Because they are, by nature, a cold-water fish, freshwater trout are not native to Texas waters.
However, because most bodies of water in Texas get cold enough in the winter months to support trout life, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has, for many years, engaged in a winter trout stocking program.
This winter, a grand total of 344,650 hatchery-raised rainbow trout will be released into Texas waters.
Many of these waters are classified by TPWD as “Community Fishing Lakes” which are defined as “a public impoundment 75 acres or smaller located within an incorporated city limits or a public park, or any impoundment lying totally within the boundaries of a state park.”
Several Central Texas water bodies have or will receive stocked trout this winter; some will be stocked multiple times. Stocked fish are typically 10-12 inches in length. There is no minimum length limit on trout, and the daily bag limit is five fish per person. Standard fishing license requirements apply.
In a helpful guide entitled “Winter Trout Stocking Program Angling Tips” compiled by TPWD’s Marcos De Jesus (which may be accessed online), the author stresses simplicity. A baited hook weighted with a splitshot and cast with ultralight equipment and line in the 4- to 6-pound test range is sufficient.
According to De Jesus, an assortment of colorful and/or scented baits appeal to trout, including whole kernel corn, Velveeta cheese formed into balls, salmon eggs sold in small glass jars at sporting goods stores, red wiggler worms, nightcrawler worms cut into small pieces, crickets, mealworms or commercially available dough baits labeled just for trout.
De Jesus suggests the following artificial lures for those who prefer to cast and retrieve instead of sitting and waiting for a bite: inline spinners, spoons, curly tail jigs or grubs, bucktail jigs, swim shads and tiny crankbaits.
Finally, De Jesus provided the following for tips for trout anglers: arrive early to stock sites on stocking days, maintain a safe and courteous distance from fellow anglers, have an array of baits or lures available, and when harvesting trout, have ice available to keep your catch fresh.
Local water bodies chosen this winter for trout stocking, and the dates of those stockings, are as follows:
Bell County waters receiving trout include: in Harker Heights, the Carl Levin City Park Pond received 350 trout on Dec. 18. In Belton, Nolan Creek received two stockings totaling 1,600 fish, on Dec. 21 and 28. In Temple, Marvin Finn Pond at Sammons Park received 300 trout on Dec. 8, and Miller Park Pond was stocked on Dec. 8, and is due to be stocked again on March 1, with a total of 1,150 trout.
In Coryell County, the Copperas Cove City Pond was stocked on Dec. 12 and will be stocked again on Feb. 16, receiving a total of 1,000 fish.
In Lampasas County, W.M. Brook Park Lake was stocked with 700 rainbow trout on Dec. 16.
Finally, a bit further from home, the Blue Hole Park Lake in Georgetown received 1,250 trout on Jan. 15.
A Google search using the phrase ‘TWPD trout stocking’ reveals many other tips and locations for catching winter trout.