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GRTU Guadalupe River Chapter
Trout Unlimited Newsletter

P.O. Box 701864 / San Antonio TX 78270-1864 / (512) 261-4409 / newsletter@grtu.org
Published three times each year: January, April, October / Number 69 / April 2002
Editor: Richard Stanley (rgstanley@msn.com) / Contributors: George Spalding, Bob Tuttle, David Schroeder, Jimmy Moore,
Jeff Schmitt, Eric Peper, Ed Morrison
Meetings: Fourth Saturday of the above months

Officers     Directors  
President George Spalding (512) 329-8771 Carl Bohn Shelley Marmon
VP Chapter Affairs Ray Chapa Jr. (210) 680-0912 Tony Corbett Doug Ming
VP Fisheries Scott Graham (512) 847-6222 Oscar Dupre Jimmy Moore
VP Membership Scott Thompson (830) 931-3900 Dave Gutweiler David Schroeder
Secretary Karen Gebhardt (830) 980-7580 Hylmar Karbach Jr. Marian Tilson
Treasurer Michael J. Scott (210) 496-6911 Doug Kierklewski
Newsletter Richard Stanley (713) 784-0443 Ex Officio: Billy Trimble
TU Liaison & Mailings Bob Tuttle (512) 261-4409 Webmaster: Michael Brown

 

Table of Contents
Meeting Notice
January Program Highlights
General Store
Meeting Location
From the President
Flow Committee Report
In It For the Short Haul ...
The Purist
Bits & Pieces
Raffle Information
Honorary Life Members
Aid for the Traveling Angler
Century Club Members
A Big Brown and a Really Big Storm on the Gunnison
A Fly Fisher's Guide to Dining on the Guadalupe
National TU Contact Information
April 2002 Event Information

 

Notice of Spring Party & BBQ
Saturday, April 27, 2002
&
One-Fly Competition, Sunday, April 28

SAME DAM LOCATION: Dam Red Barn
(Just below Canyon Lake Dam on the South Access Road click here for directions.)

Special Lease Access Orientation: 9:00 AM (for this season and 2002/03)
Registration, Shop the GRTU General Store, Socializing: 10:00 AM
Chapter Business: 10:00-10:45 AM

Swap Meet-Bring Your Stuff
Auction-Rods, Reels, Guided Trips, Flies, And Goodies
Casting Competition-Fly Rod And Other Prizes
10:00 AM SATURDAY UNTIL ?
Raffle Prize: 14'2" Perception Prism Kayak
One-Fly Competition: 11 A.M. To 3 P.M., Sunday, April 28 (Details Inside)

.
Barbecue Lunch 12 NOON. $7.00. Beer, wine and sodas will be available for purchase. Donated desserts welcomed and appreciated! Please RSVP.


 

January Program Highlights

Varied Texas Waters, Species
The January program offered a bit of a change of pace, or place, and of species, as "The Guides Of Texas"-Johnny Quiroz, II and Marcus Rodriguez of San Marcos gave a presentation of fly fishing and tactics used on rivers such as the Blanco, San Marcos, San Gabriel, Llano, Medina, and others across Texas and demonstrated tactics for fresh water species other than trout, such as the Guadalupe bass. Both have been fishing Central Texas rivers and streams for over 20 years, and amply demonstrated that they know their stuff.

The lucky raffle winner at the January meeting was Oscar Dupree, who took home a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses donated by EyeMasters. Door prizes generously contributed by fly shops and individuals made the day for Lew Carlson and Greg White, who won selections of hooks from Orvis Houston; David Schroeder, who went home with a new cap from Orvis Houston; James Pelland, who won a book donated by Orvis Houston; Barry Boswell and Jason Obersted, who won boxes of flies donated by Jimmy Moore; Lynn Lennox, who won an Angler's Edge cap; Bob Bried, who won a box of flies from Orvis Austin; Larry Brietkerutz, who won a dip net; Shane Jennings, who won a $25 gift certificate from Gruene Outfitters; Janey Crum, who won a box of flies from Angler's Edge; and Jack Geyer, who took home dubbing material from Orvis Houston.

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General Store for TU Logo Gear

The "General Store" at the meeting will again feature national TU logo goodies in addition to our GRTU logo items (see the ad in this issue for details). National TU offerings include Catch and Release logo T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper/window stickers, lapel pins, and license plate holders. All proceeds go to GRTU.

SAME "OLD" MEETING PLACE: THE DAM RED BARN

From the North: Take I-35 Exit 191 (FM 306 to Canyon Lake, before you get to the north side of New Braunfels). Go west (right) on FM 306 approximately 14 miles (2 miles past the stoplight at FM 2673 in Sattler) through the area called Canyon City and turn left at the blinking light and small road sign that mark South Access Road. Follow it for about 2 miles, passing below the Dam and across the spillway. The Dam Red Barn will be on your left.

From the South: Take I-35 Exit 191 (FM 306 to Canyon Lake north of New Braunfels). Go west (left) on FM 306 and follow the directions above.

From the West: From US 281, take FM 306 to the east (281 and 306 intersect between Spring Branch and Twin Sisters) for about 16 miles to the blinking light at the South Access Road (just before you enter the area called Canyon City). Turn right on the South Access Road and follow the directions above to the Dam Red Bar

From the East: From I-10, take SH 46 to I-35; go North on I-35 to Exit 191 (FM 306 to Canyon Lake). Go west (left) on FM 306 and follow directions above to the Dam Red Barn.

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From the President

We will depart from the usual meeting format at our April 27 Meeting at the Dam Red Barn. Instead, we will have our first Swap Meet Auction and BBQ. We'll have a short election of members of the Board of Directors (any volunteers?) and quickly discuss any pressing business.

Weather permitting, members and non-member friends can gather on the grounds outside the Dam Red Barn and swap or sell their new or used fishing equipment. We will move indoors if foul weather hits. We will auction new stuff like Scott, Loomis, Cortland, and Ross rods and reels. Other neat fishing boats and accessories will be auctioned or sold. The Perception Prism kayak will also be raffled.

Bring some camp chairs or a small table. Some area fly shops will sell some bargains. Please RSVP for lunch (see the flyer for details).

The weekend fun will continue on Sunday, the 28th. GRTU will hold a One Fly Contest on the Guadalupe. Again meet at the Dam Red Barn. Fishing duos will be randomly picked for a friendly one-fly competition.

All proceeds will help in TU's efforts to maintain the great Western tailwaters and rivers we all fish. Donations and proceeds from the weekend events will go the TU Western Water Project or the Guadalupe River Defense Fund.

Come join the fun! See the flyers in this newsletter!

George Spalding, GRTU President

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GRTU Flow Committee Report

With the near-record rainfall in November and heavy flood control releases that followed, it began to look like a replay of 2001 when the Guadalupe was too swift to wade and fish for most of the winter and spring. January is normally one of our driest months, and this year it was drier than normal (the same for February). Flows have slowly, and steadily, declined to a moderate 300 cfs. The fishing conditions are a little fast but near ideal, the insect hatches are the most abundant that I have seen, and the trout are doing very well. The only thing missing is you if you haven't yet made it over to the Guadalupe this year.

The reason that flows remain so high, and for such a long period of time, is partly the work of Mother Nature and partly the fault of the legal system. There are truly two reservoirs on the Guadalupe: The first one is the naturally porous limestone formations above Canyon Lake that absorb water like a sponge and gradually release it into the river through seeps and artesian springs. This formation is a huge reservoir with a capacity of tens of thousands of acre-feet, and holds enough water that even a month or two after the last big rain, flows going into Canyon Lake are still 200 to 400 cfs. These flows must be passed through the lake if is in flood, and Canyon Lake has been continuously in flood since late August of 2001.

The other reservoir is the lake we are so familiar with. The Corps of Engineers controls the releases from Canyon Dam when the lake is in the flood control pool (above 908.62 ft., according to some new information that I saw the other day). They are mandated to release floodwaters so that the lake returns to conservation pool and they do this strictly to procedure. When it comes to managing flood releases, the Fort Worth Corps has not been very accommodating to the needs of fishing and they have not agreed to reduce flows temporarily, for instance, on weekends. However, the Corps is expected to approve, again for this year, another temporary deviation in their flood control release procedures so that floodwaters are released slowly at a rate as low as 200 cfs from mid-April to early September while the lake is in the bottom foot of the flood pool. They had the same policy last year, and flows remained at 200 cfs until early August to the great benefit of trout and recreation. When this so-called recreational pool gets exhausted depends on the timing of the last run-off producing rain event.

Although the long periods of high flows that follow a flood event deny us access to our favorite sport on the Guadalupe, the natural geology that enables that to happen is probably essential to the viability of the trout fishery below the dam. In Arkansas and Oklahoma, where I have great familiarity, the terrain is mostly impervious shale and granite. Floods are fierce and of short duration. The rivers recede rapidly to low levels. The water has to be stored in the reservoirs which are then used for peak power generation rather than water supply. Their "upstream reservoir" is the heavens above that produce annual rainfalls of over 15 inches more than in the Guadalupe basin.

News Concerning the GRBA Water Right
Two entities: The Friends of Canyon Lake (FOCL) and Small Hydro of Texas, Inc., have filed lawsuits in Travis County disputing Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority's water right amendment to Canyon Lake. To recap: GRTU was contesting the GBRA water right proposal until a settlement was reached in July of 2001. The settlement guarantees trout-sustaining flows of 200 cfs from May through September in those years that Canyon Lake's Conservation Pool reaches full capacity. It is expected that trout-sustaining flows will be triggered at least two out of three years on the average, (and perhaps as much as 80% of the time, depending on weather and water usage). The flow provision of the contract does not take effect until the water right issue is rendered "Final and not appealable" by the courts. Therefore, the Guadalupe will not have the flow to protect trout until the legal process is completed.

Our attorney, Stuart Henry, tells me that a hearing is scheduled around March 17, so by the time you read this, some of the legal process will have occurred. Stuart has been following the matter on our behalf and is not a legal representative of any of the parties. He surmises that if an agreement is reached between GBRA and Small Hydro, he is more optimistic about the final approval of the water right. The legal battles have been fierce. GBRA and its numerous allies have filed briefs in opposition to FOCL and Small Hydro. The matter could drag on until all the appeals are exhausted, or the parties drop out. I have to be optimistic, and thank God and Stuart Henry that things have worked in our favor thus far. Whether this matter can be concluded this year, no one can know.

Legislative Matters And Conservation
Legislative agendas are being planned for the next session of the Texas Legislature. Rivers and estuaries could be the subject of new laws-hopefully to protect and not to rob. Recently, there was a Legislative committee hearing concerning the protection of rivers and estuaries. San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF), Coastal Conservation Association and National Wildlife Federation are promoting bay and estuary protection, which means ensuring that enough fresh water reaches the estuary to protect its vital needs.

GRTU has endorsed the SMRF water right application to protect the San Antonio Estuary and contributed $1,000 to enable SMRF to perform the regulatory requirements to achieve a water right. It is estimated that the whole process could cost SMRF over a quarter of a million dollars. This would be the first time a conservation organization achieved a water right-normally only the rich and powerful river authorities and big cities had the resources to process the application. Up to 1.15 million acre feet of unallocated water is left in the Guadalupe Basin, which is about what is needed for estuary protection. For more information see: www.sanmarcosriver.org.

The Texas Rivers Protection Association (TRPA) is seeking to outlaw the use of all-terrain vehicles from the riverbed. GRTU and TRPA have helped each other in the past, and this is a very worthwhile endeavor. The destruction of the Nueces River is incredible: Go to www.down-river.com/trpa/nueces/index.html and review the kind of harm being done. TRPA is urging everyone to write, call, or e-mail Rep. David Couts who is the House Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. I would urge anyone with a water conservation issue to contact Rep. Couts.

At our January meeting, Fred Rasmussen, the TU Regional Vice President for the Southern Rockies, gave a presentation on the work of the TU Western Water Project. Much harm is being done to western cold-water fisheries because of water rights issues similar to the kind that we recently had experience with. The Western Water Project may be one of the most effective programs that TU has gotten involved with. The Project supports water lawyers on a state-by-state basis so that water applications do not neglect the needs of trout. The Project also attempts to get trout-friendly legislation passed, such as water trusts, to enable water to benefit fish if it is not used. In Colorado the water rights holder has no choice: use it or lose it. Often bare ground is irrigated to use water that could be going for in-stream flows. GRTU has donated $5,000 to support the Western Water Project, and would like its members to donate more. Money raised from the GRTU Swap Meet will be used for the Western Water Project and the Guadalupe Legal Defense Fund.

David Schroeder, GRTU Flow Committee

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In It For the Short Haul...

The haul and double haul are worthy goals for every fly caster. A few easy tips may make your casting journey a little easier.

The haul allows the rod tip to speed up faster than a cast without a haul. Many casters use a haul on the backcast to remove slack from the line and really don't haul at all.

The haul should occur right as the rod tip is speeding up for the speed up and stop portion of the cast, at the last possible instant before the rod is brought to a stop.

Often casters start pulling down on the line hand as they start making a backcast with the rod hand. The haul works the same as the casting stroke itself. It starts off slowly and accelerates to a stop. If you start the haul too fast the line hand can never get fast enough to make a good haul right at the end of the cast.

Remove all slack from the line before you start the haul. The haul should start right at the time the rod hand accelerates to make the speed up and stop. The haul should be only about 3 inches, not three feet. If you must remove slack from the line, leaving your line hand a distance longer than 12 inches from the reel, leave the line hand at that spot and make the haul. Make only a very short and very quick haul. Do not return the line hand up to the reel hand.

Leave the line hand down by your side as you start the forward cast. Again make a very short and very quick haul of 3 inches or less with the line hand by your side and the line will rapidly shoot out the rod tip. If you allow the line hand to move up toward the rod hand on either the backcast or the forward cast you'll put slack in the line that must be taken out by the rod hand.

One way to practice the shortest haul possible is to lay the line out in front of you and start moving the rod very slowly to the back. Move it painfully slow. Then at the last second make a quick speed up and stop with the rod hand and a very short, quick haul with the line hand. Allow the line to fall to the ground or water behind you. STOP. Think about what happened.

Now reverse the process and make the forward cast. Again start as slow as possible. Remember to wait until the last second to make the very short haul on the forward cast. Again let the line fall to the ground or water.

Keep practicing, letting the line fall to the ground. Concentrate on making the smallest, tightest loop you possibly can. When you've got a nice tight loop, false cast the line a couple of times. Don't open up the loop or rush the haul. If the loop starts to open up, return the line to the ground after each cast.

Remember, the rod hand makes the same movement whether you're using a haul or not. The line hand is where the change takes place and where the emphasis should be on casts with double hauls. The best casts will have a very short haul with a lot of speed but not a lot of length. With enough practice you'll find your best casts are made with the short haul.

By Colby Sorrells
Contributed by the Fort Worth Fly-Fishers
Colby Sorrells is a FFF Certified Casting
Instructor at Main Street Outfitters and
FWFF Tying Chairman

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The Purist

I fish with a Pflueger Pack Rod. He fishes
with a Sage or a Scott.
Doesn't make any difference to the fish that
we caught.

Fish don't care what rod we use and faced
with a choice they'd probably not choose.

The "purist" fishes a Betty McNall or other
perfect fly.
I fish with a Black Ant or Elk Hair Caddis
'cause they're so easy to tie.

"Expand your horizons, that's where it's at,"
he says as he ties on a number 16 Claret
Gnat. "Don't be fishing those trash flies, my
boy. Why don't you try a Ferret-Faced Rob
Roy?"

To go along with his game, I say I might try
a Chauncey, or a Colorado King, or maybe a
Coachman with the Royal Fan Wing.
He's thinking, "another purist I've found,"
when I mention that I love the Royal Blue
Crown.

He raises his eyebrows as he ponders all
that. Then he ties on a pretty Brass Hat.
I say a Royal Cubbage is also good, but
sometimes I prefer a Fire Coachman Trude.

He says to himself, "A purist for sure, boy
this is great." But when I tie on a Chernobyl
Foam Ant, we both know he's taken my
bait.

"A foam ant!" Why would a purist like you
stoop to something as trashy as that?" he
says as he removes his tattered old hat.

I say with an evil glint in my eyes, "Gotcha,
my friend. I'm not a purist. I'll just fish my
ants and little foam flies.

"You fish your classics and I'll fish my trash
and when the end of the day comes we'll see
who was brash."

Jimmy D. Moore, GRTU Director,
Woodway, Texas, © October 5, 2001

NOTE: The Ferret-Faced Rob Roy and Roya
l Blue Crown are flies originated and first tied by
Jimmy D. Moore.

Bits, Pieces & Loose Ends...

Spring Meeting?The Annual Spring Meeting is probably destined to be the shortest meeting in recorded history as the Swap Meet, Auction, and other activities are the featured events. Bring your own table and something to sit on along with your merchandise. It might be a good idea to bring change, like for a yard sale.

Welcome New Webmaster
Check out our web site at www.grtu.org where Mike Brown reigns as our new webmaster. The message board had been down for a while but it should be up and running again. Many new features to thrill and delight you.

Trout in the Guadalupe?
You betcha! The Chapter completed five stockings from November 2001 through March 2002. With all of these, plus the ones that TP&W put in, the river is very well stocked. Still not enough where you can walk across the river on their backs, but close. The resident Ospreys are excited and pleased with our projects.

Another Project:
While browsing through Bud Priddy's classic Fly-fishing the Texas Hill Country, I was reminded of the importance of preserving any fishing grounds. Just carry or tote a plastic bag and pickup any trash that you come across. Leave the area in better shape than when you arrived. The landowners will appreciate this and be more tolerant of those who fish.

Lease Permit Holders Note
Complaints have been made by some of our lessors. Speeding was the number one complaint. Number two was leaving trash. If we have any other problems, our leases could be in danger of being cancelled. You know the rules, please observe them and report infractions.

Great Tip
In your constant quest for trout and other game fish, there are several excellent sources available to help one wander about Texas.
      1. The Roads of Texas
      2. Texas Atlas & Gazetteer

They both not only show all roads, paved and unpaved, but also the lakes and rivers. Far better than the usual road maps. I believe that most states have similar publications.

More TU Membership Info
Please renew your TU membership through GRTU as the chapter receives monetary credit when you do. All renewals are sent promptly to National. Any delay is at their end.

To check your membership go to their web site www.tu.org , click Members then click Membership Services, select "Look Up Your Personal Membership Information". You will then be prompted to key in your eight-digit ID (membership) number along with your last name. If any of the information is not correct, please e-mail TU directly from that site with the updated information. If you are not a Grassroots Activist and wish to be on their action alert system, send your name and address with another e-mail to grassrootsactivist@tu.org.

Membership numbers can be found on your membership card, TROUT magazine, and any correspondence from National. GRTU also keeps those numbers in our chapter databases. When all else fails in your number search, contact membership@grtu.org and your number will be sent back to you.

Nag...Nag...Nag…
GRTU needs your e-mail address if you have one or have changed it recently. If your mailing address has changed, let us know also so we can update National and our own records to ensure that you receive all publications. Send to grtuchanges@grtu.org.

Bob Tuttle, TU Liaison and Mailings

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Go Stealth Fishing in Style:
Win a Kayak
At the April 2002 Meeting!

Plan Ahead! The raffle prize at the April 27, 2002 meeting will be a 14'2" Perception Prism Kayak Weight: 61 lbs., width 27", maximum load capacity 325 lbs., value $599. For additional information on this outstanding fishing vessel, please visit www.kayaker.com/perception

RAFFLE TICKETS ARE $6 EACH, 3 FOR $15, AND 6 FOR $30. CHEAP!
You do not have to be present to win.
Beat the crowds at the meeting by sending in your tickets now.

Make checks payable to

Guadalupe River Chapter/TU (GRTU) and mail along with your raffle tickets to
GRTU / Attn: Raffle / P.O. Box 701864 / San Antonio, TX 78270-1864

DO-IT-YOURSELF RAFFLE TICKETS

Mailing regulations do not allow the GRTU Newsletter to print raffle tickets, so you can make your own or print them from the GRTU website (www.grtu.org at the "Events" section).

Instructions:

  1. Write your name, address, and phone number on a slip of paper measuring about 1 by 3 inches. Repeat as needed to ensure success.
  2. Sign a check for the appropriate amount: $6 for one ticket, $15 for three, $30 for six, etc.
  3. Mail tickets and check to the address above early enough so we have them for the meeting and drawing April 28. Your check must accompany your raffle tickets.

Good luck!

Special Thanks to John Van Ness of Austin Outdoor Gear and Guidance for his generous donation of this kayak!

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The Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited Honorary Life Members

The following distinguished members of GRTU have been designated, some posthumously, as Honorary Life Members of the Chapter for their exceptional contributions to our work. This honor is reserved for commendatory recognition of individuals whose personal service contributions to the Chapter are deemed to have had outstanding impact in advancing Chapter and TU objectives

Clem Bird
Bill Cobb
Howard Itten
William A. (Bill) Johnson
James W. Keeton
Chad Oliver
William C. (Bill) Pabst
J. Bill Parvin
Basden L. (Bud) Priddy, MD
Glenn Richardson
Mrs. Hazel Schubauer
Lt. Col. Paul A. Schubauer (Ret.)
Marian Tilson
R.E. (Bob) Tuttle
Jim Vynalek
William G. (Bill) West
T.B. (Tom) Whitehouse

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Aid for the Traveling Angler

I tried to think of one fly fisherman who would not benefit from Trout Fishing near American Cities by Ann McIntosh, and I couldn't. McIntosh divides the U.S. into seven regions, then identifies the major cities, their airports, and their connecting airports and highlights the trout streams near them. Her primary criteria for including a river are the quality of a fishery and its relative ease of access from a city. While some may feel four hours doesn't qualify as "near," Ann argues that a four-hour drive on open Interstate can be less stressful than an hour in city traffic. The Guadalupe is included because of ease of access from both Austin and San Antonio.

The cities and regions covered in the book are, from east to west, as follows: Boston, Hartford, southwestern Vermont, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville / Knoxville, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis / St. Paul, San Antonio / Austin, Missoula, Jackson Hole/Idaho Falls, Phoenix, Albuquerque / Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, Reno, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Anyone who travels on business gets through at least one and probably more of these cities and/or regions annually. Consulting Ann's book prior to making a trip or having it tucked in the briefcase will enable the trout angler to add some enjoyment to a business trip.

Ann has personally visited most of the major rivers covered in the book and writes authoritatively about several of them. For those rivers she hasn't fished or where she was able to find an angler/writer who had better knowledge of the river, she includes several contributed articles. In all cases, Ann has had the angling information reviewed by local anglers or fly shop owners to verify accuracy and timeliness.

In addition to thorough descriptions of the angling opportunities, each chapter includes listings of overnight accommodations, restaurants, campgrounds, and fly shops as well as a list of other available printed resources available from both government and private sources. And blessedly, there are maps showing major roads and access points for many of the more popular rivers to supplement the listings.

The write-ups on each area are brief and fact filled. Many recount specific angling experiences on the river. Most include allusions to specific guides and locations. Ann McIntosh's skills as a writer are well displayed both here and in her earlier book Mid-Atlantic Budget Angler as well as in her many "Budget Angler" columns for Trout magazine. Should anyone have any doubts about Ms. McIntosh's capabilities as an angler, I have fished with Ann several times (as has Scott Graham) and can personally testify that she can fish rings around a lot of men of my acquaintance in terms of both skill and enthusiasm.

Trout Streams near American Cities may be the ultimate "where to" book for fly anglers who travel on business. One caveat: because of the book's focus on rivers easily accessed from cities, don't expect to see all of the "name" trout rivers covered. For example, you will not find any mention of the Madison. On the other hand, if you'd like to know about a spring creek filled with wild trout that's within an hour of downtown St. Paul, MN, this is a good book to have.

Trout Fishing near American Cities by Ann McIntosh is available from Stackpole Books, 5067 Ritter Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 for $19.95 (ISBN 0-8117-2958-3).

By Eric Peper

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The Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Honors Our
Century Club Members

The following have contributed $100 or more for GRTU programs, including the Guadalupe River Legal Defense Fund, in addition to their supporting membership donations and lease access fees for the 2001-2002 season.

John M. Baird, MD
Richard W. Beck
Duane V. Brandt
Alan V.Bray
Larry Breitkreutz
Norman & Lauren Carpenter
Stephen H. Couch
Allen D. David
David L. Davidson
C. Brien Dillon
Dan P. Drew
Larry J. Edgeman
Gregory P. Ellis
Frank Estes
Sam Fason
Michael T. Fitzpatrick, MD
Michael Gettman
Keith D. Graham
Russell R. Graham
Walter J. Groman
James P. Halbert
Frederic Hamilton, Jr
William J. Hills, MD
Donald C. Hinton
Stephen J. Hudak, Jr.
D. Michael Hunter
William J. Jacobsen
Hylmar E. Karbach, Jr., MD
Terry Kenyon
Gaylen N. Larson
Robert R. Lende
Kelly D. Lewis
Malcolm Marcoe
S helley B. Marmon
Glen McComb
James McIver
Palmer Moe
Dennis M. Naidus
Edward Nowak
David Price
Michael Rotman, MD
Scott A. Rowe
John Scarborough
Pete Schenkkan
Duane Scheumack, Jr.
Jeff Schmitt
Michael E. Smith
Kermit V. Speeg
Kim A. Stoddard
Albert O. Thomas
Stanley E. Thomas
Marian Tilson
Billy Trimble
Thomas E. Vice
Jim Vynalek
William G. West
Lance J. Whyle
Marvin C. Williams
Charles E. Winger

A Big Brown and a Really Big Storm on the Gunnison

In August I was able to take one of my dream trips, a float through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; my wife gave me the trip for an anniversary present. Three fishing buddies and I set out to southwestern Colorado for what we hoped would be one of the trips of a lifetime.

The Black Canyon was once considered some of the best fishing in North America in terms of numbers of trout per mile, but whirling disease put a damper on that. Today there is a good brown population as well as returning rainbows. The salmon fly hatch in June is very popular and the float trips during the hatch book a year or more in advance. The fishing is great because of the very limited access to the river through the gorge. In some areas the hike down can be several miles long and involve a thousand or more feet of vertical; the hike out becomes a major event.

Our float trip was booked through Telluride Outside and Gunnison River Farms. We stopped at the shop to check out flies and warmed up with some dry fly fishing on the Deloris River, south of Telluride. The actual trip began at a beautiful "peach orchard/fishing camp" on the Gunnison River, near the small town of Austin. Trips are usually two nights and three days on the river with six to eight fishermen. The rafts hold two fishermen, a guide, and supplies. Recommended fishing outfits are 5- and 6-weight rods with floating lines. A prince nymph or a hare's ear with a trailing copper john usually works below a strike indicator.

We arrived at the river after a two-mile hike from the trailhead, carrying our personal gear, fishing stuff, and adult beverages in dry bags. The outfitter brings in the rubber rafts and food by mules, usually the afternoon before. After a brief rest, we rigged up and hit the river. In August it is comfortable wading wet, as long as you are in the sun. As evening approaches and the sun disappears over the gorge, the water begins to feel cold.

There were several good deep runs near the put-in place, so while the guides rigged the boats, I waded in and started deep drifting a prince nymph/copper john combo. One of my rules is to add weight if I don't have a hook-up in a spot that ought to hold fish. After 10 minutes with no luck, I added weight. At the end of the next drift I felt a heavy, heavy strike. Immediately, I knew I had a great fish on. This was not your average small rocky mountain trout or hatchery stocker; I had to get the fish on the reel. After runs and tugs, I landed, photographed, and released a beautiful 20-inch plus brown trout-probably one of the largest browns I've ever caught. I was very excited to catch such a great fish on one of my own tied flies, so early in the trip.

By suppertime, we caught several other good rainbows in the 15- to 18-inch range as we floated downriver. The afternoon was a mix of fishing from the raft and stopping to wade. Something took Rob, one of the other Central Texans, into his backing, but we never saw the fish. I had a rip-off that acted like something out of "Jaws" and landed one or two more large, fat rainbows. We stopped to camp and looked forward to deep runs for drifting nymphs and stripping woolly buggers as well as meadows for hoppers. We settled in, checking our rigs, fly boxes, and adult beverages, while the guides worked on supper.

The Bureau of Land Management controls the canyon and designates campsites. Ours was on a rocky outcropping at the base of the gorge wall with a sandbar going down to the river. The guides taught us a new term for an old piece of equipment. A .50-caliber ammo box lined with a plastic bag and used as a latrine is called a "groover" because it tends to leave groove marks on one's rear.

The guides put together a wonderful supper of steak, potatoes, and salad. Just as brownies and ice cream were served for dessert, it began to rain. It was a gentle sprinkle at first, then turned nasty. As fast as a big brown can take you into the backing, a massive storm moved over the gorge and dumped with a fury. On the canyon floor, the lightning and thunder are intensified, and the rain cascades down like a waterfall. Dusk turned to night and the rain completely washed out one of our tents. Someone had taken dessert to his tent, only to see it float down to the river. The camp literally had the feel of "A River Runs Through It." During breaks in the wind, lightning, and rain, we gathered to look at the rapidly rising river.

Most of the guides were too young to remember the flood 25 or so years ago in the Big Thompson Canyon near Estes Park, Colorado, but I thought about it a lot. There was no way to know what all was going on up river along the length of the gorge or how long the rain would last. There had been no indication in the local forecasts of a storm of this proportion. I located my flashlight, put on polypro long johns, got on my Goretex. I located some purchases up the rocky ledge that I thought I could get to if the river continued to rise. I learned long ago fishing and hiking in the mountains with Boy Scouts, that if you get wet, you can eventually dry out. The real dangers are lightning and hypothermia. The river came up two or more feet in the first 30 minutes, but as the night wore on, several things gave me comfort. I kept silently repeating something from Psalms: "Lord, when I consider the works of thy hands, what is man?" Also I saw that one of the guides had taken up a post in a bivy sack just a few feet from the rising river to act as an early warning signal, which helped me relax a little. At times the feel of the lightning and sound of the thunder seemed majestic.

The storm continued and no one slept. Two guys from New York were in a tent that got washed away, and they took up a new position. Our tent was holding okay; a large boulder in front of it diverted the water to either side. The storm came in waves with periods of clear sky between the torrents. At times, the sky and the canyon walls lit up like the Las Vegas Strip. Sometime after midnight things slacked off to a drizzle and we drifted off to sleep.

Daylight brought an assessment of the damage in camp and to the river. The rain coming down the cliffs created large gullies and washes. A stream eight inches deep ran down to the river where the tent had washed away, and the Gunnison looked like a double latte from Starbucks.

The fishing was over and most of us were thankful that that was all that was really damaged. In every cloud there is a silver lining, and what would have been a nice gentle float with stops for fishing, was now a major white water raft trip. In addition to heavy water flow, we faced new sand bars, logs, and trees in the river and heavy runs through Class II rapids that were now Class IV. Fortunately, our guides knew what they were doing.

The float through the gorge was an adventure even though we missed the fishing. Our guide was a geology major at Western State and at every turn there were lessons on the rock structure and discoveries of how the storm had changed the riverbank. We would have missed a lot of the gorge if we were concentrating on fishing. Words like magnificent and spectacular seemed insufficient for what we were seeing.

On our return, we learned that the storm was the heaviest in the area in 15 years. Newspaper headlines read "Storm of the Century." We were not sure if that meant the 20th or 21st century, but we agreed.

While many fishing trips will run together over the years, I know the trip to float the Gunnison in the summer of 2001 will be remembered and talked about every time a day of fishing is rained out. I can hear it now: "If you think it is raining hard now, you should have been with us on the Gunnison . . ." In spite of the storm, thoughts of that one big brown and the experience of being in the canyon will definitely get me back to the Gunnison to fish another day.

By Eddie Morrison, with the help of Don Lewis, Rob Angel, and Jim Gray, Waco, TX

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A Fly Fisher's Guide to Dining on the Guadalupe

A good day of fishing often has less to do with the number of fish caught than it does with the overall experience of your trip on the river. Part of that experience is often a good meal before or after some time on the water. Whether you're out on your own looking for a quick bite to eat or you've brought the family down for the weekend, finding a good place to eat can be a challenge. There are actually quite a few unique little places tucked in here and there, if you just know where they are. Cyndie and I spend a lot of weekends at the river, and here are a few of the places we regularly eat.

Old Satler Bakery - On FM 2673 about ¼ mile past River Road on the right as you head out of Sattler. Our top pick for Saturday morning breakfast (not open on Sunday). Sit and read the paper with the local residents while you enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Awesome baked goods and a nice selection of egg dishes. Take a cookie or brownie with you for a snack on the river. They also serve lunch and have daily hot lunch specials during the week.

J's BBQ (formerly Posey's) - At the intersection of River Road and FM 2673. Grab a quick BBQ sandwich and some chips for lunch and then head downriver for some more fishing. A regular meeting place for lunch after the trout stocking. Makes a good chopped beef sandwich.

Stagecoach Inn - Follow FM 2673 towards Startzville. When you get to Frank's supermarket on the right, turn left on FM 3159 and go about ½ mile. It's up on the hill on the right. Be looking up and right, as it is easy to miss. Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is open Sunday morning for breakfast. Has an old Texas bar atmosphere and pretty good meat and potatoes food. Nice deck for enjoying a beer and trading lies after a day on the river.

Huisache Grill - This is in New Braunfels, but well worth the drive for a nice evening dinner. At the main traffic circle in New Braunfels, head south towards the railroad track on San Antonio. Just across the railroad tracks, it's on the left but behind another building. Excellent place for drinks, a fine dinner, and good wine after your day on the river. Serves a variety of grilled meats and vegetables in an elegant but casual setting. Has good laid-back, low volume live music in the bar on the weekends. If you left your wife back at the cabin while you stayed out on the river past the time you promised to be back, dinner at the Huisache Grill just might get you out of it.

Grist Mill - In downtown Gruene. Just go to Gruene, you can't miss it. A Texas Hill Country classic. Sit on the deck overlooking the Guadalupe River and enjoy a beer. Food is burgers, steaks, and southwestern cuisine. Try the jalapeno popper appetizers. When you're done with dinner, you're right next door to Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. Kick up your heels to some of the best names in Texas music. Or, walk around town and check out the shopping.

Plookey's Cajun Boiling Pot - Located on Hwy. 306, 5.3 miles west of the cutoff to the dam. It's on the left, next to Frank's Bait and Taco. We haven't tried Franks B&T, since we figure you have to pay for both the bait and the food. At Plookey's, you just pay for the food and anything left over can be used for bait. That's because Plookey's serves shrimp, crawdads, corn, and potatoes thrown out on sheets of paper. Order it mild, medium, or extra spicy then roll up your sleeves and go for it. This place reminds us of some place we've eaten down on the Texas coast. Nothing fancy, but it's good.

So there are a couple of ideas on where to eat for your next trip to the river. If you stop by any of these places for the first time, be sure to tell them you read about them in the GRTU Newsletter. We need all of the local residents to be more aware of the economic impact that trout fishing on the Guadalupe River brings to this area, and some just might support the chapter by advertising in the Newsletter.

Jeff Schmitt, GRTU

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To contact the national office of Trout Unlimited with regard to your membership, change of address, not receiving Trout magazine, or other matters, write, phone, or E-mail:

Trout Unlimited
1500 Wilson Blvd., Suite 310
Arlington, VA 22209-2310
Phone: (703) 522-0200
Fax: (703) 284-9400
E-mail: trout@tu.org
Worldwide Web: http://www.tu.org/trout/

Membership Phone: 1-800-834-2419
Membership E-mail: wreed@tu.org
12:00 noon - 5:00 PM Eastern Time

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SPRING PARTY & BBQ

SWAP MEET AND AUCTION
CASTING COMPETITION

Saturday April 27, 2002
Dam Red Barn
10:00 a.m. 'til ?

 

Swap or Sell your new/used fishing rods, reels, canoes, boats, flies and accessories. Bring a lawn chair and table and set up shop. Texas fly shop dealers will be selling stuff at bargain prices. Admission is free but any donation to the TU Western Water Project or the Guadalupe River Defense Fund is appreciated. Donation from gear sales is also welcome.

A Raffle and Auction will be held. New Loomis and Cortland rods-reels, Kayak by Perception, Professional guide trips, custom flies, a limited edition print, and other fly fishing goods will be for the taking. Proceeds to TUWWP.

Image of  Riffles of Paradise
Riffles of Paradise
Cheryl DePuy Murray, Artist

This riffle of DePuy Spring Creek (Montana) has always existed, but an old turbine shed was the added element in my youth. It was damaged years before when the dam above it washed out. The waters' force and volume dug a deep hole beside and under the structure. ...

More information about this and other artwork by Cheryl DePuy Murray can be found at http://www.avicom.net/fineart/cdmartprintsub2.html

Casting Competition judged for accuracy or distance during the party. New fly rod and prizes awarded to winners. Entry fee $5.00.

Everyone's Invited. Bring a friend and introduce them to GRTU and the 2002-03 lease program. Great beginner equipment will be auctioned.

RSVP Texas Barbecue Cookout $7.00. Beer, wine, and other refreshments will be available at additional charge. We need a head count by April 15 for the BBQ. Please RSVP to Jimmy Moore at 9409 Mesa Verde Circle Woodway, TX 76712 or email rayado@earthlink.net & gspalding@austin.rr.com.


ONE FLY
COMPETITION

Sunday April 28, 2002
Dam Red Barn
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

 

Fish one fly of your choice: You are allowed to fish with one fly only. That's not one pattern! Admission is a fly and $5.00 to be donated to the TU Western Water Project or the Guadalupe River Defense Fund.

Bring a friend along for the fun. Teams of two will be drawn from the hat. Teams will fish the honor system. This is not a serious or cutthroat competition. Prizes will be awarded for the total inches caught and released.

The rules will be posted before the contest begins. The main rule is: If you lose your one fly, the competition fishing ends. You can keep on fishing even if you finish the competition.

Pack a lunch and refreshments. We won't be serving food. All of us will fish and meet back at the Red Barn. For more information email rayado@earthlink.net & gspalding@austin.rr.com.

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