Annual Trout Stocking
Galen Jons, Fisheries Biologist
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has stocked rainbow trout in Texas since 1966. That year, 10,000 fish were stocked in four sites around the state. This year, 250,000 trout are being stocked at 100 locations around the state. Since 1966, 6.3 million trout have been stocked in Texas.
As some of you may already know, the TPWD stocked rainbow trout into the small middle pond at Nelson Park last Thursday (December 20). Approximately 1,570 fish were stocked. Although people began fishing for the trout immediately after they were stocked, there are still quite a few fish left.
Rainbow trout are a cold-water fish, meaning they won't survive when water temperatures start to warm up. They will begin to die when the water temperature reaches 70 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit (usually around mid-April in the Big Country). However, they do provide a unique fishery during the cool winter months. Because they will not survive come springtime, we recommend harvesting of these fish, rather than catch-and-release. They do provide for excellent table fare.
People who are new to trout fishing often wonder about how to catch them. As with most fishing, the best way to learn is to try different methods. For starters, you need the right bait. Artificial lures are favored for trout in clear water, but if you're fishing for them at Nelson Park, organic bait will be more effective in that turbid water. Good baits to try are corn (straight out of the can), worms, insects, and even cheese and salmon eggs! Another favorite bait is the commercially-prepared dough baits, such as Berkley's PowerBait for trout.
Try fishing the bait under a float (cork or bobber) at different depths. Often the best place is just above the bottom, so you should start your search there, and work upwards in the water column. Use light tackle (4 - 8lb. test line) and you will catch more fish.
If you decide to try a more natural setting for trout, you can fish the Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake at the Highway 16 bridge. This winter, trout are scheduled to be stocked in this part of the river during December 11, January 8, February 7 and March 7. Approximately 2000 trout are stocked on each date.
Artificial lures are favorites on the Brazos River. For conventional anglers, small inline spinners work very well. Many anglers fishing that area, however, prefer flyfishing gear, with small lures that imitate insects. This fishery is very popular, so be prepared to share the river if you go.
Anglers are reminded that a trout stamp ($7) is required in addition to the regular fishing license. Monies from stamp sales are used to insure continuation of the trout program. Anglers exempt from fishing license requirements, such as youth ages 16 and under, do not need the stamp. Trout stamps are available at most license outlets. Contact your local TPWD law enforcement office (673-3333) for specifics.
The complete trout stocking list for all of Texas can be found at
our website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.
5325 N. 3rd
Abilene, TX 79603
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