Texas is Giving Away Prizes for Catching Their State Fish

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is tagging Guadalupe bass in the San Gabriel River and giving away sweet prizes.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is stocking 40 tagged Guadalupe bass, the official state fish, in the San Gabriel River. Those who catch them with any kind of rod and reel setup are in for some incredibly awesome prizes.

TPWD is partnering with the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International (TX-FFI), San Gabriel Fly Fishers, Living Waters Fly Fishing, and Bass Pro Shops on a big giveaway to reward anglers for catching the state fish. It's a testament to the 10-year conservation goal that was set in 2009 to restore and conserve 10 self-sustaining populations of Guadalupe bass in creeks and rivers of Central Texas.

From March 21, 2019 to March 31, 2020, if a licensed angler catches a tagged Guadalupe bass from the San Gabriel River or its tributaries, they'll be entered into a monthly prize drawing. Each monthly winner will be given their choice of great gear like fly rods, fly fishing packs, fly fishing vests, landing nets, fly fishing toolkits, fly assortments, and $50 gift cards to Bass Pro Shops.

"The San Gabriel River is a prime example of the tremendous stream fishing opportunities available in central Texas within or just a short drive from major urban centers," said Marcos De Jesus, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for San Marcos-Austin. "Central Texas streams provide quality bank, wade, and kayak fishing opportunities for Guadalupe bass, largemouth bass, Rio Grande cichlid, and various species of sunfish and catfish."

"The San Gabriel Fly Fishers are proud to assist Texas Parks and Wildlife in the recovery efforts of our state fish and bring attention to the sport of fly fishing through conservation, friendship and sportsmanship," the San Gabriel Fly Fishers said in a statement provided to TPWD.

Though not entirely abundant as other species, the Guadalupe bass does have significant impact through its popularity and status. Particularly enjoyable to catch on a fly rod, they're the target of 42% of stream and river anglers surveyed in Central Texas.

In fact, the economic impact of the Guadalupe bass can claim a large portion of the $71 million (over a sixteen-month period) value that's generated through stream fishing in the area. Those numbers were determined by a recent economic impact study by TPWD and Texas Tech University.

"The Guadalupe Bass is one of the most exciting species in our area to target with a fly rod and it is iconic to the Lone Star State," said Chris Johnson, Owner of Living Waters Fly Fishing in Round Rock. "As a fly shop owner and guide, this species is vitally important to our business, our rivers, and most of all the greater fishing community.  We are blessed to have our state fish so close to home, and I am glad that Texas Parks and Wildlife is ensuring that the next generation of anglers will have the opportunity to pursue them as well."