I'll update here if I can find it googling or if Billy Ray gets around to sending it to me.
I know that the state has had budget problems and has cut state budgets 5% across the board, along with other cuts and freezes. All of us are enduring the Obama years with issues, and even if you're lucky like us and have jobs and a home and food on the table, then although you're extremely blessed compared to many Americans. Times are tough and in lots of areas of the country, the times are downright bleak and barren.
If there is any truth to Billy Ray's report that the Texas Rainbow Trout Stocking Program could be in trouble or in danger of being suspended or discontinued as soon as the 2011-2012 season, then fishermen and other outdoorsman must do their part.
I think the best way to start is for all who fish for rainbows and would like to continue enjoying to do the same in the future to consider doing the following:
1. Talk to your fellow outdoorsmen who don't fish regularly, and who may not be aware of the rainbow trout stocking program and ask them to buy the low cost rainbow trout stamp. Many of my friends, myself included, usually buy a combo hunting/fishing license. Even though I hardly ever hunt, I figure it is worth supporting the program by spending a few extra bucks.
Lots of my hunting friends who rarely if ever fish do the same thing, they buy combo licenses, just to support the TPWD and the many things they do. Urge your fishing friends or other folks who fish for the rainbows at state parks where they don't need a fishing license to go ahead and spend some real American dollars to by a license and a trout stamp to show some interest in the program.
After all, like many endeavors, money talks and BS walks. So some extra money coming in is something sure to catch the attention of budget cutters both in the beaurocrats and the politicians.
2. Contact your Texas State Representative and your Senator and advise them of your position on this issue in a clear and concise manner. Ask them to contact you with their position on this issue. Ask their staff to keep you informed via email of all developments regarding this issue. Ask your friends and fellow sportsmen to do the same. Go to the Texas government webpage and there's a place you can enter your zip code to find out who your reps are. At least I think there is a link on that page. I'll try to update this page with that link later.
3. Go fishing for rainbows this winter, friends. Catch some fish. Have some fun. Enjoy this wonderful program that reaches almost to every corner of the state*. Travel across the state or across the street for a nice fishing adventure.
We're lucky here in Tejas, as our economies are generally doing well across the state. In taking roadtrips this year, I've driven through areas of unexpected prosperity where before there was none. Big and nice school complexes. Nice mid-level hotels occupied by workers, railroad folk, construction crews and various service industry travelers during the week, often looking mostly empty on the weekends as the workers head back to their homes.
So I hope that the program that has brought me so much joy since my very early double digit years in all kinds of places all over the state. I've written often in the past of my (mis)adventures seeking the stocked rainbows in Texas winters, and I've had some legendary fishing times in years past where I was literally catching a fish per cast. It has not unusual for me to catch a bass when spinner fishing for trout with ultralight tackle, and it seems like I often caught bass when the trout were active and hitting my lures.
So a lifetime of memories revolve around rainbow fishing so it's one of the things I most look forward to during the winter months. So Billy Ray's advice is that he and I and El Fisho Jr. need to do a lot of trout fishing this winter, just in case. It's a good excuse to go fishing, and I'd like to hit the Blanco, The Guadalupe and some other locale like the Blue Hole in Georgetown in an extended weekend trifecta.
I got me some other spots I've been investigatin' that we might do some fishing at. On private property, they require payment but feature basically private fishing and camping. A nice place to set up a fishing camp for a couple of days and the amount of money sought is reasonable. There are more crowded places that can be accessed for lower fees, but 'tis solitude we anglers seek. There are also some public creeks and some private waters that get stocked by hatcheries outside of Texas, and some of these places can be fished (legally, I might add).
Some of the creeks are in the Hill Country and get stocked allegedly by rich folk who own land on both sides of these cold, spring fed creeks, and who stock the creeks every now and then. Lots of postings on fishing forums have discussed where these fish can be accessed downstream from the stocking locales. And there is at least one Texas land owner who has a hunting ranch that also has some lakes that have been stocked with some rather large rainbows from out of state. Yes, you'll pay a premium for access to this private fishing but you'll catch large fish you'd have to travel hundreds of miles to catch in New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma or Arkansas.