Hundreds of thousands of catchable-size rainbow trout are headed to 150 public water bodies across the state this winter. A total of 18 Neighborhood Fishin' lakes and ponds located in Texas' 11 most populated urban centers will be the first of the season to offer rainbow trout fishing.
"These urban area parks are the easiest places in Texas for families to catch a fish close to home," said Eddie McKenna, TPWD Multicultural Marketing and Outreach Specialist. "85 percent of us live near one of these small lakes and ponds. By making fishing accessible, we're helping create a whole new generation of anglers."
Anglers looking for somewhere to fish for free without having to purchase a fishing license can visit one of 18 state parks being stocked with rainbow trout this year. The list of state parks regularly receiving rainbow trout stockings includes Lake Bob Sandlin State Park in East Texas, Blanco State Park in Central Texas, and Fort Richardson State Park in North Texas. Many of the state parks being stocked with rainbow trout have a free tackle loaner program on-site for anyone who needs it.
All of the 150-plus lakes, ponds and river tailraces being stocked around the state will receive more than 300,000 rainbow trout through the first week of March. The full list of public water bodies receiving rainbow trout this year, along with scheduled stocking dates and numbers of fish, can be found online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/troutstocking.
Rainbow trout are subject to a five fish per day bag limit, with no minimum length limit. Special regulations are in effect on two sections of the Guadalupe River. Anglers ages 17 and older must have a valid Texas freshwater fishing license – including while fishing at Neighborhood' Fishin ponds – unless fishing within a Texas State Park where fishing licenses are not required. Kids under 17 fish for free.
One of the state's most popular trout fishing destinations, the Guadalupe River fishery downstream of Canyon Lake between Austin and San Antonio, will receive more than 17,000 rainbow trout through February with the first stocking happening Dec. 1. To help anglers access the river during the peak of the cool-weather trout fishing season, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has leased four access areas from private landowners starting the first week of December.
"This portion of the Guadalupe River is a very popular trout fishery and is likely the most fished reach of river in Texas," said Stephan Magnelia, TPWD River Studies Program Director. "By leasing these prime fishing locations from private landowners we are able to provide anglers with a truly unique trout fishing experience right here in central Texas."
From Dec. 1 through late spring, the "no fee" leases give anglers the opportunity for bank and wade fishing – as well as put-in and take out areas for kayaks and paddling equipment – in four locations:
Camp Huaco Springs, Dec. 1, 2017, through March 9, 2018: This location provides approximately 0.5 miles of bank access along alternating pools and riffles. The bank is gently sloped and rocky. Anglers can wade fish both upstream and downstream, or fish from the bank. There is a low-water dam at the upper end of the property and a deep pool at the lower end. This site will be closed to public access Feb. 23-25, 2018 due a large children's fishing event that will be held at the site.
Whitewater Sports, Dec. 1, 2017, through March 9, 2018: This location provides 500 feet of bank access upstream of the 306 bridge crossing along the east side of the river. The bank is rocky and lined with cypress trees. A deep pool is located just above the bridge. Anglers can wade fish both upstream and downstream.
Rio Guadalupe Resort, Dec. 1, 2017, through March 9, 2018: This location provides 950 feet of bank access upstream of fourth bridge crossing on River Road along the west side of the river. Anglers can wade fish both upstream and downstream. Free access at this site is subject to a 10 vehicle limit. After the vehicle limit is met anglers can still access the site for a daily fee.
Mountain Breeze Campground, Dec. 1, 2017, through March 9, 2018: This location provides approximately 1,000 feet of bank access along a deep pool. The bank is steeply sloped and stairs offer access to the water for wading. Additionally, TPWD will stock the Canyon Reservoir Tailrace with thousands of rainbow trout each week from early December through late-January. The full list of scheduled stocking dates and numbers of fish can be found online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/troutstocking.
Access to all public access sites is open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset each day for angling from the banks and launching non-motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, or other floatable devices for the purpose of fishing.
Special trout fishing regulations are in effect on two sections of the Guadalupe River Anglers should check the latest TPWD Outdoor Annual for information on Guadalupe River trout fishing regulations. Anglers age 17 and older must have a valid Texas freshwater fishing license.