Warm Water Report
October 26, 2016: Fall fishing continues to be good throughout the Hill Country. I am seeing cooler water temperatures everywhere, and the fish are starting to notice those cooler temperatures immediately after a cold front, however the bass still remain very busy, fattening up for the winter. It is early still for trout, but we are starting to see water temps on the Guadalupe creeping closer to the range where trout will, once again, take over as our daily trip of choice.
The Llano River near Castell continues to flow well for a kayak and wading, through there is only one section that I am floating in the raft. It happens to be a section that few others fish, so we have had a nice few days. Water color from the last rise on the river (about a month ago) is back to clear to very clear throughout the river, and you can once again see fish traveling to take your fly. I have had good days on streamers in various colors, but with the clearer water, I am back to brighter colors as my first choice to tie on. There are LOTS of hoppers (tan and yellow) and cricket frogs (brown/green) about, and the fish have been working them in the evenings. Water temperatures are cooler now, and I have not been in the biggest of hurries to get on the water at first light these days, but, rather, have been enjoying the cool autumn weather to fish throughout the mid morning, into the afternoons and evenings. Burgers are still good at the Castell General Store, and, the beer is still cold.
The South Llano River near Junction is back to normal color and clarity following the rise in September, and the Rio Grande Cichlids are out in force. I have had better days catching Rio’s on the South Llano in the past few weeks than I did all Spring and Summer. If it is a fish on your bucket list, now would be a good chance to check the box. Pattern selection is similar to the main Llano, with streamers doing most of the heavy lifting, but hoppers and froggies making for fun against the banks.
The Guadalupe River near New Braunfels is flowing at 100 cfs as of this report. That is down from 300 cfs from the last report, and is in the range that makes wading very easy throughout the river, but makes floating a little more difficult. My last few days on the Guadalupe were immediately after the most recent front, so the fish were down, though I have gotten good reports since then of the largemouth and smallies starting to move again. Water temps are in the mid to low 70s, and water color is very clear for the Guadalupe. You can see fish moving 3-5 feet to take your fly right now, and with the lower flows, I am seeing a lot of fish holding in the mid-channel or drop offs a little off the banks, which is a change from being tight on the banks when flows were higher.
The Colorado River downstream of Austin is still the Colorado downstream of Austin. Good fish are being caught, flows continue to cycle every day, and water conditions change as the flows change. I have been spending more time on the Llano and South Llano since the last report, and have not been to the Colorado in that time, through I have continued to hear good reports for right place and right time fishing. If anything, the continued report has been that if the fish want your fly, they will let you know almost immediately. Another sign of Fall. Aggressive fish taking well placed flies. One upside to the cooler weather has been that flows on the LCR is not seeing the huge bump in flows (150 cfs to over 4000 cfs) in a day for hydro-electrical generation, though the flows are going in a range from about 150 cfs to 1500 cfs each day. This might not seem like a big change, but it has helped to improve water clarity downstream of FM973, and give a bit of a boost to the fishing activity.
The San Marcos River has finally reduced in flows to the point where I am starting to spend a bit of time there. Nothing crazy to report, other than it is nice to get out on the San Marcos once again. If anything big happens between this report and the next, I’ll post some photos over on the CGS Facebook page.
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) It is the Fall, and with that a number of cooler mornings. Start keeping more of an eye on when fronts are going to come through. If you see a day where you have warm and muggy, and the next day is cool and breezy, then take advantage of the pre-front opportunity and get some fishing in on the falling barometer.
2) If you cannot get the day off to fish pre-front, and you only day is just after a front, consider fishing slower and deeper, and with more streamers. Also, a cool morning can mean that there is not the biggest rush to get out on the water. Fish mid-morning and into the evenings, rather than our early bird Summer bass routine.
3) Still seeing lots of takes on the drop, i.e. the fish eats almost immediately after the fly hits the water. To get more of these fish, and since we are fishing more streamers, work to make sure that you are feeling the rod fully load on you backcast. With any fly, it is possibly to feel this load in your casting hand as the rod begins to bend, though with a streamer it is much more noticeable. Wait until you feel the thump in your hand as your streamer extends fully behind and then begin your forward cast. This will do wonders on making for a better forward cast, and should mean you line extends more fully on your forward cast, resulting in little to no slack between the tip of the rod and the fly as the fly comes into the water. Many bass are missed because we limp a cast into the bank for fear that we might catch the bank rather. This results in many missed fish because there is too much slack in the line one it hits the water, and we are unable to make a set because of that slack.
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Llano River Access
Fall Bass Fishing
Guadalupe River Trout Fishing Report
October 26, 2016: We have seen a few mornings with water temperatures in the upper 60’s, but the average has been in the low to mid 70’s. Still to warm.
Suggested flies: Fish for bass.
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