Nature always seems to come up with little surprises. For over a year, we received nearly no rain in the Guadalupe River watershed. Over the past couple months, however, the watershed has received numerous rains, and Canyon Lake is now above the pool stage of 909 feet.
Because of the high water level in Canyon Lake the Guadalupe River has been flowing anywhere from about 900 cfs up to 4000 cfs in the months of November and December. As I write this column, the river is flowing at 900 cfs and with any luck (i.e., no more big rains) should be flowing at a fishable flow (i.e., <400 cfs) after the first of the year.
Our chapter and Texas Parks and Wildlife (TP&W) have stocked fish in the River. By the time this newsletter reaches you, GRTU will have stocked nearly 12,000 pounds of rainbows in the river.
With the water level in the lake, I anticipate great flows for fishing over the next couple of months. There are numerous locations to get down to the water this year so you should be able to find ample places to wet a line. GRTU has teamed with TP&W and several outfitters along the river to acquire river access for the general public.
Two of these sites, Upper Camp Beans and Rockiní R Camp Huaco Springs, have free public fishing access to the river. The free public access is for fishing only and those taking advantage of the access should park at the designated signs for trout fishing. Several other outfitters are open for public access but charge a daily fee. These outfitters are Whitewater Sports, Rio Raft, Mountain Breeze Campground, BK Camp, and River Road Camp.
I had some reservations about stocking the river at flows of 900 cfs. My concern was that fly fishers would try to get out in the river and wade at these high flows. Well, this morning as I was drinking my coffee and watching the river flow by behind my house, two fellows showed up at the GRTU lease just upriver. I thought to myself that surely they would not go out and wade the river. Within two minutes, both fly fishers had waded out into the middle of the River and were walking down the river, right towards that deep hole behind my house.
Before I could get my shoes on and run out the door, the deep hole had swallowed the two fly fishers. One of them was able to quickly get to shore, but the other poor fellow was swimming like crazy out in the middle of the river. He did manage to get to shore and everyone was safe. Needless to say, I call this a close call and those fly fishers should be counting their lucky stars that neither drowned in the incident. Hey, I want to get out in the river to fish as badly as everyone else, but please use common sense when fishing high water. The best rule of thumb is don't wade in places where you cannot see the bottom. Perhaps we all need to go through episodes as the two fly fishers behind my house. A number of years ago (in my younger years, when I thought that I was invincible) I tried to wade some fast water on the Bighorn River. It was an ugly sight. I did survive my brush with death, but now I realize that I am not invincible, so I don't wade in dangerous waters. The Guadalupe River flowing at 900 cfs is DANGEROUS WATER! Please be careful! Remember, we are out here to enjoy the great outdoors, not let it kill us.
By Doug Ming, VP-Fisheries