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Category Archive:   Field Notes

New feature: For days of adventure that don’t quite end in a full-length story but deserve to be shared to help our fellow anglers we now present Field Notes.

11/21/19  Pedernales River at Reimers Ranch:  I wasn’t really expecting much, after all, the cold snap days before had the temperatures maxing out with highs in the forties, but the word on the street was that the sand bars at Reimers were once again exposed and traversable, a far cry from earlier in the year when the water was chest high from bank to bank and un-wadable. The fact that the cold snap had likely locked the fish down was a rather moot point, the warm front bringing temperatures in the seventies in conjunction with the lower Lake Travis levels (671 feet) meant there would be endless sand bars and shallow pools to wet wade without fear of hypothermia lurking around the corner.

Fishing with a sinking leader and a weighted dumbbell fly I worked my through shallow pool after shallow pool without even the faintest tug to get my adrenaline pumping. Never the less it was euphoric to wade the shallow waters, crossing back and forth through the crystal clear, low flowing water, from sand bar to sand bar, desperately hoping against hope that anything on the other end of my line might add an extra dimension to the already amazing experience that was wading the shallow cool water and trekking through the endless sands a la “Lawerence of Arabia”.

In summation, I didn’t hook a single fish, but I was practically giddy trudging from pool to pool, taking in the wadable flows, the cool/warm temperatures and the extreme solitude that are so rare here in Texas. Sure, it’s not the prime time for this body of water, but I can think of a million worse ways to spend a day, so get out there with friends or family and soak it in, but take a rod just in case.

New feature: For days of adventure that don’t quite end in a full-length story but deserve to be shared to help our fellow anglers we now present Field Notes.

10/08/19  Blanco River at Five Mile Dam:  A month ago I stopped on my way home at Five Mile to find everything below the dam dried up, but making my way up to the dam I witnessed water from bank to bank and promised myself I’d get back soon to put in the kayak and fish the still present river (stagnant as it might be). Unfortunately, Texas waters are temperamental and fickle and by the time I got there two days ago, all that potential was long gone. I arrived with the intent of dragging the kayak down to the water but found that what might normally be a 30-yard ordeal was going to be much closer to 150-yard trudge through overgrown weeds and dry rock. While there are a few pools here they are incredibly shallow (one foot) and if there were any fish in these they are long gone.

All of which is to say, if you were planning on heading here any time soon you’ll likely want to turn your attention to some of the other local rivers like the Guadalupe, San Marcos and Lower Colorado.

New feature: For days of adventure that don’t quite end in a full-length story but deserve to be shared to help our fellow anglers we now present Field Notes.

10/03/19  The Lower Colorado – Austin, TX:  After an excessively saturated spring there were strong hopes among many central Texas anglers like myself that we might be in for an amazing fishery well into the fall. Unfortunately, the leaky faucet was quickly cut off and the summer months saw healthy flows rapidly turn into stagnant flows and ultimately dry creek and river beds.

In an effort to scout out some of the few remaining floatable waters my good friend Nathan and I made a last-ditch effort to explore one of the last fully flowing bodies around Austin, the Lower Colorado east of Austin. The flows were a paltry 300 CFS compared to their average of 1,000 CFS this time of year which made the shallow spots fun and fast but also meant that the larger pools, of which there are many, combined with the upstream breeze made progress slow and laborious.

photo by @theurbanfly via instagram

The float was from Little Webberville to Big Webberville and although the current and wind made vast stretches of the float difficult, it was none the less an absolutely gorgeous float. The same thing that made it difficult and slow (low flows) also made it possible to completely survey the riverbed and all the nooks and crannies it possesses.  Holes normally head deep were now shallow waterways with the riverbed easily observable just a few feet below.

In stark contrast to the many unproductive days I’ve had lately, I somehow managed to catch and land an easy twenty-plus Guadalupe bass over the course of the day. Strangely enough, they all seemed to be the same fish with EVERY single one of them almost identical in size and coloration (give or take a quarter-pound) despite the fact they were caught hundreds of yards apart.

How can you be sure what I say is true? Well, you’re going to have to take my word because it turns out that the nagging feeling I had packing up the car at the last minute was that of me forgetting the waterproof camera that has provided hundreds upon hundreds of the photos on this blog. I’m fully aware that without photos it’s hard to know whether or not this is all a bunch of bullshit, but we’re friends, trust me, it’s on. Go now.

P.S. For the Lower Colorados most knowledgable guide service contact the fine folks at

photo by @theurbanfly via instagram

New feature: For days of adventure that don’t quite end in a story but deserve to be shared to help our fellow anglers we now present Field Notes.

02/28/19  Llano River – Kingsland, TX:  Upon parking and exiting my vehicle recently at “The Slab” near the junction of the Colorado and Llano rivers in search of white bass, I had the strange feeling that a spot I’d fished for many years suddenly looked completely foreign. It took a good thirty seconds or so until it dawned on me that I was witness to the result of 300,000CFS of flood waters that inundated the area in October 2018. Other than “The Slab” itself nothing I was taking in looked familiar. One time rolling sand dunes have been flattened and now stretch on for many hundreds of yards and now are entirely devoid of the trees, shrubs and plant life that used to call the riverbed home.

Most shocking (for fisherman anyway) is the fact that the course of the river that once followed a pretty well-defined course and had obvious runs and pools for white bass is now completely altered. There are now many shallow braids of the river that split off only to coalesce into deep pools so immensely long and wide that not only is finding an obvious course for the white bass difficult, wading the pools themselves is incredibly tricky if not outright dangerous as there are an insane amount of spots along the bottom of the riverbed that for all practical purposes are quicksand (not ideal when the water is already chest high).

On this day I made the unwise decision to wet-wade the river in my Chacos since the temperature was supposed to climb close to 60˚.  Two hours later, two miles from the car it topped out at 46˚ and things went south real quick. One mile from the car I lost all feeling from my waist down and an uncontrollable shivering set in as the simple act of wading and walking became incredibly difficult, the lack of feeling causing me to tumble forward into water that soaked every ounce of clothing I wore and thereby magnifying the problem. I mention this not because I want anyone to know how stubborn and stupid I can be, but because it’s real easy to forget when you live in Texas that it’s a fine line between safe and dangerous conditions when it comes to the elements. It’s easy to remember when you’re in the Rockies or some such place that a minute change in weather / altitude can kill you, but around here in our relatively flat land we’re so accustomed to thinking about the heat that it’s easy to forget what a few degrees of cooler weather can do. Be smart y’all.

Oh yeah, kept my toes but didn’t catch a white bass. I call that a wash.