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  • Writer's pictureDan Cone


The San Marcos River is almost exclusively a float fishing river. While there are some access points along the river where you can wade, the distances you can travel by foot are more limited on the San Marcos than they are on either the Llano or Guadalupe River tailwater. The San Marcos begins in the City of San Marcos and flows to the southeast, eventually joining the Guadalupe River near Gonzales, TX.

The San Marcos Springs provide a constant flow of 72 degree water into the river and make this one of the better early and late season rivers in the Texas Hill Country. Fish species on the San Marcos are similar to those found on other rivers in the Hill Country and include guadalupe bass and rio grande cichlids. Thanks to the efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, smallmouth bass and guadalupe/smallmouth hybrid bass are also present in the San Marcos.

Standard gear on the San Marcos include a 4 weight rod and, given the constant temperatures of the river at the San Marcos Springs, wet wading gear is the best choice for the San Marcos. Fly choices are similar to those on the Llano, and includes hoppers, poppers and streamers. I do prefer a slightly heavier streamer (often flies weighted with dumbbell eyes) when fishing the San Marcos.

The river channel is more narrow than other rivers in the area, and there are quite a few deeper holes and runs. The river bed is mostly limestone, with cypress trees lining the edges. In the late spring and throughout the summer the San Marcos does experience some additional recreational traffic from people floating the river in inner tubes, canoes and kayaks.

The San Marcos is also part of the course for the annual Texas Water Safari, a 260 mile kayak and canoe race billed as the “World’s toughest boat race.”


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