Guadalupe bass is a rare fish species found in these Texas waters:
Where can I find them?
Guadalupe likes to thrive in quiet waters and prefers to seek refuge when in danger. It often inhibits waters with cypress trees, large rocks, and stumps. Their primary habitat is the Guadalupe River – one of the best fishing spots in Texas. Anglers and fishermen travel far and wide to explore the river. It’s worth mentioning that part of the land is private, so you should plan for fishing trips on time.
On the western side of the Guadalupe River, you’ll find cypress-lined banks and breathtaking cliffs. Since the lower side is a popular tourist attraction, you’re less likely to see people fishing here. If you’re looking for guided fly-fishing, the upper Guadalupe is a sure bet.
Before you head to the station of the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, there’s a good fishing spot. And as you walk downstream, there’re large pools of water. About a quarter-mile, the river gets wide.
Unless you’re guided into the waters, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a good fishing spot of the Guadalupe River.
The headwaters of the San Marcos, Brazos River, and Comal River also hosts a large number of Guadalupe bass. You should also expect few numbers in the Liano river and run-off creeks like Barton.
During summer, the temperatures can hit a high of 95 degrees – this makes Guadalupe migrate to deep waters. You’ll find them in areas like Edwards Plateau and the Nueces River, which drains in Southern Texas. Don’t be surprised to find the species in rivers covered by bald cypress, stumps, heavy rocks, and wooded areas.
For a successful catch, you can move into the lakes and reservoirs. But it’s their hunger that makes them a prime target for anglers.
In 1988, some records showed the species migrated to the Sabinal River in the Lost Maples Natural State area. This habitat mimics the natural environment and provides protection. The facility allows the public to see the fish, not to mention you can learn a few things about the benefit of the program.
Guadalupe bass is well-suited for anglers who emphasize the quality of the catch. In fast water, it gives hours of endless fun. Keep in mind this fish will put a fight in calm waters. But that doesn’t mean they are afraid of rapids. You’ll find some near eddies as they wait to ambush their prey.
When it comes to Texas bass fishing, the Guadalupe species takes a distant third.
How to catch Guadalupe bass
The technique you use to catch this species matters. Professional anglers use the topwater fishing method. If you’re fishing on the streams, you can use small crankbaits, crayfish, sliders, golden shiners, streamers, and deer hair bugs. During the pawning period, the Guadalupe bass is very aggressive and can be very provoking when you attack its territory. Still, you can use spinnerbaits and buzz bugs.
When Guadalupe bass is moving quickly in water, you can use light fly-fishing rods. While this fish fights similar to the rainbow trout or small bass, it can make quick turns as it tries to entangle the line on structures.
And because of their small size and the ability to utilize fast water to their advantage, the bass is one of the desirable sport fish species. That said, novice anglers should use a simple baitcaster and a real and 8lb test line.
During spawning, you can use spinnerbaits like Stewart’s Spin-N-Jim. These baits make the little bass strike hard while the adults see this as an opportunity to get some quick food. This time, you need a rod that can hold four times its weight, perfect for all Guadalupe sizes.
When catching the bass with flies, you need a longer hook. The best baits to use are the bass burger with a pink tail or those with a purple body.
Professional anglers can also use the strolling method when fishing in deep water. And if you have to use fresh baits, you can try the gizzard shad, worms, or even golden shiners. Being a sight feeder, the species tend to take food from the surface.
Invest in a fish finder
The best way to fish for a Guadalupe bass is by encroaching their territory – this reduces the time between the strikes. You may want to choose a device with two beams as it gives a detailed view than the single counterparts.
If you can’t get a fish finder, you should consider a black and white device that gives a better resolution.
Facts about Guadalupe bass
Guadalupe bass features a green color that extends to the lower part of the body. When they age, the color fades from black to olive. Anglers who don’t know the state fish find it hard to distinguish between the largemouth and smallmouth bass. The former is rarely 3 pounds, while the latter has a dark lateral stripe.
Guadalupe is prized for her unusually strong muscles and how long fight when maneuvering currents. Unlike the largemouth bass, this species has small diamond marks scattered on the dorsal fins.
An adult is 12 inches in length and weighs about a pound. This remarkable species grows at a small pace reaching 58mm/2.2 inches. By the third year, the growth rate is at a peak (30mm a year/1.2 inches). The longest Guadalupe ever caught was 15 inches long.
Another remarkable feature about the Guadalupe bass is that the tongue contains a rectangular tooth patch.
The male Guadalupe guards the eggs against predators by chasing the female away. Generally, females can lay up to 10,000 eggs, depending on the size. Unlike other fish species, the primary spawning starts in March and goes all the way to June. The secondary spawning happens in the summer.
Being a threatened game fish, the Guadalupe restoration initiative requires an angler is supposed to catch and release the fish. The daily bag limit is set at five, but there’s no limit to the size you can catch. The same regulations apply in lost Maples – catch and release only.
That’s not all. When the bass is about one year, it feeds on invertebrates and anything they find on the way. The adults include more protein in their diet – from crawfish to golden shiners. Despite their food preference, these species adapt to what is available.
In Texas, the temperatures tend to get milder in the north. But those streams and rivers close to the ocean can receive plenty of sunlight. This time, they are a bit picky as most adults eat insects. Sometimes, the appetite can be so big that they go for prey that hardly fits in the mouth.
When temperatures hit 50 degrees F, they become less sluggish and aggressive. Although they are not as hungry as they were in spring, they will appeal to the instinct of defending their territory. When you cast the bait, the bass sees this as an invasion of their territory. Another strategy to catch the fish in these lingering conditions is making noise.
Another tricky feature about the bass is that it avoids brightly lit areas, especially during the day. But again, the fish may not differentiate the lure colors in low-light conditions. This explains why the best time to get into the waters is during dawn and dusk.
Another interesting fact about Guadalupe is the fish cannot open the jaw beyond the eyes. It’s estimated that Guadalupe fish brings nearly $50 million to the sportfishing industry.
These fish species live in streams and other water reservoirs. They prefer flowing water and use covers like cypress trees, stumps, and large rocks for refuge. In the first year of their life, they like to thrive in moderate currents. But with time, they transition to deeper moderate currents.
The biggest Guadalupe bass in Texas weighed 3.69 pounds – this state record is held by Allen Christenson. In 2014, an angler caught a Guadalupe fish with a crayfish fly. It weighed 3.71 pounds and measured 17.25 inches.
Recently, Guadalupe is considered a rare species facing extension. The small numbers are a result of reduced streamflow and habitat degradation. However, there’s a restoration initiative that helps landowners reduce activities in riparian land. This causes a reduction in the quality and quantity of water.
Some of the things that have contributed to the decline include increased water demands and changing land-use patterns. However, conservation efforts are being done to restore the habitats of the bass. In particular, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is committed to helping landowners in wildlife conservation. The best ways to boost the conservation efforts include reducing actions that degrade the riparian lands and evaluating which conservation efforts are effective.
What they eat
The Guadalupe bass feeds at night – you can find them moving freely in the habitat. It prefers feeding on gizzard shards, fatheads, golden shiners, and crayfish. What makes Guadalupe fish unique is their feeding habits. It tends to take more food in summer than winter (can get dormant in reduced water temperatures).
The water-bound insects are also on top of their menu. But the most preferred insect is the Mayflies. You’ll also find them feeding on wasps and bees.
As with any other bass species, their food preferences change with the season.
On average, a Guadalupe bass can live up to 7 years. At one year, they are mature and ready to mate.