The drive out to Menard is a long one. It's over two-thirds of the way from Austin to San Angelo. But since we live in Liberty Hill, it's actually shorter by a few miles to go to Menard than it is to go to South Llano River State Park. So we felt the trip would be worth a try to see what the area is like.
One of the first things we noticed is that the drive to Menard is very pretty. There are a series of ridges that you hit after you pass Mason, TX that are quite beautiful. For those of us who suffer from cedar allergies, Menard appears to be just past the cedar line before the trees convert over to Oaks, Mesquite, and other deciduous trees. For us this meant that our allergies almost completely cleared up as we rolled into town. It was quite nice to be able to breath.
The county park is technically west of downtown but there is access to the river all through town. We decided to pick the county park access since we assumed there would be bathrooms. While that proved to be wrong there was an easy way to get into the water there so it made it pretty nice. To be fair, there might have been bathroom near the RV park area since that would make sense.
Where we went in there was a nice cement walk way that went down to the top of the dam which was just inches off the water during our visit. This wouldn't work during high water times, but it was perfect at this point.
There were a couple tense moments crawling in since we were really trying NOT to get wet as it was in the 50's and pretty chilly. But overall it was one of the easier places we've found for getting in the water. It especially helps if you can get in while standing.
The weather was pretty nice for a January day and the wind was fairly light. As I've said in other blogs, the weather was almost too nice. So it made for a fairly unproductive day for fishing. We only caught a couple small bass per person.
The main thing we found was that the area looked like it would make a really good place to go for warmer weather fishing. There were weed beds everywhere with areas of lily pads. There were also lay downs that fell into relatively deep water (2ft deep or more) so they would undoubtedly hold plenty of bass during the summer months. I didn't bring my depth finder but using my lure and rod I was able to estimate the bottom in some places at up to 8ft deep with weeds less than 20ft away. This should make for some awesome fishing during warmer times. Add to this that if you keep paddling up stream there is a small rapids you could walk past to get to the pool up river. We didn't do it on this trip but we intend to come back when it's warmer and go further upstream since the next pool looks about as big as the lower one - about a half mile or so. This should make for a very large area to fish besides the fact that there should be Guadalupe Bass in the faster current areas.
For those who camp at the campground and intend to sight-see as well as kayak fish, this location has some pretty cool places to play. Not only is there a golf course nearby, the Presidio de San Saba is located across the river from the RV park as well. The Presidio is apparently an old Spanish fort - not certain - but it looked like an interesting place to explore. You can see some of the ruins from the river as you kayak.
Over all we had a great time for a winter day and being that we actually caught a few small bass it meant we didn't get skunked even though the weather indicated we should. The cats, of course, loved being outdoors so by their standards it was a smashing success. hah
Over all the area looked very nice and with being able to paddle upstream or even go down stream and put in at multiple different spots, it looks like one could stay in the RV park and spend a few weeks exploring. In fact, this would make an awesome winter location since it's not buried in Cedar tree country and away from the pollen.
We will definitely be back and we are already planning on spending some time there with our RV so we can see what other adventures Menard might offer.
If you go out there, let us know!
Tight Lines y'all!