FROM STAFF REPORTS
Anglers looking to enjoy more access to the Llano River have landed four spots to drop in their kayak or canoe or simply do a little bank fishing thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, several private landowners, and additional funding.
The department announced that the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program has secured four sites, including two within a short drive of Llano. The new access and fishing locations came just in time for a round of rainbow trout stocking on the Llano River on Jan. 22 in the Castell and downstream area.
The four sites are:
• Main stem Llano at Castell Crossing — A kayak/canoe point and 950 feet of bank fishing access on the main stem of the Llano River at Castell Crossing on FM 2768.
• Main stem Llano at HR Seventh Heaven — A kayak/canoe launch and parking for vehicles and trailers near the city of Llano at CR 103 (Schneider Slab Road).
• Main stem Llano at Pete’s Pecan Patch — A kayak/canoe launch, 800 feet of bank fishing access, and day-use picnicking areas surrounded by a historic pecan orchard near Junction at 325 Kimble CR 3121.
• South Llano at CR 150 — A kayak/canoe launch and a quarter-mile of bank fishing access at the South Llano River upstream of Junction at the CR 150 bridge crossing.
“The Llano River is a short drive away from major urban areas like San Antonio and Austin, but, in the past, recreation on it has been limited by the lack of public access points,” said John Botros, TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program coordinator. “These new sites greatly expand the public’s options for safe, legal, and high-quality bank fishing and paddling access on the river. Seasonal rainbow trout stocking this month makes it the perfect time to explore this scenic Hill Country river with family and friends.”
Rainbow trout are just one of the angling opportunities at these sites as the river boasts populations of a number of species, including the largemouth and Guadalupe bass, bream, and catfish. Rainbow trout are stocked with the idea anglers will catch and keep them because, once spring temperatures arrive, these cold-water-favoring fish likely will not survive.
As for other sport fish species, due to the recent flooding, TPWD officials are encouraging anglers to practice catch-and-release since the high waters might have displaced some of the native species.
As part of the river access agreements with cooperating landowners, TPWD biologists will conduct scientific surveys in the river this spring to monitor fish populations and stream-bank vegetation and identify opportunities for invasive species treatment and habitat restoration.
Survey data will be used to ensure the increased public use does not have a negative impact on the natural resources.
The River Access and Conservational Areas Program is funded through donations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Sport Fish Restoration Recreational Boating Access Grant Program, and sales of the Texas Rivers Conservation license plate.
Go to tpwd.texas.gov for a map, area descriptions, and special conditions on public use for each site. Also, though the sites are all now open for public access, historic flooding in October 2018 impacted some amenities, including signage and kiosks. Anglers and paddlers hoping to use these sites should keep in mind that they are mostly in a natural state, meaning no staff, restrooms, running water, or other park features.
Anglers will need proper fishing licenses since the sites are not within a state park.