Guadalupe River in Kerrville - Part 5 - Winter Waters to Fly Fish in TX
Kerrville is quite possibly the coolest river town in TeXas, though locals from Llano or San Marcos may scoff at that notion. (Neither of those two towns have a full-on Stonehenge replica though, just sayin’.) Scoffing at Kerrville is a tall task after landing 50-plus fish on flies in early-February.
Thanks to Texas Parks & Wildlife, who slings about 2400 hatchery-raised Rainbows under the Hwy 16 bridge in Louise Hays Park every winter, the chances of tuque-wearing Texans landing trout on The Guad are pretty damn high. For the trout, we prefer to stick to typical beaded trout flies like Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tails, Rubber-legged Copper Johns, as well as egg patterns in various colors.
For other native species, slap flies like Wilcox Specials and Bett's Trim Gims around the knees of the sentinel cypress trees lining the river to dupe shy bluegills and Guadalupe bass hunkered underneath. We also suggest sub-surface flies like Te’Queely’s, beaded Mini Woolly Buggers, crawfish-colored Carpit Bombs, and dark green Rio Getters. All these flies work at various times for various fish, it’s just a matter of chunking them in the right spots at the right times. Winter is not these guys' favorite time of year – fish are typically suspended deep and relatively lethargic, but still have to eat. If they see something they like, they’ll take it.
Putting a kayak in parts of the Guadalupe will obviously help you reach fish lies you just can’t get to from the bank. one area we love to yak fish is the quarter-mile stretch of river between the Kerrville ponding dam (near the Plaza on the River Nursing Home) and the short manmade spillway about a quarter mile downstream. There’s a parking lot just below the dam on Guadalupe St. that just a stone’s throw away from the river, making it a super-easy kayak put-in. Fish are often hanging in deep slots grooves in the limestone river bottom, lounging around the huge underwater rocks, under tree overhangs and in the seams of the riffles downstream.
Fishing flies just below the dam in the highly-aerated water pouring down the concrete ramparts is a fantastic way to get notches on your belt. You’ll find tons of fish feeding in the numerous frothy tailouts, most of which will be feisty bluegills and other various perch species.
Aside from fishing, there’s just a lot to do in Kerrville that make it a wise winter destination. It feels less niche-ified that other touristy Hill Country towns. Just so and internet search for “Cailloux Theatre,” “James Avery” and “Stonehenge II” and you’ll see where we’re coming from.