Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tour of Texas; Guadalupe River Trout

As the southern most trout fishery in the United States the Guadalupe River below Canyon Dam gives Texas anglers an opportunity to catch rainbow trout year round in the Lone Star State. In 1964 the Army Corps of Engineers impounded Canyon Lake. The cold water being released from the bottom of the dam would displace the native warm water species that occupied the Guadalupe. With optimal flows the water is cold enough to support trout for the first 10 miles below Canyon Dam. Lone Star Brewery started stocking the river with rainbow trout first. TPWD followed and began experimenting with different species of trout to determine which would be the most suitable trout for the Guadalupe; in the end it was the rainbow trout that did best in the Guadalupe. About the same time, a small group of Texans, who enjoyed trout fishing, came together; Bill Parvin, Dick Finta, James Keeton, Bob Newman, Chad Oliver, Bill Pabst, Glenn Richardson, Lt. Col Paul and Hazel Schubauer, Jim Vynalek, and Bill West, who later founded the Guadalupe Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Currently GRTU is the largest local Trout Unlimited Chapter.

2015 Trout Fest will be held February 20th, 21st and 22nd and will be held at Rio Raft. There will be some great guest speakers like: Kelly Galloup, Pat Dorsey, Frank Smethhurst, and Wanda Taylor. There will be some great tiers giving fly tying demonstrations though out the day along with fly casting instructors to help you brush up on your casting. The evening of the 21st the Flyfishing Film Tour will start at  6pm.

The Guadalupe river is surrounded by private property and access to the river can be difficult. TP&W has addressed this issue by teaming up with property owners to give the public free access to the river during December 5, 2014 – March 5, 2015. Texas Parks and Wildlife has temporary lease agreements with Mountain Breeze Campground, Rio Raft and Resort, and Whitewater Sports. Anglers have free access to the river from 30 minutes before daylight until 30 minutes after dusk. They may use the properties for bank fishing and to launch non-motorized watercraft such as rafts, kayaks and canoes for the purpose of fishing. If you are looking for additional access to the river, GRTU has a lease program with multiple access points to the river. Not only does GRTU give additional access to the river it also does supplemental stockings in additional to what TP&W stocks. GRTU fish are typically larger fish than those stocked by TP&W. For additional information on joining GRTU or GRTU lease access program please follow the link; GRTU. 

To me fishing in cloudy/light rain is my favorite weather to fish in. When I hit the Guadalupe it was just beyond grey light with a low ceiling of clouds and light mist the conditions were prime for a good day on the water. I started the morning off stripping wooly buggers changing between white, olive and chartreuse. I had one really good fish come up and wake then swirl on the olive bugger, It was pretty exciting to see even though the line never got tight to the fish. I landed one small fish on the chartreuse bugger and missed a couple more but the fish just didn't seem all that aggressive so I switched up my offerings. Rigging up a nymph rig I dropped a wd-40 and pheasant tail below an indicator. The bites didn't come quick today but I was able to pick of a few fish and one really good rainbow that made up for the slow bites. I think I ended up with roughly 6 rainbows to the net with another 3 or 4 missed fish.

A nice healthy rainbow from the Guadalupe River.

The fish of the day. 

This is an average stocker the TP&W puts
into the Guadalupe River.  

Rods, Leaders and Flies
Rods- My favorite trout rod is a TFO BVK 10' 4wt. I over line this rod with a 5wt line to help turn over indicators and heavy split shot. The 10' length of this rod makes mending easy and also gives you an additional foot gives you alittle more reach while high sticking.
Leaders- I like a 7.5' Rio Tapered leader in 3x. I will then attach 2 feet of 4x or 5x tippet with a blood knot.
Flies - The fly of the day was a size 18 pheasant tail. I also caught fish on a olive wd-40 and wooly buggers.


  1. Casey
    I can certainly relate to this post in that I fish a tailrace here in Alabama that releases water below the dam that ranges in temps from 55 to 57 degrees 11 miles down the tailrace.
    Those are some nice stocker rainbows, how often and how many are stocked there? Just to hear Kelly Galloup speak would be worth the Trout Fest visit. I have a couple of videos by Kelly using the hopper/droppers and the indicator, which are very informative. Great post--thanks for sharing

  2. Very cool to hear about this fishery. Is this the same area that produces the Guadalupe Bass? Forgive me for my ignorance.

  3. Bill the Texas Parks and Wildlife puts in almost 18 thousand trout during the winter months and Guadalupe Trout Unlimited puts a few thousand more in the river.

    Atlas the Guadalupe bass is native to the Guadalupe river along with several other rivers in the Texas hill country like the Colorado, San Marcus and llano river.