Beginning in late November and continuing through March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will stock nearly 300,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at more than 140 sites across the state. Many of the fish stockings will be conducted at small community fishing lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces offering easy angling access. TPWD has been stocking rainbows each winter since the 1970s, providing Texans a simple and economical opportunity to go fishing.
Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for both novice anglers and kids. The fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits, from whole kernel canned corn or commercial soft bait to artificial flies and even small spinnerbaits.
Fishing gear can be as basic as an inexpensive spincast rod and reel combo, a small plastic bobber, a fishing weight and a hook. It’s also a good idea to carry along a pair of needle-nosed pliers to help remove hooks, and a five gallon bucket, small ice chest orfish stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep fresh trout cold on ice or refrigerated.
All anglers 17 years of age and older must have a valid freshwater fishing license as well as a freshwater stamp. The daily bag limit is five fish.
“It is important for anglers to understand that the posted schedule is tentative and is subject to change due to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances,” said Todd Engeling, TPWD hatchery program director. “It is always best to check the web site before heading out to one of the stocking sites.”
Anglers who frequent the popular Guadalupe River trout fishery near New Braunfels are reminded of the special trout zone 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release to the east bridge on Hwy 306. For rainbow and brown trout, the length limit in this zone is a 12-18 inch slot. Trout 12 inches and less or 18 inches or greater in length may be retained. The daily bag remains five trout and only one trout 18 inches or longer may be retained. From the easternmost bridge on FM 306 downstream to the second bridge crossing on River Road, there is an 18-inch minimum size limit, and a one trout daily bag. Harvest of trout in these special zones is by artificial lures only.
For more information about the winter trout fishing program, including tips and the current trout stocking schedule listed by city or county, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/troutstocking.