‘Tis the Season for Rainbow Trout Fishing in Texas

AUSTIN – These stockings won’t be found hanging by the chimney, but they’ll still bring plenty of joy this winter to boys and girls of all ages. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) annual fish stockings of rainbow trout are currently underway on 18 designated Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes across the state.

In the coming months, TPWD will stock nearly 300,000 hatchery-raised trout at lakes, ponds and river tailraces for fun winter fishing.

Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes in 11 urban areas around Texas offer family fishing opportunities in clean, well-lit spots in city parks with picnic tables and restrooms and will be stocked frequently throughout the season.

For those who want to experience a true trout fishing destination adventure, the popular Guadalupe River fishery downstream of Canyon Lake between Austin and San Antonio will receive its first TPWD stocking Friday, Dec. 2. Temporary lease agreements with four privately-owned resorts provide free public fishing access to the river. More than 100 additional sites around the state will receive one or more stockings of trout.

TPWD has stocked rainbows each winter since the 1970s to provide Texans with additional fishing opportunity during the cold weather months.

“Most Texas waters get too warm for trout to survive in summer, so we stock them for a put-and-take fishery during the winter months,” said Carl Kittel, TPWD hatchery program director. “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.”

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 fish stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep fresh trout cold on ice or refrigerated.

Rainbow and brown 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: starting 800 yards downstream of the Canyon Dam release and extending to the east bridge on Hwy 306, the length limit is a 12-18 inch slot. Trout 12 inches and less or 18 inches or greater in length may be retained, and only one of the five-fish daily bag can be 18 inches or longer. From the easternmost bridge on FM 306 downstream to the second bridge crossing on River Road, there is an 18-inch minimum length limit and a one trout daily bag. Harvest of trout in these special zones is by artificial lures only.

Anglers age 17 and older must have a valid Texas freshwater fishing license, unless fishing within a Texas State Park where fishing licenses are not required.