Lakecaster Online

Rainbow Trout Stockings Set for January and February
By Todd Driscoll
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

As the Christmas holiday season approaches and cooler weather drops water temperatures in our lakes, many people wait with anticipation for the beginning of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TPWD) popular rainbow trout stocking program. On a statewide basis, over 240,000 trout will be stocked in approximately 150 sites from December through March. All lakes that receive trout are less than 100 acres, with a majority less than 20 acres and located within a city or state park. Most of these fish will range in size from 8 to 12 inches.

The trout stocking program is funded through the sales of Texas Freshwater Trout Stamps. This $7 stamp is required for anyone that is required to have a valid fishing license. A stamp is not required for those born before September 1, 1930 or anyone possessing a lifetime combination or fishing license. Children under 17 years of age do not need a fishing license or a trout stamp. Stamps should be available wherever fishing licenses are sold.
Rainbow trout are not native to Texas because summer temperatures of almost all Texas water bodies exceed their tolerance. Rainbow trout can withstand water temperatures of 75 degrees for brief periods but prefer temperatures ranging from 52 to 66 degrees. Because of this, trout are stocked on what we call a "put and take" basis. Stocked trout will not survive the summer so limits are liberalized and harvest is encouraged. The daily bag limit is 5 trout, the possession limit is 10, and there is no minimum length limit. Experienced trout anglers will tell you that trout are excellent table fare.

Trout fishing is relatively simple and is ideal for introducing youngsters to the sport. These stocked trout are fairly aggressive and action is usually fast and furious. Most trout can be caught from the bank with cane poles or simple spincast outfits equipped with a bobber, small hook, and kernel corn or prepared trout bait. However, seasoned trout anglers also catch trout on more traditional gear, such as artificial flies and small spinners.

The complete statewide trout stocking schedule will be posted at the TPWD web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us). Typically, trout are stocked by noon on the advertised day. Local lakes that will be receiving trout include Boykin Springs (1,785 trout on January 4 and 1,785 trout on February 5), Claiborne West Park in Orange County (1,250 trout on January 11 and 1,251 trout on February 1), Doornbos Park Pond in Nederland (600 trout on January 12), and Jasper City Park Pond (1,325 trout on January 12).

In conjunction with these stockings, youth fishing events are being coordinated at Doornbos Park Pond and Jasper City Park Pond. Both events are scheduled for January 12. Mark this date on your calendar and take a child fishing. If you have any questions about the trout program or the upcoming youth fishing events, contact our local Inland Fisheries office by phone (409-384-9572) or email (todd3d@jas.net). Good luck and good fishing!

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