Golden Ticket on the Guadalupe
Somewhere between the driveway and kitchen, groceries in hand, I felt a ping in the front right pocket of my jeans. Setting bags down on the counter, I directed a casual glance towards my phone. A text from my brother….nothing urgent. But the photo that followed stopped me cold in my tracks.
I gazed at golden scales draped over a muscular body. My eyes darted next to the pink racing stripe and yellow fins, both glistening in a warm winter’s sun. The crisp, blue sky beamed overland as my brother smiled victoriously, trout in hand. What a catch!
I called my brother immediately to hear the story. “It’s a Palomino,” he said.
My brother striking gold with his fly rod on the Guadalupe River
Trout Season in Texas
The above photo and my brother’s story catapulted me into frantic fascination with this wonderful fish. These remarkable creatures are known by various names from “Lightning Trout” or “Bananas,” to “Albino Trout” or my personal favorite, “The Golden Ticket.” Believed by most to be a cross between the classic rainbow and West Virginia golden, the resulting hybrid trout boasts traits of both remarkable strength and smarts.
When compared to peers, Palominos are difficult to catch. They are highly selective eaters, only taking bait under ideal circumstances. Pound for pound they are incredibly strong fighters. A Palomino will typically thrash the top-water with brilliant flashes of yellow and red before eventually getting off or reluctantly floating into your net.
Warm conditions in Texas make it difficult for these fish to survive year-round but Texas Parks and Wildlife does amazing work annually stocking Texas’ waterways with game fish in strategic locations.
The headwaters of the Guadalupe River, just below Canyon Lake Dam, are quickly becoming a fly-fishing hotspot for stocked trout during the winter months and early spring. Texas “trout season” is now a thing much like deer or dove season has been in the south for decades.
If you want to learn more about trout fishing in Texas, check out the annual GRTU Troutfest, hosted along the banks of the Guad in New Braunfels each February.
If you want to throw in a line of your own but don’t know where to go or how to get there, rent a basecamp from our team at Adventure ATX or grab one of your own, and consider one of these three tried and true waterfront destinations:
– L & L Campground
– KL Ranch Camp
– Camp Huaco Springs
Lastly, whether you catch nothing but nibbles, or get lucky and land a palomino, remember it’s the journey, the time outdoors, and the relationships forged along the way that make the experience worth its weight in gold.
Photo Credit: Dustin Benac