GRTU president Mark Dillow in his element on the Guadalupe River.
By Sam Davidson
Trout Unlimited has 4,000 members in Texas, all part of one Texas-sized chapter: Guadalupe River TU (GRTU).
Amazing for a state that has no native trout, and relatively few trout streams.
When I lived in Colorado, it was commonly believed that all anglers residing in the Lone Star State simply went to the Rockies or maybe to Arkansas to fish for trout. But It turns out that there is a fine home-grown trout stream in Texas -- the southernmost freshwater trout fishery in the United States.
That would be ten miles of the Guadalupe River below Canyon Dam.
Many Trout Unlimited chapters can rightfully claim to have improved habitat and boosted the productivity of their local trout waters. But few can claim to be almost singlehandedly responsible for the existence of that trout fishery in the first place.
Guadalupe River TU can make this claim.
Since the late 1960s GRTU has worked to establish and sustain the Guadalupe River as a trout stream. They helped start the stocking program in the river, and to determine the best species of trout for that water (it's now rainbows). They successfully negotiated an agreement with the Guadalupe and Blanco River Authority to guarantee sufficient releases from Canyon Dam to provide adequate streamflows for trout. They pay to stock the trout every year, and provide angling access through a series of leases with landowners along the river.
I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with GRTU members on their "home water." The limestone bedrock of that region gives the water a milky aspect and creates unique features in the river channel -- as well as wading challenges.
It was bright and sunny when we started, and the action was slow. Then we found shadows... and The Slot. Fellow TU staffer Josh Duplechian and I nabbed several feisty, thick 'bows there, stripping a black woolly bugger and dead-drifting a WD-40.
So next time you're somewhere between Dallas and Houston, I recommend a visit to the Guadalupe -- and a Lone Star beer raised in toast to the Guadalupe TU chapter.
GRTU's Mark Dillow and "The Yeti" on the southernmost trout stream in the U.S.
Sam Davidson is California Communications Director for Trout Unlimited.