Thousands of rainbow trout will be released into rivers and creeks across the Highland Lakes in November, December, and January. Anglers can snag these cold-water beauties through the spring of 2024 thanks to the efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“TPWD stocks catchable-sized fish during winter months to create unique winter angling opportunities throughout Texas,” said Carl Kittel, director of the department’s Rainbow Trout Program. “Rainbow trout love cold water and can be caught on a variety of baits and lures, and are great to take home and eat.”
Rainbows are native to the Rocky Mountains and need fresh, flowing cold water to survive, so they can only be caught for a few brisk-weather months in Texas. The TPWD will release 342,831 rainbow trout in the state between late November 2023 and late February 2024. About 8,150 of those fish will be released in the Highland Lakes area at the following locations:
- Hamilton Creek Park, West Jackson Street in Burnet — 750 released on Dec. 28
- Blanco State Park, 101 Park Road 23 in Blanco — 3,000 released on Nov. 28, Dec. 13, Jan. 3, and Jan. 26
- Grenwelge Park, 199 E. Haynie St. in Llano — 2,000 released on Jan. 3
- Castell General Store, 19522 RR 152 West in Castell — 2,400 released on Dec. 5
Use light tackle. Rainbow trout are sight-based predators that can be easily spooked by the heavy turbulence of a clunky setup. Stick to small baits, flys, small hooks, simple rigging, and light line for the best results.
These are farm-raised fish, so they will strike at feed, not just their natural prey such as worms and insect larva. TPWD recommends using everything from corn kernels to nightcrawlers to get these trout to bite.
You’ll need a valid Texas Fishing License to go for trout unless you are fishing from the bank in a Texas State Park.