With hundreds of thousands of catchable-size rainbow trout coming to 150 public water bodies across the state this winter, Texas anglers have plenty of cool-weather fishing opportunities to look forward to in the coming months.
A total of 18 neighborhood fishing lakes and ponds located in Texas’ 11 most populated urban centers will be the first of the season to offer rainbow trout fishing. Stockings started last week in most locations and continue every two weeks.
“These urban area parks are the easiest places in Texas for families to catch a fish close to home,” said Eddie McKenna, TPWD multicultural marketing and outreach specialist. “85 percent of us live near one of these small lakes and ponds. By making fishing accessible, we’re helping create a whole new generation of anglers.”
Anglers looking for somewhere to fish for free without having to purchase a fishing license can visit one of 18 state parks being stocked with rainbow trout this year. The list of state parks regularly receiving rainbow trout stockings includes Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in East Texas, Blanco State Park in Central Texas, and Fort Richardson State Park in North Texas. Many of the state parks being stocked with rainbow trout have a free tackle loaner program on-site for anyone who needs it.
One of the state’s most popular trout fishing destinations, the Guadalupe River fishery downstream of Canyon Lake between Austin and San Antonio, will receive more than 17,000 rainbow trout through February with the first stocking happening Friday. Temporary lease agreements with four privately-owned resorts provide free public fishing access to the Guadalupe River.
All of the 150-plus lakes, ponds and river tailraces being stocked around the state will receive more than 300,000 rainbow trout through the first week of March. The full list of public water bodies receiving rainbow trout this year, along with scheduled stocking dates and numbers of fish, can be found online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/troutstocking.
Rainbow trout have a salmon-like shape and make for great eating. They prefer cold water, so in most parts of Texas they can survive only in winter. They love cheese, kernel corn, nightcrawlers, red wigglers or mealworms. Anglers who prefer lures can try small inline spinnerbaits or spoons.
Rainbow trout are subject to a five-fish per day bag limit, with no minimum length limit. Special regulations are in effect on two sections of the Guadalupe River.
Anglers ages 17 and older must have a valid Texas freshwater fishing license – including while fishing at neigbhorhood ponds – unless fishing within a Texas State Park where fishing licenses are not required. Kids under 17 fish for free.