Virtual Experience to Enhance Recreation on the Guadalupe River
AUSTIN, Febuary 12, 2017 - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries staff partnered up with the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) and the Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU) to develop a free online virtual river navigation tool for anglers and river recreationists using the web-based tool Fish Views.
WORD took the lead in developing the tool, with support from TPWD and GRTU, to promote fishing, paddling, tubing and other recreational activities on the stretch of river from the Canyon Lake Dam to Gruene.
“The goal is to use a virtual platform to promote recreational opportunities offered by this great resource, ultimately enticing people to visit and enjoy the river,” said Mike Dussere, WORD Director. “When you’re planning a trip, you can go online and look at the river view from your campsite or lodging, or follow the route you’ll be floating.”
The Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake is home to the southernmost trout fishery in the United States and one of the most popular trout fisheries in Texas. Nearly 30,000 rainbow and brown trout are stocked annually during winter months by TPWD, GRTU and WORD to support the yearlong trout fishery.
“The cold waters released from the depths of Canyon Lake typically maintain adequate conditions for the trout to live year-round and sustain trout fishing opportunities in the uppermost 4 miles of river,” said Greg Cummings, TPWD River Management Biologist. “Other game fish species, such as black basses, catfishes and temperate basses are also available to anglers.”
The virtual navigation is composed of pictures that are strung together and can be navigated similar to Google Earth street view – with the ability to pan 360 degrees, zoom in, and set a frame rate for a slideshow tour. The site also provides a setting for virtual reality devices, underwater views, and tags for points of interest such as fish stocking sites, special fishing regulation boundaries, and free river fishing access lease sites available in the winter via the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program (RACA).
“This partnered effort is an innovative approach to promote fishing and outdoor aquatic recreational resources for the public,” said Marcos De Jesus, TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor. “This tool can be very effective in promoting fishing at other rivers and likely other TPWD programs; such as Texas Paddling Trails.”