The annual Texas winter tradition of rainbow trout stocking is heading back to waterbodies across the state to kick off the holiday season. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will begin stocking thousands of rainbow trout on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving.
“TPWD stocks catchable sized fish during winter months to create unique winter angling opportunities throughout Texas,” said Carl Kittel, TPWD Rainbow Trout Program Director. “Rainbow trout love cold water and can be caught on a variety of baits and lures (worms, commercially available pastes, corn, spinners, spoons, flies and more), and are great to take home and eat. Our winter rainbow trout program has been a favorite of anglers for over forty years.”
TPWD plans to stock 337,469 rainbow trout in Texas from Nov. 23 through March 3. Because rainbow trout are unable to survive in Texas after winter, anglers are encouraged to keep up to their daily bag limit of five trout. Rainbow trout are an attractive, tasty fish and anglers can easily find recipes to prepare them online.
The Neighborhood Fishin’ program offers some outstanding opportunities to catch rainbow trout for families and new anglers in and around major cities. TPWD manages 18 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes statewide in most major urban centers, including Austin, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Houston and San Antonio. These lakes are frequently stocked with rainbow trout during the winter stocking season and offer plenty of amenities so family members of all ages can enjoy a fun and relaxing day fishing and connecting in nature.
Tailrace fishing is popular during trout season. TPWD will stock rainbow trout into the Canyon Tailrace on the Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake, and the Possum Kingdom Tailrace on the Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake for anglers willing to try their hand in tailrace fishing. Those locations often have very cool water and provide excellent conditions for trout fishing.
Other stocking locations include dozens of local city and county managed park ponds, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center casting pond, and several rivers including the Frio, South Llano and Guadalupe rivers and the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.
In addition, anglers can pursue a fish in a Texas State Park from a bank, dock or pier for free without a fishing license. TPWD recommends anyone planning a trip to a park reserve a day pass in advance. Day passes can be reserved online though the TPWD website or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.
The good news is it doesn’t take a lot of sophisticated fishing equipment to reel in a rainbow trout. They can be caught using simple, light tackle or on hand-tied flies using a fly rod. However, anglers should keep an array of baits and lures nearby as well as ice to keep trout fresh. For more tips on how to catch rainbow trout, gain some insight from TPWD staff on the TPWD YouTube channel.
In Texas, children under 17 fish for free, but adults must have a fishing license with a freshwater fishing endorsement. An angler fishing in a Community Fishing Lake or from a dock, pier or jetty within a Texas State Park may use no more than two poles. The statewide bag limit is five trout, except on parts of the Guadalupe River where special limits are in effect.
The dates and locations are subject to change due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to check the 2022-23 Trout Stocking Schedule online before you go fishing to confirm the stocking date, check fishing regulations and to find other winter trout stocking program angling tips.