Fisheries Report

Fisheries Report

First for the obvious: A historically hot & dry summer in Central Texas.

Inflows to Canyon Lake are at zero (0), nil, zilch, nada cubic feet per second (cfs) and will likely remain so until the fall. Over the past year, the inflow to Canyon Lake has touched above 100 cfs five times and above 200 cfs only once. All were very, very brief spikes and did little to increase the level of Canyon Lake. The river flows near  Comfort this summer have, for the first time since the 1950s, been recorded at zero cubic feet per second. As of this writing, the lake is at 894.55 X mean sea level (MSL) and dropping quickly. This level is 14.45 feet below the pool elevation. The lowest all-time pool elevation after impoundment occurred on September 9, 2009, and was recorded at 892.70 X MSL. If the current reduction curve holds, we will see a new historic low lake level by early September 2023.

This is all to say that, the flows of 60 to 75 cfs below Canyon Dam have been exceeding welcome, not only for the trout but for the tubers looking for relief from the summer heat. Despite the low flows and hot temperatures, water temperatures in the first 5 miles downstream of Canyon Dam have stayed in the mid to upper 60-degree range throughout the summer.

I would encourage everyone to continue to refrain from fishing for trout on the Guadalupe until at least mid-October. If you do find yourself along the banks of any trout stream in the peak of summer, taking a quick temperature check of the water is a best practice that few take the time to do but is a necessity for keeping our streams, rivers, and lakes healthy for the fish and for future anglers.

Now for the good bits of news:

The kind folks with the New Braunfels Fly Fishers have done a lot of heavy lifting of not only buckets this summer to continue the summer feeding program. They have reported good fish numbers upstream of the fourth crossing through the summer. Some of those numbers have dwindled due to summer angling and water temperatures but we continue to see nice holdover numbers in the upper stretches of the tailwater. The feeding program will continue through the summer months and will likely result in a number of hearty and healthy trout to greet us in early November.

On an adjacent subject, while many catch and release anglers might have a strongly negative reaction to seeing trout harvested on any river, please keep in mind that GRTU members are not the only users of the Guadalupe.  Despite many fly anglers’ natural reaction to bristle at the sight of an 18+ inch trout going home with a family,  so long as it was legally caught, it is their fish to keep, clean, and cook as they see fit. Confronting another angler whose views on catch and release might diverge from your own not only perpetuates the stereotype of elitism that many in the flyfishing community have been trying to dispel for many years but is also a good way to meet the game warden under less than favorable circumstances.

Seasonal forecasts from the National Weather Service calls for above-average temperatures through October,  then moderating to near-normal conditions through the winter months. Long-term rainfall predictions are currently calling for average to above-average rainfall beginning in late fall and continuing into the spring of  2024. So, there is hope. Hope that we might see some increased rains and an associated reduction in lake level loss due to the extreme heat is more than we have been able to ask for in the past few years. A better hope is that the springs that feed the upper river from Hunt to Spring Branch might have a moment to recover and return our base flows to normal or near normal.

The current fisheries plan for the 2023-24 season is similar to previous low-water years. The fisheries committee will take a cautious approach for the early stocking dates; taking water temperatures into consideration when deciding where to put fish in the early part of the season. We will look back at the previous few years of low water stockings and continue to find a good balance between spreading the fish and the anglers out along the river. More details on the stocking program will be available to lease access program members as the new season begins, but our overall approach to managing the fishery will remain similar to previous years.

Lastly, if anyone has a rain dance or other bits of good juju that might bring rain and cool weather to Central  Texas sooner rather than later, please feel free to start dancing now.

Dane Cone,  GRTU Fisheries Chair


Protecting, reconnecting, restoring and sustaining our cold water fisheries. It’s what we are here to do.


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