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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


#2254110
When I was going to school in Austin, my neighbor and I would drive down to the Guad in the stocking season and, shame, shame, use can corn kernels to harvest our limit of those poor fish. That wasn’t too long after that article was penned.

I still haven’t made the trip there with a fly rod in hand. Is there any evidence that trout have ever reproduced in the Guadalupe? I’ve heard there’s monster striped bass below the damn grown huge by gobbling up the unwary stockers. Thanks for the blast from the past.
#2254273
karstopo wrote:....I still haven’t made the trip there with a fly rod in hand. Is there any evidence that trout have ever reproduced in the Guadalupe? I’ve heard there’s monster striped bass below the damn grown huge by gobbling up the unwary stockers. Thanks for the blast from the past.

This is purely anecdotal, but I remember 15 years ago or so, hearing that the rainbows had bred. Plus, the size of some of the fish I've seen caught there was enough to assume they were not stocked within a year of taking the fly. But I have no facts to back that up.
#2254395
I have facts.
I know exactly where the author's photo was taken - the far run on the other side and at the top of this little island -
this area was the original and only GRTU lease in the '70s
Image

I caught and released this handsome fellow guarding his redds about a half-mile down from there
Image

here are spawning rainbows in the Guadalupe - this is well downriver, almost to mile 12
Image
here is a Guadalupe wild-spawned male, caught in the fall, well before any winter stocking by TWPD or GRTU
ImageI caught him and several sisters
from riffle/pocketwater located between the first two photos above
Imagesimilar, apparent wild-spawned fish have been reported early fall as far down as mile 10
Catch 22 is the only way to prove they're wild-spawned is to kill them for lab tests.

The little male also didn't come from the Trout in the Classroom program, where schoolkids raise fry from eggs to release in the river - I head up that program for Texas, and all the hatchery eggs are female.
Imagewe're delivering trout eggs to 18 schools next week,
in Canyon, New Braunfels, Austin, San Antonio, Boerne, Katy and Houston (Houston FFF Chapter handles the effort there, but meets me in Sattler to collect their eggs).
ImageWe put about 1000 fingerlings in the river every May (99/100 will be fodder), but the program is not about raising trout,
it's about raising conservationists who will protect the future of this fishery.
Image

and yes, they do get big
Image this is an 8-lb buck, 27", but many 9- and 10-lb rainbows have been caught in the Guadalupe - and released.
When Scott Graham guided here, he released several that size rather than kill them for a record (Scott also didn't kill his 205-lb Port O tarpon when he was guiding there.)

Even in the worst drought, we summer over 7 miles of fish - the water is still 55-degrees 5 miles below the dam, even in drought, even in summer.
When the flow agreement with GBRA kicks in and holds 200 cfs through Aug and September, we summer over 12-16 miles of trout.
This is a mile 7 October holdover, from the pocketwater down from Rocky Top and mushroom rocks
Imageand a big Mile 6 hen caught the same October day
Image
independent from the flow, there are deep narrow runs with cold springs that will hold fish well down from the dam, even in the worst summer - this one is in mile 10
Imagewe love our place names - this is Mystery Pool
and Redhorse Run
Image

here's a discussion of the stripers - viewtopic.php?p=2251080#p2251080

The Guadalupe tailwater is in America's 100 Best Trout Streams (I fished with John Ross when he was down here, and he also added our river to his photography book Rivers of Restoration - he has a soft spot for the Guadalupe).
The Guadalupe is listed as the No. 1 Southern tailwater in 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish.
The late Harry Lane, possibly the most famous San Juan guide, used to winter in Sattler and guide the Guadalupe.
Stockers my rosy red - ever heard the adage a prophet in his own country? It's only Texans who can protect this treasure in our own back yard.
GRTU now has 17 lease sites, from Horseshoe Bend to down below 2nd Xing.
If you want to join - http://www.grtu.org/membership/
#2254427
what happens to the brown trout? Both GRTU and TPWD have stocked them on and off for the 50-year history of the tailwater.
I caught a 20" brown buck with a 4-inch kyped jaw right below mushroom rocks.
But why they disappear is a mystery.
One theory is they migrate out of the tailwater, and the state record brown trout was caught in Lake McQueeny.
Browns only grow at 1/6th the rate of rainbows, so maybe crowding by rainbows sends them downriver.
Second theory is they feed so predominantly at night, they are susceptible to being poisoned by feeding on migrating rafts of fire ants - this seems to be suported by more dead browns seen in the river than live ones caught in the river.
#2254440
As far as the size 12 gold-ribbed hare's ear, while it's a useful attractor and will take a few trout on the Guadalupe, especially in the slow water where drakes hatch, there are many much better flies to fish on the Guadalupe.
As with all tailwaters, tiny midges make up 70% of the biomass (GRTU funded this study through TSU post-graduate research), making thread midges size 22 or smaller the most technically correct dropper fly to fish. The 8-lb rainbow above was caught on a size 22 thread midge.
The vegetation and caddis flies have also recovered since the 2002 scouring, making soft hackle wet flies a great choice.
(Moving the native watercress from upriver to recover the tailrace vegetation required 8 years of permitting work between GRTU, TPWD, and TCEQ)
We have wonderful BWO hatches. In December, we even have a size 6 hex hatch.
http://www.grtu.org/forums/viewtopic.ph ... 74f5390188
http://www.grtu.org/forums/viewtopic.ph ... 8&start=48

btw, I taught my girls to fly fish on the Guadalupe (also at Blanco SP), letting them first sit in my lap to tie fake corn kernel flies using yellow chenille. I chummed up trout with corn, and they caught rainbows on the fake corn.
#2254464
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Saw a pic of a nice hold over brown caught last weekend. They are there, just have to find them. Search @Odomonthefly on Instagram.

@cigarsnjeeps

Thanks, that's good news - Jimbo has been working the last couple of years getting browns stocked up by mile 5 - maybe that far upriver will help keep them there
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Cool article. Thanks. I wish the river and that area were still like that. I remember going to NB as a kid and swimming and tubing (Camp Warneke). Alot quieter and less grown in those days.

@cigarsnjeeps

It was nice up there before the weir broke in 2002, but in some ways it's better now, returning that spot into fast pocketwater instead of a pond. Also, the progress that GRTU has made over the next 10 miles of river has improved the fishery tremendously over those days.
When the first Fly Fishing America show on the Guadalupe ran in the early 80s, GRTU had only 2 leases - Kanz and Bezdek's, with 8 miles of river in between. It was a boon when we added Rocky Top in the 90s, and the lease access and stocking continue to get better.

Something else to think about stocked trout. They become completely wild when they spread out into natural niches. Even the monsters of the San Juan - those are all stocked fish.
Wild, native fish belong where God put them, but there's nothing dumber than a wild mountain trout (or AK rainbow) - part of what makes them quaint, and certainly the splendor adds to the experience of chasing them.
Image
Stocked tailwater fish, aside from getting Big, use their natural instincts to become much more challenging to catch.
#2254807
Ron Mc wrote:
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Saw a pic of a nice hold over brown caught last weekend. They are there, just have to find them. Search @Odomonthefly on Instagram.

@cigarsnjeeps

Thanks, that's good news - Jimbo has been working the last couple of years getting browns stocked up by mile 5 - maybe that far upriver will help keep them there
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Cool article. Thanks. I wish the river and that area were still like that. I remember going to NB as a kid and swimming and tubing (Camp Warneke). Alot quieter and less grown in those days.

@cigarsnjeeps

It was nice up there before the weir broke in 2002, but in some ways it's better now, returning that spot into fast pocketwater instead of a pond. Also, the progress that GRTU has made over the next 10 miles of river has improved the fishery tremendously over those days.
When the first Fly Fishing America show on the Guadalupe ran in the early 80s, GRTU had only 2 leases - Kanz and Bezdek's, with 8 miles of river in between. It was a boon when we added Rocky Top in the 90s, and the lease access and stocking continue to get better.

Something else to think about stocked trout. They become completely wild when they spread out into natural niches. Even the monsters of the San Juan - those are all stocked fish.
Wild, native fish belong where God put them, but there's nothing dumber than a wild mountain trout (or AK rainbow) - part of what makes them quaint, and certainly the splendor adds to the experience of chasing them.
Image
Stocked tailwater fish, aside from getting Big, use their natural instincts to become much more challenging to catch.
There is no doubt that the fishery is better now. I was mainly thinking about the enormous crowds that descend on it in the summer. Too bad you can't have a good fishery without crowds, lol

@cigarsnjeeps
#2254924
Cigarsnjeeps wrote:...There is no doubt that the fishery is better now. I was mainly thinking about the enormous crowds that descend on it in the summer. Too bad you can't have a good fishery without crowds, lol

@cigarsnjeeps

all way cool.
What I think is neatest about the article is that our fishery was getting national exposure long before it was getting respect at home.

I think what really put us on the map was winning a flow agreement with GBRA, which also made all the businesses along the river recognize how important GRTU and conservation efforts can be - not just for the winter economy the fishery produces, but for their summer livelihood, as well.

My experience with tubers is they don't hatch before 10am, which is more than enough time to fish in the temperate months. And when it's hot, the fish are down by 9am, anyway.
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