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Troutfest 2019 Runs Feb. 22-24

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Troutfest 2019 Runs Feb. 22-24

Trout TV host Hilary Hutcheson of Columbia Falls, Mont., is the featured speaker at this year's Troutfest in New Braunfels Feb. 22 to 24. Photo by Bob Asbury

Troutfest Texas 2019, which attracts over 3,000 fly fishing fans annually, runs Feb. 22 to 24 at Lazy L&L Campgrounds, 11699 River Rd, New Braunfels.

The event is the largest of its kind in Texas and is sponsored by Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU), which promotes fly fishing and preserving and protecting cold-water fisheries.

The non-profit event funds charitable contributions, unites the Texas fly-fishing community, introduces fishing to youth, promotes and increases diversity in the fly-fishing community and introduces fly fishing to adults, according to grtu.org.

Troutfest is open to the public. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.

Highlights include:

  • Fly-casting lessons
  • Presentations from guides, outfitters, gear manufacturers and experts from around the world
  • Women-focused events
  • Kid stuff, including a casting pond, archery and air guns
  • Booths featuring guides, fly shops, artists, outfitters, gear manufacturers and rod builders
  • On-water watercraft demos
  • Food and local craft beer
  • Door prizes

Banquet & Movie Night

Hilary Hutcheson, owner of Outside Media and Trout TV, is the featured speaker at the banquet, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. She runs a fly shop in her hometown of Columbia Falls, Montana, and volunteers as a fly-fishing instructor for Casting for Recovery.

She’s also a national board member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a climate activist with Protect our Winters, and writes for a number of outdoor industry publications.

To purchase tickets to the banquet at Lazy L&L’s pavilion, visit grtumembers.org/troutfest/. Tickets are $50 to $100.

Ticket price includes live and silent auctions, dinner, live music and Texas craft beers.

Movie night tickets also are available. Prices range from free to $20. The action-packed evening, scheduled from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, includes the first Texas showing of F3T 2019 film. Light appetizers and Texas craft beers will be available to moviegoers. Raffles and a giveaway also are planned.

Casting instructors include:

  • Dayle Mazzarella, Fly Fishers International (FFI) master-certified casting instructor
  • Jim Bass, FFI-certified casting instructor
  • Stacy Lynn, co-founder of Bayou City Angler and FFI-certified casting instructor
  • Gary Davison, FFI-certified casting instructor at Gulf Coast Spey
  • Mike Wright, FFI-certified casting instructor since 1998
  • Jeff Ferguson, FFI master-certified casting instructor

About GRTU:

Trout Unlimited is a non-profit, conservation organization whose mission is to conserve, protect, and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds for the benefit of future generations.

The Guadalupe River, located in Central Texas near New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio is the southernmost freshwater trout fishery in the United States.

With over 5,000 members throughout Texas, the Guadalupe River Chapter is the largest local chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Canyon Lake was created by the Army Corps of Engineers to control the seasonal flooding that occurs on the Guadalupe River. It was impounded in 1964, creating a lake covering 8,240 surface acres and 125 feet deep at the pool level of 909 feet above mean sea level.

Rainbow trout were originally stocked in the river by Lone Star brewery, creating the southernmost trout fishery in the United States. During the Mid 60’s Biologist Dick White aided by local anglers, conducted tag and release studies along the river.

In the late 1960’s Bill Parvin contacted Dr Howard Tanner, a Biologist from Colorado, to determine if the Guadalupe River was suitable for Brown trout. Several years later, Brown Trout fingerlings were stocked in the river. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) determined that the cold water discharges from the dam would displace the native warm water species naturally occurring in the river.

Being the stewards of the public resources, they worked to develop a plan for the introduction of cold water species to utilize this new habitat. About the same time, a small group of Texans, who enjoyed trout fishing, came together; Bill Parvin, Dick Finta, James Keeton, Bob Newman, Chad Oliver, Bill Pabst, Glenn Richardson, Lt. Col Paul and Hazel Schubauer, Jim Vynalek, and Bill West, who later founded the Guadalupe Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU).

TPWD began experimenting with different species of trout to determine which would be the most suitable and cost effective for their stocking program.

They tried Rainbow, Brown, and Cutthroat trout. Deciding that Rainbow trout best suited their purposes, they further tried different subspecies to find the best for stocking in the Guadalupe River. During the early years, not many anglers were aware of what was taking place on the Guadalupe below Canyon Dam.

GRTU grew slowly, and the chapter was relatively small. TPWD began stocking Rainbows in other sites across the state of Texas, and more and more anglers became interested in fishing for Rainbows. As interest grew, so did their program in response, creating more interest and more stockings.

At first, TPWD believed that the fishery it was creating with the stocking of trout would be a ” Put and Take” fishery with little chance of the trout surviving the brutally hot Texas summers.

But as they continued their surveys of the emerging trout fishery on the Guadalupe, they determined that if certain flows were maintained, trout could survive to the following year. As the GRTU membership grew, so did our ability to enhance our river’s potential.

The Chapter established it’s stocking program, with the blessing of TPWD and this program continues today. Unfortunately the cycles of flood and drought in Texas limited the potential of the Trout fishery below Canyon Dam.

Although the Guadalupe and Blanco River Authority (GBRA) had agreed in principle to sustained flows out of Canyon Lake, the flows guaranteed were too small to sustain the Trout during the critical summer months. The outflows from the dam were as little as 25cfs. GRTU decided to take some action.

With donations from chapter members, GRTU established a legal defense fund and retained legal counsel. The group filed with the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Committee to force GBRA to release sustained summer flows that would insure the survival of the Trout through the heat of the summer.

It was granted petitioner status and after several years of negotiations, reached arrived an agreement with GBRA for trout protective flows that will sustain the trout fishery in over 10 miles of river.

These flows have the additional benefit that all popular traditional river activities are also enhanced by these increased summertime flows which help the local economy.

In addition to its trout stockings and conservation programs on the Guadalupe, GRTU also supports many local community projects like; Friends of the River annual river clean up, Project Kidfish; to introduce children to flyfishing, and Trout in the Classroom.

General Meetings are scheduled three times a year on the fourth Saturdays of October, January, and April.

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