AUSTIN – In 2010, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and partners established an ambitious 10-year conservation goal to restore and conserve 10 self-sustaining populations of the official state fish, Guadalupe bass, in creeks and rivers of central Texas. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a passionate and committed network of public and private partners, that goal was realized in 2019. To celebrate, TPWD is partnering with the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International (TX-FFI), San Gabriel Fly Fishers, Bass Pro Shops and Living Waters Fly Fishing on a prize giveaway program to reward anglers for catching the state fish.
“We’re incredibly appreciative of TX-IFFF, San Gabriel Fly Fishers, Bass Pro Shops, and Living Waters Fly Fishing for sponsoring this prize giveaway, which showcases the ongoing conservation success story for our state fish,” said Tim Birdsong, Chief of Habitat Conservation for the Inland Fisheries Division at TPWD.
Beginning March 21, 2019 and continuing until March 31, 2020, any angler who catches one of 40 tagged Guadalupe bass from the San Gabriel River or its tributaries will be entered into a monthly prize drawing. Each monthly winner will be given their choice of one item from an assortment of prizes provided by supporting partners, including fly rods, fly fishing packs, fly fishing vests, landing nets, fly fishing toolkits, fly assortments, and $50 gift cards to Bass Pro Shops.
“The San Gabriel Fly Fishers are proud to assist Texas Parks and Wildlife in the recovery efforts of our state fish and bring attention to the sport of fly fishing through conservation, friendship and sportsmanship,” the San Gabriel Fly Fishers said in a statement provided to TPWD.
“It is the mission of the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International to support and protect fly fishing opportunities around the world for “all fish – all waters,” said Jerry Hamon, President of the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International. “I cannot think of a better way to show support for that mission than being a part of the restoration of the state fish of Texas in our streams and rivers.”
In addition to celebrating the remarkable conservation achievements for Guadalupe bass, the prize giveaway aims to raise awareness of the unique and high-quality fisheries for Guadalupe bass and other stream-dwelling fishes in central Texas.
“The San Gabriel River is a prime example of the tremendous stream fishing opportunities available in central Texas within or just a short drive from major urban centers,” said Marcos De Jesus, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for San Marcos-Austin. “Central Texas streams provide quality bank, wade, and kayak fishing opportunities for Guadalupe bass, largemouth bass, Rio Grande cichlid, and various species of sunfish and catfish.”
A recent economic impact study by TPWD and Texas Tech University found that stream fishing in central Texas generated an annual economic value of $71 million over a sixteen-month period. Forty-two percent of anglers surveyed specifically targeted Guadalupe bass.
“The Guadalupe Bass is one of the most exciting species in our area to target with a fly rod and it is iconic to the Lone Star State,” said Chris Johnson, Owner of Living Waters Fly Fishing in Round Rock. “As a fly shop owner and guide, this species is vitally important to our business, our rivers, and most of all the greater fishing community. We are blessed to have our state fish so close to home, and I am glad that Texas Parks and Wildlife is ensuring that the next generation of anglers will have the opportunity to pursue them as well.”
In collaboration with our extensive network of conservation partners, TPWD is also working to preserve intact populations of Guadalupe bass in Brushy and Gorman creeks and the Pedernales and lower Colorado rivers. Guadalupe Bass were also recently restored to the South Llano River, Blanco River, and Mission Reach of the San Antonio River.
Efforts to restore Guadalupe bass to the namesake Guadalupe River are ongoing, along with efforts to assess the status of Guadalupe bass in the San Gabriel River. Future directions include assessing the status of native Guadalupe bass populations in Cibolo Creek and the upper San Antonio and Medina rivers and assessing the status of refuge populations of Guadalupe bass in the Nueces, Frio, and Sabinal rivers.
To learn more about efforts to conserve Guadalupe bass, please review TPWD’s 2018 Annual Report for the Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative. More about the San Gabriel River prize giveaway can be found on the San Gabriel Fly Fishers website http://sgflyfishers.com/TPWDSanGabrielGuadalupeBass.pdf.
- Eligible Guadalupe bass will be tagged with visual Floy anchor tags that read “Reward – clip tag and call TPWD 512-754-6844.” Each Guadalupe bass will have a unique ID number.
- Tagged Guadalupe bass are being stocked by TPWD in the San Gabriel River at multiple locations from Leander through Georgetown downstream to the community of Jonah.
- Anglers who catch an eligible Guadalupe bass should:
- Clip the tag from the fish and take a photo of the tag legible enough for the tag number to be read. NOTE: DO NOT pull out the tag.
- Take photos with the fish, preferably with the segment of river and habitat where the fish was caught in the background of the photo.
Call the number on the tag to report the tagged fish and to be entered into the monthly prize drawing. Anglers should be prepared to provide the tag number and describe the segment of river where the fish was caught. Anglers who catch and report a tagged Guadalupe bass will remain entered in the monthly prize drawings until they are successfully drawn or the prize giveaway program concludes.