Written by ACK’s Fleet Sales Manager, Juan Carlos Andreu

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The beginning of winter marks the kickoff of a very special fishery hidden in the Texas hill country; Guadalupe river rainbow trout. Every year Texas Parks and Wildlife and other private organizations like Trout Unlimited, stock the Guadalupe river with thousands of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and hundreds of fisherman take their shot at hooking this amazing fish. The breathtaking background of the Texas Hill Country, with its cliffs and dramatic colors add character to this challenging but rewarding type of fishery.

On December 12th I made the scenic and anticipated drive thought the Texas Hill Country in search for my first Rainbow trout “on the fly” (Fly fishing gear) with friend and Austin’s Store Assistant Manager Ryan Schaper. It was a beautiful day with ideal conditions, and the trout could be seen swinging up and down the river. Everything seemed to be in place for an amazing day. The Guadalupe river is born in Kerr County Texas and makes it’s way to the San Antonio Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Along its way it meets with Canyon Lake and its then fed by the cold waters of the bottom of the dam. This unnamed (1)cool water provides the perfect habitat for trout. Most anglers believe that only recently stocked fish can be found in the river but in reality the cool water of Canyon Lake dam provide ideal conditions throughout the year for this trout to not only survive but thrive. In fact, Texas rainbow trout has made its way to other rivers and creeks including the San Marcos river and Onion Creek in South Austin. Rainbow trout is not an endemic species of the Texas waters but its very sought after by anglers in the state given that any other opportunity to fish for this species would be out of the state. Throughout the day I had several opportunities to hook a fish and although Ryan and I were using the exact same set up (San Juan worm and a caddis nymph) I couldn’t entice a trout to eat the fly, while Ryan kept hooking one fish after another. 

Just like with any other species, fishing for rainbow trout requires an understanding of their feeding habits and basic behavior. Fishing rivers and streams is completely different than fishing the Texas Coast or lakes. The current on the river makes the biggest difference. Rainbows, as they are also called, can be fished with fly fishing gear or conventional gear. Being able to “drift” the fly in a natural manner so it looks enticing to a feeding trout is the biggest challenge for fly fisherman. One of the most effective, popular and easiest ways to catch this fish is with small trout unnamedspinner baits, the flashy action of the spoon makes trout go crazy. Trout are very keen to their senses and any attempt to fish for them in close quarters requires stealth and patience. After several hours of taking pictures of Ryan landing fish, I finally had my golden opportunity and was able to hook, fight, and land my first rainbow trout on the fly. A moment to remember for a lifetime.  Anyone looking to absorb nature and challenge themselves can do so by fishing this new species. Take the time to drive by the scenic Guadalupe River and throw a hook in the water. If you are interested on hooking up one of these beautiful hard fighting fish, make sure to bundle up good during this cold winter days, a set of waders is a must if you plan to trek the river and follow the special regulations set by TPWD.

For more information visit- http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/management/stocking/trout_stocking.phtml

-Carlos