Here Come the Rainbow Trout!


AUSTIN, TX – In the annual Texas winter tradition, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is set to initiate the stocking of thousands of rainbow trout across state waterbodies, marking the start of the holiday season.  TPWD Inland Fisheries San Angelo District stocks rainbow trout in the Concho River downtown, at Javalina Draw in the San Angelo State Park, and at Foster Park near the Dove Creek Community. 

Fish wranglers will be stocking the Concho River in downtown San Angelo at Celebration Bridge Oakes Street for the first time this coming Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. 

Commencing the week of Thanksgiving, TPWD plans to introduce 343,331 rainbow trout to Texas waterways from Nov. 22 through March 1. These fish offer anglers the opportunity to capture this iconic species with simple fishing equipment such as light tackle or hand-tied flies on a fly rod. Nevertheless, carrying various baits, lures, and ice for freshness is advisable. Rainbow trout, esteemed for their taste, are easily complemented by numerous recipes found online.

Given the unsuitability of warm water temperatures for rainbow trout survival in most Texas regions after winter, anglers are encouraged to adhere to a daily bag limit of five trout. Exceptions exist within special trout management zones along the Guadalupe River downstream of Canyon Lake, an area renowned as one of the nation's top 100 trout streams and recognized as the southernmost trout stream in North America, sustaining rainbow trout throughout the year.

Besides the Guadalupe River, TPWD stocks rainbow trout in various locales including the Brazos River downstream of Possum Kingdom Lake, segments of the Frio and South Llano rivers, and the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

While trout stocking extends to several Texas sites, TPWD's Neighborhood Fishin’ program offers a distinctive experience for families and novice anglers around major cities. With 18 managed lakes in urban hubs like Amarillo, Austin, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Houston, San Angelo, San Antonio, and Wichita Falls, these locations are frequently stocked with rainbow trout during winter, providing amenities for a fulfilling family day amidst nature.

Additionally, fishing without a license is permitted at Texas State Parks from banks, docks, or piers. Park visitors are advised to secure a day pass in advance, which can be reserved online through the TPWD website or via phone at (512) 389-8900.

Carl Kittel, TPWD Rainbow Trout Program Director, highlighted the program's goal of creating unique winter fishing opportunities across Texas and emphasized the trout's preference for cold water. Kittel noted the popularity of the winter rainbow trout program among anglers spanning over forty years.

Texas mandates a fishing license with a freshwater fishing endorsement for adults, while youth under 17 are exempt. Funds from license sales support TPWD efforts to ensure exceptional fishing opportunities for present and future generations.

Anglers in Community Fishing Lakes or within Texas State Parks are permitted two poles, with a statewide bag limit of five trout and no minimum length restriction, except in specific sections of the Guadalupe River with special regulations.

Dates and locations for stocking are subject to change due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Anglers are encouraged to verify the 2023-24 Trout Stocking Schedule online for stocking dates, fishing regulations, and additional winter trout angling tips before heading out.

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