Why Does Texas Stock Rainbow Trout in Neighborhood Ponds?

| November 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

texas trout stocking by TPWD

Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t thought to ask questions about given, repeated, behaviors before. Everybody is on edge; waiting for the Texas trout stocking schedule to be published by the TPWD. It’s such a frenzy that I regularly copy and paste the schedule on this site as soon as it appears – easy and huge traffic numbers.

Yesterday, as I was writing about something less fishy, it occurred to me; Why does TPWD even bother to stock rainbow trout the way they do?
– The rainbow trout they stock in ponds are anemic at best … lacking color and spunk
– They probably taste like fish food, and if they’re there long enough, they taste like the pond water they’re in.
– Rainbow trout begin to experience at a water temperature of 68-degrees fahrenheit
– These fish have a definite expiration date at 77-degrees fahrenheit water temperature — whenever that may be
– They cost money
– They are stocked during the worst of Texas weather seasons – there’s nothing romantic about Texas winter fishing
– They are not even typically targetable with a fly rod
– Do people really think there’s something “exotic” about these poor rainbow trout?

WHY NOT STOCK SUNFISH IN SPRING?

My next thought was: Why not stock a more durable, more beautiful, more bountiful fish like the red ear, bluegill, long ear, greenies … ?
There’s no downside to these fish. They are fun to catch, easy to catch, fun to target with a fly rod, and fun for kids to learn about fishing with. Sunfish on fly is a thriving subculture that spawns flies, rods and techniques to match the characteristics of this plentiful fish. Imagine your local pond with these fish as a constant backup, for when the bass aren’t biting! And imagine the bass! They would appreciate a snack too. Suddenly, you will need to tie sunfish imitations in the Lefty’s Deceiver flavors to get those big bass interested! And, truth be told, around here there’s a shortage of sunfish in many city park ponds. Talk about a good thing for everyone – this is it. If you’re into eating your catch, would you rather have a rainbow stocker, or fresh sunfish?

FROM TPWD: Why Do We Stock Fish?

“Stocking can be a useful fisheries management tool, but it is not a cure-all for poor fishing. The numbers spawned by wild populations usually outweigh the numbers produced and stocked by TPWD hatcheries. However, stocking can be helpful for:

Starting populations in new or renovated waters
Supplementing populations having insufficient natural reproduction
Increasing species diversity by introducing fishes such as striped bass
Restoring populations that have been reduced or eliminated by natural or man-made catastrophes
Providing catchable-size fish for educational activities and community fishing lakes
Enhancing the genetic make-up of a population (for example, Florida largemouth bass)
Taking advantage of improved habitat resulting from increased water level or new vegetation”

If trout stocking is still your thing, here’s a link to Winter Trout Angling Tips. This is a link about Texas trout stocking from TPWD. Here’s an article on water temperature from Hatch Magazine. Here is a link to a government study on the impact of trout stocking on the economy.

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Category: Causes, Fly Fishing for Trout, Science and Environmental

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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