Guadalupe River Chapter Newsletter

Volume 52 / October 1996

Table of Contents

Notice of Annual Fall Meeting

Saturday October 26, 1996

Location: The Dam Red Barn, Sattler. Texas

Just below Canyon Dam on South Access Road, across from St. Thomas Church




RAFFLE: 8'6" Sage RPL+ 5 wt., four-piece travel rod

PROGRAM: Greg Lilly of Greg Lilly Flyfishing Services, Sheridan, Montana: "A Montana Fishing Vacation for The Financially Impaired " and "Continuing to Grow as a Fly Fisher. " 11:00 AM-12 Noon BARBEClTE LUNCE: Noon. (Optional. Please obtain ticket when signing in. Only $6.00.)

DIRECTORS MEETING: Following lunch.


Jan Crawford's New Mexico Program Draws Well at April GRTU Meeting

The many GRTU members who attended April's meeting enjoyed an excellent program by Jan Crawford of Santa Fe's High Desert Angler. Jan presented a slide program of some favorite spots in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and after lunch conducted a casting clinic and presented information on New Zealand fishing. Those that left early missed leaming some super casting techniques.

Jan generously left program chairman Irving O'Neal some choice items for future door prizes: a fly pattern book, High Desert Angler coffee mugs, a saltwater hook rernover, two copies of Flyfishing in New Mexico by Craig Martin, A History of Angling by Charles F. Watemman, a Bug Luggage fly box with 12 custom-tied flies, a High Desert Angler canvas tote bag, and two packets of Outdoor expressions wrapping paper.

The Sage 3 weight travel rod with the Lamson reel went home with lucky raffle ticket holder David Prindle, who makes almost every meeting. Irving O'Neal's custom-tied flies were won by Bobby Weaver. There was no door prize at the April meeting, but there will be next time for sure. In addition to the fine items that Jan contributed. we will have some unusual unclaimed items from the Doug Kierklewski Lost & Found Department. Scott Sanchez of The Austin Angler and Sage donated a box of mighty fine flies and a videotape.

The Board meeting that followed the general meeting produced a new treasurer, Mike Scott, who assumes Ron Presswood's duties. Two of last year's directors, Clem Bird and Bob Story, signed up for another term.


Hear Montana's Greg Lilly Tell About the Promised Land in October

Greg Lilly had the good fortune to grow up in a family-owned flyfishing business (Bud Lilly's Trout Shop) in West Yellowstone, Montana. He tried a couple of other ventures over the years, but he's always come back to Montana's rivers.

Greg is bringing two programs to the October 26 GRTU mceting. "A Montana Fishing Vacation for thc Financially impaired" is designed to help anglers heading for Montana get the most for thcir money. It's not necessarily about how to go on a low budget, but about how to plan your trip effectively so you don't waste money or fishing time. His second prograrn, ''How to Grow as a Fly Fisher," draws on his 30 years as a guide, travel planner, and retail shop owner to pass along additional ways to improve skills and increase fishing enjoyment.

Greg is bringing his "artificial river" to the meeting to teach water reading, fly presentation, and some techniques for taking trout. He'll also have a couple of special fish targets to use in his casting demonstrations. The casting program will be designed to teach practical casting and to show ways to handle on-stream casting problems.

Greg's long years of fly-fishing experience included working his way through college as a guide for his father, then working with his father to expand thc shop to include one of the finest guided fishing scrvices in the Rocky Mountain West as well as a successful mail order operation.

In 1981, Greg sold his interest in the Trout Shop to pursue other interests, an experiment that lasted about two and a half years before he and a partner opened fhe River's Edge in Bozeman, which they quickly established as one of the top retail shops and outftting businesses in the country.

After six years, Greg decided to try working with fishermen where they live instead of where they fish, which Ied him to open a shop in Orange County, California. Four years later, he took a job as markefing director for R.L. Winston Fly Rod Company and moved back to Montana.

By 1995 he was satisfied that his real love was helping anglers enjoy Montana's terrific fishing, so he and his wife, Janet, opened Greg Lilly's Flyfishing Services in Sheridan, where they provide guided fishing, fiy-fishing schools, and lodging assistance to anglers traveling to the Rocky Mountain West.


From the President . . .

Flash! GRTU Goes 100% Catch and Release

In April the GRTU board voted to declare all GRTU lease access site fishing as catch and release for the 1996-97 season This is in contrast to the 1995-96 season in which the Maricopa, Upper Bean's, aud Rio Raft sites were left with a two-fish limit for GRTU members. This was a sufficiently controversial issue that the board voted twice to ensure that the every board member's position was discussed and presented.

One of the issues that came up during the second vote was the fact that in some areas, like the three which had reduced catch rules last year, non-GRTU fisherman in the same area could keep the state limit of five trout. Although the board expressed empathy for this situation, the belief that GRTU mcmbers should provide an example for other fishermen in these circumstances, the basic conservation ethic of GRTU, and the GRTU goal of extending the time that trout spend in the river carried the argument for catch and release.

There is no restriction on members keeping trout at non-GRTU sites like the area below the dam and Whitewater Sports. If you agree or disagree strongly with this decision by the board, contact one of your GRTU board members and tell them. It will come up again at the April 1997 meeting for the 1997-98 season.

Progress on Guadalupe River Trout Fishing Regulations

Background: The regulation committee was formed at the April 1996 meeting under the leadership of Lee Goldstein to work with all parties involved in the discussion over trout fishing regulations on the Guadalupe River. Community reaction to the 1995 TP&W proposal was negative enough to persuade TP&W to table the regulation for the 1996-97 season. Additionally, GRTU was cast locally as the originator of unpopular regulation and as opposed to river stewardship, child fishing, and fishing for bass and catfish, and generally as attempting to take over the river and requiring that all fishing be by fly rod only! There was actually a widely believed story that GRTU was demanding jet-ski patrols to ensure that only fly rods were being used on the river!

As ridiculous as all this sounds it was a clear indication that GRTU failed to do its job in the community properly. The objective of the regulation committee is to interact with the community, the landowners along the river, and the fishing public to effect a regulation that enhances the trout fishery while retaining as much of the fishing opportunity and diversity of prior regulations as possible.

Meeting #1: A midweek meeting with a group of concerned landowners, fishermen, GRTU, and outfitters along the river was held in May at John Weber's home on the river. This was a get acquainted meeting and an opportunity to voice concerns. Important points included fishing for nontrout species and trout mortality with various fishing methods.

Meeting #2: The second meeting brought together representatives of TP&W, land owners, outfitters, and GRTU. At this meeting Guadalupe community representatives proposed a regulation that would establish the same section of river as a quality trout fishery, with a limit of one trout over 18 inches and no restriction on type of bait except that trout could only be kept if caught on artificial bait. The proposal has a lot going for it in that the trout fshery would be enhanced while fishing for bass and catfish with bait would be unaffected.

Meeting #3: The third meeting included essentially the same group as in the second as well as WORD, river residents, and state and local elected officials, including Texas State Representative Edwin Kuempel and Comal County Commissioner Danny Scheel. The meeting confirmed the proposal made in the previous meeting and included extensive discussion about the drought impact on the fishery, the need to assess the impact of the regulation on the fishery, and the possibility of extending the regulation downstream at some future date.

In general it appears that the community supports a regulation that enhances the trout population of the river, and the effort clearly deserves GRTU support. Let's hope that the misconceptions of last year go away, and that a coalition of people concemed about the river and its fish are able to affect rules and regulations to protect them.

GRTU Lease Access Program

We will offer the GRTU lease access angler education prograrn again this year, and the board extends thanks in advance to the tackle shops, instructors, and GRTU volunteers who participate in the program. The theme for the program this year is:

"GRTU lease access provides a fishing path to the riverónothing more"

This simple description is worth remembering even if you have been a lease access member for a number of years. Some things we will be teaching that we leamed fom our lease land owners last year include these important rules:

  1. Don't use the garbage cans on lease land. Carry out what you carry in . Using the landowners' garbage forces them to empty them during a season in which they wouldn't normally have this expense.
  2. Don't use abandoned outhouses along the river. It's illegal. They don't pass environmental laws. Using them puts our GRTU lease landowners in legal jeopardy. Chemical toilets left over from the summer are not dumped in the winter. Using them forces landowners into the expense of dumping. Unless facilities are available that are obviously operational, please take a break and drive to a place with public rest rooms.
  3. Picnicking and camping are prohibited on lease property, yet we had complaints from landowners that GRTU members were doing both! Please remember that we lease a path to the riverónothing more.
  4. Violating the allowable car lirnit at a lease access site breaks a basic promise we make to a land owner. If the site is filled with cars, go elsewhere. A board member (Marian T.) has suggested we post tbe car limits at each lease access site, and with the landowners permission, we will do so this year.

The GRTU lease access program to Guadalupe trout fishing is the key elernent of our organization's success. We are built on a house of cards - we must keep the promises we make to our lease access landowners or we lose that access, and without that access we lose members and the ability to stock, rear, and be steward to the river's trout. Please make it your personal responsibility to be a good steward of the lease properties and obey the rules of the GRTU aecess program, We're counting on you!

TP&W Stocks Trout Fingerlings That Survive Drought!

In April and June TP&W stocked 70,000 trout fingerlings that were raised at the Brazos River Hatchery. Roughly 20,000 went in below the Rt. 306 bridge, and 50,000 went in above. The reason for the split was the drought situation, which forced heavier stocking in the colder water areas. The good news is that many survived the summer, as evidenced by reports from our members who caught and released many at the dam and at Rio Raft.

These fish went in between 3 and 5 inches in length and are expected to grow at an inch per month until they are sexually mature, roughly at 11-12 inches, and then to grow at 1/2 inch per month. TP&W is planning to electro-fish in October to assess fingerling survival and growth rates. If you happen to catch one of these fish please retum it immediately. If possible don't lift these fish from the water; try to release them without handling by unhooking them in the water. This is the future of the fishery.

If the regulation now being formulated (see article on regulation news) is passed in 1997, fingerling stock will eventually become the primary method for restoring trout populations in the lower Guadalupe.

GRTU Scholarship By-Product: River Quality Data

This will be the first award year of the GRTU scholarship at New Braunfels High School. The scholarship is administered by Vince Weiser, a biology and environmental science teacher who also runs the Texas Watch prograrn which monitors river quality in the Sattler vicinity.

Vince's students collect temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and numerous other water quality statistics on a regular basis. In addition to sending the data on to Texas Watch and the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA), they share it with GRTU's summer temperature monitoring database.

The $500 GRTU scholarship will be awarded to an environmental science student with good academic skills and who has made a significant contribution to the Texas Watch river quality monitoring efforts. The winning student will be announced in April 1997. Funds for the scholarship have been donated by the Fitting Stool, a quality footwear store chain in Austin whose owners are both GRTU members and trout fishermen.

Research News

The Southwest Texas State University, (SWTSU) aquatic biology department will be conducting research on trout habitat in the Guadalupe river in the 1996-97 and 1997-98 academic years. These studies will classify various river sections in terms of their capability to support trout. These data will be useful in stocking and rearing strategies and in selecting lease and stocking sites.

In developing a year-round population of self-sustaining or fingerling raised trout, knowledge of where fish have the best chance of long-term survival in a valuable asset to GRTU. These data will also be shared with TP&W to help in their trout population strategies.

Studies of this sort become even more important when the trout population is protected by trophy regulations such as tbose being discussed by TP&W and river residents and outfitters. Participation in the SWTSU research program is also a key element in obtaining Embrace-a-Strearn shared research funds from TU national. The habitat survey is a part of a masters thesis effort by Thorp Halloran, the SWTSU graduate student who attended our April meeting. Research contributions help support. this effort and are greatly appreciated.

Alan Bray


About Barbless Hooks

By Bob Brunsell

(The following is one of the essays on fishing matters collected in The Brunsell Articles by Bob Brunsell of Bull Shoals, Arkansas. It is reprtnted by permission).

Rob Sarow lives in Evansville, Wisconsin, and although he doesn't let on, he is one of the very best fly fishers I know. We fish together oflen, and I have learned a lot from him.

Of course, some of it has been what not to do. Like the time we stayed till dark on the lake at Belleville and Roy caught his popper on one of the stumps still projecting over a submerged woods.

I paddled over so he could stand up and reach across to retrieve the popper. Neither of us noticed the mallard nesting in the top of the stump.

You have to give that duck credit. It didn't panic until Roy leaned directly over it. Then it blasted off like a proverbial bat from the nether regions. Roy came backwards just as fast. The air was full of whirring wings and waving arms. You'd have thought someone had left a dynamite charge in the stump.

Luckily, Roy landed in the canoe. I will say one thing, there's nothing wrong with his heart.

Or the time he was making a fly rod and mixed a whole can of powdered resin glue with water so it would be ready if he made more fly rods.

Some time ago, Roy wrote a short monograph about fly-fishing for a Trout Unlimited publication. It explained his philosophy well and probably that of many anglers.

In it he mentioned that when he had been on a bowling team or competed on the rifle range, he and other participants were assigned handicaps so they were matched as evenly as possible. He reminded us that in pool garnes players often were spotted balls for the same reason. This made the games even more fun, and he felt the same way about fishing.

He explained that he considered fly-fishing a little more challenging than other forms of angling. He used rods he made himself, flies he tied on small hooks, and light leader tippets. He liked to use single hooks with the barbs pinched down so fish were less likely to be injured and had to be more carefully played. These were his ways of spotting points for the fish.

Roy likes to eat fish and usually takes enough for a meal, but he does return many more than he keeps. I think it has been 10 years since he kept a trout. He is a staunch advocate of voluntary catch and release and barbless hooks. They are hard to find in stores and, when available, are usually only in a very limited ramge of styles. His fishing kit always contains pliers for pinching down barbs.

I have no argument with Roy's ideas but I did hold back a long time on the barbless bit. It aiways seemed more fun to land a fish and put it back than to have it escape on the way to the net.

Then one time Roy happened to say, "I believe I lose fewer fish since I started pinching the barb down. I think the hook bites deeper amd holds better. Of course, you can't iet them have much slack."

I have learned he was right about this, too. There are many advamtages to a barbless hook and really no disadvantages that a little care in playing won't compensate for.

You will net more big fish using a pinched down barb because a conventional hook has trouble penetrating to the bend in their tough mouths.

To use an often-heard simile, "It's easier to drive a nail than a wedge."

Here's an example. Roy and I were fishing Mt. Vernon Creek some time back. It was early dark and I happened to glance at my watch just as a good fish took my nymph. The fly was small and the tippet very light, so all I could do was give line as needed and hope. In and out of snags and through two pools that fish took me. Sometime later I netted it: a 20inch male brown. I checked the time. I had played the fish, or it had played me, a little over 30 minutes.

All I could think of was getting it somewhere there was light enough for picture taking. A quick tug broke the leader tippet, and still carrying it in the net (it was too large for the creel), I started for the car.

Roy was waiting, and when he saw me approachmg m the dark, he said, "What in the world have you got there, a big carp?"

We made a quick stop at a friend's house to show off our price, and afler dutifully admiring it, he asked, "What did you catch it on?" "I'll show you. " I opened the fish's mouth amd the nymph dropped out on the driveway. It had been just caught without penetrating all that time the fish was on and had fallen free when pressure on the line was released.

Quite often I've netted other good fish after they were played for some time and had the fly fall free inthe net as soon as tension on the line was relaxed. It has rarely happened since I have been pinching barbs down.

Remember the last time you lost a good flsh part way to the net? The chances are it was caught in gristle and didn't penetrate enough to hold.

Fatal injuries to fish usually occur during handling. With a flattened barb you can remove a well-hooked fly with minimum handling. Usually it takes just one hand to reach into the net and back the hook out.

I have always like to wade and dry fly lakes that hold trout. It seems that flies that float nice and high are the best producers. Large brook trout, especially, take and then bore for the bottom. Hooks light enough to float properly are inclined to either straighten or break at the bend (depending on how they are tempered) when I try to bring those fish back up.

When the point catches and doesn't penetrate, a great deal of leverage is exerted on tbe bend. Squeezing down the barb [and gettmg deeper penetration] alleviates this problem.

I like to use a net. It saves a lot of flsh handling, and when it is necessary to grasp one, holding it through the wet net mesh eliminates the need for squeezing.

Don't release a tired fish until it has completely revived. Support it gently in the water and move it back and forth to help it breathe.

Never put your fungers or anything else in its gills. If you want to weigh it before releasing, hoist the net with the fish inside.

And one more thing: Chuck Wineland stopped in just as I was finishing this. He said, "Better tell them to do tbe barb flattening before you tie the fly. You can break the hook doing this, and it's discouraging after you put a lot of work on the fly. "

Roy would agree with this, too.

[The Brunsell Articles is available for $18 postpaid from Bob Brunsell, 203 Blou Clower Lane, Bull Shoals, AR 72619.]


Oklahoma May Be OK, But the Mountain Fork is Even Better

The Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow Reservoir in southeastern Oklahoma is a favorite destination for many of our North Texas GRTU members. Only three-plus hours from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it offers a quality trout fishing experience that's even closer to home than their "home water" Guadalupe.

We became interested in the Mountain Fork because of the similarities between the development of this fishery and our efforts on the Guadalupe. A number of technical papers have been published on the State of Oklahoma's efforts on the Mountain Fork, and some have provided guidance to GRTU and TP&W. After hearing and reading aboot this fishery for several years, it came time to check it out.

We camped at Beavers Bend State Park, (405) 494-6300, just north of Broken Bow. The campground in quite large and well developed, with tent sites, RV spaces, and large and small cabins for rent. Most of the access areas for fishing on the Mountain Fork are in the park. Like we hope the Guadalupe will be, the upper section of the river in the park is less regulated, for put-and-take fishing, and the lower sections are more strictly regulated as trophy fishing areas. The center section of the river, which is at the lower end of the state park, is managed as a trophy brown trout fishery.

There is also a public access point called Prebyterian Falls downstream from the park. It's not well marked, can be difficult to find, and involves some narrow, muddy roads, but it's worth a visit.

We found the river rich with insect hatches. Several mayfly hatches, including a large (#12) March brown and a small (#18) blue wing olive, were seen regularly. In the afternoon, caddis skittered around on the surface. This made for some active dry fly fishing, with basic Adams and elk hair caddis patterns yielding small but feisty rainbows. A small (#18) hare's ear or soft hackle nymph dropper fished under a large mayfly or attractor pattern was most effective.

We fished two days in the state park's trophy brown section and two days at Presbyterian Falls. At the falls we caught lots of small rainbows in the six to 10-inch range, mostly on attractor dry flies. The trophy from this area was a feisty 14-inch rainbow that Cyndie hooked on a 1-weight and then had to chase all over the rock-strewn riffle to subdue.

In the brown trout area we found the small rainbows more scarce. But the opportunity to sight cast to and land a healthy 21 -inch male brown made the time we spent in this area well worth the effort. The beautiful moss- and fern-covered rock cliffs, pine forest-lined roads, and cypress trees along the river banks ensure that you will enjoy your visit to Mountain Fork no matter how the fishing turns out.

A couple of words of caution: The rocks in the Mountain Fork are very slick, and wading is extremely difficult. Also, this is a hydropower dam tailrace, and water levels rise rapidly when generation begins. Contact the dam at (918) 669-7521, listen for the sirens, and wear your felt-sole wading boots.

Jeff Schmitt



An Arkansas Outing: I recently visited Bull Shoals, Arkansas, where the White River leaves Bull Shoals Lake. Excellent flshing. I didn't stay at the renowned Gaston's this trip, but foumd a great inexpensive motel in town. Noticed many resorts, motels, and hotels in the area. The Federation of Fly Fishers holds its annual October conclave in Mountain Home, which is just a few axle greasings up the road from the lake. it's a full day's drive from Austin over some very scenic roads once you get past Little Rock.

The Library Grows: Longtime GRTU member Sam Hamilton has donated 18 books on fly tying and fly fishing to the chapter. Sam recently celebrated his 90th birthday and renewed his diver's license the same day. These books, along with the ones that the Schubauers donated several years ago, make am impressive library. Sam also donated a new Orvis float tube to the Chapter. It won't fit on the library shelves, at least not blown up, so we'll have to find another use for it. Could be a door prize for some lucky GRTU dues-payer.

The Art of Trout: Dr. Nomman Alfred Browne of Edmburg donated several stunning prints of his trout paintings to the Chapter in memory of Bud Priddy. These beautiful works combine the precision of Dr. Browne's discipline as a biomedical illustrator, which he is, and the vision of an artist, which his mamy honors attest tbat he also is. His work is on the Web:

Use a Net: With interest in and use of the Internet increasing, many of our members have E-mail addresses. If you do, send it along to Treasurer Mike Scott at or to me at and we'll add the information to the GRTU membership database. Below are some E-mail addresses that might be useful:

Whirling Browns: A National Geographic article reports that whirling disease, thought to affect rainbows primarily, was found in young browns in Colorado in 1994. Definitely not good news for Colorado fisheries amd trout fishers.

Bob Tuttle


GRTU's New Cyberspace Address is

GRTU now has a home page on the Worldwide Web. The web site is the handiwork of GRTU member Kent Fuka of Austin, who also contributed the $100 registration fee for the first two years of operation.

At press time, the home page was still under construction, but some components were already operational.

Among the features anyone can access are, or will be, the Letter from the President, this Newsletter, a photo gallery titled "On the River," a calendar of events, and classifled ads.

The site also features links to other fly fishing sites, including John's Fly Fishing Links, and to Texas Parks & Wildlife's home page.

In other cybernews, Fly-Fishing Broadcast Nctwork (FBN) went on line in June. It features articles by flshing experts, fishing trivia, message boards, and other features. It also features a live chat sponsored by TU. For infommation on how to get connected, call (800) 370-8855.

Here are some other Web sites that might be of interest to GRTU members:


. . . And I Brake for Rainbows!

If "l Fish & I Vote" expresses your sentiments and you're the kind of person who wears his or her feelings on your bumper, the Norcross Wildlife Foundation has what you need: a bumper sticker with that message.

One is free, and 200 cost $50 from Richard Reagan, President, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Caller Box 611, P.O. Box 0414, New York, NY 10024-0414.


Lease Access Angler Education:

A Path to the River. . .

Here's the frst lesson of the GRTU lease education program: Your lease access permit grants you a path to the riverónothing more.

The rest of the lessons can be learned at more than 20 Lease Access Angler Education classes to be held throughout tbe state over the next year.

If you took the class to get your permit last year, just send in your renewal application and fees. Classed are for first-time permittees only. (But check "From thc President... " elsewhere in this issue for reminders regarding camping, picnicking, outhouses, trash. etc.)

Fees are $30 for national TU membership, $10 (or more) to GRTU, and $65 for the lease permit, for a total of $105. If you've paid your national TU dues, bring your current membership card to the October meeting when you sign up for your permit or include your membership number on the lease application form that was mailed out recently and send or bring that in.

Classes should last about 45 minutes. You can pay for nafional and GRTU membership and the lease permit at the classes. Permits will be mailed two or three weeks later. Here's the schedule:

GRTU General Membership Meetings

Saturday, Oct. 26, 1996. Fall Meeting
Saturday, Jan. 25, 1997, Winter Meeting
Saturday, Apr. 26, 1997, Spring Meeting
Saturday, Oct. 25, 1997, Fall Meeting
Times: Two sessions, 9 A.M. and 12 noon
Place: The Dam Red Barn, South Access Road, Sattler, Texas (Below the dam)

Austin. Texas: The Austin Angler

Thursday, October 17,1996
Thursday,December 12, 1996
Thursday, February 20, 199
Time: 5 30 P.M.
Place: 3 12 1/2 Congress Ave., Austin (upstairs)

Dallas. Texas: The Orvis Shop

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1996
Time: 6 P.M.
Place: Preston Oaks, Suite 1100, 10720 Preston Road

Gruene, Texas: Gruene Outftters

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1996
Tuesday, Dcc. 10, 1996
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 1997
Time: 5:30 P.M.
Place: 1629 Hunter Road

Houston. Texas: The Orvis Shop

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1996
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 1996
Monday, Jan. 13, 1997
Time: 6 P.M.
Place: 5848 Westheimer Road

San Antonio Texas: The Fellowship Hall

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1996
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 1996
Tuesday, Jan 7, 1997
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1997
Time: 7 P.M.
Place: Fellowship Hall, Alamo Heights Presbyterian Church, 6201 Broadway at Corona, across from Alamo Heights City Hall.

GRTU appreciates tbe support we get for this program from the local fly shops and encourages members to support them.


Mr. Stream Manners . . .

Dear Mr. Stream Manners,

I need advice. For the past year I've been planning a trip out west to try some real Rocky Mountain fly-fishing. I've been thinking about hiring a guide for one day of the trip, but I don't know what to expect from a guide or what a guided trip should be like and what a guide should cost.

I want to have a great trip without worrying what is supposed to happen and if I'm getting my money's worth. And how do I go about finding a guide?



Dear Clueless,

Good questions! This is a common dilemma for people who have never hired a guide before. Your planning is sound if you want to improve the chances of having a quality fishing experience. It is possible to go into a strange area and actually do well, but you will increase the probability of having a quality experience if you hire a guide.

When you have figured out where you want to fish I recommend writing that state's fish and game department for a list of licensed guides for that area. You can find out about guides in fishing magazines and from companies or organizations that certify guides. You also can fnd out about guides ffom that area's local fly shops. Word of mouth is also an excellent way to find a guide. Somebody you know who has already had a good experience in that area with a guide will give you an edge in looking for a good one. Book early! A good guide usually is booked from six months to a year out, depending on the area.

When you hire a guide, you're paying somebody for their knowledge and experience of the area you want to fish. The going rate for guides depends a lot on the area and the equipment used. A wade in a local trip could run $125 and a float trip for a day could run $350. It depends on what you want to do. Many guides will offer different levels of service. Some will do as little as just put you over fish and then watch, if that's what you want. Some guides can and do teach you how to fish the area, tie on your flies, land your fish, provide a streamside lunch, and provide equipment. So when you're arranging for a trip, ask what services are included with the price and what services are available. Oflen guides will charge extra for tying on your flies. You will be buying the flies that you use from them, unless you have made arrangements beforehand about flies and tippet material. It all boils down to talking to the guide or the guide service to see what they will do, what they provide, what they charge, and what they expect you to provide.

At the end of the day, it is normal to tip the guide. The rule of tbumb is 10 percent of the trip price. But you determine what to tip by judging by the quality of the trip. Did you catch fish? Did the guide work hard at putting you over good fish? Did he provide the services that he said he would? Did you stay out the agreed time or longer? Did the guide make sure that you had a quality experience? The tip is oflen the only profit a guide witl make, especially if he is working for a shop that provides the vehicle, boat, insurance, or equipment. If you have had a great time, tip accordingly. If your experience is less than satisfactory, let his boss know, or if he is an independent, write the licensing or certifying agency or company. Bad guides stay in busmess only if clients let them.

Generally, hiring a guide will improve your chances of catching fish and having a good trip. But remember, the sport is called "fishing'' and not "catching" for a reason.

Tight Lines,

Mr. Stream Manners

Remember, Fellow Anglers, if you have queshons about life on the stream in the pursuit of happiness, drop a note to the editor and l will try to assist you on your quest. SM


Redfish Wrestling, Trout Dogging, Flounder Ropin' . . .

Do It All At The Redfish Rodeo, Oct. 19

The Redfish Rodeo catch-and-release fly flshing tournament will be get under way at sunrise Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Redfish Lodge in Rockport.

Sponsored this year by seven fly fishmg clubs, ten vendors, amd several marinas, guides, and retail stores, the 11-year-old event is sanctioned by the Gulf Coast Conservation Association, which will receive the proceeds to further its conservation programs.

Sign-in is Friday, Oct 18, from 6 to 10 P.M. at Redfish Lodge The fun starts at sunrise and lasts until 4 P.M. The weigh-in is from 4 to 6 P.M.

Since this is an "honor system,' catch-and-release tournament, scales obviously will not be used to confirm catches. Contest promotion materials do not make clear whether winners must submit to polygraph testing.

The event is fly fishing and flies onlyóno live shrimp disguised with marabou, flashabou, and Superglue. No dead ones, either. Each fly fisher must catch, land, and measure his or her catch, and his or her teammate must swear that the measurement is the absolute cross-my-heart truth, to the nearest quarter-inch.

There are prizes for the three longest reds amd three longest specks, as well as for a three-fish "slam" that includes three of the following four: redfish, trout, drum, and flounder.

Entrants can send the $35 per person entry fee in advance to Committee Chairman Jerry Loring, Redfish Rodeo, 8870 Cardwell Road, Houston, TX 77055; phone (713)464-8687. Or you can register at the lodge for $40 per person.

The Redfish Lodge has special rates for participants. Call (800) 392-9324 or(512) 729-8100.