I talked in my last post a lot about the lake at the State Park in Meridian. But there are similar lakes all across Texas that offer similar fun and good eating of the stocked rainbow trout that you can catch. They are for eating, because in all but a couple of locales in Texas, the water gets too hot in the spring and summer for them to survive. I hate to shock the vegan audience out there, but I will eat a fish if I think it is free of poisons and toxins.
Sometime in mid-November or thereabouts, they'll post the list of trout stocking sites for 2009 and 2010. It's usually the same group of suspects, with new locations every so often.
I fish for these trout with ultra light spin and spin casting tackle, as well as fly tackle. A gift last year of a 3 weight rod to augment my 6, 7 and 9 weight rods was perfect for some of the fishing I did last year. Hatchery trout are on the smaller size, say from about 10 to 12 inches. Or so, as I'm terrible about estimating such things. But I can tell you that filleted, they are the perfect size for pan grilling in a heap o' butta for a nice streamside lunch.
Although I worked my way through much of college in Houston, I did three semesters at a school near Austin. An austere educational environment, the dorm director found out I was a fisherman who fished for trout, and was always happy to prepare the fish in her apartment kitchen. I got real nice treatment from her.
Those three semesters put me in easy striking distance of a wide variety of Hill Country and Central Texas trout stocking spots for both weekday and weekend fishing trips. There was a nice lake near the school that was stocked, and I was there nearly daily before school from January to March. I once fished with lots of snow on the ground, and that was very cool. Needless to say, rainbows like a little chill in the water and get really frisky in those conditions.
It rained alot that winter and spring, and often it was 30 or 40 degrees with a stiff wind blowing and a drizzling rain falling. I found the trout to be much more frisky and aggresive in this kind of weather. I caught a daily limit nearly every day, and many times had to release fish after limiting out.
Then as now, I have a selection of dry flies, streamers and nymphs that I fly fish with. On warmer days when the trout are a few feet down in cooler water, streamers or nymphs are the call of the day. But get a nice chilly string of days lowering that water temperature and you've got some dry fly fishing buddy.
I've used to Gulp! (or another brand that is Gulp!-like) salmon eggs to great success. Real salmon eggs work wonderful as well. I usually set a spin casting rod out with a bobber on a rod holder with salmon eggs (real or Gulp!) and then fish with an ultralight spinning rig or a fly rod.
Small hooks are the name of the game with these fish, say size 8 and smaller. I fish with a lot of spinners with my UL spinning rig. I've had about equal success with both silver or gold Mepps type spinners in smaller sizes.
There are several brands of small bodied spinners that are colored and I've had good luck wth the green or yellow bodies with gold blades. Of course, there are a wide variety of small spoons and sonic spinner type lures as well. I've also been known to use very small plugs with some success.
When finding out what depth the fish are hovering at, I use several techniques with my spinning rig. I do the standard pull-the-rod while reeling in, then lowering the rod slowly. Usually if I get strikes with this method, I get them when I begin pulling the rod up and reeling it in, after it's fallen a bit.
I've also experienced good luck with beetle spins in various colors, again, in some smaller sizes. Mostly I've used the darker colors.
I'd love to hear about your favorite lures for trout. We get trout for about 4 or 5 months in Texas every year. It's almost time to go trout fishing!