By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
December 3, 2020
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is serving up 334,088 chances for you to catch a Rainbow trout as it has started stocking hundreds of locations across the state.
In Glen Rose Thursday, employees with the Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery showed up shortly before 1 p.m. and pumped in 1,000 trout for eager anglers who line up on the shoreline ready to cast a lure, fly or bait.
Weatherford is another nearby location stocked on Dec. 7, and the Stephenville City Park is expected to receive 1,000 trout on Feb. 14.
Due to the cold-nature of trout (waters above 70 degrees are deadly for them), there is one location in Texas where an angler can catch trout year-round, and that’s about four hours away at the Canyon Lake Tailrace on the Guadalupe River.
Traveling four hours to introduce the kids to trout fishing is a little too extreme for most folks, so that makes the Texas trout stocking a great opportunity without lots of travel and expense involved.
If you know how to fish for perch and other panfish, you are halfway to a “degree” in trout fishing, and chances are you have plenty of tackle and hooks for catching these little prize-fighters. A three-pound trout is about the equivalent of catching an eight-pound large-mouth bass, except the trout is much faster.
You shouldn’t expect to catch three-pound trout in Texas as most trout range in the 10-12 inch range, but there have been reports of larger fish being stocked, including a 2.5-pounder in Weatherford two years ago.
Smaller fish means using lighter tackle, and an ultra-light pole with a 2-6 pound test line is ideal for trout fishing. If you are fishing with bait, the hooks should range from #4-8 for long shanks and #10-12 in circle hooks.
Your bait can be anything from corn to earthworms to various dough baits in many colors and flavors. If it’s your first time, buy some corn or Velveeta cheese, and nobody has to handle those earthworms. Salmon eggs are another trout favorite and also have a wide range of choices and flavors.
Trout are sensitive eaters, much like catfish, and will often come in and pick up a bait and give it a taste. If you try and set the hook too soon, all you will end up with is an empty hook.
If you like to fish with a bobber, go with the smallest one you can find. Many people prefer fishing with a bobber, but it’s not always the most effective method for landing trout.
If you want to fish on the bottom, use a 1/8-ounce barrel weight that will let the line slide through it so when the trout picks up your rig, the fish feels only the bait. Leave a slightly slack line so you can see it start to tighten, and try to avoid the temptation of going for that first pull. You can rest your pole in a holder or with a forked stick, but watch out because trout can make a pole disappear in a heartbeat.
Again like catfish, trout will sometimes bite the instant your bait hits bottom, and you will catch fish after fish, and at other times, you might be out there chanting, “here fishy, fishy, fishy” over and over to no avail. If you are going to use bait for fishing, it’s a good idea to carry a few different choices because trout can be finicky.
If you want to experience the real power of these small fish, try your hand at using an artificial lure. You don’t have to buy fancy lures or worry about fly fishing to get the enjoyment of a trout’s strike.
Small spinnerbaits (Panther Martin), Kastmasters, Rapala medium depth swimmers, and other trolling lures work well with trout. Attaching these lures to a 2-6-pound test line and an ultra-light fishing pole provides the best fishing experience because the lighter lures won’t cast far off the bank with heavy line dragging them down.
Don’t be afraid to loosen the drag and take your time getting the fish to shore. Often, the fish will leave the water (usually more than once) in an attempt to shake the hook and add to the fun.
Trout are the easiest of fish to clean, prepare, and cook. They don’t require scaling, and a slice from the throat to the anal fin is all that is needed to clean out the fish. There is also a small line of blood along the spine that needs to be cleaned out.
Some people say leaving the head on the fish adds flavor, while others lean towards a little less shock value and leave themselves more room in the skillet with quick and easy removal.
Salt, pepper, and butter your favorite skillet, and turn the burner to medium heat is the best skillet method. When the skin starts to peel off the meat, the fish is done. Serve with lemon and watch for the small bones. The oven and the BBQ grill work well, too. There are many recipes to choose from on the internet.
Besides having a fishing license, there are no special stamps required to fish for trout in Texas. A fishing license is not required in state park areas; however, parks and community fishing lakes (CFL) do have a no more than a two-pole requirement.
Anglers are limited to five fish per day, and there is no size requirement. Unharmed fish may be returned to the water for others to enjoy. The colder the weather, the better your chances of landing one of these beauties as they love cold water.
Here is the URL to the 2019-20 Texas trout stocking schedule that lists some of the rules and regulations regarding trout. The TPWD updates its program on stocking if needed, and the weather plays a factor.