Thousands of rainbow trout will enter Texas waterways in the coming weeks as the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department undergoes its annual and much-awaited winter stocking.
Friends and families are traveling to their favorite watering hole to catch these attractive fish that are easy to catch and provide a great meal. Since the fish aren’t native to the state, the stocking allows the chance to catch something new.
How do you catch these rainbow trout, you might ask?
The TPWD has a detailed 10-page guide for angling tips. Stick to light tackle. Try using bait such as kernel corn, cheese balls, wigglers, mealworms, or crickets. Consider lures such as inline spinners or bucktail jigs.
Oncorhynchus mykiss, better known as rainbow trout, aren’t native to the Lone Star State as Texas’ waters are too warm to provide suitable habitat. According to TPWD, since this species generally don’t reproduce in Texas and are unable to survive through the summer in most areas, the species is primarily used in winter put-and-take fisheries.
If you plan to go to a stocked site on the dates the fish are released, get there early. TPWD also suggests maintaining a safe and courteous distance from fellow anglers, having an array of baits or lures and ice to keep the catch fresh.
This year there is no minimum length limit for catches and a five-trout daily bag limit. Trout anglers will need a valid fishing license that includes a freshwater fishing endorsement. Anglers under 17 years of age are not required to have a license.
Get ready to mark your calendars. Some of the scheduled rainbow trout stockings across the Brazos River basin include:
• Abilene: Cal Young Park Lake - 1/10/2022 and 2/2/2022
• Abilene: Elm Creek Buffalo Wallow - 1/5/2022, 2/22/2022, and 2/28/2022
• Abilene: Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Pond 1 - 1/10/2022, 2/14/2022, and 3/3/2022
• Belton: Nolan Creek - 12/18/2021, 12/30/2021
• College Station: Central Park Pond #1 - 12/23/2021, 1/7/2022, 1/21/2022, 2/4/2022, 2/18/2022, and 3/4/2022
• College Station: Cy Miller Pond - 1/19/2022
• Copperas Cove: Copperas Cove City - 2/13/2022
• Graford: Possum Kingdom Trailrace -12/15/2021, 12/29/2021, 1/12/2022, 1/26/2022, 2/8/2022, and 2/23/2022
• Harker Heights: Carl Levin City Park Pond - 12/18/2021 and 1/13/2022
• Haskell: Haskell City Park Pond - 1/13/2022
• Hearne: Hearne Eastside Park Pond - 1/20/2022
• Kendleton: King Kennedy Memorial Park - 1/4/2022
• Lamesa: Lamesa 9th Street Park Lake - 1/27/2022
• McGregor: Amsler Park - 1/27/2022
• Meridian: Meridian State Park - 1/13/2022
• Richmond: Jones Creek Ranch Park - 1/9/2022
• Rosenberg: Seabourne Creek Park - 2/27/2022
• Seymour: Seymour Pond North - 1/5/2022, 2/3/2022
• Sugar Land: Eldridge Park Pond - 1/19/2022
• Temple: Miller Park Pond - 12/20/2021, 1/25/2022
• Waco: Buena Vista Park Lake - 12/23/2021, 1/7/2022, 1/21/2022, 2/4/2022, 2/18/2022, and 3/4/2022
• Waco: Nora Pond - 12/5/2021, 12/14/2021, and 2/5/2022
For a complete list of dates and locations, go here. The TPWD notes that dates and locations are subject to change, and most trout stocking occurs between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Exact times are unavailable.