November is known as a time to give thanks, but in Texas the month also marks the beginning of a winter tradition for anglers of all ages across the state. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will kick off this tradition when it begins stocking thousands of rainbow trout Nov. 24. The easy to catch rainbow trout are delicious table fare and can be found on many restaurant menus.
“TPWD stocks catchable sized fish during winter months to create angling opportunities throughout Texas,” said TPWD’s rainbow trout Program Director, Carl Kittel. Rainbow trout love cold water, 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 with anglers for over forty years.”
TPWD plans to stock a total of 352,563 rainbow trout in Texas from Nov. 24 through Mar. 6, 2022. Because rainbow trout are unable to survive in Texas after the 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 these fish 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, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. These lakes are frequently stocked with rainbow trout during the winter stocking season and offer plenty of amenities so that family members of all ages can enjoy a fun and relaxing day fishing and connecting in nature.
Tailrace fishing is popular during trout season and for anglers interested in going that route, 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. 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 for free without a fishing license. Anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park should keep in mind that reserving a day pass in advance is highly recommended. Day passes can be reserved online though the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 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, keeping an array of baits and lures nearby while having ice available when harvesting trout to keep them fresh are good points to keep in mind before heading out to the water. 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 a fishing license with a freshwater fishing endorsement is required for adults in the family. 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 2021-22 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.