Guadalupe River Trout Fishing Report
February 21, 2018: Winter continues on the Guadalupe. I had planned on being on the river today with a half day trip, but the forecast called for (and the forecaster was actually correct for once!) rain and cold; and so it turned into a day to update the fishing report. I say the forecaster was actually correct, because this has been one of the weirdest winters that I can recall on the Guadalupe. Lots of variable weather throughout the day, and lots of variation in the bugs that are hatching on the river and therefor, a lot of variation to the flies we are fishing this season. Many days this season I have started off the morning with a set of flies that worked really well for me the prior day and in similar weather conditions, only to find myself changing the complete setup within 30 minutes of getting on the water. The biggest thing about this season is seeing bugs. If I can see a few midges, tricos, caddis, or whatever, I can typically expect to find some fish. With the variability in the weather, however, there have been days when the bugs play out, and so, to do the fish. Fortunately for the raft, we can keep moving and typically find a spot on the river where there are insects hatching and trout feeding.
Flows remain low on the river at about 85cfs. We are getting some rains in the upper basin, and hopefully we will see the lake start to gain water in the coming weeks. For the wade anglers, this remains a wonderful opportunity to get to see lots of the river. For float anglers, we are still able to get down the river with limited walking.
Midges continue to be the hatch of choice on the upper river, with good sightings of slate drakes and a few caddis further downstream on warmer days. Bugs are the key this season. If you have bugs, you have feeding fish. Keep an eye out and match the hatch to have more success. Most of out hatches are tiny right now, so go smaller on your fly for better results. I realize that this can be difficult, given the larger average size of our trout this season, but it will mean more hook ups, and more opportunities to land a 20 inch fish on a size 20 hook.
SUCKER SPAWN HYPE is coming. Starting to get suckers to eat flies and trout eating sucker spawn patterns. Not quite in full swing, but you need to start tying the patterns, especially when fishing just downstream of a shallow riffle or run.
Suggested flies: Soft hackles have been my most productive class of patterns all season long. Either by nymphing or by swinging them, small (size 20-22) soft hackles have caught over half my fish this season. In addition to soft hackles, I have had good work with standard attractors such as worms and girdle bugs (girdle bugs more so in the mornings) and a wide variety of midges in the #20-22 range. On overcast and cool days, the blue wing olive bite has been good with gray RS2s in the 20-22 range as well, and a variety of other baetis patterns.
Tip #1: Mix up your attractor patterns. Trout are visual feeding fish. Some days the attractor is more about getting their attention than getting a bite. I’ll have days where the same midge works for one angler and not another because one attractor is smaller or bigger or flashier or a different color than the other. Make the switch and see more fish. (yes, i realize that is an awful pun, but it was fun). I’ll see myself out....
Tip #2: On overcast days you can get away with some heavier tippet right now. I have caught a lot of fish that have other peoples flies in their mouths (yesterday was a season topper with 7 flies coming from 4 different fish). Right now I am going with 3x if I am fishing a worm, girdle bug or similar attractor pattern. I am only going to 5x on my size 22 patterns on sunny days.
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Warm Water Report
February 21, 2018: Much the same as the January report. I expect to have early bass reports by mid-March.
The San Marcos River is not on my radar at this time. Will have more to report come April or early May.
The Llano River near Castell is running low and clear. There are still a few trout at the James River Crossing, as well as at the Castell, Schneider (CR103), and Scott’s (CR102) crossings. Clear, cold water means slow bass fishing. If you are out there at a time where there have been a series of warmer days, try streamers deep and slow but be stealthy. The clear water means spooky fish.
The South Llano River near Junction is flowing well at this time at about 75cfs. The trout around the South Llano River State Park should be pretty much fished out, but I haven’t been out there recently to check. I have one scouting day for the South Llano coming up in early March and hope to have something to report back at that time.
The Guadalupe River near New Braunfels is in full trout season at this time. Not seeing much in the way of bass. Late March or early April will be the next real update for this bass report
The Colorado River has been good but slow for bass on warmer days. Pick and choose your days and fish deep and slow.