Each winter from December through early March, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Inland Fisheries Division, in cooperation with participating cities and agencies, stocks more than 260,000 catchable-size rainbow trout in more than 100 locations across Texas. This trout stocking program is designed to provide increased wintertime fishing opportunities for Texas’ more than 2.3 million anglers. As a part of this program, The Meredith Stilling Basin is scheduled to receive 1,000 rainbow trout during the week of December 5 and an additional 1,000 during the week of January 30. All stocking dates are subject to change due to weather and availability of trout.
Rainbow trout are a very popular coldwater game fish that offers a great winter fishing opportunity for anglers of all ages. These fish are prized for both their fight and their quality as fine table fare. While rainbow trout can best be caught in early morning and late evening periods, anytime of day can produce excellent results. Fishing gear for these hungry trout can be as simple as a cane pole or as sophisticated as a fly rod. Trout often display selective feeding habits, and sometimes prefer a wide variety of lures and baits. Ultra-light spinning tackle using 4- to 6-pound test-line and 1/32 to 1/8 ounce spinners works well. Dry or wet flies, small spoons, and bucktail or feather jigs are also productive. There are many methods which will catch trout, but baits such as whole kernel corn, cheese, and salmon eggs on a long-shank hook (#8 or smaller) are very effective for the hatchery-reared fish. It is also a good idea to carry a pair of needle-nosed pliers to aid in removing hooks.
Anglers are reminded that Community Fishing Lakes do have special regulations for rainbow trout: the daily bag limit is 5 trout per day per person, and there is no minimum length regulation on these small lakes. A valid Texas freshwater fishing license is required for anyone that is 17 years of age or older or does not meet other state exemption guidelines. Only fishing by pole and line is permitted in Community Fishing Lakes. For more information on statewide and community fishing regulations consult a 2011-2012 Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual available at any license retailer or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us .
For more information on the trout stocking program, and for a complete list of locations stocked in Texas visit our website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/management/stocking/trout_stocking.phtml . You can also visit our Facebook page “Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries – Texas High Plains”.