Brazos River History Lesson

| May 12, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Brazos River has a rich history in Texas, playing a significant role in the state’s development. It stretches for about 840 miles, making it the longest river in Texas. Here’s a brief overview of its history:

  1. Native American Presence: Before European settlement, various Native American tribes, including the Wichita, Caddo, and Comanche, lived along the Brazos River. They relied on its waters for sustenance and transportation.
  2. Spanish Exploration: The river was likely explored by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, although no permanent settlements were established at that time.
  3. Stephen F. Austin’s Colony: The Brazos River played a crucial role in the colonization of Texas. Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas,” established his first colony along the Brazos River in the early 1820s. This colony became the nucleus for the later settlement and development of Texas.
  4. Economic Importance: The Brazos River was vital for transportation and trade in the early days of Texas. Steamboats traveled up the river, carrying goods and people, and communities developed along its banks.
  5. Civil War: During the Civil War, the Brazos River was a strategic waterway. It served as a barrier between Confederate and Union forces and was used for the transportation of troops and supplies.
  6. Post-Civil War Development: After the Civil War, the Brazos River continued to be important for agriculture, providing water for irrigation and livestock. However, it also experienced periods of drought, which impacted the region’s economy.
  7. 20th Century: In the 20th century, the Brazos River was dammed in several places to create reservoirs for flood control, water supply, and hydroelectric power generation. These dams have helped regulate the flow of the river and provide water for cities and farms.
  8. Modern Times: Today, the Brazos River remains an essential water source for Texas. It supports agriculture, provides drinking water for communities, and offers recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, and camping.

Overall, the Brazos River has played a significant role in the history and development of Texas, shaping the economy, culture, and environment of the region.

Brazos River Today

I would never want to try to make a go of being a fishing guide on the Brazos River. If the Brazos is not flooding, it’s a trickle in the Texas heat, and you would be dragging your watercraft more than running or paddling many days of the Texas fishing season. I used to advise the greenies about this, but did they listen?

The Brazos has a wonderful rugged beauty to it though. It’s western look has even been part of recent filming for the Yellowstone conglomerate of TV series. We passed through their “set” on a three-day-two-night kayak trip a couple years ago – https://youtu.be/4gHjAHhQUw8 It’s “western” without having to go way out west, and in Texas “way out west” means a LONG way out west.

There is some great fly fishing for striper below Lake Granbury as well – WHEN there’s enough water. Check this video with the world famous Greg Welander of Upstream on the Flyhttps://youtu.be/F1BE2wnjrzQ

The authorities have spiked the releases at the Possum Kingdom Dam in recent weeks. This certainly could mean a fresh batch of striper are now below the Dam – this video shows the layout of the Possum Kingdom Dam fishing. I have fly fished the area below the Dam after these spikes, and there were tons of fish to catch, and tons of dead fish in the trees on the gravel islands in the middle of the River – a true flushing event. If that horn blows, you go – out and off the water people!

It is an important time of year, a time to know before you go someplace like the Possum Kingdom Dam or to a stretch of the Brazos to fly fish. In order to know, you need some links to vital information. Nearest to DFW Brazos River fishing:

  • Dam at Possum Kingdom Release – https://brazos.org/
  • Possum Kingdom Mapping – https://brazos.org/About-Us/Reservoirs/Possum-Kingdom-Lake/Online-Lake-Map
  • Lake Granbury Mapping – https://brazos.org/About-Us/Reservoirs/Lake-Granbury/Online-Lake-Map
  • Lake Whitney – https://waterdatafortexas.org/reservoirs/individual/whitney

NOTE: The Texas lakes nearest, and within DFW are at 100% capacity now (05/12/24), and ABOVE capacity! This condition can be very good for fly fishing, and it can be very confusing for fly fishing too. Fish have more area to roam, and they can be in places we would not imagine or would not be able to catch them.

Thanks for reading about the Brazos River this Sunday! The week ahead looks to be more unusual than most, with a chance to finally breakaway and have weather cooperate at the same time! Wish me luck! If you have questions, or any great information to add? That is what it is all about here; showing, sharing and expanding the love of fly fishing in Texas with information that helps grow the sport from the grass roots up. Don’t forget to sign up for the SMS messaging about HotSpots I find along the way!

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Category: Adventure, Brazos River, Central Texas, Fishing Reports, Sunday Morning Chat

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https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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