Mid-December Fishing Report
December means the beginning of trout season and midway through the month the Guadalupe River is starting to deliver. The El Niño weather pattern has meant ample rainfall this past summer and fall — in addition to the floods of late October — have given us higher than normal flows (500+ cfs) than we have experienced in recent seasons. This is a good thing!
These high flows will also benefit the aquatic insects that sustain our trout, which in turn will help our trout survive the summer. The last several seasons were plagued by extremely low flows (50cfs t0 150cfs), which was hard on the fish and the anglers—not to mention guides who ended up dragging their rafts for long stretches of the river. We have been guiding the Guadalupe for close to two-decades and can remember flows averaging between 300 and 900cfs in the 1990’s and up until 2007.
With the higher flows has come off-colored water, which continues to improve every day. The river’s water temps are in the low to mid-60s allowing our trout to acclimate to the river. The TDPW and GRTU completed multiple stocking so there are plenty of fish in the river for fly anglers. Every trip out we are hooking and netting more and more trout per trip. Clearing water and more stockings by TDPW and GRTU in January will only improve the trout fishing. We still have a few opening in January and February so don’t miss out on what is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in a long time.
What’s been working is mostly large attractor patterns like worms, eggs, and rubber-legged nymphs. That’s not to say that we aren’t getting bit on imitations of natural, like Trico emergers, PMD emergers, RS2’s and BWO nymphs in size 18-20. Darker patterns with flash and beads seem to help as well.
As important as fly selection is, getting your rig set up correctly — long leaders with plenty of split-shot — is super critical. Additionally, we prefer larger Thinga-ma-bobbers to float heavier rigs and 3X and 4X leaders—higher flows and off-color negates “leader” or “indicator” shyness. Multiple drag-free drifts in the same area is the best way to target the trout. Most of our hooked fish come from the tenth or twentieth drift in the same area—be patient and methodical!
A note of caution: During the last two weeks our guides have watched more than our share of waders and kayak fishermen having mishaps due to the high flows. The Guadalupe River at 400cfs and above is no joke — it is difficult and hazardous to wade. Many of the GRTU lease areas are wader friendly below 400cfs, but for now please use great care and commonsense. As for kayak fishermen, please wear your PFD at ALL times. We have watched kayaks flip while attempting to navigate the Weir below fourth-crossing, Ponderosa rapids and the Devil’s Playground.
Our guides are experienced in white water rowing and respect the power of the Guadalupe insuring safe trips for our clients even in high water flows. So when choosing a guide service, remember, to select a guide who has decades of experience of rowing and catching trout in fast water — choose All Water Guides!