Trout Fishing is Still Hot in Texas

"Did you say trout fishing... in Texas?"

Yes, I sure did! Every winter, Texas Parks and Wildlife puts on a Rainbow Trout Stocking program in neighborhood ponds across the state. Old and young alike line the shores and try their hand at Texas trout fishing. 

Even though the weather is starting to warm up, the crappie and sandbass creek run is on and largemouth are starting to move to shallow water, the TPWD is still making their final rounds stocking ponds with 1/2 pound trout or bigger. 

I've enjoyed this program for years. I am fortunate to have a couple of stocked ponds in public parks near to my home, and just love that I can go catch some rainbows before work during deer season, or take my kids out on a warm afternoon in early March to throw some bobbers and see what happens.

Why stock Rainbow Trout?  

Rainbows are a great all-purpose trout to stock in ponds. Like most trout they are cold-water fish, which is why the program only lasts through March. They're a fairly easy fish to catch, fun for kids to fish, and are really great on the table. There are several ways to dress and cook rainbow trout, and all of them are delicious. 

How do you fish for trout in Texas?

Most people that I've run across out on the waterways are using bait off the bottom or under a bobber. Classic choices such as garlic cheese and Powerbait are an excellent go-to off of a small Carolina-rigged treble hook 12-24" off the bottom, as well as crappie nibbles, nightcrawlers or even canned corn under a bobber can work. 

If soaking bait isn't your style, you're in luck. Stocker trout will go after small spinners and shiny spoons as well. And if you're feeling up to the challenge, you can always throw a fly, for the ultimate adventure in trout fishing. 

I've found that the best time to fish is a day or two after stocking. Keep an eye on the schedule, mark your calendar for local ponds, and then make sure to drive by around those dates and check for tire marks from the nearest road or parking lot access to the water. Talk to others fishing and you'll typically find out when the last truck was there. Sometimes they're right on schedule, but as with any delivery there are often logistical delays and they may deliver a few days late. When the fishing is hot, my local fishing hole will be lined up with folks hoping to get a stringer full of Texas trout.

Check the TPWD Website for the scheduled stocking at a pond near you, and get out and fish!


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Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 1)

FAIR. Water lightly stained; 48-50 degrees; 0.10 feet below pool. White bass are fair fishing deep flats in 30-35 feet with fish suspended hugging close to bottom. Crappie are slow on trees off of point or levees 30-34 feet of water with minnows working best, but jigs will get you a bite as well. Catfish are good on long flats and points in 28-35 feet of water using cut shad drifting with socks. Report by John Varner, John Varner's Guide Service.

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