HARLINGEN — Ready the rods and bust out the bobbers, because rainbow trout will be on the menu for some lucky anglers this February.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is beginning its winter tradition of trout stocking in municipal ponds and lakes this week.
The Harlingen Sports Complex on Wilson Road will be stocked with 1,000 rainbow trout on Feb. 4, ready to challenge any ambitious angler with a fishing license or who is under 17 years of age and doesn’t need a license.
TPWD plans to stock a total of 332,188 rainbow trout throughout the state from November through March.
Since rainbow trout are unable to survive the Texas heat once winter’s over, wildlife officials urge anglers to keep their daily bag limit of up to five trout. There is no size minimum.
“TPWD stocks catchable sized fish during winter months to create angling opportunities throughout Texas,” said TPWD’s rainbow trout program director Carl Kittel.
“Rainbow trout love cold water, can be caught on a variety of baits and lures (worms, power bait, corn, spinners, spoons, flies and more), and are great to take home and eat. Our winter rainbow trout program has been a favorite with anglers for over forty years,” he added.
The Harlingen Sports Complex is the only venue in the Rio Grande Valley which will be stocked with trout this winter.
Admittance to the Harlingen Sports Complex is free.
Tips for trout
>> Use the right-sized hooks, smaller is better
>> Use light line, perhaps with a fluorocarbon leader
>> Use a three-way rig
>> Use prepared baits, or even canned whole kernel corn
>> Use a light-action rod and ultra-light reel
Where to fish
>> Harlingen Sports Complex, 3239 Wilson Road, stocking date is Feb. 4
Licenses and limits
>> Daily bag limit is five trout, no minimum length
>> Two rods maximum
>> Anglers will need a valid fishing license with freshwater endorsement. Anglers under 17 are not required to have a license.