Guadalupe River Trout Fishing Report
January 2, 2017: It feels more like a week after the Spring Solstice rather than Winter. Shorts and wet wading in late December is not such a bad thing. It has meant a wide diversity of bugs on the water. Tricos in the mornings with some midges mixed in, with BWO, more midges, caddis and a few slate drakes in the afternoons. The down side to this, is that I am finding that what might be the hot ticket one day, is only fair the next, and a couple of days later everything has flipped around again. For the most part, standard patterns are still working well right now.
Overall, the fishing has been good in recent weeks, with some very good days mixed, as well. The higher flows earlier in the month has meant that the fish were able to spread out, and we are seeing fish in numerous places that wade anglers have trouble getting to. Speaking of wade anglers, the river has been busy this season, but most people I have spoken with have been able to find a good spot on the river and find fish. For my part, I have enjoyed doing longer floats and not spending too much time in one spot. Trying to keep moving and finding those willing fish has been more productive versus trying to fish every line on a run.
Flows dropped a few days before Christmas to 300cfs, and the water has cleared up quite a bit from what we were seeing in the middle two weeks of December. This means slightly smaller tippet (as light as 5x on some days, but more often 4x) for my smaller flies, but I am still getting easy bites on my attractor flies using 3X fluorocarbon. As for attractors, they are similar in diversity as to my natural patterns, but having to do with color. One day a red worm, the next orange, followed by pink, purple, and who knows what else next. I am seeing a little pick up on the hellgrammite bite versus earlier in the season, which is part of the reason for the heavier tippet.
Suggested flies: Mix it up, but still keep with your two or three fly set. Attractors have been more of the worm variety but some days have included a few eggs and have started to mix the hellgrammite patterns back into the mix in the afternoons and evenings. Natural patterns will depend greatly on the time of day, but, with the reduction in flow, I have gotten more natural in my looks. With all that said, I probably have caught as many fish on beadless standards such as pheasant tails, prince, rojo midges and hares ears in the past couple of weeks as I have caught on the more realistic patterns.
I have heard and seen a few people getting some bites on streamers, but they are getting fewer in recent weeks. The warmer days has meant an uptick in reports of fish taking caddis dries in the late evenings. If you see a fish working in the evening, have an elk hair cadds, trude or coachman at the ready and skate it over that fish. You might be surprised.
Quick tip: 10 foot 4 weight rod is still my rod of choice for the Guadalupe. Right now I am using 7.5 foot 3X leaders and adding about 12 inches of 3X tippet on before tying on my first fly then using about 14-16 inches of 4X to my second fly and for a third fly using 4.5 or 5X about 12 inches down. For weight I am using BB and size 4 shot, with about 3.5 to 5 feet between my weight and my shot, depending mostly on the depth of the run. As always, I am adjusting my shot and depth as needed to make sure that I am getting the flies down to the fish.
Second Quick Tip: With the caddis in the afternoon, make sure to wiggle your rod tip at the end of the drift to try and mimic a caddis emerger. You might surprise yourself.
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Warm Water Report
Jaunary 2, 2017:
The Llano River near Castell is running clear and cold. That means a slow bass bite but the TPWD trout are enjoying their winter home. Go out, get a burger, beer and bring small midge and caddis patterns. I had good reports of evening dry fly fishing with caddis this past week on the warmer days. Check in at the store to find out the places upstream of the Castell bridge and how to better access those spots for fly fishing. If you want to mix in some bass and sunfish, fish small streamers deep in slow.
The South Llano River near Junction has gotten an additional round of winter trout at the South Llano State Park. Check in at the headquarters to find out the stocking locations. On warmer days, you should also be able to find some small bass and sunfish on streamers.
The Guadalupe River near New Braunfels has good flows, but water temperatures have cooled to the point that I will be spending more time fishing nymphs than bass streamers until some time in March.
The Colorado River downstream of Austin has benefited from warmer days and relatively consistent flows. Still seeing good bass fishing if you are fishing deep with streamers. Pick and choose your days and you can find some nice winter bass right now.
The San Marcos River is still flowing well, but cooler weather means cooler fish. If you do go out, deep and slow.
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