Llano River

The Llano River is one of central Texas premiere fly fishing destinations.  The granite rock and sand streambed is bordered by everything from steep cliffs to giant pecan trees.  The breathtaking scenery of the Llano is reason enough to visit its beautiful waters; however, the fishing is just as amazing!  The North and South Fork of the Llano meet in Junction, Texas to form the renowned Llano River.  While the North and South Forks are fantastic places to fish, at Living Waters Fly Fishing we primarily focus on fishing the lower stretches of the river around Mason, Llano, and Kingsland.  We primarily target the bass and sunfish that swim in the crystal clear water of the Llano but we always keep an eye open for other species that can add some diversity to the daily catch.

View latest flow data for the Llano River

Rates based on 1 or 2 anglers ($75 for each additional angler)
Full Day Wade Trip  — $400

Target Species:

– Guadalupe Bass
– Largemouth Bass
– Rio Grande Cichlids
– Redbreast Sunfish
– Longear Sunfish
– Bluegill Sunfish
– Green Sunfish
– Freshwater Drum
– Common Carp

What is Provided

– All Flies
– Leaders and Tippet
– Drinks on half day trips
– Lunch and Drinks on full day trips
– Hours of on the water fly fishing instruction
– Transportation to and from the river if desired
– Fly Rods and Reels are available by request

Trip Preparations

– Practice Casting: Practice distance, accuracy, and form in several different casts. (overhead, roll cast, sidearm, etc…)  Making good presentations will catch you more fish than having the “right” fly.
– Practice on the water fishing techniques if possible.  Especially mending and dead drifting if trout are your targeted species.
– Practice spotting fish.  Sometimes when you are off the water for awhile, seeing fish underwater can be  a challenge.  In order to spot them faster, grab your polarized glasses, head to some clear water in your area, and go fish hunting!  Bring a rod as well so you can practice sight casting!
– Practice Stealth!  There are times that fish will become startled by loud wading, un-natural movement, shadows, etc.  In order to make sure that you get the most out of your guided trip, practice being stealthy in your approach.  Things to remember:  Stay low, wade softly, avoid quick movements, don’t cast your shadow on a fish, wear natural colored clothing.

Pre-Trip Packing List

– Valid Texas Fishing License
– Fly Rod and Reel
– Polarized Glasses
– Wading Boots
– Waders (cooler months)
– Wet Wading Socks (warmer months)
– Sunscreen
– Hat or Cap for sun protection

Recommended Tackle and Gear

8-9 foot, 4-5 weight fly rod
Any fly rod in the length and weight range listed above should be more than adequate for all species of fish we will be targeting.
4-5 weight fly reel with a smooth drag
The reel is mainly just a place to store the fly line that is not in use; however, when a big fish latches onto your fly and runs for the next county you will be glad for high quality drag!

Felt or good rubber soled wading boots
The Llano River is a mix of granite dome shaped rocks and sandy streambed.  Either sole will work fine — with the advent of rubber soles some have boot manufacturers have done very well some not so much.  Make sure the boots have a somewhat aggressive tread pattern so that you will not slip on the transitions from sand to rock.  (We use Simms Streamtread soles)

Wet wading socks – preferably neoprene (warmer months)
This single item can make a huge difference when fishing on the Llano.  The neoprene wet wading socks that I use act as a barrier against sand and gravel and they add cushion to every step.  Layer the socks for additional effectiveness and comfort.
(We use Simms Guard socks as an outer layer with their standard Neoprene sock as an inner layer)
Call the fly shop at (512) 828-FISH if you have any questions regarding this setup.
Polarized Sunglasses with amber or copper lenses — gray is better than nothing but with the fish will be easier to see with amber or copper lenses. (We use Costa del Mar glasses with copper and amber lenses)

Waders (cooler months only)
In cooler water and weather temperatures we do recommend wearing a good pair of breathable waders.  Neoprene waders quite frankly get too hot for most of the fishing we do.

Spring

Early Spring
Early spring brings warmer daytime temperatures and in turn the sand of granite riverbed of the Llano warms fairly quickly.  If the morning is chilly you might want to think about getting to the river a bit later than sunrise.  While early morning provides low light conditions, it does not lend itself to warming the water temperature quickly.  Cold fronts also delay the warming process and make the fish lethargic due to the obvious lower temps and barometric pressure changes.  As soon as you get some sun on the water and temps rise, the fishing will most often follow suit.   During early spring work baitfish and crawfish imitations from mid-depth on down to the bottom for fish still trying to warm up.  However, as soon as things heat up work the same flies just a bit faster and you might even tie on a top water or two to incite an explosion or two!  Watch for big fish coming out of their winter time haunts into shallower water to sun themselves and feed in preparation for the spawn!  Another seasonal pattern that begins to take center stage in the spring is the annual white bass run.  The whites will begin their upstream journey as soon as the water reaches the perfect temperature so always remember to keep your ears open for recent reports from the river.

Mid Spring
As soon as the cold fronts subside and the weather mellows out the Llano shifts into high gear and becomes a hill country fly fisher’s dream come true!  Temps are fantastic both in the water and in the air making the fish go absolutely insane to feed up for the spring spawn.  This is some of the best fishing we encounter all year long, simply put there are fish everywhere and they all have ravenous appetites!  If you want to catch indecent amounts of sunfish on streamers and dry flies go right ahead, but if you want to target big bass in shallow water then this time of year is made for you!  The bass will be scouting spawning areas and some will already be on their beds this time of year.  In addition to spawning largemouth, the white bass run should be in full swing by mid-spring and can provide some spectacular action on light fly tackle. The mornings are usually warm and mellow weather-wise but hardly anything of the sort when it comes to the fishing.  The fishing is quite literally explosive in the mornings!  Hairbugs, crease flies, and poppers are the menu items of choice for the top water bite but, streamers and crayfish imitations still account for more than their fair share of fish as well.  As for the whites, if it looks like a minnow and fishes close to the bottom then you are most likely going to get bit.  If for some reason they get finicky, fish translucent Clouser-style flies on smaller hooks and your luck should improve.

Late Spring
Late spring is really an unclear time, one can never really tell if it the weather is an extension of spring or a foretaste of summer.  Regardless, the fishing is fantastic!  Same basic flies and techniques apply here as during the mid-season with the addition of one thing…grasshoppers!  We catch fish on grasshoppers throughout the spring season but late spring is really when they take off!  The hoppers start small and grow larger and larger into summer!  Tans, yellows, and greens are our staple colors this time of year but a pink hopper can yield surprising results as well!  Most bass will be off their spawning beds by now and will be looking for an easy post spawn meal.  As always, keep an eye out for big fish on the prowl!

Summer

Summer…seemingly the longest season in Texas.  This isn’t Montana, Colorado, or Oregon…it gets hot here…Really hot!  Seriously.  That being said, the fishing usually follows suit providing that there is water to fish in and that drought hasn’t set in.  Most of the time the Llano river flows strongly throughout the summer and fishing is as easy as placing a short cast near the bank while simultaneously remembering to catch your breath when the water erupts around your fly!  In the event that the Llano is low on water, there is usually a decent amount of water to fish out toward Junction, TX on the South Fork of the Llano thanks to strong spring flow. Hoppers, Poppers, Hairbugs, Streamers, Buggers, Moths, Craws…they all work this time of year!  Just remember to get to the water early to beat the Texas heat.  If want to make a full day of it then remember to bring plenty of water and make sure that you cover every inch of exposed skin in sun block!  I recommend wearing long sleeve fishing shirts, fishing pants, hat, and some sort of sun mask such as a UV Buff.  Wading is actually a pleasure this time of year and falling in on purpose is practiced often to aid in staying cool!  We regularly have 100+ fish days this time of year and most of the time never see another fisherman on the water.

Fall

Fall is hardly a season in Texas.  The trees don’t really change color all that much when compared to other areas of the country and the “season” of fall seems to last for only a few weeks at best sometimes.  Now, occasionally we are blessed with a lovely fall that lasts all the way until the turn of the year — and considering how mild our winters usually are, that’s really not all that hard to believe.  Fall marks the beginning of some fast and furious fly fishing on the Llano.  Fish counts are high and for the most part, easily acquired.  Fish large streamers for big fish looking to pack away some hearty meals before winter sets in and fish smaller bugger style patterns for a plentiful, mixed bag of sunfish and mid-sized bass.  Watch out for cold fronts, they always slow things down for a day or two but the fish don’t stay down too long because,  just like everything else in nature, they know winter is coming all too soon!

Winter

Winter on the Llano is just a bummer for the most part.  Early morning temps are brutal, well for Texas anyway.  Come to think of it, it was on the Llano that I had sheets of ice falling off my waders as I climbed out of the water on a brisk 26 degree morning.  Don’t ask why I was out there because quite frankly I am not sure if I have an answer that will suffice.  That being said, during the winter the bass fishing is mostly poor and the sunfish show up occasionally.  If you get a couple of warm days in a row you can sometimes get into a little action in shallow sunning areas but for the most part fish are deep and lethargic.  Winter can yield a good fishing day or two but you have to choose them wisely.  Most days are better spent on the Guadalupe chasing trout or catching a few of the small trout that the state dumps in the Llano each year at a couple public parks.  If neither of those two options tickle your fancy then tell a fish story or two at your local fly shop or tie flies for next spring …shoot you might even try doing both at the same time!