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WINTERTIME FISHING IS GREAT IN THE BRAZOS RIVER BASIN

The weather may be a little chilly, but this is a great time to get outdoors if you are an angler in the Brazos River basin – particularly if you like trout.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are in the middle of their annual release of rainbow trout into the Brazos River downstream from Possum Kingdom Lake’s Morris Sheppard Dam. Though the state agency stocks numerous water bodies each winter, the Brazos release of 9,000 trout marks the second largest in Texas. These fish prefer cooler water and are not believed to reproduce in the wild in most of the state, so they are released each winter. Officials made two releases into the river in December and two more are planned on Jan. 23 and Feb. 13.

But if trout are not your favorite, no worries, winter is a great time to cast your line for a variety of fish. The cooler weather means you won’t be competing for space with water-skiers and fair-weather boaters. Traffic may be lighter on the water, but beneath the surface things are really hopping.

Fish are exothermic or cold blooded, and the water temperature affects their metabolism, says David Collinsworth, the Brazos River Authority’s Central Basin business development manager and an avid fisherman. When the temperature drops, the cooler water turn fish into aggressive active feeders, eager to regain weight lost during the summer, Collinsworth said.

“As old man winter takes grip of Texas, baitfish will congregate and will resort to deeper parts of the lake,” Collinsworth said. “The many species of fish anglers seek such as crappie, white bass, and largemouth bass will be close behind looking for a chance to feed.”

Collinsworth says to be mindful of changing weather conditions because high winds associated with northern cold fronts can quickly turn reservoir conditions hazardous. Also, it is a good practice during the winter to fish with a partner and have an extra set of clothes in case you accidently fall in the cold water.

Despite ongoing drought conditions BRA lakes are still accessible, and reports indicate fish are biting. Here’s a summary of fishing conditions:

Possum Kingdom
As of the beginning of January, four boat ramps remain open, giving quick access to the lake: Sandy Beach, North D&D, South D&D and Scenic Cove.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s fishing report, the water is fairly clear and black bass fishing is fair to good using shallow-running crankbaits, Texas rigs, jigs and drop shot rigs. Crappie are good on minnows. White bass are fair on slabs. Striped bass are fair on live shad. Catfish are fair on prepared bait and nightcrawlers.

Granbury
This lake can be accessed by a boat ramp at DeCordova Bend Park.

Black bass are good on chartreuse/blue flake soft plastics and Rat–L–Traps. Striped bass are slow. White bass are fair on small spinnerbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are good on frozen shrimp, stinkbait, and liver, according to the TPWD fishing report.

Limestone
All but one boat ramp (at the dam) are open at this treasure of a fishing lake. TPWD says Lake Limestone offers some of the best fishing of any Central Texas lake, with its gently sloping banks, flooded timber and abundance of aquatic vegetation that offers cover for fish.

Among the varieties the wildlife department says are in good numbers are largemouth and white bass, crappie and catfish.

Conditions are ripe for anglers in the Brazos basin. The fish are biting; the lakes are less crowded and are easily accessible. To learn more about the upcoming rainbow trout releases, please click here. You can find some tips about trout fishing in Texas by going to this link. Current TPWD fishing reports and related information can be found here.