In just about every state, gamefish are protected in some way
or another, either by limits and/or slotting the sizes. With
the off roading activities taking place in the river beds, whole
populations of those areas are being threatened. Our beautiful
Texas Cichlids are few in number on the San Gabriel. Between
people harvesting them for money gained from the aquarium
collectors and now the 'puddle walkers', this could be yet
another blow to that population as well.
During the summer the water levels are low and in some cases
much of the flow is subsurface leaving only pools of water along
the channel. In many areas there are huge gravel bars where the
water flows through these just below the surface, keeping the
isolated pools supplied in fresh water thusly keeping the fish
population alive. When these gravel bars are heavily traveled
by vehicles the rock gets packed more and more with each pass.
Eventually the water flow is diverted or completely shut off
preventing fresh water and oxygen to these pools.
Landowners who have river property should be very concerned. The
State of Texas holds all navigational bodies of water in trust for
the public. This in turn is defined as any body of water with a
channel (Bank to Bank) width of 30 feet or greater. This is Channel
width not the actual water body width. Big difference in some areas.
I bring this up because how would you feel as a landowner, knowing
the very reason you purchased your property for, was being destroyed
and there was nothing you could do about it. The last thing I would
want to see is a bunch of noisy big trucks driving up my creek in
the backyard! The ecology would be devastated! Most creeks and
smaller rivers are fragile systems. The occasional angler, canoe,
kayak and small johnboat users do very little to intrude on these
There was a recent thread on the Bulletin Board here about this
becoming a big event on the Nueces River also. In fact a web
site was posted with pictures of the vehicles in the river. One
point of view that came from this was about all the oils seeping
from the vehicles and contaminating the waters. A counter point
in defense of the vehicles was that motorboats also leave a
residue/seepage. This is true, and not all vehicles seep fluid.
However boats of any kind do not contact and do a significant
amount of damage to the river bottoms. Where it becomes too
shallow for boating then porting becomes necessary. Motor
vehicles leave a track no matter where they go.
A couple of weeks ago now, I was down on the South San Gabriel
alone. I was fishing a hole of water near the I-35 bridge. A
wonderful place for catching panfish and bass, mostly smaller
fish but close for fishing before going into work. A truck full
of young people showed up and the next thing I know, they are
driving at a fairly good pace and hit the water next to me creating
a huge shower of water. They went up river turned and started to
make another pass. It became all too clear what their intention was.
They were to pass as close to me as possible and spray me with as
much water as possible. At this point running was senseless. As
they made their pass I whipped out my flyline, mostly in anger and
it securely wrapped itself around their radio antennae. Flyline,
amazing stuff, you would not believe how strong it can be. I now
have a radio antennae in my collection. My point is, this type
of harassment was also noted in the lakes between anglers and
jet skies. Sometimes it got ugly. Now there are laws in affect
to prevent the harassment and both still get their enjoyment in
their separate sports. Maybe laws need to be considered for the
rivers in restricting vehicle usage as the environment is so
I have no bones to pick among the off road vehicles or the drivers.
I think most just simply don't understand the effects they are
causing. As far as the SUV's they are invaluable to outdoorsmen/women.
They get us to places that would normally be inaccessible.
We get to the rivers for superb fishing with them as well as
providing safer transportation in bad weather. They have a
place in our daily activities, that place just should not be
in our waters.
My Thanks to 'Austinite' for the original posting on the Flyanglers
OnLine Bulletin Board, 'FreebirdsWB', Justin, for taking the time
to get the much appreciated photos and Tom Goynes, President of
Texas River Protection Association (TRPA) for his permission to
reference the site and his invaluable input on the current events.
For more photos go to:
www.down-river.com/trpa/nueces/index.php. Chose "home" for more
information from the TRPA. ~ HillFisher
Although laws vary from state to state, this is unacceptable anywhere.
We encourage you to check the laws on this disgusting behavior in your
state, and please post on our Bulletin Board if it is legal, and if
not - what are the fines or jail time for this. Let's get it stopped!