It’s the most wonderful time of the year for winter anglers as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks area waters with rainbow trout.
On December 11, staff from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos released about 2,100 rainbow trout into the Llano River at Castell.
Rainbow trout prefer colder waters and can survive in Texas rivers during the winter. However, they will not survive as the weather warms in the spring, so anglers are encouraged to keep the ones they catch.
The daily bag limit for these rainbow trout is five. Adult anglers need a current fishing license with a freshwater endorsement. Those ages 17 and younger do not need a license.
The fish released during stockings are a catchable size. They bite on live bait, small spinners or jigs, and size-appropriate spoons. Light tackle is fine for these fish.
Fly fishing is also a popular way to catch rainbow trout.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began stocking rainbow trout on November 26 for an approximate total of 343,650. Staff will continue stocking at various locations until the beginning of March.
The December 11 date is the only release scheduled for the Llano River at Castell and downriver.
Other nearby releases are in Blanco State Park on several dates now through January 30, W.M. Brook Park Lake in Lampasas on December 16, and Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site on January 3.
If you fish from the shore within a state park, you don’t need a license.