November 26, 1996

Mike Strange,  Austin Tx.

The Texas trout season was on the road. Coming from Colorado and eagerly 
anticipated by 50 flyfishers at Lower Beans Camp. We began to gather at 
the river at 6:30 a.m. on a foggy November morning.  Men of all ages, a 
few boys and two women. Most dressed in waders and jackets, cradling 
coffee cups. All anticipating the trucks arrival, bringing this years Trout.
Originally scheduled for seven o'clock it was now pushing  9:15. At 
least the fog was beginning to burn off and the sun was breaking through, 
promising a great day to stock a river.  

The wait allowed for the greeting of old friends and the meeting of new 
ones. A couple of millionaires mingled with Texas cowboys and nobody much 
gave a damn who the lawyers were. We had a great opportunity to compare 
wader choices. There was a lot of Neoprene, Simms and Gore-tex were there, 
more than one Orvis and at least one Red Ball. I was glad to see that 
I wasn't the only one who had opted for the cheap Cabela's, 29 bucks in 95. 
In case anybody's wondering 95% were stocking footed.

Our season arrived at about 9:30 and we crowded around the truck like 
kids catching the Good Humor man. We all watched as the hatchery pros 
pumped water from the Guadalupe River into the tanks to equalize the 
temperatures. The local chapter fish guru asked us not to fish this day
as it would certainly result in dead fish, still stressed from the trip. 
A couple of guys were obviously disappointed in the request. No-one 
would say much to anyone who did fish, we just depended on everyone's 
ethics. Your ethics were dependant on how far you drove to be here. This 
might be the only time to envy the guys from Houston who had driven 3 
plus hours. Some of these first day trout would likely find themselves 
in a frying pan since catch and release was likely to be unsuccessful.

We had 11 locations to stock. The stocking itself involved two guys 
grabbing a 50 gallon muck bucket, filled with 20 gals of water and 30 
pounds of fish. Hi ho and hike it to the river. In some places this 
involved a 1/8 mile hike overland to get far enough downstream to 
spread the fish, pretty easy. Or it might be a steep slip down a 
leaf coated hillside into fast water and then a hike
through the water for another hundred yards, not so easy. 
By the end of the day the Guadalupe had become the new  home to 
somewhere between 5600 and 6000 trout. The majority were from 10 to 
14 inches, but enough were 20 inches plus that a big fish was 
possible on any cast, mostly Browns but plenty of Rainbow. Over the 
next 6 months these fish would be subject to plenty of fishing 
pressure. Bait casters, hardware guys and fly fishers would all 
hunt these fish. Most wouldn't make it but those that did had a 
good chance of getting  through the hot Texas Summer and even 
spawning successfully. And next year we'll do
it again. The hope is that with the cooperation of  The 
Guadalupe/Blanco River Authority, the Texas Parks and Wildlife 
Department and Trout Unlimited the Guadalupe will become a self
sustaining fishery. What a deal!