Saturday, September 26, 2009

Texas Rainbow Trout 2009

As soon as the stocking locations are released from the TPWD, I'll be posting them here. It's my favorite time of year, when trout are stocked for several months in Texas, and it's quickly approaching. Come early December, it's time to go fishing for some tasty trout.

Living in Texas, with few exceptions like the Guadalupe and some limited fishing on large creeks feeding the Perdenales River that have private stocking of rainbows, trout fishing is a winter time activity.

I have found that fishing when it is cold and rainy is a prime time for fish catching. If you're willing to take the sometimes brutal winds and pelting rain, you can octen fill up a stringer quickly. Or so I have found, although there are exceptions.

I theorize that the colder conditions lower the water temperature to one that makes the trout their hungry-ist and frisky-ist. Over the past 30 years, during such cold and often rainy days, I have consistently caught trout on small spinners with ultralight fishing tackle.

I fished a 17 degree day at Meridian State Park lake one cold January morning years ago, and had a stringer in under thirty minutes. There was no one there fishing but me, a strong light rain and very cold, and the Park Ranger was surprised to see someone fishing at daybreak on the lake. It was hours before anyone appeared to fish there, and I fly fished and spin fished and just had a great time.

I had come prepared with a rainsuit and a several layers of fleece and jackets and gloves and some rubber boots, so I was relatively warm and dry. I had a small Coleman stove that I heated tea and coffee with. I would retreat into the covered area that was near the lake when I wanted to dry out. As I recall, it was a pavilion of sorts.

Billy Ray and I used to go fish the section of the Blanco in Blanco River State Park where the trout were stocked. It was pretty cold on both occasions, and we both struck out. But at most of the other lakes and rivers where trout are stocked in the State, I've caught trout. But always much better when it's cold.

I'm curious about whether the Gulp type of bait, a soft plastic impregnated with some sort of scent odor, would work on Texas Trout. I'm curious about what other people use as well.

We often use kernal corn for the kids, and they do pretty well with that. I've always fared well with various small Mepps spinners as well as a teeny-tiny gold bladed green bodied spinner I bought in Arkansas trout country many years ago. That's my secret weapon. I've had good luck with small bass plugs when they are hitting the surface.

Of course, I do a lot of fly fishing with drys and streamers and nymphs. Fly fishing for me is much more fun with drys, but in the right water underwater flies can be effective.

But mostly, I spin fish. I've got a new reel loaded with 4 lb. test line that I plan to use this year, along with an old Fenwick micro-ultralight rod from the 80's. It's a sweet rod that worked well with Llano and James river bass that I caught earlier this year. The real almost weighs nothing and was a name brand at a cheap price. It's solid and works well.

I also plan to use my Curado reel with a super ultra light zebco rod. I got the rod at a garage sale years ago, and it's probably 30 years old but is in great shape. It's very flexible but keeps a great bend and shape when fighting fish. The Curado has some of the high-tech braided line on it, and I would use some sort of mono or flourocarbon leader of 3 feet or so. I just think it'd be fun since the Curado has a great drag and I like the way the rod feels on the smallish stocked rainbows.

For years now, Billy Ray and I have been threating to make the rounds of some far out locations in West Texas that get trout. Take a 4 day or so road trip hitting and fishing some trout stocking locales we've never visited. Maybe he and I can get the gumption to do that this winter.

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