History of US Trout Stocking

| November 19, 2023

The stocking of freshwater trout in the United States has a long history and is deeply intertwined with the development of recreational fishing and fisheries management. Here is a brief overview of the history of stocked freshwater trout in the USA:

  1. Late 19th Century: Introduction of Non-Native Species
    • The stocking of trout in the U.S. began in the late 1800s with the introduction of non-native species. Many of the trout species stocked, such as brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), were native to Europe and the Pacific Coast, respectively.
  2. Early 20th Century: Expansion of Stocking Programs
    • In the early 1900s, state and federal agencies began to actively manage and stock trout in public waters to enhance recreational fishing opportunities. The introduction of hatchery facilities played a crucial role in raising trout for stocking.
  3. 1930s-1940s: Expansion of Public Trout Waters
    • During the Great Depression and the New Deal era, public works programs led to the development of infrastructure for trout stocking, including the construction of hatcheries and the designation of trout waters.
  4. Post-World War II: Development of Coldwater Fisheries Programs
    • After World War II, there was a significant expansion of coldwater fisheries programs across the country. State fish and wildlife agencies worked to improve habitat, manage water quality, and conduct stocking programs to support sustainable trout populations.
  5. 1960s-1980s: Concerns About Native Species and Biodiversity
    • During this period, there was a growing awareness of the impacts of stocking non-native species on native trout populations and ecosystems. Some conservationists and fisheries managers began to emphasize the importance of conserving native trout species.
  6. Late 20th Century: Shift Toward Conservation and Native Species
    • In response to concerns about biodiversity and the ecological impacts of non-native species, some fisheries management practices shifted toward conservation and the restoration of native trout populations. Efforts were made to protect and restore habitats for native trout species.
  7. 21st Century: Sustainable Management and Conservation
    • In recent years, fisheries management has increasingly focused on sustainable practices, habitat restoration, and conservation of native trout species. Many states have adopted regulations to balance recreational fishing with the protection of native ecosystems.

Throughout this history, the goals of stocking trout have evolved from simply providing fishing opportunities to a more holistic approach that considers ecological balance, habitat conservation, and the preservation of native species. Management practices continue to adapt to new scientific knowledge and conservation priorities.



Seventy-three. That is the temperature at which your typical stocker trout will begin going belly-up, brain boiled. Very few Texas trout stocking locations can boast what are called, “holdover” trout. Calling holdovers lucky is hardly the case. Every year the questions arise: Where can I catch trout in summer? In Texas? Do trout holdover in Texas? What temperature should one STOP fly fishing for holdovers? The best answer is: Leave the only place* that has holdovers ALONE once the water temperature has bottomed out and rises past the lower 60’s.

*The only place that is known for (fishable) holdover trout in Texas? That would be the Guadalupe River in the middle of Texas. In the middle of Texas, and the epicenter of the Texas fly fishing population. Is it any wonder the Guadalupe is now called, “Dramalupe?” Take a bunch of stockers, throw in a bunch of trophy weight trout paid for GRTU, and the holdovers who have gone native – and we have a recipe for drama, don’t we?

Elsewhere TPWD stocking of city ponds and other high profile ponds is done for ONE primary reason; to give kids, not fat cats stuffed into their waders like sausages chomping cigars and stomping around, a chance to learn something about catching the fishing bug, and to simply get outside in nature. Let me assure you, a kid is more impressed by catching a little stocker than any adult, fat or otherwise, would be!

TPWD’s investment in stocking some locations includes multiple stockings of same location through the viable months in Texas. It’s actually one of the few visible blessings of our State Government.

TPWD TROUT STOCKING SCHEDULE 2023-2024 – I used to post this for EVERYONE, but now I realize the error of my ways. Use this schedule to take a young person fishing and / or fly fishing for stocker trout that are placed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. In typical government fashion, the TPWD gives the bottom line number of 342,831 trout stocked across the Lone Star State. I would suggest for those in the DFW area, hit the water at Brazos below PK. WHY? Nine-thousand chances for your kid to catch a trout, while you catch a striper eating those stockers – of course! How to fish for Texas stocker trout.

Thanks for reading this Sunday’s ChatGPT AND my take on the TPWD trout stockings in Texas. Disagree? Feel free to say something, or stay silent.

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Category: Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Trout, Guadalupe River, Texas Report, TIPS

About the Author ()

https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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