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Archive for June 27th, 2014


viva-corn-main

Well, if you are anywhere near Texas, you know that summer is here in full force. While random showers have been bringing some very minor relief (minor, but still much appreciated) the drought continues to linger as the heat has been rising, causing swarms of people to gravitate to what little water is left in an effort to make it through these early days of summer.

For someone that equates fly fishing with solitude, this has unfortunately meant that local spots such as Barton Creek, the Pedernales River, and Town Lake are starting to seem more like crowded Disney water parks and less like the bastions of stillness they normally are throughout the rest of the year.

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The one spot in the heart of Austin that has remained relatively unchanged though is Red Bud island below Tom Miller dam, especially during “Happy Hour”.  While random paddlers make it up to the dam most hours of the day, during the hours of 4-7PM recently the lower gates have been opened and heavy flows pouring into town lake have been pushing the casual paddlers further down the lake / river. It’s precisely then that the bass rally upstream into the newly formed currents to start feeding on disoriented baitfish that have gotten sucked through the gates from the bottom of Lake Austin on the top end of the dam. In addition to the sudden whitewater caused by the flows, the topwater action can easily start exploding as huge bass chase the baitfish to the surface and deliver a smack down that will doubtlessly get your adrenaline pumping. If you have yet to experience the cacophony, i recommend checking it out.

 

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If you paddle up there and the insanity of all the surface action isn’t enough to let you know you’re in the right place, glance around and check to see if the various herons and cranes around you are irritated by your presence. If they’re making audible noises that sound like the avian equivalent of a pit bull growling at you then you’re in the right spot.

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Unfortunately, LCRA considers flow releases from their dams to be highly valuable information so they never release flows in advance. They do however post the previous days flows for all their dams, which while it may not be an exact prediction of what will happen,  it’s  still  a good indicator as to what you can likely expect. (Those flows can be found under “Highland Lake Flows” on our blog’s side bar under “Texas Resources”.

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While you can work the water from the north bank, or wade out onto the island, your best bet is a canoe or kayak and an anchor to hold you in one of the various eddies. (Note: Floating in this water during high flows can be dangerous to to the fact that remnants of the old dam, are just below the surface. Anchoring in these flows are DOUBLY DANGEROUS and only recommended for experienced folks. Use common sense. and take a buddy if paddling.)

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Since Austin is essentially a college town on steroids, there is no shortage of bars and brew pubs to while away the hours after classes or work while you enjoy discounted drinks and half price appetizers. For my money though (read: FREE)  the Red Bud Happy Hour is the way to go. If you’re feeling lavish, you can bring along some beer or wine (not in glass containers please) and more or less get the same effect as hanging out on sixth street without the outrageous bar tab and annoying crowds. Plus, you can hook into hefty bass (like the one above) and enjoy the free Corn Dogg art under the bridge, not even Coyote Ugly can promise such pure and pleasurable delight. VIVA CORN DOGG!

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