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5 Texas Hill Country Waterways Perfect for an Angler-Paddler

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14 species of fish can be found in the Texas Hill Country. From the official state fish – the Guadalupe bass – to swarms of sunfish, the Hill Country is blessed with a wealth and variety of streams and rivers that provide not only the perfect fishing spot, but are perfect for the pastime of paddling, and for those that like to combine the two, there’s no place finer! Here are 5 great sweet spots accessible to anglers in canoes and kayaks, offering the catch of the day!

1. San Saba River



A goldmine for paddling and fishing together is the upper San Saba River, upstream from Menard. Much of it narrow enough to cast completely across it, it winds its way through the outskirts of the Hill County, the majority under a canopy of elms, cottonwoods and pecan trees. Famous for bass, (largemouths are rumored to weigh-in at 6 lbs) there are spots of small rapids scattered between leisurely pools lined with lily-pads. Aside from the bass, there are also plenty of Rio Grande perch and redbreast sunfish, and access is limited at road crossings and the public park in Menard.

2. Village Creek



Shaded by hardwood forest as well as some pine, Village Creek flows through Hardin County north of Beaumont. Offering slow-paced paddling, the creek is the color of tea, with fallen trees being the only obstacles that a paddler/angler could come across. Spotted bass, sunfish and largemouth are prime in Village, and access is excellent at public road crossings and Village Creek State Park.

3. Lower Pecos River



The only public access for the Lower Pecos River is a 50-mile stretch from Pandale to Lake Amistad, on the skirts of the Chihuahuan Desert. It’s one of the most isolated and pristine, yet logistically-challenged, fish-filled river in the western part of Texas. Plan for a minimum 7-day fishing trip in total since paddling this length will take up 4 of them. When doing so, plan to also bring in all gear, food and water, since this river is in the middle-of-nowhere and walking out is not an option. With no cell phone service, the journey can seem quite remote, but that also makes it quite enjoyable. Fierce rapids and rocky shallows dot the span and will require portaging, and for your troubles, your reward is world-class largemouth bass fishing and ethereal scenery. Pictographs, wildlife, natural springs and solitude await you.

4. Brazos River


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