Texas anglers will have another species to target this spring. In March, the Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU) will stock approximately 900 brown trout averaging 14 inches in the Canyon Dam tailrace.
The tailrace extends 14 miles downstream of Canyon Dam on the Guadalupe River. Brown trout are popular with anglers and can live in slightly higher water temperatures than rainbow trout.
Brown trout have been stocked in the tailrace before. From the late 1970s to 2000 brown trout supplemented rainbow trout stockings by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and GRTU. This stocking will be different, because fisheries managers will assess how brown trout stockings improve angler participation and fishing through Texas’ hot summer months. Angler surveys will document fishing effort and catch rates, while electrofishing sampling will evaluate trout survival through summer and fall.
Half of the brown trout stocking will occur in the special regulation zone, which begins 800 yards downstream of Canyon Dam and extends to the easternmost bridge crossing on Highway 306. Anglers fishing in this zone are required to release brown and rainbow trout between 12 and 18 inches in length. Trout below 12 inches and one above 18 inches can be harvested by artificial lures only, with a five-fish daily bag limit. Remaining brown trout will be stocked in multiple locations from the easternmost Highway 306 bridge crossing to the second bridge crossing on River Road.
TPWD and GRTU are hoping the addition of brown trout can increase the number of trout that survive through summer in the tailrace. This would increase year-round angling opportunities and allow fish to grow over multiple years. The protective regulations and cooler water temperatures in the upstream portion of the tailrace provide the best conditions for this to occur. If brown trout increase angler participation and exhibit better oversummer survival than rainbow trout, more may be stocked in the future.
Methods for catching brown trout are similar to those used for rainbow trout. Dry flies, wet flies and small lures that imitate terrestrial insects or minnows can be good bait choices in summer.
Anglers can access the river several ways. In the upstream special regulation zone, kayaks and canoes can be launched from a free access area just below Canyon Dam. Take-out locations and other access can be arranged through outfitters such as Maricopa Riverside Lodge or Whitewater Sports. During the winter season, several leased sites offer anglers free access to the river. For information about these sites visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/