Things to Do

Stuff Your Stocking with Rainbow Trout

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We are fortunate here in this part of the Lone Star State. Although old man winter shows his grizzled chin from time to time, we still manage to get our share of fair weather this time of year as well. That means we can still participate in some of the best outdoor activities the Texas Hill Country has to offer. Take trout fishing, for instance (and note best fishing spotlights, as well).

tpwd_fisheries_technician_stocks_rainbow_troutPhoto: courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Since the 1970s, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has managaed a program by which they stock several neighborhood lakes and watering holes with rainbow and brown trout. Why do this during the winter months you might ask? Truth is, rainbow trout simply can’t survive in the warm water temperatures of the summer. So, fish farmers raise the fish in hatcheries with controlled environments. Then, each winter TPWD takes a portion of the fish and releases them into various designated neighborhood lakes, ponds, and rivers across 11 urban areas throughout the state.

Over the next few months, officials plan to release over 300,000 trout. On December 2, TPWD stocked the popular fishing area on the Guadalupe River between Austin and San Antonio just downstream from Canyon Lake. A TPWD press release reports that officials have leased four privately-owned resorts that will allow free access to this area of the river. Those wishing to fish and are over the age of 17 will need fishing licenses unless fishing in a Texas state park in which case no license is required.

rainbow_trout_on_stringer_blanco_state_parkPhoto: courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Carl Kittel TPWD hatchery program director promises the fishing to be easy, too. “The hatchery-reared 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,” he says. You can use the most basic of fishing equipment, too. Just grab a basic spincast rod and reel, a fishing weight, hooks, and a plastic bobber. Bring along a pair of needle-nosed pliers and an ice chest or fish string for the catch.

people_fishing_at_a_tpwd_trout_stockingPhoto: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive adventure on a mild Texas winter day, then pack a thermos full of coffee, a picnic, and a fishing rod and reel. Not everyone can get and out go trout fishing in the middle of December; pack your gear and just do it.

Check out this video of rainbow trout stocking and fishing:

For more information on the trout release locations, click here. For complete information on the trout release program, limits, and other information, click here.