The Colorado River is vast and winding.It flows through the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, on its way to Montagorda Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, southwest of Houston. The portion known as the Lower Colorado River (just east of El Paso, south to the Gulf of Mexico) is regulated by the Lower Colorado River Authority, a nonprofit agency in Houston that provides energy, flood control, waste water services and conservation needs to about 1 million central and southeast Texas residents.
The Lower Colorado, for many people, is also an angler's paradise. With many stretches of rarely fished and underutilized water, the river is ripe for some of the best largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish (channel), Guadalupe bass fishing in the region. Knowing which areas offer the best angling, which baits and tackle to use and the best times to to fish is helpful in making every outing successful.
Near Austin, Texas, the stretch of the Lower Colorado below the Longhorn Dam is a coveted location for conventional and fly fishing. The waters are filled with crappies bluegill, channel catfish, some carp and freshwater drum.
Live Bait and Lures
On the Lower Colorado, a combination of flies, night crawlers, small minnows and leeches are solid fares for pan fish, while plastic worms, top-water poppers and plugs are usually preferred for largemouth bass. Presenting diving lures in ripples and slightly fast-moving water is a suitable-to-excellent method for nailing Guadalupes. Channel cats are usually suckers for grasshoppers and mousies, earthworms and small spinners near riffled pools. Carp and freshwater drum (sheephead) can be caught with night crawlers and minnows.
Fishing the Lower Colorado doesn't require heavy gear. Light-to-medium tackle with 6- to 10-lb. test is usually sufficient for most species. While the occasional lunker carp may show up and put up an unexpected fight, most anglers get away with light rods and reels and No. 2 to No. 4 hooks. The Lower Colorado River Authority encourages catch-and-release on all species.
The Lower Colorado is often subject to several climate changes that can, at times, disrupt fishing. During winter months, most fish are a bit sluggish. The optimum time to fish the river is March through the middle or end of September. Year-round fishing, however, is popular. During cold months, slowly presented live baits using jigs and slip sinkers usually do the trick until the water warms up.