12-02-2005, 03:30 PM
Prospecting for Trout
Join Date: Aug 2005
Guadalupe River, TX Trout Stocking
This is a Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited general announcement.
The article below appeared in today’s San Antonio Express-News:
Ron Henry Strait: Stocking program along the Guadalupe River signals the start of trout season
Web Posted: 12/02/2005 12:00 AM CST
San Antonio Express-News
SATTLER — The skies may be clear and the weather warm and dry, but thousands of rainbows have been seen in Central Texas in the past 10 days.
They are rainbow trout and each fish is part of public/private efforts that have transformed an unassuming winter fishing scene in sunny South Texas into a trout season that garners national attention.
The best-known winter rainbow fishery in Texas is on the Guadalupe River in the tailrace waters below Canyon Dam, near New Braunfels.
Canyon Lake, behind Canyon Dam, is a deep reservoir that collects runoff from the limestone canyons of the Texas Hill Country. The water at the tailrace stays cold — 60 degrees or so — year-round, and is cold enough to support the temperature-sensitive trout.
Each winter, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stocks rainbow trout on the 10-mile stretch from the dam downstream toward New Braunfels. The state stockers are small, 8-10 inches long, but they are plentiful.
This season, TP&W will stock river rainbows on six days over the new two months, a total of more than 17,700 fish. This month, TP&W will stock on Dec. 9 and 22, then Jan.6 and 20 and Feb. 3 and 17. (TP&W will stock a total of 2,500 rainbows in the San Antonio River at Brackenridge Park on Dec. 14 and Jan. 11.)
The river stocking program is funded by the state freshwater fishing license and overseen by TP&W biologist Steve Magnelia.
The state leases and marks several access points along River Road. General public access is allowed at those points.
There also is a restricted zone on the river where tackle, bag and size limits are in place. Go online at tpwd.state.tx.us for information on the restricted zones.
While state trout stockings in the Guadalupe do not begin for another week, thousands of rainbows already have taken up residence in the 10-mile stretch of river below the dam.
On Nov. 22 Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited stocked the river with 3,500 pounds of trout officially weighing 1-2 pounds. I saw several trout go in that were much larger, and a few large German brown trout were also put in the river that day.
Mick McCorcle, president of GRTU, was among nearly two dozen chapter members who ran bucket brigades of large rainbows from a hatchery truck to several of the GRTU lease sites along the river last week.
GRTU promotes catch-and-release fishing and maintains 16 private access sites from the bridge in Sattler downriver.
McCorcle said TU annually conducts as many as six stockings at 3,500 pounds per stocking.
For information on joining the lease, go online at grtu.org. Parking and access are parts of the package.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch — the Shonto Ranch at Kerrville — owner Bill Childs took delivery this week of his annual shipment of monster rainbow trout, 8 pounds and up. The giant fish, about 100 of them this year, have become the Shonto's winter calling card for anglers.
Childs also has released nearly 1,000 trout weighing 2 pounds or less in his hillside lake and the small impoundments on Turtle Creek, which runs through the ranch. Additional stockings are set for early next year.
Among the rainbows at the Shonto are dozens of golden trout ranging from 1-3 pounds.
Shortly after the GRTU stocking on Nov. 22, outfitter Kevin Stubbs called to say his fly-fishing clients on the river were landing large, aggressive rainbows, and a little something extra.
"The fish are spawning," Stubbs said. "We could see them circling and bumping each other, and eggs squirted from some of the fish when we got them in the boat."
Rainbows spawning in South Texas?
"Yes, there is some evidence of natural reproduction in the river, but it's very limited," said TP&W's Magnelia. "The Missouri (hatchery) fish are a fall-spawning strain. I can remember a long time ago, 10 years, seeing small (rainbows) in the river, but we haven't seen them since."
Magnelia's decade-old surveys included 5-inch-long trout that were too small to have been stocked. There is a laboratory test that can differentiate between hatchery and native-born fish, Magnelia said, and the little fish tested to be natives, as he recalls.