The Facts

Southwest Texas State University Study 
According to an April, 1998 study done by Southwest Texas State University on the Guadalupe River below Canyon Dam: 
  • Scuds+Midges+Mayflies+Caddis flies = 91% of drift. 
  • Mayflies and Midges are most common in the evening drift. 
  • Caddis fly pupae and larvae are most common in mid-afternoon drift Scuds are most common in the early drift, but are available throughout the day. 
  • Blue Wing Olives (#18) and Tricos (#24) are the most common Mayflies. 
  • The Speckled and Spotted Sedge (#12 - #16) are the most common Caddis. 
  • Midges (#18 - #24) are the most common insect in the drift. 

The Catch  (vs. Fly Fishing)

  1. Weather plays a huge role on the fish and bug activity.
  2. Water clarity can determine the strength of line you are able to use. (clear shallow water = light tippet)
  3. Fishing pressure can affect the bite. Saturday tends to be the heaviest fished day of the week. Holidays are usually even more crowded.
  4. Presentation-The fly needs to appear natural if the fish is going to eat it. When nymphing, it’s critical to present the flies in the most natural way at the depth that the fish are feeding.
  5. Every day is a new day. What worked yesterday, may not work today.
  6. Dialing in the technique that works best for the current feeding patterns. (rising fish = dries or emergers, fish chasing minnows = streamers, fish holding in pockets = nymphs/wets)
  7. Set the hook! Fish rarely hook themselves with a fly. When the bite is slow, it’s easy to lose focus. Quick reflexes are required.
  8. Play the fish. There is a fine line of give and take when playing a fish on light tippet. When the nose of the fish is up, it’s ready to be netted.
  9. Use the right equipment for the given fishing environment. A stiff rod used with light tippet usually results in broken tippet.
  10. Catching or not, a day of fly fishing beats a day of doing anything else. Enjoy connecting with nature.

Side note: When hiring a guide, keep in mind that the guide wants a successful day just as much as you. Fly fishing is a sport of skill. The guide can put you on the fish with the right fly selection, but presentation, setting the hook, and playing the fish is ultimately up to you. Guides have control over a quality lunch, and skill building, not Mother Nature.

There is a certain code of ethics to any sport and fly fishing is no different. When fly fishing please keep in mind:

  • When approaching a stream, do so quietly as not to disturb the fish or other anglers.
  • On a stream the size of the Guadalupe (stream width of about 50 yards), keep 100’ from another angler, if you are less than 100’; ask the persons permission to fish with them before starting.
  • The angler working upstream has the right of way vs. the angler working downstream; this does not mean that you can walk in on someone if going upstream.
  • Don’t monopolize a location, if it is obvious that someone would like to work in, more down or yield the hole.
  • Practice Catch and Release. There is a maxim in fly fishing that goes: A fish is too valuable a resource to be caught only once. If you do keep a fish, dispatch the fish quickly and humanely.
  • If you observe someone breaking the law, it is better to contact law enforcement rather than getting in an altercation on the water.
  • If someone needs to walk behind you, stop casting and allow them to pass.
  • Crush your barbs.