South Llano River
The South Llano River resides near Junction, Texas and clearly demonstrates what Texas anglers look forward to. With spring fed waters, Guadalupe Bass, and a beautiful scenery, the South Llano River is the perfect weekend getaway for kayak fishing.
Location, Accessibility, and Landscape
Approximate Paddling Trail Length (HWY 377): 29,292 ft. (5.55 miles)
By far one of my favorite rivers is the South Llano River in Junction, Texas. Located 143 miles from Austin, 118 miles from San Antonio, and 312 miles from Houston, the South Llano River is quite remote although located near the city of Junction. Surrounded by large cliffs, wild turkey, and 100 degree plus temperatures, the South Llano River is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Although quite a drive for most Texans, it is well worth it.
The landscape is pretty amazing when you add together tall cliffs and clear water. Especially when all of a sudden several wild turkey are spotted on the bank. I would say I see more wildlife on the South Llano River than any other river I fish. There is just an abundance of wildlife. If you ever get a change to come here, I would definitely recommend it, and if you get to fish at the same time... well let's just say a good time is approaching.
Although there are many options as far as floating down to a separate take out and all this kind of stuff, I found that sticking in at State Park Road 73 and going upstream and floating downstream on the way back is a good, safe option. This was partly due to a parking lot being very near to this particular point, but more so that downstream from State Park Road 73 is where people enjoy tanning on the river and playing in the water. There will be hardly anyone upstream, and you can trust me, the fishing is very good when the stars align.
If you are wanting even clearer water, more rapids and even better scenery, I’d recommend putting in off of Highway 377 (the second crossing) near Telegraph, Texas. This is my favorite location to fish the South Llano River. If you put in at this location, I recommend going upstream and then coming back downstream. You can go quite a ways upstream, all the way to a small waterfall which is very nice. The water also gets clearer and clearer the further upstream you go on the South Llano River as you come closer to more and more springs.
Type of Water, Quality, and Features
Water quality is quite good on the South Llano River. This is where the Llano River emerges from multiple springs, therefor the water can be extremely clear at times - nearly crystal clear. Other times, the water can become a little silty (typically after rain), but don't be alarmed because the fishing is still good.
There are a descent amount of features, such as rapids, timber, and vegetation. The main vegetation that you will find is lili pads and a form of hydrilla. There are several small sections of rapids, but none are greater than class I. As previously discussed, the section of the South Llano River upstream of the Highway 377 put in is the best for water quality, rapids and scenery.
Fishing Tactics and Tips
Rage Tail Space Monkey’s, spinnerbaits and topwater frogs - that's all I have to say. Well, maybe not quite, but spinnerbaits and topwater frogs will aid you tremendously as casting into all of this vegetation will result in some good Largemouth Bass. A Rage Tail Space Monkey also works really well. If you are casting into vegetation, Texas rig it with a small bullet weight. If you are in more open water and/or if the water is exceptionally clear, try to throw it Texas rigged, just without the weight. Lipless crank baits have also worked well for me. Rooster Tails are never bad either on any river, especially for catching Guadalupe Bass in sections of rapids. In fact, if you want to catch some Guadalupe Bass I wouldn’t leave home without a Rooster Tail, as I have caught countless Guadalupe Bass on Rooster Tails here.
Things to Watch out For
You will not have much to watch out for, but you will most definitely need to be cautious around rapids and always wear your life jacket. The heat can be very extreme so make sure you stay hydrated and have plenty of liquids available, along with wearing appropriate clothing and sun screen for protection against the sun. I would also suggest that you have some granola bars or beef jerky to munch on if you are out on the water for a while. Be careful when you are walking around during portaging, the river rock can unsettle you pretty quickly.
Articles Featuring the South Llano River
I have links to several articles I have published on the South Llano River below. If you are wanting to learn more about the South Llano River or would like to read more on some fishing techniques for the South Llano River I would suggest taking a look at some of the articles below.