Flow News: Protecting The Guadalupe Is Important
It seems that we have been cursed with plenty of high
water over the last two trout fishing seasons, hence,
fishing opportunities have been diminished. The 1999–2000 drought
was broken in the fall of 2000, and since then, the pendulum has swung to
wetness. As I write this piece,
Like most, I fished very little last winter because of the high water. I actually caught more trout in June thanks to the sustaining 200 cfs flows from the “recreational pool” of the lake. This lasted until August 6. Flows slowed considerably, but GBRA kept the flows higher than the required minimum. As a result, many more trout survived, a new state record rainbow of 7 ½ pounds was caught in September, and TPWD electro-fishing sampling yielded an incredible number of rainbows in the 5-pound range in early October.
A little extra flow can go a long way to big fisheries improvement. The Guadalupe has never, ever, come close to realizing its full potential as a trout fishery. The year 2001 provided us with a vision of the shape of things to come. The GRTU agreement with Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority will increase the trophy trout potential. Unfortunately, the agreement will not be implemented until legalities over the GBRA water right have been resolved by the courts. Stuart Henry, GRTU attorney, stated at our October meeting that it might take up to three years to settle issues raised by the Friends of Canyon Lake and Small Hydro of Texas. If the courts throw out the GBRA water right, than our agreement is also lost.
The only significant
protection the Guadalupe now has is the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission) license that requires a minimum release of 90 cfs
during non-drought periods. In addition, the state requires a pass-through of
all inflows into
There is a bill in Congress that could eliminate protections for trout fisheries below power dams to maximize peak hydropower production. If it is passed into law, it could have an impact here and other numerous blue-ribbon, tailwater trout streams across the country. These dams have severely damaged the pre-existing natural systems, and trout fisheries have been used to mitigate the damage by replacement. We must write our Congressmen and tell him/her to oppose this provision. You probably have received notices from Trout Unlimited concerning the proposal and more information can be found on the TU website. The TU website will generate a letter for you, all you need to do is access www.tu.org or www.capwiz.com/tu/issues and find the action alert. Enter your zip code to start the letter. It’s easy, and your input is needed to stop the loss!
More demands are
increasingly being made of the
SMRF has applied for at a
water right at the mouth of the Guadalupe to protect in-stream flows and the
As I have outlined, there are many flow matters swirling about that affect us and our sport. But don’t forget that maybe the most important flow issue to you is water safety. The currents in the Guadalupe are swift. Being caught in a swift current is like a fly caught in molasses—it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are inexperienced in wading swift flows, be extra careful. Take it slow and be extra cautious. The only safe flow is the one you are comfortable with. Have a good, safe trout fishing adventure.