Texas State Fish: An Intro for Anglers

Apr 20, 2021 | 2 minute read Comments
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Texas isn’t exactly short on fish. From vast reservoirs to high seas, the Lone Star State is home to dozens of top game fish. It’s especially famous for Bass fishing, but we’re not here to talk about Largemouth. No, the Texas state fish is Guadalupe Bass. You may never have heard of “Guads.” What are they? Where do they live, and what makes them special? Here’s an intro to the state’s signature species.

How big?

A trophy-size Guadalupe Bass being held by an angler at night.

We’re going to come out and say it: Guadalupe Bass are the runt of the family. The average catch is around 12 inches long and weighs roughly a pound. The state record is larger, weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 17.25 inches long. Even that could be mistaken for an average-size Spotted Bass.

However, what Guads lack in size they more than make up for in spunk. These are hard-fighting little devils that use current and cover to their advantage. Because of this, they’ve developed a loyal following in Texas. They’re particularly popular among fly fishers.

When and Where

A beautiful stretch of the Guadalupe River in Texas, with green trees and clear azure water

Here’s the real reason why Guadalupe Bass is the state fish of Texas: They’re endemic to the Lone Star State. Guads pretty much only live in the Edwards Plateau. They’re found in the San Antonio, Colorado, and Guadalupe Rivers (hence the name). They also occasionally show up in the lower Colorado River, and have recently been introduced in the Nueces River.

As we mentioned above, Guadalupe Bass like to use the current to their advantage. They hang out in deep pools or around rocks near fast-flowing water and even hold near rapids. Their top tactic is to ambush insects and small fish that flow their way. You can catch Guadalupe Bass all year round, although they tend to be more active when the water’s warmer.

Guadalupe Bass: A Pint-Sized Predator

A close-up of the face of a Guadalupe Bass
(Clinton & Charles Robertson, Flickr, CC-BY-2.0)

It’s easy to underestimate Guadalupe Bass, especially if you’re used to Texas’s lunker Largemouth. However, the second you hook one, you’ll understand why people love them so much. What’s more, they’re beautiful, with strong dark bands that almost look like tiger stripes. Throw in the fact that you can’t catch them anywhere else, and it’s a no-brainer that they’re the state fish.

Have you ever caught a Guadalupe Bass? Got any tips on great fishing spots or tackle choices? Drop us a line in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Comments (2)
  • Jess Niles

    Jul 24, 2020

    I live near the Guadalupe river in Ingram, Texas and have fished for the Guadalupe Bass for years. They are pound for pound the strongest fish that I have ever hooked.

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      Jul 28, 2020

      Hi Jess,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Lucky you! How common are they in your area? Are there more of them around these days, or less?

      All the best!

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