The Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii) is a native species to Texas and the official state fish. It can be found in rivers such as San Antonio’s Guadalupe, Colorado, Lampasas, Leon, and Brazos.
These elongated, moderately compressed bass have 10 to 12 dark bars along their sides and 16 pectoral rays between 26 to 27 scales around the caudal peduncle. It is typically a small fish (less than one pound in weight).
Where to find Guadalupe bass
The Guadalupe bass is a small, native species to the Edwards Plateau of Colorado and Texas. It can be found in gravel riffles, runs, flowing pools of creeks, and small to medium-sized rivers.
This fish belongs to the Centrarchidae family and can grow up to 16 inches long, weighing less than one pound. It features 10-12 dark bars along its sides, which become more prominent with younger specimens but fade with age; 16 pectoral rays and 26-27 scales around its caudal peduncle complete this species’ features.
Guadalupe bass can adapt to a variety of habitats, but their preferred home is instream cover such as undercut banks or woody debris at night. They will also feed actively in slack water or eddy areas created by structures.
Guadalupe bass has been reintroduced to the Mission Reach of the Upper San Antonio River thanks to a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant. Since 2015, over 60,000 fish have been stocked into this stretch.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists have been actively working to restore populations of this endangered fish in Central Texas rivers. Through the state’s State Wildlife Action Plan, TPSW has collaborated with landowners to rebuild riparian areas and manage springs, creating a healthy environment where these rare fish can flourish.
Guadalupe bass is considered an endangered species in Texas and one of only three state fish species worldwide (the others being American shad and common carp). While their numbers have decreased due to development and population growth in Texas waters, Texas Parks & Wildlife, conservationists, water managers, and private landowners have worked diligently to restore this small green fish’s population.
Is a Guadalupe bass a hybrid?
The Guadalupe bass, commonly called the state fish of Texas, is a small but hardy predator that thrives in clear streams and rivers throughout the Hill Country. Anglers appreciate this fish’s toughness, but it also serves an important function: indicator species for watershed health that can reveal information about native species present therein.
That is why Texas Parks and Wildlife Department worked to save this state’s fish species from extinction. Establishing a sustainable population required finding pure Guadalupe bass and introducing them into new areas.
Guadalupes, unlike smaller bass native to Texas, can survive in less-resourceful environments and thrive in creeks and rivers that lack enough nutrients for large populations of more robust fish.
As a result, the Guadalupe bass is no longer threatened with extinction in Texas. Instead, it has thrived due to conservation efforts such as a hatchery program to stock them with eggs, local stewardship workshops, and other initiatives.
Since 1992, TPWD began a hatchery program that has resulted in stocking over 2,355,807 pure Guadalupe bass into Hill Country rivers, helping reduce hybrids within the species’ wild population to less than 2 percent.
The success of the TPWD hatchery program, combined with other conservation strategies, has saved Guadalupe bass from extinction in Texas. It’s a testament to collaboration: between government agencies, landowners, conservationists, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, it proves that State Wildlife Action Plans can drive conservation and restoration activities, so species don’t end up listed under ESA. These plans include habitat protection, such as eliminating exotic fish species from areas, and population management measures like stocking efforts.
Are Guadalupe bass good to eat?
Guadalupe bass has long been recognized for its delicious eating fish. They can be consumed whole or prepared like other bass species. Furthermore, these finny creatures provide a good source of vitamin D.
These Texas fish, native to the Edwards Plateau and parts of the Colorado, Brazos, Guadalupe, and San Antonio Rivers, live in riffle, run, and flowing pool habitats. They can weigh 2 or 3 pounds and grow up to 16 inches long. You can catch them using various methods such as spinners, lures, baits, or fly fishing techniques; whatever works best for you!
One of the best places to spot these elusive creatures is the Highland Lakes chain in central Texas. These lakes boast an abundance of both largemouth and Guadalupe bass, as well as other species. Depending on your fishing preferences, you might want to start with targeting larger fish first before working your way down through smaller varieties. Luckily, the Highland Lakes are only a short drive away from Austin or Houston so you can get your Guadalupe fix while away from city life.
How big do Guadalupe bass get?
The Guadalupe bass is an iconic fish species native to Texas that attracts fly fishermen from all over. As such, Texas has designated this species as its official state fish, and they serve as a major economic driver in Central Texas Hill Country.
These fiesty fish are easily identified by their moderately compressed bodies and large mouths. They feature a prominent lateral line with a dark dorsal stripe, 10 to 12 bars along the sides, and 16 pectoral rays between 26 to 27 scales around the caudal peduncle.
They can grow to three pounds and thrive in small, still-water environments such as creeks and rivers. Not afraid of rapids, these fish often hang around eddies or in murky downstream sections with gravel riffles or at the head of deep pools with silt substrate.
Since the 1980s, Guadalupe bass has faced threats from habitat destruction and hybridization with imported smallmouth bass. To combat this issue, TPWD curtailed stockings of smallmouth bass in Central Texas rivers and streams; instead focusing on protecting Guadalupe bass became their top priority.
TPWD collaborated with local landowners and other partners to restore Guadalupe bass populations in Central Texas rivers. To do this, they improved riparian areas, repaired springs, and created healthy habitat conditions.
Over the past decade, TPWD has successfully stocked more than 2,355,807 genetically pure Guadalupe bass into 14 Central Texas rivers and streams; today less than 2 percent of this species consists of hybrids. Despite these great conservation achievements, much more work remains before we can truly say that Guadalupe bass populations have thrived in its home region.
How do you catch Guadalupe bass?
Guadalupe bass is one of Texas’ iconic species and an excellent fishing target. Belonging to the Centrarchidae family, these fish look similar to spotted bass but don’t reach as large a size.
Guadalupe bass is an endemic species found mainly on the Edwards Plateau and smaller streams and rivers. Although listed as near threatened, TPWD and other conservation organizations are working hard to save this fish from extinction.
Guadalupe bass is among many fish being reintroduced to their native habitats in Texas and across America due to the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which allocates $1.3 billion annually for state wildlife agencies to implement effective conservation initiatives. Through partnership with Central Texas landowners, TPWD has worked diligently to restore riparian areas and manage springs, creating an ideal habitat for these bass to flourish.
Recently, TPWD and its partners have reintroduced Guadalupe bass to the Upper San Antonio River as part of a project designed to improve ecological conditions along the Mission Reach of the upper river. In addition to its environmental advantages, this initiative also creates an invaluable recreational resource for Central Texas anglers.
These small bass typically inhabit riffle, run, and flowing pool habitats and reach maturity around one year. They feed mostly on fish but also consume aquatic insects.
Anglers love them for their aggressive nature and ability to put up a good fight, making them popular targets. Crayfish imitation crankbaits and Ned rigs can all be used successfully when fishing for these species.
Guadalupe bass are an incredibly valuable fish, and it is important to protect and restore its habitat. Several conservation programs have successfully improved the Guadalupe bass population; you can help make a difference by supporting these initiatives.