The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife will be stocking the Llano River with rainbow trout at three separate points Dec. 22 thanks to a grant awarded to Castell on the Llano.
The Llano County Commissioners Court awarded the $3,640 grant during its Nov. 9 regular meeting. The funds will go toward releasing 2,400 rainbow trout at three crossings on the Llano River: Texas 2768, CR 103, and CR 102. The fish will be distributed Dec. 22.
The grant comes from the Llano County hotel/motel tax funds, which works to promote tourism and visitors to the Llano area..
“This is all about putting heads in beds and promoting tourism,” said Karen Marion, owner of Castell on the Llano. “(Fishermen) come out for the trout, and it just brings them back to keep fishing the Llano.”
Castell on the Llano, which promotes several vacation rentals in the Castell area on or near the Llano, gets a healthy return on investment for stocking the river, Marion said.
“The fish last from when they’re put in — which is the colder part of the year — they last until the first part of May,” she said. “Some will find some deep, cold pools of water in the river and survive a lot longer.”
Those fish help attract anglers to the Llano River and Castell area during months that traditional tourism drops off.
Rainbow trout are a non-native, cool-water species that can tolerate winter temperatures and actively feed during those months. The fish are considered “put and take,” so anglers are encouraged to keep what they catch instead of catch and release. The trout that aren’t caught will likely die off in the late spring and early summer when water temperatures warm.
The Llano River is home to other species of fish, including the Guadalupe, largemouth, and white bass.
Anglers will need a valid fishing license and freshwater fishing endorsement. Youths 17 and younger do not need a fishing license.