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South Llano River Drift - June 6-8th, 2014, updated.....

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Arrived at 1500, Jessie, Russell, and Bob already in place

Rooms at Morgan Shady Park.  They have 4 beds, and 2 couches.  Each are set up to sleep 4, but can be stretched to sleep 6, easily.

We started the trip with some casting practice.  Some of us immediately got into the shallow water there at the park, and started throwing flies.  There were some fish caught, and we did learn to avoid obstacles, like kids swimming.  During this late afternoon period we could have easily launched a few kayaks and gone down to the dam, but none of us thought about it.

While we walked back up from the water we had white wing doves scattered around like pigeons in downtown Houston.  The pecan trees at the park are a major food supply for them.

Dinner was discussed, and the idea of running all the way to town for a sit down meal was an option.  However one bright soul thought to ask if we could use the grill sitting out by the barn.  A quick run to the town’s only grocery store and we had hot dogs and hamburgers in hand for dinner Friday night. 

While we were driving into town proper, a whole mile or 2 from camp, we kept seeing deer.  Standing on a porch less than a block from the sheriff’s office there were 2 does, munching on something.  A small herd of young bucks, still in velvet, never budged as we slowly drove by, taking pictures.

Bob was our Friday night chef.  I have no idea why, but when the food was cooked on the charcoal, there was not one bite of meat left.  The chips that were left were saved for Saturday snacks.

We all went to bed fairly early, even with the wedding reception going on there was not a lot of noise. 


By the time that Bob, from Fun in the Sun, arrived with the trailer attached to an old school “short bus” at 0630 all of us had already had breakfast and were raring to go.  Loading took very little time.

But that large lizard in the dawn light was reminiscent of the creature from “Alien” as it skittered away from us in the parking lot.  Once the pulse rate came back down we stacked the kayaks and gear for the trip to the launch.

Mary-Kay had purchased a new outfit specifically for this trip.  “Ninja Turtle” is probably the best way to describe it.  I need to post a picture of this one.

As Bob pulled off the road and unlocked the gate we were reminded that this was somebody’s birthday.  Bob got back into the bus and the entire crew started singing “Happy Birthday” to Raymond as we pulled off the road.

Bob skillfully backed the trailer down to the water through the trees, all the while carrying on a conversation with Skip and MK.  Once we got out we found that we were indeed right across the river from the state park   

While some of us were still prepping kayaks, Rene caught the first fish. 

By 07:15am we were all on the water, casting, and getting ready to explore the river.  The water was about 4 inches low, and only slightly off color. 

Within 5 minutes we saw our second reptile, a small water snake.  I was commenting on how healthy it looked as others were madly paddling away from it.  This was not to be our first encounter with “SGT No-Shoulders.”

To keep the group moving Puck would blow the marine whistle, letting the gang know that we had to get moving.  The plan was to cover ½ mile per hour.  We had one of our group that quickly learned to hate hearing that whistle.  Every time he would find fish, that whistle would blow, and it would be time to move on.

The temp ws in the 90s, but there was a steady breeze, keeping us cool, and frustrating some casting in the open parts of the river.  Most of the shoreline could be cast to easily. 

Fish were biting. 
1.   Hare-E caught the most fish
2.   Yellow spider caught the next
3.   Small poppers, balsa and S1Bs were a lot of fun.
4.   Rene’s little green white bass fly was a surprise producer.
5.   The biggest Guadalupe bass was caught on a brown spider.

We found out why the yellow spider works so well on the South Llano River.  Here is a picture of the vegetation the pokes up above the water.  Look closely and you can see about a dozen or so of the small yellow spiders clinging to the leaves. [pictures of the spiders here]

Everybody but Russell used a 5wt on Saturday. 

We covered 7.3 miles, according to my GPS.  Raymond’s GPS gave a similar reading.

Nobody went swimming on Saturday.  The water downstream of the park was perfect for those of the group that have not fished or travelled this river.  All of us were off the water by 1800, well ahead of our schedule.

Jessie, our patriarch, had no trouble in the waters we chose, but he was worn out by the time we got back to camp.  He chose not to fish with us on Sunday, but instead to travel home.

A wedding took place Saturday night.  It didn’t bother us at all as we sipped tequila (Celebrating a birthday), ate pizza, and enjoyed the night air. No bugs were in the air to speak of.   


The day started off with rain, delaying our leaving. Finally on the water by 0900.  We decided to go from crossing to crossing, a short trip that would give us more fishing time, and less paddling time.  This water turned out to be more of a challenge as it was faster, and shallower.  This is the stretch where we had 3 swimmers.

Most of us swapped out 3wts swapped for the 5wts.

A lot of fish were caught, nobody broke a rod, or got sunburned.  I’d say that this was a very successful trip.

Already planning for next year.

Russell Cowart:
It was a well planned and great outing lead by Puck. (Even with the whistle). 

Bob goes swimming in the fast water   A video

A link to the South Llano River Pictures page


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