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GRTU Summer ’18 – Fisheries Report – Jimbo Roberts

Hello my fellow Angling Enthusiasts

This has been another interesting year on the Guadalupe. We had more large trout swimming around in our waters than ever before. Pictures of personal best trout were plastered all over Facebook and the forums.

This all started during the spring of 2017. There was a flood at Crystal Lake Fisheries and the pond holding the 14-16″ rainbow trout was hit. Those trout were washed downstream and were lost. This left us with a “between a rock and a hard place” kind of choice. They could replace those fish with either 8-12″ rainbows or the mature fish from their brood ponds. We chose the larger fish, however, because we buy fish by the pound we knew we would be stocking fewer rainbows than in past seasons. The good news was we were upping the brown trout we stocked from 1000 lbs to 2000 lbs this year, so some of those numbers would be made up by the browns.

With all these big trout here, anglers converged on the Guadalupe from around the state. There were anglers down here that never even fished for trout before. There was tremendous pressure on the trout fishery and many trout were lost to harvest or delayed mortality. As a result, in the first months we saw a big decline numbers of trout in the river. Most years I land between 15-20 trout a day on average. This year my catch averaged 6-10 per day and I consider myself to be a good fly fisherman with many years of experience on the Guadalupe. The upside was most of these fish were greater than 18″ and my personal best of the season was a 25″ monster Rainbow that weighed 6-7 lbs.

I have already contacted Crystal Lake Fisheries and Cedar Springs Trout Farm for next year’s stockings. We will be receiving trout numbers and sizes we have come to expect in past years; 12,000 lbs of rainbows (75% 14-16″ and 25% >18″) and again 2,000 lbs of browns (13-16″) next season. This should make for a terrific mix of trout to catch along with the holdovers.

As of May 21, Canyon Lake is at 905.30’msl. Inflows into the lake are at a pitiful 59cfs and releases from the dam are 55cfs. We did not get rains in the upper basin needed to raise the lake to pool. We will not be getting the sustaining summer flows from the GBRA Flow Agreement that our entire fishery needs without another “Texas Flood”. The NOAA long range forecast calls for ENSO Neutral conditions in the Pacific through September/November 2018 (normal amounts of rain). There is a 50% possibility of returning to El Nino conditions (meaning higher than normal rains) next winter. There is still plenty of cold water in the lake and even with these flows we should see many trout in the upper four miles of the river make it through to the fall if they are not stressed by angling. We are also in the middle of stocking a record number of rainbow trout fry from “Trout in the Classroom”. Some of those fish will make it to a catchable sized fish next season.

As conservationists and given the expected low flows and high water temperatures in the Guadalupe this summer, I ask our members to leave these remaining trout alone till next fall so that we have the highest possible holdover. Fishing for these trout in marginal water temps could lead to delayed mortality and fewer fish next season.

It’s time to turn our interests to fishing the other great species found here in Central Texas: Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Guadalupe Bass, Stripers, Carp, Catfish, Crappie, and Sunfish. I grew up fishing Sunfish and Bass and they are still my first love. I especially like to seek out our Texas state fish ,the Guadalupe Bass this time of year. There are many good options among our lakes and rivers. I like moving water and being a native, the list of Central Texas favorites is a long one: Nueces, Frio, Sabinal, Llano, Pedernales, Upper Guadalupe, Blanco, San Marcos, Colorado, and San Gabriel along with some secret creeks. Maybe you have seen some of my stories, and those of others, fishing these waters and they are a blast. Sorry I have not posted many lately. My computer crashed and I recently lost all of my 2017 an 2018 pictures and stories (some unpublished, Ugg). If you are so inclined, and I am, head north into the mountains this summer for your trout fix. There’s also places like Mountain Fork in Oklahoma, and the White, Little Red, and Norfork in Arkansas close by.
Me, I’ll be chasing Cutthroats and other Trout with dry flies high in the Rocky Mountains soon. I’ll also post those stories on the GRTU Forums later, assuming my computer does crash again.

The GRTU Board and Fisheries Committee will be working this off season doing things to increase your satisfaction with the Guadalupe Fishery and the Lease Access Program. I want to thank all of our members for supporting the Guadalupe Trout Fishery. We couldn’t do it without you. I look forward to seeing everyone again on the river next fall for another fabulous season chasing Trout on the Guadalupe River.

GRTU V P of Fisheries | Jimbo Roberts

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