I want to talk in this post about the tackle I use when trout fishing for stocked rainbow trout in Texas during the winter and early spring.
Not surprisingly, I use a lot of different kinds of rods and reels depending on the place that I'm fishing. Any freshwater spin, spingcasting or flycasting rig will do, but I do have a couple of favorites that are kind of oddball rigs that I like to use.
Flycasting can be a challenge at some stocking locations. Overhanging trees and the like can sometimes make casting with an 8 or 9 foot rod difficult at best. I have an inexpensive Mitchell import that is 5 and 1/2 foot long which takes #4 line, but will work well with #6 line as well in windy situations when overloading the line can improve casting distance.
I have a ultra light crappie jigging rod that is something like 14' long. It has the sliding reel clamps that allow any type of spinning reel. It's great for dangling lures, particularly jigs and grasshopper flies, through thick underbrush or in tight spots that really can't be cast to. It can also be used for distance casting for spinners in larger lakes, although it's action leaves something to be desired with some lures used long distance.
My standby ultralight spinning rods are 6 and 7 feet long. On some of these larger lakes where trout are stocked, they are the best all around compromise. Distance, yet with an ultralight reel and line, a great fight with a beautiful fish.
I'm not above bait or spin-casting either, particularly if the lake or river has brushy or rocky areas that need a spinner to be "horsed through" weeds or the like. A pair of nice 6 foot Lews Speed Stick rods serve this purpise, one a spin-cast rod rigged with a Abu 170 and the other a bait-casting rod rigged with the new Shimano Curado. An alternate heavier rod for pulling baits through floating weeds and the like is the Cabela's travel casting rod at 7 and 1/2 feet. Great action for a medium heavy rod, and for small fish like the rainbows, that strong of a rod can be overkill but if you need a strong rod to get your lures down through obstructions where the fish are, you gotta do what you gotta do.
If I had to pick one rod for stocked trout fishing, it'd be a seven foot ultra light spinning rod with 4 or 6 pound test. Distance and sporting fun and really heavy enough to handle much of the fishing for trout that will be done in a stocked environment. Of course, any medium or light spin-casting gear will work as well.
Texas Trout time is coming. Be ready.