Waller Creek Fishing

Waller Creek fly fishing
It’s a place filled with refuse, both inanimate and otherwise. Back in the 70s, the civic leaders of Austin pushed to make Waller Creek a centerpiece of the city. They built walkways and walls. They compared the project to the riverwalk of San Antonio.

Unfortunately, their civil engineering wasn’t the equal of their civic vision. Unlike the riverwalk of San Antonio, Waller Creek was a living waterway prone to flash floods that tore up architecture and plastered every protrusion with plastic garbage bags and broken tree limbs.

The city is currently digging an overflow tunnel to make these events a thing of the past, but for the time being, Waller Creek is largely unused, despite running through the heart of the “entertainment district.” While we plied the concrete walks during a quick Sunday afternoon fishing trip, Third Degree and I saw plenty of bums and a pair of folks who gave a strong “oldest profession” vibe, but no actual citizens.

The closest we came to crossing paths with a respectable person was when a tourist watched us from an overpass while we fished in Austin’s Symphony Square.

A thin trickle of live water kept the pools of warmouth and green sunfish fresh. Third Degree was pleased to catch his first cichlid on a prince nymph.

I challenge anyone to say this is not an attractive fish.

I caught the largest fish of the day largely by accident. I mis-cast and my wooly bugger plopped just over the edge of the concrete steps that line Waller Creek near Eighth Street, right in view of the cop shop. While I struggled to untangle the mess I made of the line, a giant, squamous-bodied warmouth took the bait and dived into the algae mats.
Warmouth Waller Creek
I challenge anyone to say that is not an ugly fish.

The big surprise came when we explored the fishing options of the Austin Convention Center’s settling pond. This is part of the usual environmentally conscious storm runoff system. You can’t see from the photos, but it’s shaped like the State of Texas.

Bluegill Austin Convention Center settling pond

It also happens to be filled with tiny little bluegills. They must have been jammed into the pond shoulder-to-shoulder. The poor little hungry buggers snapped at anything that fell into the water. The only challenge was choosing flies small enough to fit in their cute little mouths.


Give them a few years and we’ll see some decent fishing in there.

3 thoughts on “Waller Creek Fishing

  • After hearing you and the fishing club talk about these for the past few weeks, I never in a million years would have guessed that that is how you spell cichlid. It is, however, a very lovely fish.

  • While waiting to pick someone up from work downtown one day and having a sandwich I dropped a few test crumbs into Waller creek. I could not believe the size of some of the panfish that came to eat. Some of the biggest I have seen in Texas! Glad to hear someone had a good time fishing this overlooked and sometimes smelly little creek. A good clean up project would be nice…

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