The Southwest Texas Steppe

 

“The last frontier of Texas” is how I have always viewed Rocksprings, Texas.  Unless you’ve gone past Kerville on I-10 West, you may have never seen the signs for it.  If you have, chances are you know about it because Edwards County has one of the largest whitetail deer populations in Texas.  This being said, Rocksprings is a hunting mecca for city folk, bringing a fair and affordable lease price for land.  The native Rocksprings folk rely heavily on hunting season for a main annual income.  For years I have been drawn to the area and its flowing hills, oak motts, and rivers! My family has owned a Ranch here for the past 15 years.  Tres Hermanos is a little less than 10 miles outside of Rocksprings.  We have used the Ranch primarily as a family “getaway” and hunting/outdoor training grounds for my younger brothers.  It originated, as most ranches in the area did, with around 600 acres.  Over the years, though, it, along with most ranches in the area surrounding Tres Hermanos, has been subdivided.  This subdivision into 50-100 acre parcels leads to the area being a.) Over hunted, or b.) Overgrazed. The land may be privately owned but leased to hunters with no regard for sound game management practices, killing everything in site for mere sport.  Often times, regardless of it being used as a hunting lease, a rancher will also lease it to cattleman who overgraze the property.  We do our best to combat this by good game management practices of all species.  Our ranch has a healthy population of white tail deer, feral hogs and some exotic species.  Leah and I have taken quite a liking to the Axis/Wild Boar chorizo and breakfast sausage, so we often go after the Axis.  The area is primarily used for hunting for most people, but if you drive 30 minutes in any cardinal direction you hit a fishable stream!                   

You can go to: the Devils River, Llano River, Nueces River or Lake Amistad.  My personal best Bass was caught on Lake Amistad.  In addition to the surrounding rivers, Rocksprings’ name originated from the springs that bubble out of the limestone, thus creating creeks and streams.  I know of a few “top secret creeks,” but I can’t say much about them, hence the name!  These are some amazing private access waters that produce mostly walk and wade trips with a couple of spots where raft/kayak/canoe trips are available.

This past weekend being Memorial Day, my wife and I went back for a “getaway” and of course a combined fishing trip.  After crossing several stream crossings, we quickly realized that my “top secret creeks” could be threatened by the current drought.  I stopped in town before heading out the ranch and spoke with a couple of locals I have known for a while and heard that this particular Memorial Day Weekend they would have the river crossing in between Rocksprings and Uvalde closed. This only happens when the water is low and the bacteria count in the water is too high because the cubic feet per second (CFS) is so slow the water is basically starving for oxygen and cooler temps created by current.  I was immediately deflated, and it just got worse as we drove out of town and down the caliche county road and encountered trees covered in dust that looked like flocked Christmas trees and dried up cattle tanks. It hit me then just how hard of a drought we are currently under, and this worries me for the upcoming fall fishing season! We need rain and lots of it to stop the devastating effects of what’s yet to come from this drought!  It’s only May and we seem to be 10 degrees above average high temperatures for the month, which is normally the mildest Texas summer month.  While Leah and I were out and about on the Ranch on Saturday, the wind consistently blew around 40 knots, was dry as a bone, and had a haze from the caliche dust blowing constantly!  These conditions obviously did not entice me to head out on the water fly-fishing, and for that matter I thought…. “Hell what water?”  With fish pooled up in the deepest of holes struggling to hold on, I find it hard to go tossing flies their way.  It’s the last kind of pressure they need at this point.  I find it hard to believe and somewhat disheartening that in early June I’m already having to call it on Texas fresh water stream fishing.  I look at this way: more time off the water = more time tying flies! And…. Luckily we have the Gulf really close, and it’s just about time to start filling our coolers with blue crab!!  But that will be another blog, and hopefully very soon!

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One Response to The Southwest Texas Steppe

  1. Nanny says:

    Great post….Albeit sad but true regarding the extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall.
    On an up note….did you mention blue crab????? 🙂

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