• Dan Cone

LLANO RIVER (and SOUTH LLANO)

The Llano River runs just over 100 miles through the heart of the Texas Hill Country and through three different counties and geologic zones. The best fishing on the Llano River happens in the Spring (March-June) and the Fall (October-November) for guadalupe bass, largemouth bass, catfish, rio grande cichlids and sunfish. Click here for Llano River access points, places to stay and places to eat.


The upper Llano River is made up of both the South Llano and North Llano Rivers, which join in the City of Junction to form the Llano River. The North Llano begins near Roosevelt, TX and does have some fishing but flows intermittently and is difficult to access. The South Llano River begins near Telegraph, TX and is spring fed from it’s source. The 700 Springs area provides the base flow for not only the South Llano but also the Llano River.


Fishing on the South Llano is best done by canoe or raft, as the plunge and pool nature of the river makes wade fishing very limited. The Llano River below the confluence of the North and South Llano Rivers flows from Junction, in Kimball County, to the south and east, through Mason and Llano Counties, eventually joining the Colorado River in Kingsland on Lake LBJ.


The Llano River in Kimball County has good access for float fishing and a limited amount of wade access fishing. The river in this area flows across a mostly limestone bed and takes on the blue/green hue familiar to those who fish other Hill Country rivers, such as the Guadalupe and San Marcos. In Mason County, the number of river access points increases but the river is still best fished by canoe or raft.


In the western portion of Mason County, the Llano continues to flow across a limestone bed but transitions to a mostly sandstone bed through the middle portion of the county. As the river approaches the eastern edge of the county the geology changes once again to a Precambrian granite riverbed. The Llano River through Mason County is one of the most geologically diverse river segments in all of Texas, providing anglers tremendous fishing mixed in with spectacular views.


Once the Llano River reaches Llano County the amount of sand and small stones increases in the river and helps filter the water, resulting in very clear and clean water in the lower portion of the river. The number of river access points along the Llano River in Llano County is similar to those in Mason County but the addition of the sand bars and granite rock gardens makes wade fishing on this section of river more practical. That is not to say that the float fishing on this portion of the Llano is to be ignored.


Quite often you will discover that the further you are from a public access the better the fishing will become. My preferred gear on the Llano is a 4 weight rod and a good pair of wading boots. For walk-wade trips I often wear a boot with metal studs, as the rocks on the Llano can be very slick. Flies for the Llano include streamer patterns in olive, black, chartreuse and brown as well as various types of poppers and terrestrial patterns.

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