Trout Unlimited is a non-profit, conservation organization whose mission is to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds for the benefit of future generations.
The Guadalupe River, located in Central Texas near New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio is the southernmost freshwater trout fishery in the United States. With over 5,000 members throughout Texas, the Guadalupe River Chapter is the largest local chapter of TU.
Canyon Lake was created by the Army Corps of Engineers to control the seasonal flooding that occurs on the Guadalupe River. It was impounded in 1964, creating a lake covering 8,240 surface acres and 125 feet deep at the pool level of 909 feet above mean sea level.
Rainbow trout were originally stocked in the river by Lone Star brewery, creating the southernmost trout fishery in the United States. During the Mid 60’s Biologist Dick White aided by local anglers, conducted tag and release studies along the river. In the late 1960’s Bill Parvin contacted Dr Howard Tanner, a Biologist from Colorado, to determine if the Guadalupe River was suitable for Brown trout. Several years later, Brown Trout fingerlings were stocked in the river.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) determined that the cold water discharges from the dam would displace the native warm water species naturally occurring in the river. Being the stewards of the public resources, they worked to develop a plan for the introduction of cold water species to utilize this new habitat.
About the same time, a small group of Texans, who enjoyed trout fishing, came together; Bill Parvin, Dick Finta, James Keeton, Bob Newman, Chad Oliver, Bill Pabst, Glenn Richardson, Lt. Col Paul and Hazel Schubauer, Jim Vynalek, and Bill West, who later founded the Guadalupe Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU).
TPWD began experimenting with different species of trout to determine which would be the most suitable and cost effective for their stocking program. They tried Rainbow, Brown, and Cutthroat trout. Deciding that Rainbow trout best suited their purposes, they further tried different subspecies to find the best for stocking in the Guadalupe River.
During the early years, not many anglers were aware of what was taking place on the Guadalupe below Canyon Dam. GRTU grew slowly, and the chapter was relatively small. TPWD began stocking Rainbows in other sites across the state of Texas, and more and more anglers became interested in fishing for Rainbows. As interest grew, so did their program in response, creating more interest and more stockings.
At first, TPWD believed that the fishery it was creating with the stocking of trout would be a ” Put and Take” fishery with little chance of the trout surviving the brutally hot Texas summers. But as they continued their surveys of the emerging trout fishery on the Guadalupe, they determined that if certain flows were maintained, trout could survive to the following year.