Texas Rivers Quest E-mail
Monday, 19 October 2009 10:08

nice catch

As a native Texan from the panhandle, I have a huge appreciation for any body of water like a lake or river, since I am from a land of little precipitation or riverine habitats.  When I attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, I immediately fell in love with the cool, clear waters of the San Marcos River.  From it’s headwaters in the town of San Marcos, I would paddle downstream in a Coleman canoe, taking along a rod and reel, and some small lures.  I would catch catfish at the confluence of the Blanco and San Marcos, and throughout the trips, catch some of the biggest sunfish I’ve ever seen.  I was hooked.

Texas

I moved to Austin and a neighborhood on the Colorado River.  At this point, I finally bought my wife and I some kayaks, and sampled the local fisheries of the Hill Country and Austin area.  One of my good friends from Mason was with me one day as we paddled down the Llano River, discussing how cool of an experience it would be if we kayaked and fished every navigable river in Texas.  So it was decided, our lifelong quest to paddle the Texas Rivers.

river

So far I am about 25-30% through my quest.  With gas prices and a new baby, my quest has slowed, but it has been fun.  What excites me is the huge variance in habitat, topography, geology, and wildlife, both above and below the water, in each river system.

For example, one of my favorite rivers is the Llano, a true gem of the Hill Country.  It is a mostly spring-fed river, that features fantastic bluffs and flows through the Llano uplift, a geological area consisting of some of the oldest rocks in Texas, over 1.3 billion years old!  The beauty of the local granite, schist, and gneiss can only be truly appreciated in person. Its clear waters provide some excellent fishing, especially fly-fishing.  I enjoy catching the aggressive Guadalupe Bass, as well as multiple species of sunfish on light tackle.  The river supports a nice population of channel catfish as well as some large flathead catfish that lurk under large underwater ledges. 

Compare that to my “home waters” of the Lower Colorado (the Texas version, that is).  It also flows through the Hill Country before it creates as series of lakes, and then forms the river as I know it below Austin.  It flows wide and calm with sections of swift bends all the way to Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast.  This river provides a bounty of multi-species fishing that makes it great for the kayak fisherman.  The river supports healthy populations of bass and catfish as well as “other” species like gar and freshwater drum.  The river rolls through lazy bends of Blackland Prairie that were frequented by figures of Texas History.  In this river I love to target big Flathead Catfish.

another shot

So far one of my favorite runs has been on the Devils River.  It is a very remote location in southwest Texas, where its waters run clean and clear, so good in fact, it is still drinkable in some locations.  There have been many articles written about it, and understandably so.  Its beauty and remote location make for an adventure in a rough, pristine setting.  The Devils contains one of the best smallmouth fisheries in Texas as well.  The trip is a test on all your gear….your kayak, your camping supplies, and a test on you.   My friend broke his paddle in some rapids early in our trip, painfully revealing that none of us brought along a spare.  So we had to repair his paddle with some reeds as a “splint” and tape it with Gorilla tape.  One end looked like a club when we were through, but it worked and we finished the trip.  The Devils, like the nearby Pecos and Rio Grande, is inspiring in scenery yet stark and rugged like the local terrain.

And that is what excites me about my quest, is I can be paddling in a canyon on one river, fighting a spotted bass out of riffles and rapids, or trying to lure catfish out of laydowns in river bends.  I try to paddle more in the fall, winter, and spring, trying to avoid the brutal Texas heat.  I love the fact I can go fishing in December and still be able to wear shorts! 

In this quest, I have found that utilizing every resource and map is crucial.  Logistics like setting up shuttles and take-out points are part of the game.  I find myself studying maps all the time.  That is part of the fun.  Learning new areas of the state and getting a feel of each river and its habits.  It’s amazing to fish a new river and find the habits of, let’s say a largemouth, favor completely different habitats and presentation of the river 30 miles to the south.  And I think that imparts a very important lesson for river fisherman.  The most success will be found in learning one river and learning that river well.  Rivers can demonstrate subtle changes only one familiar with it can appreciate.  These changes can be the difference between catching fish or not.  By paddling rivers across the state, I believe it could take a lifetime to truly understand each river and appreciate what each one has flowing between the banks.  That’s why I “go with the flow.”

 

 

You must be registered to post a comment.


Login

Newsletter

Subscribe here to receive FREE email issues of Kayak Fishing Magazine.

Most Popular

Kayak Kevin's; Kayak Fishing the Chesapeake Bay 2 DVD Trailer
This, the 2nd installment to the widely popular "Kayak Fishing the Chesapeake Bay" DVD from award winning videographer Kevin Whitley (aka Kayak Kevin) is due for release this fall...
KFM - FaceBook Kayak Fishing Picture Contest Results
We thought it would be a good idea to use Facebook to have a photo contest. Our friends over at Hook, Line and Paddle (HLP) asked us how we can do something together on FB.
Pelican Premium: A little more buck, a lot more bang!
For Immediate Release LAVAL, QUEBEC. April 19, 2013. Pelican International's highly anticipated Premium line does not disappoint! Pelican International's new Premium line of...

Random

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Launches New Predator Kayak
For Immediate Release Mike May Backbone Media mike.may@backbonemedia.net or (307) 733-3065 x 203 Old Town, Maine, Jun 13, 2013 - Old Town Canoes & Kayaks, one of the most...
Team Ocean Kayak repeats as Team of the Year Third Coast Kayak Series
Team Ocean Kayak repeated as the 2009 Team of the Year in the Third Coast kayak Series. Team Ocean Kayak’s Vincent Rinando, Captain Filip Spencer, Jeff Herman, Sam Rinando, and...
Team Ocean Kayak at Third Coast Kayak Series
Team Ocean Kayak participated in the 4th leg of the Third Coast Kayak Seriesheld in Corpus Christi, Texas. Team Ocean Kayak enters this event currently in 1stPlace for Team of the...

Latest Kayak Reviews

Lifetime Sport Fisher
 
5.0
Cobra Kayaks Tandem
 
3.0
Perception Sport Pescador 10.0 Angler
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
4.0
Current Designs Tailfin
 
5.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
2.0
NuCanoe Frontier 12
 
5.0
Native Watercraft Mariner 12.5 Propel Anglers
 
4.0
Hobie Mirage Outback
 
5.0
Pelican Castaway 100
 
2.0
Stealth Pro Fisha 575
 
3.0
Field and Stream Eagle Talon
 
5.0

Latest Equipment Reviews

Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
5.0
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior
 
3.0
Columbia Drainmaker
 
5.0
Sperry SON-R Sounder Shandal
 
4.0
Garmin VIRB Elite
 
4.0
Polaroid XS100
 
4.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Backwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle
 
5.0
Stohlquist Piseas
 
4.0
Wheeleez Tuff Tire Kayak Cart
 
5.0
Boga Grip
 
4.0