100 Best: Guadalupe
Type of stream: Tailwater
Angling methods: Fly, spin
Species: Rainbow Trout
Supporting Services: Gruene
Short take: Texas trout? No kidding!
Handicapped Access: No
Closest TU Chapter: Guadalupe River
A tailwater flowing out of Canyon Dam, the “Guad” is an excellent fishery for two reasons. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife found hardy rainbows from hatcheries in Southern Missouri would thrive in the river’s feast or famine, alkaline flows. And the savvy minds from Guadalupe River Chapter of TU sued to force the local water authority to maintain minimum 200 cfs releases during summers in non-drought years.
Winding gently, the river is the color of light jade. It slides down riffles and eases through languid pools, steps over ledges, and splits around occasional islands. Some pools are too deep to wade, and access is limited to15 sites leased by the chapter, two operated by the state, and public rights of way at four bridges. The chapter pays for its leased parking sites and for the trout it stocks by selling annual permits for $105 as of this writing.
The best way to fish the river is to float it any time from November ‘til April. You may see fish rising to hatches of mayflies, midges, or caddis. Hatches are unpredictable, and many anglers fish twin nymph rigs below a strike indicator on a 9-foot, five weight. A typical fish exceeds 14 inches, thanks to special stocking by GRTU.
Rainbows are the main game on the Guad, but, wait, there’s more. A torrential downpour in 2002 sent water roaring eight feet over the auxiliary spillway of Canyon Dam and hung a school bus in the top of a tree. Flood waters flushed striped bass into the river, and they’ve taken a liking to it (and to its trout). Texas’ state record for a striper taken with a fly rod was a 36 pound behemoth from the Guad, taken by a member of GRTU. When you head for this river, bring saltwater gear along with your five-weight.