I was listening to this tune by Willie Nelson as I wrote this post. Give it a listen.
The day before Valentine’s, as a reminder of who is really in charge, Mother Nature dropped a foot of snow on southern CT in just a few hours. It took two hours of snowblowing to find my driveway. As I plowed and shoveled, the thought of this trip kept me going.
For the past few years I’ve been wanting to attend Guadalupe River TU’s Troutfest. While Texas is not top of mind for trout fishing, the event is hailed as one of the nation’s largest, drawing anglers from all over the country. Check these links to find speakers and tyers.
The planets aligned, and in addition to Troutfest, the Ameripolitan Music Awards at Austin City Limits was the same weekend. This was too good to pass up, so I made reservations.
Upon arriving in San Antonio, took a quick drive to the hotel in New Braunfels. My 3-day plan in Texas was pretty simple: Fish the Guadalupe, visit GRTU’s Troutfest, and attend the Ameripolitan Awards.
On Friday, I drove to Guadalupe River State Park. Passing through the Texas foothills, covered with small oaks and brush, the landscape rolled by, seemingly unaffected by the coming change. Comal County is growing, and the rugged charm of the Texas foothills is succumbing to the traffic, construction and commerce that accompanies increasing population.
Arriving at the park, I asked the ranger about the fishing. He said that hungry trout, bass & crappie were out there, taking almost anything thrown at them. His instructions were simple: drive to where the parking lot ends in front of the river. Go upstream or downstream. Both have plenty of fish.
I parked, did a quick walk along the shore, threw on my gear, and headed upstream. The path was narrow and lined with brush but otherwise relatively easy to hike. I stopped upstream where the water was slow and cloudy. There were large pools, but no rising fish and ultimately no takers for my streamer.
Then I waded down to the main section of the park where I caught a small sunfish. Not exactly a trophy, but a Texas native that took off the skunk.
By now there were many families along the bank enjoying this beautiful 70-degree day, so I left the water and walked downstream until I saw no other faces. Unlike upstream, with large pools and slow-moving cloudy water, this was narrow and fast, with plenty of rocks, runs and riffles. It resembled more of what I would describe as a trout stream.
I tied on a flashy orange streamer that I mostly use in the fall for trout in Connecticut. Within a few casts, my first Guadalupe bass was on the line. As advertised, it put up a good fight right to the net. I found others in the same pool of similar size and fight.
I continued catching until the early afternoon, when hunger took over and I returned to the car. After a lunch break, I walked a few of the trails and then packed up to leave.
Not a bad experience for my first time fishing the Texas hill country. I would recommend Guadalupe River State Park to anyone wanting to spend a day fishing, hiking, picnicking or paddling. The wading is easy and once I found fish, they were eager. Escaping the New England winter was also a bonus.
Hope you’re planning similar adventures. Enjoy!