AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Thousands of rainbow trout are preparing to call Texas waters home as Texas Parks and Wildlife prepares to release them for winter fishing across the state.

From Nov. 30 through mid-March, Parks and Wildlife biologists will stock more than 170 ponds, lakes, rivers, and Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes in Texas.

Teams across the state spent Thursday divvying up trout for delivery.

“(We want to) give citizens of Texas the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors,” hatchery biologist Hugh Glenewinkel said.

The fish come from a fishery in Missouri, according to a spokesperson for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Crystal Lake Fisheries has supplied trout to Texas for more than two decades, spokesperson Aubry Buzek estimated.

“They have a natural spring on their property that provides the cold water necessary to produce trout and they feed the trout a commercially produced trout food that meets their dietary requirements,” Buzek explained.

The fish are loaded on trucks and brought to Texas, where Glenewinkel and others process them for delivery to Texas waterways.

“We are trying to provide a winter fishery for anglers,” Glenewinkel said. “This time of year a lot of the bass fishing and the catfishing has slowed down, but by us bringing in this rainbow trout and stocking them in public waters, we are giving an opportunity for people to go out and experience some wintertime fishing, especially with a species that is not normally found here in Texas.”

Crews will continue replenishing the supply until March, totaling 333,700 trout statewide.

“We plan to make 380 individual stockings in 171 sites across Texas,” Buzek said.
Buzek said the anticipated cost to purchase the trout for 2018-2019 is approximately $393,000.

“The funds used to purchase the trout are a combination of private (partner donations) and state funds,” Buzek stated. “The program is substantially supported by 80 different private organizations, local municipalities, and county governments that partner with TPWD to provide trout in their local areas.”

Buzek said the total contribution from agency partners is $250,000.

Texas Parks and Wildlife compiled a list of trout stocking locations so Texans can see where and when the stockings will take place this winter. There is also a map of locations on the agency website.

Glenewinkel, who has been with Texas Parks and Wildlife since 1993, said he and his co-workers love seeing the new generations of anglers learn how to fish.

“Every day that I go out and see people catching fish and making memories it’s always worthwhile,” he said. “Every day is a great one on the job.”

Anyone older than 17 must possess a fishing license to fish. There is a 5 fish bag limit for rainbow trout.