportunity to fish for wild trout so I can't compare that.

Ron, that first picture with Frank Smethurst is one of my favorite spots on the river. It doesn't look like much but it holds some good fish.
#2249298
Cable hole - going downriver from there gets even better all the way to the next lease access (Cable hole is at the top of this photo)
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Most people don't fish the little water, but that's where I catch the biggest and wildest fish.
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Exploring between the holes where people stack up is how you get to know the river.
Most people who wade, pass right over killer pocketwater to get to the next hole.
Image the 2nd fish photo I posted on this thread came from this tiny pocket - he barely fit, but there was a tiny eddy right in front of his face presenting him everything the Guadalupe had to offer, including my swimming BWO
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I think my favorite wade is all the way from Rocky Top through Lower Rocky Top, Potts and below, especially including Redhorse run and Mushroom rocks
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Also Mad Rock, and as far as you can go from there
Image I tend to hunt out the BWO hatches and water I can fish on the swing.
again, there is a long riffle and chute just above this run - this is below the next private bridge below Mad rock
and there's good sight-fishing between Mad Rock and that bridge
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I'll also add this - as good as the Guadalupe is, it would be even better if people didn't poach.
#2249319
there are a several theories on the brown trout - one is they migrate out of the tailwater, and I believe the record fish came from lake McQueeney.
Second is they feed at night when rafts of fire ants are migrating.
Both GRTU and TPWD have have been stocking browns since the 70s, but they just don't take.
I've caught a 20" brown buck myself - 4" of that fish was his kyped jaw - but to say the least, they're rare.
Biggest problems with browns is their growth rate is 1/6th of rainbows - and their cost to stock is 6-times as much - making them an expensive option up front.
I've seen seasons where we caught the little stocked browns all day long, then not see another one the rest of the year.
We've had great success with rainbows.
#2249377
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Gonna take me forever to learn the spots, lol. I registered for the LAP a a week or so ago. When do they send out the packets?

@cigarsnjeeps

Best recommendation for learning the lease spots is go on a GRTU stocking event and ride the bus. Talk to everyone you meet, especially Jimbo. If you have a chance, make a date to fish with him or others. Note that publicly announcing stocking dates (internet forums, etc.) can cost your lease access. Make sure you get on the closed-access Lease Members forum on GRTU.

People fish the same water differently. My friend Alex can stand on one spot and tight-line a half dozen fish in an hour. In that same hour, I will have waded and fished a quarter-mile or more for my half-dozen, and Jimbo a half-mile for his.

Guides aren't allowed to wade-in at the lease spots, only float. But floating with a guide is a great way to learn Many great spots and see miles and miles of river.
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Leases don't open before Nov 1 this year - I would expect 2-3 weeks to get the materials and button early and just about a week later.
#2249378
Ron Mc wrote:
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Gonna take me forever to learn the spots, lol. I registered for the LAP a a week or so ago. When do they send out the packets?

@cigarsnjeeps

Best recommendation for learning the lease spots is go on a GRTU stocking event and ride the bus. Talk to everyone you meet, especially Jimbo. If you have a chance, make a date to fish with him or others. Note that publicly announcing stocking dates (internet forums, etc.) can cost your lease access. Make sure you get on the closed-access Lease Members forum on GRTU.

People fish the same water differently. My friend Alex can stand on one spot and tight-line a half dozen fish in an hour. In that same hour, I will have waded and fished a quarter-mile or more for my half-dozen, and Jimbo a half-mile for his.

Guides aren't allowed to wade-in at the lease spots, only float. But floating with a guide is a great way to learn Many great spots and see miles and miles of river.
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Leases don't open before Nov 1 this year - I would expect 2-3 weeks to get the materials and button early and just about a week later.
Thanks for the info. Hope to see you on the water.

@cigarsnjeeps
#2249383
I won't be there this year - here's my excuse
Ron Mc wrote:Adding a sort of apology and explanation to my friends.
I won't be joining GRTU lease this year for a good reason. My daughter is a nationally rated HS wrestler, and UIL season begins in 2 weeks. There is a dual in the middle of every week, and a tournament every weekend through State the last weekend in Feb. After that, she goes into national Freestyle competition. She is a senior this year, with medal goals, and it's my last year to chase her.
Next fall, I'm going to need to get in the cold water - see y'all then.

When she was 12 y-o, with her new Werner paddle, she out-paddled 3 grown men into the wind across B&R flat.
At 15, I couldn't keep up with her any more, until I got myself a Werner paddle, and got my edge back.
She grew up stocking fish in the Guadalupe, catching fish all over the hill country and NM, and paddling the flats.
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#2249387
For people afraid to fly fish, trout fishing is the best way to learn, and the Guadalupe is perfect - trout are what fly fishing was made for - you don't need to cast distance. Most new fly fishers trying to cast just go out and spook fish with their line in the air and slapping the water. Think stealth. Nymph fishing is just fancy cane-pole fishing, extending your cane pole out a bit with a floating line.

All you really need is a roll cast, and you can go an entire season without ever making a back cast. Learn how to roll cast (you can only learn on the water), learn how to mend line on the water, how to use your rod tip to get long submerged drifts, and at the end of your drift let it swing - let it swing all the way until it's dragging straight down the current. If you lift it too soon, you may miss the fish that followed your fly up. Learn how to fish, how to catch fish, and casting will come later.

ps - unless your goal is to end up in the river, always take a wading staff of some sort - even then, no guarantees.
So much of the river bottom is rutted dolomite, and any downriver slope is slicker than baby poop.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
#2249402
Ron, thanks for the beautiful pics and great info.

One thing that has been a big factor on my float trips is the flow rate, so I always check that online (GRTU or other sites) before planning any trip. If the flow is too low, lots of dragging or carrying. Too high, it can be hazardous or hard to fish while controlling any floating device. Just a heads up to everyone that flow has generally been on the low side for the last month or so- we need Rain!

PM
#2249467
Ron Mac,
I guess I'm from the old, old, school. I prefer to fish where there ain't no other fishermen (a classic introvert). Now that my days of long wades in the Guad are past, I can't possibly tell you how much I enjoy your photos of that really first class tail water trout water.

I do believe, however, that it's time for you to get rid of those cheap old fashioned bamboo rods, and get some up to date equipment.

Good luck to that wonderful daughter of yours in her quest for trophies.
#2249470
well no, I said mountain trout was a great destination.
And if you follow me into the Guadalupe, where you find the fish, you won't find other people.
Even on the San Juan, I go to Simon Canyon and fish alone or with a friend.
Is the Guadalupe tailwater a prophet at home? Take advantage of this great fishery.

I match my tackle to the fishing. I prefer cane for trout fishing.
I prefer mid-length, mid-weight for hill country, which is where glass excels.

In the salt, where you need bigger line weights and longer rods I have graphite (and S-glass - S-glass is an equivalent bulk modulus to cane, while E-glass is the softest material that has ever been used for rods)

Here's my c. 1915 Leonard Fairy Catskill - an original 3-wt with my namesake reel and a Rio Chama brown.
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When I bought up vintage cane and venerable glass, it was cheaper than buying new graphite and disc drags.
I even have a disc drag reel for the salt, but for the rest, borrowing from Bull Durham - disc drags are fascist and, besides that, they're boring.
20 years ago, I went through a jaded phase of being insulated from the fish by disc drag and graphite rod, wondering why I was harassing the fish and not enjoying it.
When I hooked my first 20" rainbow in fast water on vintage cane and click-pawl reel and went, Oh Crap, what am I going to do now? - I remembered why we do this in the first place.

People go to lighter and lighter-line graphite to deal with the same issue, but quite honestly, those rods really don't work that well - graphite doesn't work there. A 6-1/2' 3-wt graphite rod is a tomato stake - 5-wt glass the same length feels softer. Glass and cane work in shorter lengths and lighter line, and tie you closer to the fish.

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