A Rainbow of Delights at Southside Lions
This San Antonio park is one of many stocked Neighborhood Fishin’ spots.
Try an urban park that’s regularly stocked for easy-access, sure-catch fishing. With minimal gear, you can be catching fish in no time.
San Antonio’s Southside Lions Park (3100 Hiawatha St.) fits the bill. Since 2009, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has stocked rainbow trout in the 7.5-acre lake every winter (through March) with the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, as well as Millers Pond on the southwest side of the city.
Catfish are stocked in warmer months.
Stockings are regularly scheduled at parks in or near Austin, Amarillo, Bryan-College Station, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo, Waco and Wichita Falls as well.
Generally, rainbows do not reproduce or survive through the hot Texas summer. However, a self-sustaining trout population exists in McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains (no fishing allowed).
In stocked ponds, rainbow trout are not only fun to catch for the entire family, they’re also excellent table fare. Look for recipes here.
If you want to eat your catch, keep them cool for best flavor, but don’t soak them in water. Place in a plastic bag on top of the ice in your cooler.
The bag limit is five, no minimum length. Adults (17+) need a valid fishing license that includes a freshwater fishing endorsement. Check the stocking schedule here.
To fish for these catchable-sized, hatchery-reared fish, imagine how they have been fed until now: fish pellets. If you’re fishing in the first few days after stocking, mimic their previous diet using commercially manufactured trout baits. Soon, they will discover other food sources as they learn their new environment.
Stocking day can be hectic as crowds gather at the release point, so show up early and be respectful.
Find more tips at tpwmag.com.
Trout aren’t stationary for long after release. In a stream, they face into a light current (from moving water or wind). Find a good spot away from the crowds and wait for them to come. Keep bait a few inches to a foot off the bottom. That puts it in their sight path. If you use the right bait that disperses scent into the water, they’ll find it.
TROUT GEAR GUIDE
RODS Light to ultra-light action rods.
REELS Closed-face spincast (push-button) or spinning reel.
LINE 4- to 10-pound test.
HOOKS Small hooks to match small mouths.
BOBBERS If a bobber is used, select a small one.
WEIGHTS Split shot, egg sinkers or drop sinkers. Use the lightest weight possible.
BAIT AND LURES Cheese, kernel corn, nightcrawlers, red wigglers and mealworms make good trout baits. If you’d rather use a lure, try a small inline spinner or a spoon.
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