Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   



State Fish on the Comeback

Add catching a Guadalupe bass to your bucket list.

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 Bill Reaves | TPWD

Catching a frisky Guadalupe bass from a scenic Hill Country stream should be on every Texan’s wish list. Heaven on earth, at least for passionate anglers.

That’s what makes it so important that TPWD and partners have collaborated for 30 years to restore and conserve the once-imperiled state fish.

Guadalupe bass, found only in Central Texas, were threatened by degraded habitat, altered streamflow and the introduction of smallmouth bass, which nearly bred them out of existence. The fish are native to rivers and streams throughout Central Texas.

Concerted efforts began in 1991 to save the species in the namesake Guadalupe River and have since expanded to 14 creeks and rivers throughout Central Texas. Nearly 50 habitat projects and invasive plant management projects in eight watersheds created favorable conditions for stocking 2.4 million genetically pure Guadalupe bass in Texas.

Maybe now it’s safe to say “they’re back!” or at least on their way back.

Green Guadalupe bass don’t have vertical bars like smallmouth bass or jaws that extend beyond their eyes as in largemouth bass; their coloration extends much lower on the body than in spotted bass. Adaptation to small streams — some consider these the prettiest places to fish in Texas — keeps Guads small in size, but that doesn’t make them easy to catch. They use fast water to their advantage when hooked.

Conservation efforts continue. The Lower Colorado River fishery, which just happens to be the home of the world record Guadalupe bass (3.71 pounds in 2014), is benefiting from efforts like last fall’s massive LoCo Trash Bash garbage pickup.

Next up is a prize promotion through summer 2022. Report your tagged Guadalupe bass and you’ll be entered into a prize drawing, like past promotions on the San Gabriel and South Llano rivers. Learn more here.

“The Colorado is an underutilized urban river with lots of passionate anglers, nongovernment groups and government agencies working to conserve it,” says TPWD Inland Fisheries Deputy Director Tim Birdsong, a passionate advocate for Guadalupe bass. “We’ve worked closely with the Lower Colorado River Authority on water management/flows and with local communities and landowners to open upriver access for anglers/paddlers through Texas paddling trails and our leased fishing access program. We’re also conducting research to better understand the needs of Guadalupe bass and the state-threatened blue sucker, and we’re collaborating with LCRA to assemble a conservation plan for freshwater mussels.”

Restoration of this species is underway in six more rivers, as well as status assessments for another eight rivers. TPWD currently manages 23 public river access areas that offer angling opportunities for this species, engaging fly-fishing clubs, local conservation nonprofits and communities in the efforts to ensure that future generations of Texas anglers can experience this storied fish.

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