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Texas Fly Fishing Report 070918

| July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Fly Fishing Texas Report

This will be the last Texas Fly Fishing Report for a couple of weeks. This video contains good information on when to schedule your fly fishing trip to the coast, and observations on carp from three days on the water last week. The soonest you will see another report is July 30, and I am jiggering my publishing formula when it comes to what is published when. If you have any suggestions, FEEL FREE to chime in! Ideas include moving the regular report to Thursday or Monday – Monday would  get more detailed action from locals on the report.

I am going to take a break for a road trip with a friend – to the Northeastern USA. It’s one of those bucket list things I had to do (see more of the USA), when the bucket was handed to me, and now I am going to empty a little of that bucket into my starving soul.

Heck, how about just plain starving?

Anyway, I will get correspondence out to you as often as seems worthy while on this epic road trip. A friend and myself will be driving to New Hampshire, in a car … to New Hampshire. This should be interesting, shouldn’t it? Fly fishing New Hampshire? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks as always for the loyal readers and YouTube Texasflycaster Channel watchers. Look for that carp tour story in the next Lone Star Outdoor News, and prayers sent my way will be caught and dropped into that bucket! Wait until you see the rest of the bucket list …


Texas Fly Fishing Report Summer Winds Down Doldrums Around

| August 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fly Fishing in Texas this week

Thanks again for watching the Texas Fly Fishing Report! Please suggest changes where needed – I won’t complain. I think the audio intro is a bit long-ish.

A hard week on the fly for me – skunked twice. Watch for the details in the video. I was advised to be wary of what I heard (and have been told that many times in the past), and it proved out when it came to Lake Grapevine two days ago.

If you can get to the BP and Rollover Pass, it sounds interesting. But then, I am relying – not on all you readers across the state – but relying on televised reporting and the TPWD fishing reports. I have always had a soft spot for Rollover Pass because there is an incredible amount of movement there. I heard a long time ago they were going to fill that in, but I never heard any more about it? I sure would like to hear from readers, rather than trying to discern second-hand information from the sources I am using. Accuracy is very important to me, so my sources need to be honed and more accountable.

If YOU ARE A GUIDE, feel free to call in your report from wherever you are, and we can record and publish it – as is, unedited and heavily (at my cost) promoted.


| February 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

TPWD Announces New Paddler Camp Sites on Iconic Devils River

AUSTIN – The Devils River is one of the premier paddling and fishing destinations in Texas, drawing outdoor enthusiasts each year to enjoy the preserved natural beauty, excellent sport fishery, and native wildlife along its clear waters. But the river is not for the faint of heart.

“Due to the remote location of the Devils River, safe, reliable, and legal camp sites on the river are in short supply,” said Joe Joplin, Devils River State Natural Area superintendent. “The average paddler doesn’t make 15 miles in a day, and if they do, it’s not enjoyable.”

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), along with local partners, aims to change that. To help create safe conditions for the recreational use of the Devils River and help minimize trespassing issues, the TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program (RACA) will open two paddle-up-only camp sites March 1.

According to Timothy Birdsong, Habitat Conservation Chief for TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division, the new pack-in, pack-out camp sites aren’t designed to add more paddlers to the river, but rather to provide safe and legal stopping points for the daily limit of TPWD permitted paddlers.

“The reaches of river between Baker’s Crossing, and the Del Norte and Dan A. Hughes Units of our Devils River State Natural Area are relatively long distances, so we strategically added these camp sites roughly mid-distance to create a more safe and enjoyable experience for paddlers,” Birdsong said.

TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said by adding the two new paddle-up only campsites, the organization is setting the conditions to ensure permitted paddlers can explore the river safely and maintain the high standards of river stewardship that will preserve its unique beauty for generations to come.

“I’m proud of what the TPWD River Access Conservation Area Program and our Devils River State Natural Area have been able to do to address the desires and concerns of both local landowners and devoted Devils River paddlers,” Smith said. “This is a win-win deal for everyone who appreciates and respects this iconic Texas river.”

To help promote river use etiquette and river stewardship by paddlers, TPWD is partnering with the Devils River Conservancy (DRC), a nonprofit organization made up of landowners and conservationists whose mission is to preserve and protect the Devils River and the lands within its watershed. Through this partnership, both organizations will be collaborating on an educational video and Devils River Paddler Manual that will be distributed among local guides and vendors to prepare paddlers for overnight trips on the Devils River and help address issues encountered on the water.

“The Devils River is a precious and delicate resource; it cannot sustain unmanaged human pressure without degradation,” the DRC said in a statement provided to TPWD. “The Devils River Conservancy is happy to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in engaging landowners in the active management of recreation on the Devils River.”

“We hope that the implementation of the designated campsites will decrease the overall impact of human pressure on the river while honoring the private property rights of its land stewards,” the statement continued. “Moving forward, this partnership aims to cultivate the ‘leave no trace’ ethos for the protection for this wild and beloved Texas River for generations to come.”

These new paddle-up-only camp sites are the newest additions to TPWD’s statewide network of 19 River Access and Conservation Areas, which offer improved angler and paddler access to more than 100 miles of Texas rivers. The program is funded through federal grants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture and through philanthropy efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

A Devils River Access Permit is required for all trips on the Devils River that access the two units of the Devils River State Natural Area or these two new paddle-up-only camp sites. Visit the Devils River State Natural Area website for reservations, maps, permits and other information.


Salt for the Soul

| January 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

south padre island texas fly fishing #flyfishing skiff rigging brownsville ship channel South Bay

speckled trout south padre island

Leslie caught this nice speck while we were on the sand about five miles north of the Convention Center, on the bay side of South Padre Island, Texas. Caught on a topwater MirroLure.

NOTE – As you remember, I have always written about the DIY trips we do here in an honest and forthright way. If we catch, we catch. And if we hit a brick wall, we hit a brick wall. The biggest takeaway from this trip is going to be knowledge, which you have to admit is a good thing for the future. I have seen guides, who sponsor trips to exotic locales, try to make a silk PR purse from days (or an entire trip) of being blanked. That doesn’t fly here.


Two weeks are almost up, and today will probably go a ways to define this trip. I certainly can’t define it by the weather – stormy then clear in rapid succession, the fish – you see who did the only catching in that image above, or by the stories generated – during off-season, trying to get a hold of people to interview who must live on “Island Time.” If I could define it, I would probably say it’s a little too far off season for a lost son to come back and zero in on fish … I do take comfort in the number of boats I see running the grass flats – maybe a handful a day at the very most.

I dropped on the edge of the intracoastal early yesterday, and spent the rest of the day drifting the sand holes in the grass, called potholes – up north, on the bayside sand across from Andie Bowie Park – all to no good, I couldn’t even roust a single frightened fish. I would have to summarize that the cool front pushed them off the flats for more than a day as the water temperature dipped about 3-4 degrees in a day (during the warmest part of the day) from Wednesday to Thursday. And the water was still quite churned from the gale force winds that came with the cool front. The water was cloudy and it looked like the bay grass has been mowed, as it is floating everywhere.


[ppw id=”123132508″ description=”navigating the Laguna Madre to fish” price=”.10″]

I knew from my childhood that boating the Lower Laguna Madre, out of South Padre, is a treacherous affair. There’s a reason why kite surfers and sailboarders come from all over the world to here; the wind howls, but most importantly, it’s shallow for miles and miles. Local boat companies have, as I documented in the past, created boats specifically for running over the grass without touching it. That means wide open and six inches of water. Channels and depth has little meaning for them. Right now, as the Lagoon Skiff is setup, and if I keep the setup* as is, it’s not running wide out in six inches of water. I am very satisfied in how shallow it does run with the way it is setup now, but if I were running here daily the setup* would have to change.

*Setup – Motor height in this case, as I already have trim-tabs on her.

I hesitate to think about a jack-plate just to run this water, but I do believe what the boat builder, Oscar Weaver (Owner / Builder at Lagoon Boats Cocoa, FL), said about jack plates and tunnel hulls, “a lot of that can be avoided by doing the correct rigging of the boat,” in reference to motor height. That was his response when I was “encouraging” him to build a tunnel for Texas water. I still think a tunnel could be a great change for a Texas boat. One of the key phrases I have zeroed in  when it comes to Florida boats (virtually all of them) is, “poles in 6-inches,” whereas in Texas we say, “runs in 6-inches.” Feel Free to Think about that one.

What I do now is simply put-put the channel that runs the civilized bayside, out the south end, where it opens up at the causeway (channel runs parallel to the NEW causeway), and then make my EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS move to head south toward the old Queen Isabella Causeway, or to head north along the intracoastal and back (eastward) to the flats once everyone else disappears. Once I am shallow, I cut the motor and drift, or use the trolling motor to drift the (empty yesterday) potholes. You’re going to need electronics out here for charts – because if you’re off by a little, it can hurt a lot.



My wife looked at me this morning, over a smoothie and oatmeal, and said, “You think you’re overdoing it a bit?” “Heck yes!” I replied. “You know this was supposed to be a rest and recuperation trip don’t you?” I said there’ll be plenty of time for rest while I drive the 600 miles home from here. Salt is, as always, good for my soul.

Today we’re going to do more investigating – as we are headed to the Brownsville Ship Channel. My expectations have been lowered progressively over the last two weeks. I have come to the conclusion it’s no better to pull and launch (at the Jaimie J. Zapata ramp on 48) the boat from in close to the Ship Channel (say, than it is to run there from the slip at Jim’s Pier. It’s just not that far in the grand scheme, and of course it’s even closer to South Bay. The tide times are opposed to us, but when in Rome …


List of Texas Cooling Lakes for a Winter Warmer

| December 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

generation lakes power plant lakes texas #flyfishing

Monticello Power Plant Lake Monticello

Lake Monticello fly fishing trip in 2013. Looks like a modern fossil to me …


It’s Water Wednesday! Rather than talk about the impending doomsday scenario from a leaking Lewisville Lake Dam, I think we will take a trip to the brighter side of Texas winter fishing by running down a newly found/assembled list of Texas cooling lakes. If you are unfamiliar with a “cooling” lake, there are several names these water anomalies go by. Generation lakes, power plant lakes … all describe lakes that circulate cool water into coal power plants (curse them), and then release that warm water to the benefit of the fish and fishermen (like me) jonesin’ for a wintertime fix. I’ve seen shows, videos and photographs of guys catching bass in fog (beware of fog) with snow coming down … as happy as little school girls.

It’s never as easy as, “It’s cold, so they must be generating!” when it comes to figuring out whether these lakes and their power plants are doing what we need them to do to warm up our fishing opportunities. This is all about the unpredictable ebb and flow of the Texas power grid. Often times, according to what I have read, more generation happens in summer than winter, as Texas is gripped by heatwaves. As far as I know, none of our power makes that National Power Grid (Just started reading Ted Koppel’s book though – “Lights Out”).

For me, there is one very good, overarching reason to try and hit these power lakes AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I believe there will come a time when these lakes no longer are POWER LAKES. Coal is as dead as fossil now, and no single Republican will be able to bring that fuel back to life – ever. So as coal is buried, and other sources take hold, I can only imagine these lakes will recess into the memories of those who experienced them – Better Now Than Never, right?

I was dinking around on the message boards (Texas Fishing Forums) the other day, and threw out the question about al “list” of Texas cooling lakes, and promptly got smacked with a private message, smacked with logic that is, saying I should google it and / or look for that list on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website. And, of course there it was. So for my subscribers, here is your list of cooling lakes in Texas, and links to more information on these lakes. The only one I have done is Monticello, and that is a boat necessary run, unless you are willing to paddle a long way on a single-shot day.



bass lake monticello texas

Typical Lake Monticello bass – from my 2013 story on that lake.

LIST OF TEXAS POWER LAKES 2015 + Fly Fishing Records for these POWER LAKES

Believe it or not, there are about twenty lakes classified as cooling lakes (for power plants) in Texas. That number alone is pretty staggering. The mileage is measured from Denton, Texas.


[ppw id=”119933712″ description=”Texas Winter Lake List” price=”.10″]

Martin Creek Lake
Three Hour Drive east on I20 past Tyler

Lake Fairfield
Two Hour Drive – not worth it

Lake Welsh
2.5 Hour Drive due east on 380 near Mt. Pleasant (130 miles)
LMB Record – 3.87

Lake Bastrop
5 hour drive
LMB – 5.3
Common Carp 1.0

Lake Monticello
2.5 Hour Drive due east on 380 near Mt. Pleasant (130 miles)

Fayette County
10 miles east of La Grange (270 miles)

Lake Calaveras
250 Miles – 10 miles south of San Antonio
Redfish – 12

Braunig Lake
260 Miles – 20 miles south of San Antonio

Coleto Creek
15 miles southwest of Victoria – 326 miles six hours
LMB 2.25

Decker (Walter E. Long)
East of Austin 260 miles
LMB – 2.2
*Lots of Palmetto bass stocking here

Gibbons Creek
210 miles 3.5 hours

West 92 miles Use 380
Hybrid stockings

Brandy Branch
175 Miles – I20

Squaw Creek – Glen Rose
80 miles via US377
Blue Tilapia is only fly record



[/ppw]I was watching my favorite conventional fishing show the other day, “Honey Hole,” and the host made a point about the bass you’ll find on these lakes. He said their metabolism runs all the time, so the fish (bass) don’t live as long, and therefore don’t get as big. I thought that was an interesting tidbit.