Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hill Country River Tour

I just walked back into the office after a thousand mile drive across Texas.

I ended up fishing the San Gabriel, Blanco, Guad, Nueces, Frio, Sabinal and Medina Rivers. Didn't catch catch and huge fish, but landed a couple hundred panfish and small Guadalupe bass along the way.

So yeah. Pictures.

San Gabriel River @ Georgetown

I only fished for an hour or so because I had an early lunch meeting in Austin, so I only caught a few sunfish.
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a trophy bass...

Blanco River

I spent the night in Blanco and fished the state park in the middle of town. Caught a bunch of red breast and a few bass.
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My 3 weight got a nice work out, but I wasn't very satisfied with the experience...

Guadalupe River

On my way to Boerne to visit a rock shop, yes I am that big of a dork, I decided to stop by the Guadalupe River State park as a bit of an afterthought. What a beautiful stretch of water. The Geology, the trees...probably one of our most attractive state parks. Sadly after a couple hours of casting in riffles and pools I only managed a handful of sunfish. I didn't see anything larger than a red breast sunfish the entire time.
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I arrived in Uvalde around 3pm on Thursday and from then on I was completely absorbed by my Texas Historical Foundation responsibilities. Saturday afternoon I finally found time to take a trip up highway 55, into the middle of nowhere, and began wading below Nueces Lake.
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I caught around 50 bass. All but one was under a pound.

The next morning I woke up at 5a.m and drove up to Leakey, where I was able to gain access to the Frio via some property a family friend of mine owns. Had a great time. Water was as cold as a witches tit in a brass bra. Saw more bass than I caught. Hooked what was probably a 3lber, but my 3x tippet wasn't having any of it....

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By 10am I had decided to get on the road (it is a long drive to Houston!)

I went east on 377, a great hwy through some of the most beautiful hills in the state. I made my way to the Lost Maples nature center and that's where the fishing really started to get interesting.

This area is near the headwaters of the Sabinal and even there the water was very low in many places, and rather stagnant. Viable pools were punctuated by dry stretches or ones completely coated in some sort of spongy algae. The geology of the area is extremely impressive with giant blocks of solid limestone calving off the canyon walls.

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It was in this pool that I finally began to catch fish, and they turned out to be one of the high points of the trip.

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I cannot identify this species of Lepomis. It was similar to a long ear and to an orange spotted sunfish, even a bluegill. At first I thought I was seeing some sort of hybrid, but I caught a total of 16 and they all had the same features: Bright orange ventral, extending up the side partly, blue lines, orange fins, vertical striped that darkened, "ear flaps" that were irregularly shaped. If these are hybrids they were incredibly uniform in appearance. I also noted the complete lack of any other sunfish species. No long ears, red breasts, bluegills, red spotteds, greens or even cichlids. I only saw a single Guadalupe bass! Maybe Lance can answer this for me? Lance? Oh Lance!?

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I stayed at Lost Maples for a couple hours before I headed towards Medina, and a nearby crossing on the Medina River. This area is great! Two species of bass, schools of rio grande cichlids, more sunfish, what looked like a half dozen golden redhorse, catfish, and long nose gar.

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Baby Soft Shell turtle

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At dusk I got in the FJ, fired up some Fugazi and hit the road for H-Town.

Good trip.

Thank you to for posting about my trip!


  1. Jonathan
    Thanks for the tour. Outstanding pics and some gills I have never seen before. You never know what you will catch in a particular place, weather it is a park lake or a small pond. A lot of people overlook these kind of placss. Really enjoyed your post.

  2. Hi! FYI, the cool looking mystery lepomis variants you caught and pictured near the bottom of the page are a sub-species of the longear sunfish, called the Rio Grande Longear Sunfish. They are found in northern Mexico and southern/SW Texas - you caught yours near the northern extent of their range. Longears are divided into 6 subspecies and one that has been branched off into its own species (the Northern Sunfish, lepomis peltastes). The ones you caught are probably the coolest one. They lok like a cross between a Longear Sunfish, a Redbreast Sunfish and a Mayan Cichlid.