Embracing the Chill: Trout Season Returns to East Texas

Brace yourselves for the vibrant return of trout, the colorful, shiny, and cold-weather enthusiasts making a splash in Texas for yet another unique fishing season.

“It is, and it’s kind of unique because when you think of fishing in Texas, you don’t think of a cold-water species because we’re such a hot state,” remarked Donovan Patterson, Texas Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist.

These trouts, given special care, are transported from out-of-state hatcheries and patiently wait until the weather aligns with their Texas debut. Around the end of November, as Texas water temperatures dip, these fish gracefully reappear.

“Trout is a pretty aggressive predator. They’ll eat anything they can fit in their mouth. So, bugs, other fish, small snakes, birds, and frogs, they’re going to try and eat. I caught one on a leaf one time ’cause I ran out of bait, hahaha,” shared Patterson.

Stocked in large ponds, trouts venture out in search of optimal water quality and bait fish. They prefer clear streams and ponds where visibility is high.

“Trout are very visually driven. When you think of a trout, you think of a clear stream with high visibility. They can see lures moving. They can see insects moving, they can see flies and things that look like food to them, so they’re a highly visual predator,” explained Patterson.

The slime on a rainbow trout serves a purpose, contributing to their immune system.

“Since trout spend their whole life in the water, they’ve gotta have that first barrier so parasites and any other pathogens (don’t) get into their systems,” Patterson added.

In exciting news, stockings will continue until February. TPWD recommends cooking the caught trout promptly, as bass and birds are eager competitors for this seasonal delight.

“The bass love to eat the trout when they’re slow and easy pickings and don’t have to chase them around and they’re getting hungry after a winter of not eating a whole lot,” Patterson highlighted.

A couple of reminders for enthusiasts: a fishing license is necessary for individuals aged 17 or older, and there is a daily limit of five trout with no minimum length requirement for a keep-worthy catch.

Image/Source: CBS19

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