Great Outdoors: Trout without the salt

Special to the Parade

Great Outdoors pic-12-8-11What would you say if I wrote that the Texas Parks and Wildlife was going to bring over 1000 fish to Harlingen, just for you?

These are not the better known spotted seatrout but the freshwater variety of trout with the name of “rainbow.”

Each year, TPWD stocks roughly 250,000, 9-12 inch hatchery-reared rainbow trout in more than 100 neighborhood and state park locations across Texas as a part of the annual stocking program. Locations such as Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Bullfrog Pond in Austin, and the Sports Complex in Harlingen, are some of the locations used by the program in past years. The program occurs in the winter due to the cooler water temperatures in Texas water bodies.

Rainbow trout are an anadromous, cool-to-cold-water fish species. Although rainbows have been known to tolerate higher temperatures, they do best in areas where the water remains below 70 degrees. Rainbow trout are carnivores. They will feed on a wide variety of prey including insects, crustaceans, mollusks and fish. Where they are raised at hatcheries, they are fed prepared feed pellets.

While most of the popular locations will still get trout this year, stockings will be down about 10 percent from last year due to water level conditions at some sites, according to Todd Engeling, TPWD hatchery program director.

“Trout stockings will be down, but not as bad as we initially anticipated,” Engeling said. “Our popular stocking sites should remain the same as long as there is sufficient water and those sites without enough water may not receive stockings.”

This year, over 1,000 trout will be stocked in the lake at the Harlingen Sports Complex on Feb. 2, 2012. This will be the closest location for Valley fishermen and women. This would be a grand chance to take the kids out for a morning of trout fishing and later having a delicious trout dinner.

Many Valley anglers have never had the chance to fish for freshwater trout, so let me give a few tips on how to catch these tasty fish. So here are a few tips.

Light to ultra-light rods, reels, and tackle is all that is needed, a few small hooks, some bobbers, lures or bait and you will be ready to start fishing. Oh yes, anyone over 17 must have a Texas fishing license. As for bait, try these longtime winners, corn, cheese balls, salmon eggs, worms or night crawlers, commercial trout bait, crickets, and dough baits will do the job.

The stocking schedule can be accessed at the TPWD web site:

Editor’s Note: To see more of Jim’s writing and photography, visit If you have comments or news for Jim Foster, email him at

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1 comment

    • O. Wilson on July 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm
    • Reply

    The TPWD should think more futuristically and stock Florida strain largemouth bass into this warm water ecosystem.

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