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Winter is the best time to catch rainbow trout in Texas, due to notoriously hot weather. (Austonia)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced a new “no fee” public access lease along the Guadalupe River, giving fishing aficionados the chance to catch rainbow trout during the peak cold-weather stocking season.

The lease, located at Camp Huaco Springs near New Braunfels, stretches across a half-mile of bank access. Public access to the site will be open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset until March 5, 2022.

“This lease location provides great bank angler access to river trout fishing coupled with gorgeous Guadalupe River scenery,” said Patrick Ireland, supervisor for TPWD Inland Fisheries Division San Marcos and Austin District.

The rocky bank will be open to non-motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, other floatable devices and wade fishing both upstream and downstream. TPWD said it will stock several sections of the Guadalupe River, also known as Canyon Reservoir Tailrace, with more than 20,000 trout, scheduled to stock weekly. Trout will be available from the beginning of December through late February.

Trout tend to prefer cool water streams and typically cannot survive the hot weather that Texas is notorious for, so they don’t usually reproduce in the state. Trout can survive in certain areas below large dams, like Canyon Reservoir Tailrace, though the only statewide self-sustaining population lies in McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains.

The extanded access will allow fishers to spread out for the best chances at angling. (Austonia)

Anglers will have a daily bag limit of five trout, with no minimum length, per statewide trout regulations. Anyone 17 years and older who wants to fish will be required to carry a valid fishing license and freshwater fishing endorsement.

Aside from the newly-leased area, anglers may also be able to find public access areas to fish in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-run Guadalupe park; Whitewater Camp, 4th Crossing, 3rd Crossing, and Camp Huaco Springs. However, starting 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release to the second bridge crossing on River Road, special regulations say fishers must use artificial lures.

Furthermore, from that 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release gate to the easternmost bridge on FM Road 306, a 12-to-18-inch slot limit is in effect, meaning trout smaller than 12 inches or longer than 18 inches can be kept and only one can be 18 inches or longer.

From the easternmost bridge on FM 306 downstream to the second bridge crossing on River Road, there is an 18-inch minimum and a one-trout daily bag.

So if you need to scratch that itch to fish, head to Camp Huaco Springs on 4150 River Road, and maybe you can break the state record of 8.24 pounds. According to TPWD, the leases were made possible by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.


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