Trout Fishing Spots in Texas & Fly Fishing Tips
The Best Place In Texas For Rainbow Trout
For the best Trout fishing or Fly Fishing in Texas? Head to the Guadalupe River, (between San Antonio and Austin) home to our one and only Rainbow Trout Fish Hatchery as well.
Fish just below the Canyon Dam on the Guadalupe River (see map below)
The months of March and April are the premier months for targeting these fish. But nice, big and healthy Rainbow Trout can be caught here all year round.
Every winter, the TPWD and Trout Unlimited restock the Guadalupe River with hatchery grown trout. In fact:
Fish released by TPWP are typically 12." T/U releases even larger fish, some are 1 or even 2 lb'rs!
Trout Accessories Corner - Rainbow trout lures, flurocarbon line
A CampingmanNW Tip: When ordering items from Amazon, consolidate your orders to obtain the free shipping. After all, it's NOT about being cheap, it's about shopping smart
After buying this line and going fishing just once? I landed three Rainbow Trout (two of which were 14") I was impressed by the sensitivity of the line. You can feel every nuance and twitch, I mean every one. When I got home, I bought new Spiderwire fluorocarbon line for all of my reels.
Evaluation: This line is stronger, more sensitive, sinks quicker than standard line and is nearly invisible. What else is there to say except that the sensitivity is incredible? You won't believe it till you buy it and try it.
These work well with a Carolina rig or just a couple of split shot 12-18" above the hook? You'll be hauling them in.
Evaluation: Cast them out and let them drop to the bottom. Twitch them every so often to make them look like they are moving in the current. Dusk seems to be best time of day for these.
Just A Quick Word
About Trout Unlimited
It all began in 1959 in Michigan with a stated goal to preserve habitats for future generations of trout. Since that time it's become a National Non Profit organization, dedicating itself to conservation of streams and river habitats in every state. But no longer just for trout, but salmon and many other fish. They chose to do so by establishing a network of volunteers across each state. Since that time, volunteers have organized and grown into more than 400 chapters across all 50 states.
Texas alone, has nearly 4,000 members. Their home base is on the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels, Texas. The Canyon Dam was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the '60's to control the annual flooding of the river in that area. The cold water flowing from the dam however, was displacing the indigenous warm water fish native to the area. A project to introduce cold water fish was begun. Many species of trout were tried and it was determined that the Rainbow trout would survive the best.
Locally in Texas:
The program began quietly enough with a few people who shared a common endeavor, fishing. Since the early days, the Guadalupe Chapter of Trout Unlimited has grown beyond just ensuring the survival of trout in the river to supporting many local clean river initiatives, local river projects and projects to introduce fishing to kids in both classroom and actual river experience, statewide.
A short note about Fishing Licenses
The fishing license you purchase helps fund habitat programs and the annual fish stockings The fee for a license is small, but it goes a long way in helping to maintain yours and my state's resources
Here's a hearty 'Thank You' to Trout Unlimited's Guadalupe River Chapter for their continued efforts.
The Guadalupe Rivers Is A Rainbow Trout Paradise
Where Fly Fishing reigns supreme
The Guadalupe Chapter of 'Trouts Unlimited'
Has maintained that the release of larger and healthier trout leads more to the fish population growth than dumping millions of 2" long baby trout. Most of which die off due to predation of any and all kinds. The picture is of hatchery rainbow trout schooling below the dam.
Trouts Unlimited along with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department:
Release stocks of sizable Rainbows weighing in sometimes at two pounds, but generally at least a pound or more. Usually in November.
All you need do is take a trip to the Guadalupe River, fish just below the Canyon Dam to take a stab at catching some of these really great trout. If you like to fly fish? You won't believe your luck, as the trout are hungry and it will be more fun than you can handle. If you like to stream fish? Most any lures will work when the fish are hungry.
The Guadalupe is rated as one of the 100 best trout streams in the United States
Tenkara Fly Fishing
A simpler method
Tenkara angling is an old tried and true Japanese method of fly fishing. Not a lot of fancy gear, just a telescoping pole, a length of line and a fly. It's pretty simple to explain, because it's just a wrist based cast that works. Rather than messing around with double-hauls or speys, (used in large rivers) or anything else that might complicate your cast.
Note: The rod in the picture above, is a Tenkara Rod. You can see that it's a telescoping rod with a sleeve on the tip for tying the line
The Tenkara style is ideal for getting in close. If you are working close to shore or in a narrow part of the current? It allows you to make the right cast, the right distance and to catch a fish. That being said, Tenkara fishing can be done most anywhere. It does work better in smaller rivers and streams but it works anywhere you can wade.
The flex of the long Tenkara rod allows you to fight trout that,in places you would normally NOT fly fish. This technique of utilizing no reel will work in most any fly fishing situation. Not to mention that it's an exciting and blood pumping way of getting someone interested in fly fishing.
Let's see how it's done
Fly Fishing Accessories - Including the Tenkara Rod
I had not heard of Pistol Pete's. flies until I was introduced to them by my Uncle in Golden, Colorado. It seems these flies have been a well kept secret there for some time. The secret? A tiny propeller on the very front of the fly.
Evaluation: These flies worked so well, we limited out in just under four hours. I bought two sets and brought them back with me to try. I tried these on the Guadalupe River this last weekend and I have to tell you, they worked as well here as they did when I was in Colorado. I limited out (5) in just under three hours. Buy these, they work better than any fly I've tried.
The Tenkara Rod is the ultimate in simplicity of fly fishing. This Fly Rod is based on a traditional Japanese method of fishing using only a rod line and fly. This gives us as fly fishermen and women, the ability to make exact casts with delicate presentations of the fly. If you have ever thought you knew how to manipulate a fly? This rod will teach you what you never knew. It makes for the perfect hiking or backpacking rod since it telescopes down to 20 inches with it's own holder.
Evaluation: For the ultimate experience in fly fishing, you owe it to yourself to own this rod. This kit includes everything including a spare tip and second section.
Attaching Your Line To The Tenkara Rod
Keep the rod itself, telescoped inside while tying the line to the tip
A Tenkara Fly Fishing Rod is a telescopic rod. The rod will telescope down to about 20" or so, making it ideal rod for backpacking and hiking. It can easily be stored under a car seat or safely in a trunk for quick access if you find yourself unexpectedly, somewhere to fish.
The rod's end has a loop where you can attach a simple non-slip loop knot of your choice to connect your line to the rod. A 15-25 foot maximum line length seems to work best.
If you are doubtful of using this fly fishing setup/method, there is a simple rule of thumb to consider: the further the cast, the worse the presentation of your fly. So by limiting yourself to a close cast, the presentation is more often than not, better. The result? More fish and who doesn't want that?
Finally, the flex in this long rod will let you fight that rainbow trout that, normally, you would reel in.
TPWD Map of The Guadalupe River Showing Free Entry Locations - The Canyon Dam is right there at the top of the map.
Stream or Bank Fishing For Rainbow Trout
Either work well, depending upon the area you fish
Traditionally, trout fishing is done by getting a good pair of waders and standing in a stream for hours, casting downstream into that lucky hole where the big one lives, but I am here to tell you that there might just be an easier way. Stream fishing can be and almost always is very productive if you know some basic secrets.
Trout will strike nearly anything when they are hungry, but what if they are not? A few simple steps to aid the pursuit are as follows:
Make sure the sun is in your face. (you don't want your shadow to fall across the water)
Walk the banks of the stream and look for small holes and shelves to cast into. Cast upstream and drift into the spot.
Make three or four passes on all sides of the hole to ensure there isn't one hiding in there. Trust me, there almost always is. If not, move upstream to the next hole, never making more than three or four passes per hole because like the Terminator....you will be back.
Once one fish is caught from a hole, move on because the others are spooked. Fish upstream using this method for about an hour to an hour and a half but not longer than two hours.
Retrace the same path back downstream and re-fish those holes that were blanks the first time around and even re-fish the ones a fish was caught in. Doing so from upriver and allowing the lure to drift across all sides of the pocket.
Stop ONLY when you have your limit.
This Prince Nymph comes with 11 mates for an even dozen. They work so well--that no self respecting trout can ignore them. Take a close look at this fly.
Evaluation: A great early morning fly. Work it around on the surface in a slightly random pattern before specifically hitting a single spot. It can be very deadly.
Now That You Have Caught Your Fish
How do you clean them?
Cleaning fish is the simplest thing in the world but definitely NOT for the squeamish. There are some simple tricks to make it easy to do.
Place the trout on it's back. Locate the anus (vent hole near the tail) on it's belly. Gently insert the knife tip into the opening and slice towards the head of the fish. But, doing so with only the knife tip, so as to not puncture the entrails. The knife cut should go from tail to jaw in a smooth easy motion. With the fish now open from tail to head, remove the entrails and discard.
Remove the bloodline along the spine
Rinse the fish thoroughly with cold water until all traces of entrails are gone. With the fish laying on it's back, use the back (rounded) side of a spoon or the back of your thumbnail to clean out the blood line now visible along the spine. Use slight pressure against the bloodline as you drag the back of the spoon or your nail, the entire length of the spine to remove and clean. Ensuring that none remains, rinse the fish once again with cold water and then again with a light salt water to remove any residue.
Remove the fish head
To remove the head, insert knife into the tissue between the gills, cutting upward towards the spine, (perpendicular to the belly) until the head is severed. Rinse and clean again with cold water. At this stage, I remove the tail, but many traditionalists like to keep it on. You decide.
To descale the trout for frying, hold the trout by the tail and (if you don't have a fish scaler) use the back side of a knife, scrape from the tail to the head of the fish. Repeat for both sides. When done, sliding of the hands from the tail to the head of the fish will reveal if all scales have been removed. If not, repeat the process. Clean and rise when done
The trout is now ready to pan fry
Trout Cooking Accessories - A couple of my favorites to close out the day
A CampingmanNW Tip: When ordering items from Amazon, consolidate your orders to receive FREE shipping. It's NOT about being cheap, it's about shopping smart.
Buy and use the skillet I use. It's just about the best lightweight skillet around. Cool to the touch handle and easy to clean. Heats evenly all over.
Evaluation: I love my skillet and use it for most everything. I have one for home and one for camping
In Closing Today
How about a quick pan fry recipe for trout?
All it takes for this recipe (for a meal for 2) is a couple of medium sized trout that have been cleaned and scaled with the heads and tails removed. It will take you longer to prepare this than it will to actually cook it. Preparation time is about 15 minutes and cook time about 10 minutes;
(2) Medium size trout
(2) Patties of butter
(1) Large platter with all purpose flour (or cornmeal if you prefer)
Use your own personal choice of seasonings to mix in with the flour or corn meal
(I like just salt and pepper for this part)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Rinse both fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Once dry, make about three diagonal cuts into the meat on each side of each fish. Next, drop the first trout on the plate with the seasoned flour (or corn meal) and coat thoroughly. Repeat this for the second fish. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it is bubbling slightly. Place the fish in pan and cook about five minutes per side. (or until golden brown)
Check Internal Temperature:
To check if they are done, use a meat thermometer. The internal temp (at the fattest part of the fish) should be 140 degrees. If the internal temp gets much higher than that, the fish will dry out.
Serve with the skin on or off, a slice of fresh lemon and a dash of garlic. Enjoy.
Very easy to read meat thermometer. Quick reacting with a nearly an instant and accurate temperature read.
Evaluation: A great thermometer with it's own protective case proving the point that spending a lot of money is NOT necessary to have a good thermometer. Buy one and see for yourself.