AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is expanding public fishing and paddling opportunities on the Llano River with four public access sites opening just in time for winter trout stocking this month.
“The Llano River is a short drive away from major urban areas like San Antonio and Austin but in the past, recreation on it has been limited by a lack of public access points,” said John Botros, TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program Coordinator. “These new sites greatly expand the public’s options for safe, legal and high-quality bank fishing and paddling access on the river. Seasonal rainbow trout stocking this month makes it the perfect time to explore this scenic Hill Country river with family and friends.”
The four Llano River public access sites secured by the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program can be found at:
South Llano at County Road 150: A kayak/canoe launch and a quarter-mile of bank fishing access on the South Llano River upstream of Junction at the County Road 150 bridge crossing.
Main stem Llano at Pete’s Pecan Patch: A kayak/canoe launch, 800 feet of bank fishing access and day-use picnicking areas surrounded by a historic pecan orchard near Junction at 325 Kimble County Road 3121.
Main stem Llano at Castell Crossing: A kayak/canoe launch point and 950 feet of bank fishing access on the main stem of the Llano River at Castell Crossing on FM 2768.
Main stem Llano at HR Seventh Heaven: A kayak/canoe launch and parking for vehicles and trailers near the City of Llano at County Road 103 (Schneider Slab Rd).
Although all of the sites are now open for public access, historic flooding on the Llano River in October 2018 impacted some amenities at the sites including signage and kiosks. Anglers and paddlers hoping to utilize these sites should keep in mind that they are mostly in a natural state, meaning no staff, restrooms, running water or other features they would expect from a park. A map, area descriptions and special conditions on public use for each site can be found on the TPWD website.
To provide seasonal fishing opportunities for anglers and paddlers while the weather is still cool, TPWD will be stocking rainbow trout in the Llano River in late January in the reach downstream of Castell in Llano, at South Llano River State Park in Junction, and at the James Crossing in Mason at Highway 2389. Dates and directions to each stocking site can be found online in the TPWD rainbow trout stocking schedule.
Although rainbow trout make for great winter fishing, year-round the Llano River is home to many popular sport fish including largemouth bass and the Texas state fish – the Guadalupe bass. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release of sport fish in this river, especially after recent flooding which may have displaced some of the native fish populations.
As part of the river access agreements with cooperating landowners, TPWD biologists will be conducting scientific surveys in the river this spring to monitor fish populations and streambank vegetation, and to identify opportunities for invasive species treatment and habitat restoration. Survey data will be used to ensure that increased public use does not have a negative impact on natural resources.
The River Access and Conservational Areas Program is funded through donations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Sport Fish Restoration Recreational Boating Access Grant Program, and by sales of the Texas Rivers Conservation License Plate.