Category Archives: Llano River

Llano River, 1 Weight Fly Rod and a Box of Trout Fly’s

Something in the title of this report doesn’t make sense “Llano River, 1 Weight Fly Rod and a Box of Trout Fly’s” or does it?  When fishing the Llano River we normally are chasing Largemouth Bass, Guadalupe Bass, Sunfish species and Rio Grande Perch (Cichlids).  The “Box of Trout Fly’s” might have thrown you for a moment.  However, Trout Fly’s are required when fishing for Rainbow Trout.

The TPWD has really stepped up their trout stocking program this year.  2400 Trout where stocked into the Llano River, with 5 locations receiving trout.  Although the Llano looks like a trout stream, the water’s are to warm throughout most of the year to sustain a Trout fishery.

Llano River Trout 2 Upstreamonthefly

Today I was out in Castell, TX fishing the Llano River for stocked Rainbow Trout.  There are very few cedar trees out in Castell Texas, something I have never noticed until today.  So despite the off the chart cedar pollen in Austin Texas today, the Hill Country out in Castell was pollen free.  Well at least not at record proportions.  My Cedar Fever was on hold  and my Trout bite was on.

All though the Trout are not of trophy proportions, what they lack in size they make up for in attitude.  It is fun fishing for Rainbow Trout and watching their acrobatics as they jump out of the water not just once but time and time again.  These fish can really get some serious air.

Llano River Trout 1 Upstreamonthefly

When in Castell, make sure to stop by the Castell General Store and visit with Randy.  Although he is one rooster short, Randy can normally tell you where the fish are biting. So grab the 1 Weight Fly Rod, a box of Trout Fly’s and hit the Llano River.  You might be surprised at the number of fish you will catch.

Castell Upstreamonthefly


Keep Austin Fly Fishing!

Plan “A”

This past week I headed west into the Texas Hill Country to get wet on the Llano River.  My friend Andy and I were meeting up with another fly fishing friend, Rob.  We all meet up at Cooper’s BBQ in the town of Llano.  We had gotten a late start but it was still a bit early for lunch, although Cooper’s was already getting busy.  We had fish to catch and lunches were already packed, but the aroma that encircles Cooper’s sure was enticing.

alt = "Coopers in Llano, TX"

Coopers in Llano, TX

We arrived at our destination which was a private ranch out in Mason County, TX.  The water looked great and we found the fish happy.   Rob has really taken to the sport of Fly Fishing as well as Fly Tying.

alt = "Rob and Andy"

Rob and Andy

When a fly tier goes fishing with another tier, there is a good chance that flies will be swapped.  And of course fly boxes will be opened and everyone will stand and stare in to them pulling out flies that looked like the secret weapon for the day.  Rob had a couple flies that he wanted me to fish that day, one being the Pan Fish Pole Cat  and the other called Plan “B” .  Yes, Plan “B” is a name of a fly.  I guess it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan “B”, especially when fishing.

alt = "Rob's Fly Box"

Rob’s Fly Box

The fish where hungry and very willing to take the fly, not just any fly, but the Pan Fish Pole Cat.  When I first looked at the Pan Fish Pole Cat I thought to myself, a yellow tail.  I was a bit hesitant about a fly with a yellow tail.  But, Plan “B” was actually looking ok.

alt = "Plan A"

Plan B & Panfish Pole Cat

I asked Rob how the Pan Fish Pole Cat fished, he said that it has a slow sink and when twitched it would rise towards the surface of the water.  However, if you let it be, then it would descend to the river bottom.  Back to the yellow tail, the yellow tail just was not grabbing me like it had with Rob.  But, after watching Rob pull fish after fish out of the river, I said, ok time to put that Pan Fish Pole Cat on and give it a try.

alt = "Rob doing his thing with the Panfish Pole Cat"

Rob doing his thing with the Panfish Pole Cat

As I was slowly walking upstream I started to see Grasshoppers in the grasses that lined the bank of the Llano River.  They were all bright yellow, yes I said yellow!  Maybe this yellow tail, rubber legged fly might be what is on the menu for today.  Mason County had a decent amount of rain this past spring and early summer causing the vegetation to be almost too thick along the shore.

alt = "Llano River is flowing"

Llano RIver is flowing

I was surprised, but this Pole Cat sure did not go unnoticed while in the water.  Redbreast Sunfish, Largemouth Bass and Guadalupe Bass found this one very hard to resist.

alt = "Plan A"

Redbreast with Panfish Pole Cat

We had ventured a couple miles upstream and it was starting to get late into the afternoon.  We still had to turn around and head back.  Plan “B”, what about Plan “B”, I sure could not go home without trying Plan “B”.  So I snipped off a fly that was catching fish at a decent rate to give Plan “B” a try.

Plan “B” is basically a Wooly Bugger variant that was all black, with lead wraps, bead chain eyes and white rubber legs.   Rob, had told me this was the fly if you wanted to fish deep.  I was standing looking into a hole in the river that was well over my head.

I casted Plan “B” across the hole and let it slowly fall to the bottom.  Nothing, not even a look, that was hard to believe.  Surely there is a big ole’ Bass in the depths just waiting for Plan “B”.  I hear Andy yell over that we better start heading back to the truck.  I said, just one more cast.  We all know that one more cast really means ten more casts.  Not even a bump, nibble, nothing for Plan “B”.  I clipped it off and put the Pan Fish Pole Cat back on.  Yes, you guessed it, fish on once again.

So, there are times that it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan “B”, but when Plan “A” is working, you better not change up.

alt = "Plan A"

Even the Bass like the Panfish Pole Cat

Keep Austin Fly Fishing!

The Llano is Wet

I am frequently asked “Have you been out on the water?”.   Typically the answer is “Yes, I have…”.  This past week I was out on the Llano.  This response will cause a deer in the head lights glare and a very common question, “Is there water in the Llano?”.  Sure, the Llano does have water.  We are still in a drought, but the spring rains have given the Llano a shot in the arm with much needed water.  My good friend and fish’n buddy Andy and I headed west into the Texas Hill Country the first week in May.

alt = "The Llano is Wet"

Llano River is Wet

The fish where not responding on top, however streamers where the answer for the day.  We have had a cool spring this year which I contribute to a slower than normal start with top water action on the Llano.  One of my favorites streamers is the “Matt’s Bug”.  This is a wooly bugger variant that was originally tied from a past member of the Central Texas Fly Fishers  – yep you guessed it, his name is Matt.  What makes the Matt’s Bug so special is the lead tape that is used to both weight and shape the fly.

alt = "Llano River Redbreast"

Llano River Redbreast

We had a variety of species take the fly that day including the Redbreast Sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Guadalupe Bass and the first Rio Grande  of the year.

alt = "Llano River Guadalupe Bass"

Llano River Guadalupe Bass

alt = "Llano River Rio Grande

Llano River Rio Grande

Not only was the fishing good, you sure can’t beat the springtime Texas Wildflowers in bloom.

alt = "Llano River Indian Blankets"

Llano River Indian Blankets

So just in case you are wondering, yes the Llano is wet and is worth a drive west into the Texas Hill Country.

alt = "Llano River Largemouth Bass"

Llano River Largemouth Bass

Keep Austin Fly Fishing!

White Bass Walk’n

The most frequent question I was asked this past spring was “Are the White’s running?”  With the drought still a sad occurrence here in central Texas, we just never had the amount of rain fall needed for a solid run out in the Hill Country.  I fish four spots that will hold a decent run and only one had a run this year.  We have had several good rains this spring, but not enough to allow for consistent water flow down the tributaries for the Whites to make a road trip to the party grounds.

However, the one spot that did produce out of the four this year was at the confluence of the Llano River with Lake LBJ.  This spot is a hard to get to location due to the private land that borders the spawning areas.  I have access through a couple spots which allows for less walking and more fishing.

alt = "White Bass caught on Flashabou Streamer"

White Bass caught on Flashabou Streamer

I had the opportunity to take Shannon for a late trip this past April.  We fished the tail end of the run, which allowed for a few larger fish.  Shannon has attended several fly tying classes that I instruct at the shop and he just happened to be there on a night we tied a white bass fly (The Flashabou Streamer).   This fly was the ticket for the bigger fish.

alt = "Shannon's Big White Bass"

Shannon’s Big White Bass

So even in a drought, the LBJ Whites still had the urge and enough water to make “a run”, or on second thought I will call it “a walk” this year due to the lower than normal flows.

Hopefully next year we have a stronger run of White’s, but at least there might be an opportunity for a White Bass Walk.

Alt = "Llano River White Bass"

Llano RIver White Bass

Keep Austin Fly Fishing!