Winter Rainbows Arc Across Texas
Annual Rainbow Trout Stockings Begin Dec. 3
Beginning Dec. 3 and continuing until mid-March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will stock upwards of 260,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at 119 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 rainbow trout 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 spinner baits.
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 or a fish stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep freshly caught trout cold on ice or refrigerated.
The complete 2008-2009 Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule is on the TPWD Web site. Here anglers can find stocking locations, stocking dates and driving directions to each site. Many locations offer special events for youth prior to allowing the public to fish. Check with local parks and recreation departments or water authorities for additional information. Most sites get an annual dose of more than 1,000 trout.
Among the winter trout stocking sites are 13 Neighborhood Fishin’ locations in city suburbs across the state. These spots get trout stocked every two weeks in the winter, but catfish are also stocked there in the summer, making them year-round family fishing destinations. Details are on the Neighborhood Fishin’ Web page, which lists the urban area, lake or pond, driving directions, and a TPWD name and contact phone number for each site. Money donated to TPWD from the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is being used to support Neighborhood Fishin’.
Other popular fishing holes like the Guadalupe River below the Canyon Reservoir Dam, which includes the tailrace, also receive multiple stockings from December into March. As the only fishable place in Texas where rainbow trout can survive during the summer months, the Guadalupe River will get almost 17,000 trout stocked this winter.
One public access point along the Guadalupe River has been leased by TPWD specifically for trout fishing, Camp Hueco Springs. A map and directions to this site are on the TPWD Web site.
Anglers should note there are special harvest restrictions in place along a 10-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River below the tailrace. In this area, anglers may retain only one trout per day, which must be at least 18-inches in length, and any trout harvested must be caught on artificial lures.
For additional details about the special harvest regulations and the location of that river stretch, please consult the TPWD Outdoor Annual. The special regulations zone does not include the area immediately below Canyon Lake Dam. There, as in other Texas waters, the daily bag limit is five trout and there is no minimum length.
A valid Texas freshwater fishing package is required to fish for trout. Youth ages 16 and younger and all anglers fishing from the bank in state parks are exempt from the fishing package requirement.