The air is colder, and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy autumn hunting, hiking and bird watching opportunities – and, it’s also rainbow trout season in the Lone Star State.
Decades ago, if Texans wanted the opportunity to catch a rainbow trout, they might consider traveling to an area with cold water, such as the Rocky or Appalachian mountains. Today, it is much easier to catch the fish thanks to a popular program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Each year, TPWD releases rainbow trout in locations throughout the Brazos River basin and across the state, giving people a chance to reel in some of these prized fish. There is no minimum length for the trout, and there is a daily limit of five fish per angler.
“We stock them at a catchable and eatable size,” Carl Kittel, a program director for TPWD’s Inland Fisheries, said on the TPWD’s Passport to Texas radio program. “They are good fighting fish; they’re relatively easy to catch. We usually stock them in smaller bodies of water, so they’re a good fishing, catching opportunity and good eating opportunity as well.”
Rainbow trout are stocked in colder months in Texas because they require cooler water temperatures to thrive.
“We do winter stockings when the water temperatures permit it, to provide an opportunity for anglers to catch trout in Texas,” Kittel said. “It’s a species of fish that anglers wouldn’t catch otherwise, so we stock them, and we intend them all to be caught during the season.”
The fish actually do thrive for longer periods in the Guadalupe River south of Canyon Dam (in Comal County) and in the waters of McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. In those locations, water temperatures are cold enough for the fish to survive longer. But the TPWD’s rainbow trout stocking program allows people throughout the state to catch them without having to travel as far.
Those who want to catch trout must have a $5 freshwater fishing stamp, which is included in freshwater fishing license packages. Children younger than 17 do not need a license or freshwater stamp to fish. Trout will be stocked in some locations at the end of November, with the latest stocking dates scheduled for March 2019.
Locations and stocking dates in the Brazos basin include:
- American Legion Park Pond in Missouri City, 1,800 fish, Jan. 4, Jan. 31 and Feb. 21.
- Amsler Park in McGregor, 2,800 fish, Dec. 12 and Feb. 3.
- Bates Allen Park 2 in Rosenberg, 1,000 fish, Jan. 4.
- Blue Hole Park Lake in Georgetown, 1,250 fish, Jan. 18.
- Blue Ridge Park Pond in Missouri City, 700 fish, Jan. 2.
- Bluestem Pond in Somerville, 500 fish, Dec. 18.
- Buena Vista Park Lake in Waco, 896 fish, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, Dec. 28, Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 8.
- Cal Young Park in Abilene, 2,800 fish, Dec. 7 and Jan. 30.
- Carl Levin City Park Pond in Temple, 1,400 fish, Dec. 13 and Jan. 23.
- Caudle in Hale Center, 1,200 fish, Dec. 9.
- Central Park Pond in College Station, 1,792 fish, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, Dec. 28, Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 8.
- Copperas Cove City Park, 1,000 fish, Feb. 17.
- Cy Miller Pond in College Station, 928 fish, Jan. 23.
- Eldridge Park in Sugar Land, 750 fish, Jan. 23.
- First Capitol Park Pond in West Columbia, 500 fish, Dec. 12.
- Fort Griffin State Historic Site in Abilene, 1,126 fish, Dec. 15, Jan. 19, Feb. 16.
- Garey Park in Georgetown, 1,000 fish, Dec. 9.
- Glen Rose Town Lake, 2,000 fish, Dec. 3 and Jan. 3.
- Grover-Nelson Small Pond in Abilene, 1,165 fish, Nov. 30, Dec. 28, Jan. 25 and Feb. 22.
- Hearne Eastside Park Pond, 1,000 fish, Feb. 20.
- Huneke Park Lake in Lubbock, 1,750 fish, Dec. 9.
- Jones Creek Ranch Park in Richmond, 1,000 fish, Jan. 7.
- King Kennedy Memorial Park in Kendleton, 500 fish, Jan. 4.
- Kitty Hollow Lake in Missouri City, 1,200 fish, Jan. 4.
- Kosse City Park Pond, 1,000 fish, Dec. 11 and Jan. 9.
- Marvin Finn Pond at Sammon Park No. 2 in Temple, 500 fish, Dec. 9.
- Meadows Place City Lake (Sugar Land area), 1,100 fish, Dec. 4.
- Meridian State Park in Meridian, 2,000 fish, Jan. 10.
- Miller Park Pond in Temple, 1,200 fish, Dec. 9 and Feb. 24.
- Missouri City Community Park Lake, 1,896 fish, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, Dec. 28, Jan. 11, Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 8.
- Nails Creek Pond No. 1, Somerville, 500 fish, Dec. 18.
- Nolan Creek in Belton, 2,200 fish, Dec. 22 and Dec. 28.
- Possum Kingdom Tailrace in Graford, 9,000 fish, Dec. 6, Dec. 20, Jan. 3, Jan. 17, Jan. 31 and Feb. 15.
- Seabourne Creek Park in Rosenberg, 1,100 fish, Feb. 17.
- Springfield in Mexia, 1,300 fish, Jan. 27.
A total of 322,568 fish are scheduled to be stocked statewide. Dates may change because of weather or other factors. For a complete list of locations statewide and contact information for TPWD, click here. Helpful tips on catching rainbow trout can be found here.