Bundle up: It’s time to catch a Rainbow

Bundle up: It’s time to catch a Rainbow

Just in time for the holidays, the 2023-2024 rainbow trout stocking schedule has been released. 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks rainbow trout in about 100 locations each winter, many of which are in the Brazos River Basin. There are a multitude of reasons why the TPWD takes the time to stock fish, including: starting populations in new or renovated waters; restoring populations that have been reduced or eliminated; providing catchable-size fish for educational activities and community fishing lakes; and taking advantage of improved habitat resulting from increased water level or new vegetation.

The rainbow trout stocking schedule is highly anticipated as the fish are easy to catch, make great eating, and are attractive. They also aren’t native to the area, making them a special treat.

Rainbow trout have been known to tolerate higher temperatures, but they do best in areas where the water remains below 70°F, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In Texas, high temperatures prevent reproduction or even over-summer survival in most areas. Rainbow trout feed on a wide variety of prey, including insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish.

Rainbow trout derive their name from their beautiful, multi-hued coloration, according to The National Wildlife Federation. The fish are blue, green, or yellowish, silvery white on the underside, with a horizontal pink-red stripe running from the gills to the tail and black spots along their backs.

Use light tackle for a chance to catch these feist fish, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Bait suggestions include kernel corn, cheese balls, wigglers, crickets, and mealworms. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers a 10-page site full of angling tips. 

A few details important to remember before you head out to fish:

  • There is no minimum length limit for harvesting
  • The daily bag limit is five trout
  • 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
  • All anglers need a valid fishing license that includes a freshwater fishing endorsement
  • Anglers under 17 years of age are not required to have a license
  • Licenses and endorsements are not required when fishing within a Texas State Park

Some of the stocking dates and locations in the Brazos River basin include: 

Upper Basin (by County, City, Location and Date)

Baylor-Seymour-Seymour Pond North: 12/7/2023, 1/4/2024, 2/25/2024
Hale-Hale Center-Caudle: 12/3/2023
Haskell-Haskell-Haskell City Park Pond: 2/25/2024
Hockley-Levelland-Breshears Lake: 12/1/2023
Hockley-Levelland-Lobo Lake: 12/1/2023
Hutchinson-Stanford- Meredith Stilling Basin: 12/5/2023
Jack-Jacksboro-Fort Richardson State Park: 12/17/2023, 1/21/2024, 2/18/2024
Johnson-Burleson-Bailey Lake: 11/30/2023, 1/23/2024
Johnson-Joshua-Joshua City Park Pond: 1/14/2024, 2/6/2024
Palo Pinto-Graford-Possum Kingdom Tailrace: 11/30/2023, 12/14/2023, 12/28/2023, 1/11/2024, 1/25/2024, 2/8/2024, 2/22/2024
Taylor-Abilene-Cal Young Park Lake: 11/28/2023, 12/21/2023, 1/11/2024, 2/20/2024
Taylor-Abilene-Elm Creek Buffalo Wallow: 11/28/2023, 1/11/2024

Central Basin (by County, City, Location and Date)

Bell-Belton-Nolan Creek:  12/16/2023, 12/29/2023
Bell-Harker Heights-Carl Levin City Park Pond: 12/16/2023
Bell-Temple-Miller Park Pond: 12/17/2023, 2/25/2024
Bosque-Meridian-Meridian Sate Park: 1/10/2024
Coryell-Copperas Cove-Copperas Cove City: 3/3/2024
McLennan-McGregor-Amsler Park: 11/30/2023, 1/22/2024
McLennan-Waco-Buena Vista Park Lake: 11/22/2023, 12/8/2023, 12/22/2023, 1/5/2024 1/19/2024, 2/2/2024, 2/16/2024, 3/1/2024
Somervell-Glen Rose-Glen Rose Town Lake: 12/5/2023, 1/3/2024
Somervell-Glen Rose-Paluxy River at Dinosaur Valley State Park: 12/7/2023

Lower Basin (by County, City, Location and Date)

Brazos-College Station-Central Park Pond #1: 11/22/2023, 12/8/2023, 12/22/2023, 1/5/2024 1/19/2024, 2/2/2024, 2/16/2024, 3/1/2024
Brazos-College Station-Cy Miller Pond: 1/17/2024
Burleson-Somerville-Bluestem Pond: 2/22/2024
Lee-Somerville-Nails Creek Pond #1: 1/30/2024
Leon-Centerville-Fort Boggy State Park: 12/13/2023, 2/25/2024
Limestone-Kosse-Kosse City Park Pond: 12/6/2023
Limestone-Mexia-Springfield: 1/29/2024
Robertson-Hearne-Hearne Eastside Park Pond (59): 1/17/2024

For the complete list of dates and locations, go here.