Texas Tech graduate student Zachary Thomas is conducting an online study that will focus on how Guadalupe bass influence angling on Hill Country streams, aiming to help the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) decide on management strategies for Guadalupe bass and all the other fish in Hill Country streams.
“The study really came about because of all the Guadalupe bass restoration work (TPWD has) done in the past two years,” Thomas said from his office on Tech’s field station in Junction. “A lot of that work has been done here on the Llano and I wondered if anybody had looked at the Guadalupe in terms of recreational fishing.”
A denizen of fast, clear streams only found in the Texas Hill Country, the Guadalupe bass is a relatively small, aggressive native bass that has come to symbolize Texas stream fishing.
Unfortunately, before fisheries managers really understood the unique role Guadalupes play in stream ecology, smallmouth bass were stocked in many streams and lakes and that posed a threat to the Guadalupes. “We’ve had issues with hybridization with other fish,” Thomas said.
The smallmouth/Guadalupe hybrids made for good fishing at times but they almost wiped out the native Guadalupe genes. Texas Parks and Wildlife saw what was happening and has been searching for pure strains of the smaller native fish to refresh their populations in the streams.