Warm Water Report
September 30, 2016: Fall is here! Cooler temperatures and timely rains have come to the Texas Hill Country, and with it, a nice boost to our Fall fishing throughout the area. As of this report, we still have higher water in a few places (namely the Llano) but those high flows will become perfect flows in a matter of days. If you have been waiting for cooler weather to dust off your gear, then it is time to grab a rag and start cleaning.
The Llano River near Castell is flowing a little high and still somewhat tinted as of this report, but it is quickly coming into prime. We are about to have a nice 10-14 day window to float the Llano via raft, and I plan on spending the middle part of October on the Llano. Fall fishing will include a number of streamers, along with cricket patterns and little froggie patterns. With the approach of cooler weather. look for the fish to be opportunistic for easy meals as they fatten up ahead of winter. Mid-October through Thanksgiving can be some of the best fishing on the Llano, and the addition of good flows, will only help the quality of the fishing this year.
The South Llano River near Junction had a large wash of water this past week and is still in a bit of a recovery mode. Conditions continue to improve, and I expect that in another week, we will see steady fishing return to the South Llano. The timing looks good for the Fredericksburg Fly Fishers 13th Annual Oktoberfisch Event. I was last out on the South Llano a couple of weeks ago and the fishing was okay, but, with the cooler temperatures, we can expect to see the fish waking up a bit more. Better patterns were streamers in darker colors, as the water was still a bit off color, as well as a few poppers early in the day.
The Guadalupe River near New Braunfels is flowing at 300 cfs as of this report, and the water color is as good as we can expect to see it all year, with viability to over 5 feet in a number of places. The smallmouth fishing has been very good on the river, and we have caught a number of stripers in recent weeks as well. While I am not targeting trout at this time, the clear water has allowed me to spot a few holdovers in places in the upper stretches of the river. There are still a few toobers on the river on the weekends, but on weekdays we have the river back to ourselves. Lots of streamer fishing, and for the stripers, break out your sinking line. While many think of the Guadalupe as only a trout river, the quality of the bass fishing this Summer and Fall has been very good, and is worth the short drive.
The Colorado River did not get the large bump in flows that the Llano did, but there is still some stain to the water downstream of FM973. Most of my better fishing has been upstream of this crossing, and the fishing has been fair to good in recent weeks, with the better fishing having come more recently, as the water temperatures have moderated and the fish become more active. There has been a lot of fishing activity on the Colorado throughout the summer, but the fishing can be good on mid-week days, especially early in the mornings, as the flows on the Colorado continue to go up in the afternoons as the City of Austin operates their hydroelectric generation from Longhorn Dam each day.
The San Marcos River still has water in it, and still has fish. I have found good fishing on the Llano and Guadalupe, and have not had any time to get over to the San Marcos since the Spring.
Suggested Flies will vary with the river, and is similar to the last report. Topwater fishing continues to be good in the mornings and late evenings, as well as on overcast days. Froggie and poppers that make a lot of noise (you gotta make ‘em mad) have worked on all of our rivers, with the only major changes from river to river being sizes fished. Llano is typically smaller patterns, while on the Guadalupe and Colorado we are using larger bugs.
The streamer bite is good when you can get you pattern close to structure, the bank, or when the Guadalupe bass are active in the current. I have seen some very nice bass caught on smaller streamers of late because they were put where the fish were living. It is not as much about the fly right now as about the placement.
Bonus tips (things that I have to keep reminding people when they are struggling to catch fish):
1) Last time I mentioned that I like weighted streamers. Some people took me to mean a little weight on a streamer, with a bead chain or small dumbbell eye. In fact, I want a WEIGHTED streamer. One that sinks at about one half to one foot per second. I will change it up if fishing shallow water, but for the most part, I want a fly that would leave a mark if it hit me in the back of the head.
2) A follow up on the closer is better tip: you are still not getting close enough. If you haven’t had to wade into a spot to retrieve a fly because you wrapped it three ways around a branch, then you are not trying to get close, you are trying to save flies. Bonus tip: Go to Academy, find the section of in the fishing department that has all of the conventional fishing lines. Look for a red box that say Seaguar fluorocarbon 12 pound. Buy some. A 175 yard spool is less than $11 and will last for years. It will also help you get back some of those flies you have been worried about loosing.
3) Pay attention to where you get your takes. If you are seeing more fish in the rocks, just downstream of a riffle, then look for other places like that. Rather than trying to work the entire river, pay attention to where you have seen other bass, as that is a very good indicator of where you will find more bass.
4) It is cricket season on the Llano. Break out some black foam creations and slap them up against the banks. You can thank me later.
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Llano River Access
Fall Bass Fishing
Guadalupe River Trout Fishing Report
September 30, 2016: Water temps still remain too high for trout fishing on the Guadalupe. I am seeing some holdover trout in the stretches of river just downstream of Canyon Dam, but I have been more interested in catching stripers in the same water than harassing the trout.
Suggested flies: Fish for bass.
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