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Llano River

Llano River

Option 1

Location, Accessibility, and Landscape

 

The Llano River is one of the most iconic rivers in Texas due to its clear spring fed water, habitat for Guadalupe Bass, and the unique landscape that can surround you. There are many places to go on the Llano River, and if you do decide to visit the Llano, I recommend you go to the South Llano River which you can find here. However, this can be quite a drive depending on where you live, but the Llano River is not extremely close to major cities either. Located 76 miles from Austin, 108 miles from San Antonio, and 235 miles from Houston, Llano, Texas isn't desolate, but it is in a rural area. If you are in Austin, the drive is not bad at all, nor is it for San Antonio, but it can stretch you gas bill a little.

Getting to the river is rather easy, as you can access the water off of Highway 16 through downtown Llano and turn off to an unnamed park on East Haynie Road. There is some parking via dirt roads and pull offs, along with some nicer parking right on the road if you don't mind the extra walk.

When you drive over the Llano River on Highway 16 in Llano, Texas, you will notice a long small dam upstream. This dam provides options for several reasons. For one, it allows for a good water flow to continually flow through Llano, Texas, which in hand provides the perfect habitat for Guadalupe Bass and Trout in winter months. In fact, the population of Guadalupe Bass right by the dam and downstream a couple hundred yards is very high and allows for anglers to get a taste of the State Fish of Texas.

Most of what makes the Llano River so iconic is the clear spring fed water, but also the vast amounts of granite that makes up the riverbed. It is truly quite cool to see massive pieces of granite (in most cases you can't even see where the granite starts and stops) with water running through it.

If you are a fly fisherman, you will definitely enjoy the fly fishing capability of the Llano River, as you can target a wide variety of species.

The only problem with putting in here is that the water can be quite shallow in places requiring you to get out and tow your boat. You will need to take into consideration that if you do go downstream, you will have to tow your kayak back more due to the current. This is something else you need to take into consideration - the water flow. The Llano almost always has some type of quality flow, but if it gets a little fast, there is not any take outs downstream for quite a ways that I know of.

Type of Water, Quality, and Features

As I stated earlier, water on the Llano is typically clear, but can become a little silty. The main features you will see is rapids and rocks. Although this may not seem like a lot, it is the perfect habitat for Guadalupe Bass. If you are not familiar with Guadalupe Bass and would like to catch your first, I would definitely recommend coming to this location.

Fishing Tactics and Tips

The primary species that I target on this portion of the Llano River is Guadalupe Bass. Therefore, you will want lures that work well in current and most likely a spinning rod and reel due to the lighter lures you will be casting. Anytime I am fishing for Guadalupe Bass, I like to use Worden's Rooster Tails or a Strike Kind Bitsy Pond Minnow.

When casting, remember to cast upstream and retrieve downstream because the fish are pointed upstream waiting for weaker prey to float down with the current.

You will be tempted to fish for Guadalupe Bass in the same manner as Largemouth, but you probably won't catch much if you do. Guadalupe Bass are closer to Trout as far as where they like to stay. Cast in rapids, behind rocks in rapids, and into pools and retrieve into rapids.

Things to Watch out For

The most important thing to watch out for is you step. The rocks can get quite slippery when a little dirt and water get mixed on top of them. Wear appropriate apparel and walk slowly. In some areas if you slip you could fall 10 feet on boulders to break your fall. There are also some water snakes in the area, but almost all are non-venomous.


Option 2

Location, Accessibility, and Landscape

 

Located just south of Mason, Texas on Highway 87 you will find the Llano River. This portion of the Llano River is not the easiest for accessibility, especially in comparison to the access point in downtown Llano, Texas. As you can see in some of the pictures below the map to the right, you will benefit from some rope, as the only clear path down to the water is on a dirt drop off which is quite steep.  If you gave two people, I think the best set up is to have one person holding a rope attached to the bow, with another supporting the stern of the boat from below. You might think that you reach the river once you get into the water, but this is really kind of just a stagnant pool from overflow in times of high water. With this said, you will have to travel a little ways through some mud to the "actual" river.

The landscape is quite beautiful and typical for the Texas Hill Country with small hills and nice Oak trees surrounding the river. Most of the area is pretty rocky, and cactus, rattlesnakes and scorpions are all highly present...but so are some nice Guadalupe Bass and Largemouth Bass.

Type of Water, Quality, and Features

As with the whole length of the Llano River, water is typically quite clear for fishing, but on occasion can get a little silty and murky. The Llano will have a lot of pools with rapids connecting them. The rapids generally are all rock, but fallen logs and trees will find themselves into the water at times. The Llano is also unique in the way that there will be large boulders of granite in the middle of the river and under the surface, these are great for some nice Largemouth Bass.

Fishing Tactics and Tips

This section of water typically holds good numbers of both Largemouth Bass and Guadalupe Bass in the faster water. A Worden's Rooster Tail is hard to overlook, but topwater frogs in vegetation are also very good. Small crankbaits that dive no more than five feet are ideal, and a wide assortment of general bass lures also fit the ticket. A spinnerbait proves to be a great lure for this part of the Llano in particularly a 3/8 oz. configuration.

For Guadalupe Bass in the faster areas of water, make sure to try and cast upstream and retrieve downstream, as fish face upstream waiting for prey to be washed down. Casting at angles in faster water also proves to be deadly...the main thing is change up your casting angle as this can be crucial in hooking a fish or not. A Rooster Tail is my general lure that I go to in faster water sections such as those in the Llano, but jigs are also good.

Things to Watch out For

There are some things to watch out for when you visit this section of the Llano. For one, you will be parking under a bridge, so make sure your car is locked and you feel safe leaving your car unattended. Getting down to the water is also not the easiest thing as well. Take your time and scout out what you are going to do before you attempt to just get in the water. Rattlesnakes are present in this region of Texas, as are scorpions, various wasp and yellow jackets, along with many other bugs and animals that pack a sting. Think before you leap and make sure you know what you are stepping on or by.

Although there are not any rapids to make the world records, there is always a chance of a tip over so make sure everything is secure and will float if you should capsize.