The Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU) family-friendly event is a fun celebration of conservation, fly-fishing and ecology. And this year Troutfest Texas is happening February 16-18 at the Lazy L&L Campground in New Braunfels.
Last year’s fundraising event for the nonprofit—which is dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds—brought over 3,000 people. Look for that record to be broken this year with more (and new) vendors, big name speakers and must-have auction items added to the mix. It all kicks off with a Friday night banquet, there’s a Saturday Film Night while a free Expo runs both Saturday and Sunday.
Friday night’s keynote speaker is Chris Wood, author and CEO of Trout Unlimited. Prior to Trout Unlimited, Wood served as the senior policy and communications advisor to the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service where he helped protect 58 million acres of publicly owned land. Legendary fly-fishing guide and IGFA Hall of Famer Flip Pallot is just one of the celebrity Expo speakers. Pallot speaks Saturday on “Be Careful What You Wish For,” which is sure to be a lively discussion on angling dreams.
“Troutfest Texas is not just for those who have already been bitten by the fly-fishing bug.”
Other Expo presentations will showcase local and global fishing opportunities and techniques—look for boldface names such as Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA; Chris Johnson, of Living Waters Fly Fishing; and Duane Redford, author of “Fly Fisher’s Playbook.” Exhibitors will include manufacturers, craftsman, guides and outfitters from around the world.
Troutfest Texas, however, is not just for those who have already been bitten by the fly-fishing bug. “One of the objectives of Troutfest Texas is to pass our love of trout fishing and conservation to a new generation, and engage newcomers in the sport,” said Michael Racis, GRTU Board and Troutfest Texas Committee member. So, look for numerous kids’ activities, arranged in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, including casting lessons, a casting pond and archery.
GRTU also encourages women to come and enjoy the event. Returning to Troutfest Texas as a speaker is Jen Ripple, Editor-In-Chief of Dun Magazine, a fly-fishing magazine for women. “Women have a long and prominent history in fly-fishing,” said Ripple. “I love bringing new people into this sport and Troutfest Texas is a great place to learn and get involved.”
The Guadalupe River, located in Central Texas near New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio, is the southernmost freshwater trout fishery in the United States. With over 5,000 members throughout Texas, the Guadalupe River Chapter is the largest local chapter of Trout Unlimited. Proceeds from Troutfest Texas 2018 will help support GRTU Youth Programs, GRTU Tomorrow Fund, TU Teen Summit, Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters, Reel Recovery and a Texas Parks and Wildlife summer intern on the Guadalupe River. This year alone, GRTU will release 14,000 lbs of trout into the Guadalupe River.
Cover photo courtesy Odom Wu