Date: May 22, 2009
Begin and end times: 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Air Temperature, weather conditions: 70 early/90 by noon, Perfect!
Water temperature, water condition: 77, crystal clear.
Flies that worked: No. 10 B.A.D. Carp Fly and No. 8 Chartreuse Wooly Bugger with Black Marabou Tail.
Arrived at the Lake Buchanan Dam soon after sunrise and was disappointed to find the water level still very low. I was hoping to play with the local Cyprinus carpio (carp) population before heading over to the Llano River at Llano. I chummed the water at low tide while looking for any activity on the surface when 2-fat carp arrived for breakfast. I raced back to the truck to rig up my big gun (8 wt.) when I met Jim Kettleman in the parking lot. Jim joined me down on the beach for what we hoped would be a little early morning action. As soon as I started chumming again, 2-dam ducks that live around the dam heard the dinner bell and showed up for breakfast. We had several carp rise to the chum (Alpo) but they were soon put down by the greedy ducks, who were splashing and generally being a nuisance and wouldn’t leave a free meal. Jim was on his way to Long Fish Camp on the Llano River and I decided to tag along. Once on the river it wasn’t long before I had a six-pack of blue gills attack my No. 8 Chartreuse Wooly Bugger. These were small to very small fish, but great fun on a 5 wt. Then I caught my First Ever, Rio Grande Cichlid (Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum) ! This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful fish I have ever caught. It was getting close to noon and I could smell the spare ribs at Cooper’s BBQ. Jim was heading up river in his kayak to do some Snorkel Fly-Fishing. I know, you’re saying, "What the (expletive deleted) is Snorkel Fly-Fishing?" Don’t know, you’ll have to wait for Jim’s fishing report. (see Jim’s Fishing Report ) After my rib cage was bulging with delicious ribs from Cooper’s, I made my way down below the Llano River Dam about 200-yards. I caught another First Ever Fish to add to my list! It was Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) at about 3-feet long and he had a very bad attitude and did not like the Black Tailed-Charturese Wooly Bugger in his lower lip. These gar fish could use some anger managment lessons. With two fine specimens to add to my Life List of fish caught, I was still somewhat disappointed.
If the truth be known, I only fish in the hope someday I will catch a mermaid…
I fished from about 7:30AM till about noon. The river flow, as measured by the USGS gauging station at Llano, was about 400 cps.
I started out throwing deep clousers into the deep holes immediately below the dam on its north and south ends, but had no luck there. I then waded down stream, first casting to current seams and rocks in the current, then casting into shady spots near the banks. I caught three small 6 inches to 10 inches) bass and eight to ten sunfish, all small. As usual, the larger fish got away. I played a 13 or 14 inch bass long enough to get it almost close enough to lip before it spit the hook. I played another fish for a few seconds that felt like a good fish, but it was in a pretty swift current, so it may have felt larger than it was. One of the fish was hooked on a #6 chartreuse and white deep clouser; all the others took a #6 black wooly bugger. Two of the bass were taken from near rocks in the current; all the other fish were taken from near the bank.
While I was working my way to an island close enough to allow me to cast almost to the dam face, I had to cross a few threads of the river that were swift enough to require careful wading. I got swept off my feet once note to self: buy a wading staff), but, except for getting my fly box filled with water, no harm was done. The area under the bridge is littered with large granite blocks that make crossing the islands more of a scramble than a stroll. Down stream the river spreads out and the current is not a problem, but, at 400cps, you have to go quite a way downstream before the river is shallow enough to wade from shore to shore.
After four hours of wading, sometimes in current, scrambling over rocks, walking though deep loose sand, and casting, I was ready to head home for lunch and a nap.