TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By bones72
#2292591
Having a blast exploring little creeks here Texas. Took the 6wt out for a walk south of here and bumped into about three dozen Rios and a few bass. About half dozen Rios were between 8 and 9 inches. Little popper dropper action. Little Betts popper with a #12 San Juan worm.
Keepr Rio.jpg
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By Ron Mc
#2292615
Rio Grande cichlids have tiny mouths, and will basically eat anything that can fit.
I've caught cichlids you could hide your thumb in their mouth, and that size will readily eat a size 8 cats whisker.
Smaller cichlids will eat size 12 - woolly worms and hare's ears work great
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By karstopo
#2292618
Rios have evidently expanded from their original range. Does cold water kill them? Do they need flowing water to spawn? What happens to the native sunfish and other species when they enter a watershed?
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By Ron Mc
#2292623
Texas cichlids are feral in Louisiana bayous from one intentional introduction. They naturally range down into Central America. Of course Florida is covered in feral exotic cichlids originating from aquarium breeding ponds and spread by hurricanes.
Texas cichlids can't breed in water below 68oF. They also have a high salinity tolerance.
Basically, they take over all the good safety lies, and expose other species to predation.
The Sabinal is one TX river where you find a lot of cichlids, big bass, and few sunfish, though native long-ears persist well even there - long-ears also don't hide, but defend their spawning redds year-round.
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
By bones72
#2292626
Ron posted a website up for me when I was asking questions about how to get on some and I read there and expanded my reading off what I found there. This is what I learned. Cold does indeed kill them. The San Gabriel is about as far north as they are found consistently though I have found them in Salado Creek in Salado. As far as expanded range I would suggest the state together with bucket biologists have helped to move them around a good deal. I don't think that they need moving water as they can be found in some of the Lakes around San Antonio especially the power plant lakes. As far as competition with sunfish all sites I have visited suggest that sunfish hold their populations in check and that larger species of sunfish outcompete them in most instances.
I have been fishing Brushy Creek in Round Rock and it holds some bigger fish. The larger fish seem real structure oriented and hold tight to it and 90 percent of the time they are in pairs with a brood of fry they are guarding. The hordes of small bass and larger redbreast sunfish swoop through the brood and scoop as many fry as they can before being run off. Smaller paired Rios seem to have their nests in the tail out of pools and don't seem to care about structure. I am about fifty-fifty on success with pairs on a nest. Rios that are not paired and on a nest however are easy pickings and will cover an entire pool to get at a fly if they can beat the long ears and redbreasts ;they will certainly try. My observation is that they seem to fill a separate niche from sunfish. Also because of their proclivity for warmer water they have a breeding cycle outside of the times sunfish spawn and are actively on their beds. That's another observation. The long ears still on their beds have a sand and pea gravel bed. The Rios nests I have seen have all been lined with small freshwater clam shells.

I have been using San Juan worms and rubber legged hairs ears and fox squirrel nymphs under a popper to get them and stubborn larger fish get a #6 white or fox squirrel clouser.
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By Bayoutalker
#2292629
Do any of you know if there are any in the southeast part of Texas? I sure would like to give them a try.

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By Bayoutalker
#2292633
Ron Mc wrote:
Bayoutalker wrote:Do any of you know if there are any in the southeast part of Texas? I sure would like to give them a try.

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here's that USGS species incident link - it's interactive, you can zoom and scroll the map - zoom way in to read creek names, etc.
https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/omap.aspx?SpeciesID=443
Thanks for the link but just as I thought, nothing east of Houston. The "Golden Triangle" doesn't seem to have anything but black gold. Fresh water fishing is very scarce and saltwater hasn't been really good for a few years.

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By Ron Mc
#2292634
Bayoutalker wrote:Thanks for the link but just as I thought, nothing east of Houston. The "Golden Triangle" doesn't seem to have anything but black gold. Fresh water fishing is very scarce and saltwater hasn't been really good for a few years.

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you need to look again, from Lake Houston to Pearland, there are 9 reported sites, three with 6 to 10 species incidents reported.
Makes me think there are plenty of native cichlids east of Houston, they just haven't been reported.
You can catch some, report it to USGS on the same webpage, and get your dot on the map.
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By Bayoutalker
#2292636
Ron Mc wrote:
Bayoutalker wrote:Thanks for the link but just as I thought, nothing east of Houston. The "Golden Triangle" doesn't seem to have anything but black gold. Fresh water fishing is very scarce and saltwater hasn't been really good for a few years.

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you need to look again, from Lake Houston to Pearland, there are 9 reported sites, three with 6 to 10 species incidents reported.
Makes me think there are plenty of native cichlids east of Houston, they just haven't been reported.
You can catch some, report it to USGS on the same webpage, and get your dot on the map.


So far in this area I haven't caught anything but a few very small panfish and small bass. Pearland is a 2 hour drive for me and all I have is a canoe to get around with. I wouldn't know where to even start if I did make the drive. I wish I could find something from Baytown east but I've never heard of any.

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By Ron Mc
#2292637
if you see them in the water, can't miss them, because they can turn the front half of their body from black to white like a strobe light
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By Bayoutalker
#2292638
Ron Mc wrote:
Bayoutalker wrote:Thanks for the link but just as I thought, nothing east of Houston. The "Golden Triangle" doesn't seem to have anything but black gold. Fresh water fishing is very scarce and saltwater hasn't been really good for a few years.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

you need to look again, from Lake Houston to Pearland, there are 9 reported sites, three with 6 to 10 species incidents reported.
Makes me think there are plenty of native cichlids east of Houston, they just haven't been reported.
You can catch some, report it to USGS on the same webpage, and get your dot on the map.
I had to open it on my laptop to get the map to work properly. I see the places you are talking about. Have you ever fished those areas? I don't see much of a way to access them. I don't guess they have made their way this far east.

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By Ron Mc
#2292640
I need to talk to my nephew who's now in Lubbock, but he grew up fishing the Sugarland bayous.
Only thing I've fished that way is white bass on Livingston, and caught some Big flyrod gaspergou from my sister's boat dock
(even they've moved to Lake LBJ now)
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my daughter with a white bass and a couple of boat-dock catfish
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and what she really liked to do there
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By Bayoutalker
#2292641
Ron, I'm not big on urban fishing and those spots are farther than I care to go on a regular basis. I guess I need to take a few days and go to the Hill Country to find some good fishing.

I've tried fishing the creeks near Beaumont but the fish I've found are small and few. It is not hardly worth the effort to go. This is the first place I've ever lived that it's been this difficult to find a place to fish. I've always found a decent place close to home to catch some decent fish. It just hasn't worked here.

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By Ron Mc
#2292675
Cliff, the hill country is a special place, with probably the best warmwater fly fishing on the planet, and even our cold tailwater is listed in America's 100 Best trout streams, and rated as the best southern tailwater. Most people don't even see it, because they think the Llano is the hill country, but it's not, that's the high mesa above the hill country. Even the San Gabriel drains all that black-dirt farmland east of Burnet. The hill country is the limestone spring creeks that emerge from the escarpment south of a line from Rock Springs through Mountain Home and Harper and, especially the Edward's Aquifer Recharge Zone.

This is upper Cibolo Creek right below Herff Springs, and 20 mi from my house.
There's an A-strain of endemic bass here, and a few miles from here, the creek disappears into the aquifer, to re-emerge near Schertz.
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there are big cichlids here, too
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this is the headwater springs of the Guadalupe in Kerr WMA - there are also cichlids here
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and the Guadalupe around Center Point - I caught 7 endemic bass in the frame of this photo
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By Bayoutalker
#2292684
Ron Mc wrote:Cliff, the hill country is a special place, with probably the best warmwater fly fishing on the planet, and even our cold tailwater is listed in America's Top 100 trout streams, and rated as the best southern tailwater. Most people don't even see it, because they think the Llano is the hill country, but it's not, that's the high mesa above the hill country. Even the San Gabriel drains all that black-dirt farmland east of Burnet. The hill country is the limestone spring creeks that emerge from the escarpment south of a line from Rock Springs through Mountain Home and Harper and, especially the Edward's Aquifer Recharge Zone.

This is upper Cibolo Creek right below Herff Springs, and 20 mi from my house.
There's an A-strain of endemic bass here, and a few miles from here, the creek disappears into the aquifer, to re-emerge near Schertz.
Image
there are big cichlids here, too
Image

this is the headwater springs of the Guadalupe in Kerr WMA - there are also cichlids here
Image
and the Guadalupe around Center Point - I caught 7 endemic bass in the frame of this photo
Image
That's a beautiful place and you are lucky to have it nearby. I'd love to make it out that way. My wife should retire July 1 and then we will be able to leave this area. We will both be happy when that day comes.

Cliff
By bones72
#2292733
Love moving water here in Texas you never know what will pop up in wadeable water. I need to get a yak so bad. There so much more out there.
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By bones72
#2292738
Yep. He was a big surprise on the creek I was on, had know idea they were in there. Unfortunately I think he digested or ran off the Rios I was planning on targeting. I have seen them up over twenty pounds in Nolan Creek but the creek I was on today especially as narrow and shallow as it is right now he really came as a shock. Might have to break out the conventional gear and drown some bait.
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By karstopo
#2292805
I’ve yet to get a flathead on the fly. Every once in a while, I’ll throw out a live bluegill or tilapia on a circle hook and see what turns up. Blues, channel cats, gar and big Largemouth so far, but no flatheads even though I’ve seen them.
By bones72
#2292885
I've intentionally only fished for flatheads either with conventional gear or set lines (limb lines/trotlines/jugging). Kentucky I turned up two fishing for smallmouth in little creeks similar to the streams I have been fishing. This one was the first I have actually casted to. My experience is you have to be very specific in your set or cast in order to get a bait right into their lair. They often have a very narrow area in which they feed for the bulk of the year. That being said in the fall I used to fish below the dam on Belton Lake for them back in the 90s and early 2000s and anywhere below the dam a live bluegill was placed usually turned up a flathead. It seemed as if they moved up the Leon to feed and find an overwintering hole amongst the rocks placed there.

Back in Virginia there was a guide in the early 2000s (may still be there) that targeted them specifically on the fly below Richmond on the fall line of the James River where it begins to go tidal. He went at them on a low tide when their hiding places are more exposed using 8 to 10 weight rods. Of course they are not native in Va being a Mississippi drainage fish and they are doing great damage to the fish endemic to the area.

I ran into strange stuff again on Sunday. Caught about thirty 6 to 8 inch crappie on poppers in Nolan Creek. Had no idea they were in that creek, and they may not be a resident fish. We had a real frog choker of a storm on last Tuesday and they may have been washed in from a pond somewhere along the course of the creek. Who knows though and its always entertaining seeing what turns up. I am sure you coastal guys get some weird species on your adventures.
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By Bayoutalker
#2292886
The only time I intentionally went after flatheads was spearfishing in Bull Shoals Lake in northern Arkansas. I've never targeted catfish on a flyrod. To be honest I hate dealing with the slimy critters but they sure are good eating.

Cliff
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