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Winter rainbow trout fishing offers entry-level fishing opportunities for Texans
AUSTIN, Texas — For Texans in search of convenient fishing, it doesn’t get much better than winter trout season in Texas.
From December through mid-March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will stock more than 270,000 hatchery-reared rainbow trout at 120 sites across the state. Many of the fish stockings will be conducted at small community fishing lakes, state park lakes and popular river tailraces that offer easy angling access.
TPWD has been stocking rainbow trout each winter since the 1970s, offering Texans a convenient and inexpensive opportunity to go fishing.
Catching these hungry fish can be easy, making the experience ideal for children and novice anglers. Most sites get an annual dose of more than 1,000 trout, and the fish will begin to bite almost immediately after stocking. They 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 or 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 on ice to keep them fresh.
The complete is on the TPWD Web site. Here anglers can find stocking locations, stocking dates and driving directions to many sites. Many locations host special events for youth in addition to allowing the public fishing opportunities. Check with local parks and recreation departments or water authorities for additional information.
Among the winter trout stocking sites are 14 locations in urban areas across the state. These spots get trout stocked every two weeks during the winter, but catfish are also stocked there during the summer, making them year-round family fishing destinations. Details can be found on the , 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 be stocked with more than 19,000 trout this winter.
One public access point along the Guadalupe River, Camp Hueco Springs, has been leased by TPWD specifically for trout fishing. An area map and directions to the site are on the .
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 keep 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, 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 license package is required to fish for trout. Youth ages 16 and younger and all anglers fishing within state parks are exempt from the fishing license requirement.
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