Angling for Rainbow Trout in the Trinity

Anglers have an opportunity to dust off their fly fishing gear

The start of rainbow trout season kicked off with a splash at Trinity Park in Fort Worth on Tuesday.

The sounds of trout hitting the Trinity River is something fisherman have been waiting to hear since late March. The first trout stocking of the fishing season is a tradition for many.

"We've been doing this roughly for 20 years," said Lilburn Smith, who says this is the one stocking they can't miss. "Their claim to fame is that the trout they put in the river is much bigger than what Texas Parks and Wildlife. They usually run a minimum of 12 inches in size."

Smith and three dozen others surrounded the river Tuesday afternoon with rods, reels and tackle boxes ready to take in the big one. The trout can weight as much as four or five pounds and Smith, like his fellow anglers, hope to catch them.

"We usually pitch back the small ones, especially early on," Smith said, adding that they can catch up to 30 in a day before they leave with their maximum of five a day.

The annual stocking always brings out a large crowd, but this year's edition comes with an added significane. This is the 25th anniversary of the trout stocking program run by the Tarrant Regional Water District and Texas parks and Wildlife.

"One of the things we at the water district always like to do is to bring people down to the river," said Rick Carroll, TRWD Land & Right of Way Manager. "And so what better opportunity than to have a rainbow trout fishery in our own backyard."

Since 1986 approximately 300,000 trout have been stocked in the river, at about 5,000 a year. On Tuesday 2,460 fish were driven from Ava, Missouri to spend the winter months in Fort Worth. Typically 5,000 are deposted each year. That's good for fisherman and for the river as well.

"It's good to have them in the river and it's good to draw people to the river and that's what we think is important," Carroll said.

And it's an important experience for fisherman like Lilburn Smith who comes here every year with close friends, just as it is for the father and sons attending their first trout stocking.

"It's good time spent togther, we don't get to do this enough and the fact that it's being stocked is reason enough," Jerrel Sustaita said.

The release at Trinity Park off University Drive is the first of four trout stocking events between now and mid-January.

Other Trout Release Dates:
Jan. 4 - 9:00 a.m. at Trinity Park
Jan. 5 - 9:00 a.m. at River Park
Jan. 19 - 9:00 a.m. at River Park

NBC 5 Editor Elvira Sakmari contributed to an earlier version of this report.

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