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Dr. Bryan Townsend of Austin was fly-fishing with guide Shea McClanahan on Saturday, February 1, when he landed the largest specimen of the state fish of Texas reported caught.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist Marcos De Jesus met the party at the river and assisted in transporting the fish to the Cabela’s in Buda, where it was weighed on a certified scale.
DNA testing confirmed the fish is pure Guadalupe bass.
Townsend elected to donate the fish to TPWD for display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The fish can be seen in the dive tank in the theater.
“The Colorado River below Austin, from Longhorn Dam to La Grange, has been a special bass fishery for many years,” said De Jesus. “Productive waters and excellent habitat have helped support a healthy black bass population composed of largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass. Recently, with reduced pulses due to drought, aquatic vegetation exploded all over this river segment. Flood events in October flushed a lot of it downstream, making it easier to fish.”
De Jesus noted that many large Guadalupe and largemouth bass are caught by anglers every year from this stretch of river. Guadalupe bass in the two- to three-pound range are frequently reported and documented by fishing guides in their web pages. Reports of 50- to 100-fish trips are not uncommon.
“Spring and fall are good times to catch large numbers of fish,” De Jesus said. “TPWD has been working with local governments and private landowners to develop public river access in this stretch to allow paddlers to enjoy this resource. There are a number of public access points available, including the Bastrop paddling trail.”
For information on access points, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/.
Townsend’s fish qualifies as the new state and water body weight and water body and state fly-fishing records. It may qualify for International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records as well.
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