Best Trout Fly Fishing in Texas (Maps, Shops, Guides and Flies for TX)

Did you know that Texas has some of the best trout fishing in the US? This might be news to you and we are not talking about saltwater trout, speckled trout, and spotted seatrout on the Texas coast either.

trout fishing in texas

There are wild-born rainbow trout and brown trout populations in the Guadalupe River, offering a great chance of snagging yourself some trout in the Lone Star State, any time of year.

Combine this with the healthy winter trout stocking program and you’ve got the recipe for some amazing fishing in Texas! This southerly state might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about trout fishing, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities here.

We’ve created a Fly Fisher Pro comprehensive guide for freshwater trout fishing in Texas so that all you trout anglers have all the info you could ever need in one place. From the rules and regulations to the fish stocking schedule and the best spots to head to for fly fishing in Texas.

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texas trout stocking
Image courtesy of guadalupetroutflyfishingtexas.com

Best Spots for Trout Fishing in Texas

Just a generation or two ago, trout fishing was almost unheard of in Texas. However, with the great stocking program that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) introduced over 3 decades ago, winter trout fishing is very much an option now!

Watch this fish stocking report video to get all the information on how the trout stocking works in Texas.

The extensive, state-wide stocking program has Texas Parks and Wildlife Department releasing over 250,000 rainbow trout into the ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams every winter. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks from November through to March.

You can also see our picks for the Best Fly Rods For Small Stream here.

In the spring, the water temperature begins to increase, making the water conditions too hot for trout to survive. So it’s during the winter months that you’ll have your best chance at fishing for freshwater trout in Texas.

I would especially recommend having a go at winter fly fishing if you’re just a beginner, or if you are taking your kids with you to get their first experience of fishing Texas rivers and lakes.

Texas Rivers

Texas Trout Stocking Locations

The Texas trout stocking happens state-wide with the aim of making fishing in the Texas lakes and rivers more accessible to the wider population, especially in urban areas.

In the 2018-2019 fishing season, the TWPD stocked an impressive 170 locations across Texas hill country, south, and central Texas, so you’ll be sure to find somewhere near you! You’ll find rainbow trout stocked in the state parks, the rivers, lakes, and creeks near the largest cities.

During the 2017-2018 trout season, the locations that were stocked with the largest quantities of fish included River Park found close to Fort Worth, Fort Boggy State Park near the town of Centerville, the Canyon Tailrace on Guadalupe River, New Braunfels, and the Comanche Trails Park, which you will find located near Odessa.

Whether you’re looking for fishing spots in Houston, San Antonio fishing locations, or fishing in Austin Texas, there are bound to be some excellent spots for snagging those freshwater trout.

But don’t worry if you don’t live in one of the bigger cities. The TPWD makes sure that they stock the Texas lakes and rivers in more rural locations and in smaller towns too. You can see the Texas fish stocking map here to get a good idea of where your closest locations are.

flyfishing texas

Fishing Spots in Houston

Located near Houston? You’re in luck – around 30 sites are stocked each year with rainbow trout in the wider Houston area, including small ponds and lakes.

Many sites will receive just one stocking of freshwater trout, but a few key locations will be stocked every two weeks to allow as many people as possible to have a go at snagging themselves some Texas rainbow trout.

These regular stockings will take place at Burke Crenshaw Park – Pasadena, Herman Little Park, Community Park – Missouri City, and Mary Jo Peckham Park – Katy. If you don’t want to travel far but still make the most of the Texas trout season, you know where to go.

Guadalupe River

Guadalupe River

If you’re looking for some fly fishing near Austin, Texas, we strongly recommend heading to the Guadalupe River fishing grounds downstream from Canyon Dam – one of the best spots for flyfishing Texas waterways.

The Canyon Tailrace section is the only home to wild-born Texan river trout in the state, giving keen anglers the rare opportunity of catching a wild fish year-round. It’s definitely one of the best spots for fishing in Texas!

Thanks to the Canyon Dam releasing cold water from the bottom of the reservoir into the river, the temperature stays in a comfortable range for trout to survive, even during the warmer months.

Guadalupe river fishing is truly unique – it’s different from the other Texas rivers and lakes in that it’s the ideal habitat for trout, who thrive and reproduce best in cold waters below 30 degrees.

With the special regulations, this area is well-managed to be a trout hatchery for trophy-size lunkers. And because of this, you’ll find the most beautiful fat trout in all of Texas here!

It’s not for nothing that it’s been named one of the spots for the best trout fishing in the US, and among the top 100 trout streams in the country.

The wild trout population is boosted by the winter trout stockings. On the Guadalupe alone, around 18,000 rainbow trout are released every year to allow experienced anglers to try their hand at catching a trout.

Take a look at this video on the Guadalupe stockings. If you’re lucky, you’ll snag one of the trophy-worthy fish stocked by Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited, an organization that makes it possible for anyone to catch a prize lunker.

Some areas of the river do need a raft or canoe to access them, but if you’re more into fly fishing from the bank, you’ll find some great spots too.

The trout here, both wild and stocked, respond well to anglers’ efforts – just don’t forget to follow the special regulations in place here.

Make sure to use only artificial lures and flies. It is these regulations that allow this area to be such a thriving area for river trout in Texas – the most southerly trout stream in the US, which is quite something!

Where To Fish On The Guadalupe

There’s free access for visiting and local anglers all year at Guadalupe Park, and over the winter months at Camp Huaco Springs – check the most recent updates here for exact dates.

Most of the banks of this river are private property, with a few places like camps and resorts offering access to the river for a small fee of around $5-6. These include the Maricopa Ranch Resort, Whitewater Sports Campground, Camp Bean’s, and Rio Raft, just above the 4th Crossing.

Best Flies For The Guadalupe

  • Egg patterns
  • Stonefly nymphs
  • Pheasant tail nymphs
  • Zebra midges
  • Tricos
  • Midges
  • Caddis
  • BWO

Texas Fishing License

To go fishing in Texas, you’ll need a Texas fishing license and a freshwater stamp. Children aged 16 and under are exempt from needing a fishing license.

You can purchase a package that includes both the fishing license and the freshwater endorsement, and there’s the option to add on a saltwater stamp too if you’d like. You can then go for other species like spotted seatrout in shallow bays.

You can buy your fishing license online here or find out where your nearest retailer is by searching with this tool.

There is also an amazing program that allows you to fish for free in all Texas state parks, all year round. You simply have to turn up with your fly rod, pay the fee to enter the state park, and you’re good to go. The Frio River in Garner State Park is a great place to head to for this.

There’s absolutely no need for a license or a freshwater stamp in any of the streams and creeks, and even any lakes that are fully within the park boundaries.

Why not take advantage of this to bring the costs of fishing down, to introduce your friends and family to your hobby, or just to get the hang of fly fishing yourself without investing a lot of cash at first?

Many state parks even let you hire/borrow fishing gear if you don’t have your own.

Regulations

Texas Fishing Regulations

If you’re planning on going Texas trout fishing, the regulations are refreshingly simple and easy to follow. You can bag up to 5 fish per person, per day, and there’s no minimum length limit unlike in many other states.

Guadalupe River Fishing Regulations

The rules are slightly different for the Guadalupe River. If you go Guadalupe river fishing, you’ll find that there are two sections where there are specific regulations for harvesting trout.

The first zone begins downstream 800m from Canyon Dam and stretches to the eastern bridge of the FM Road 306. Here, you can take trout that are under 12 inches or over 18 inches, and your daily limit is 5 trout, including just one which is longer than 18 inches.

The next zone runs from this point at the easternmost bridge to the second bridge on River Road, not far from Camp Huaco Springs. In this section, trout caught must be more than 18 inches and the daily bag is just one trout of this size. Make sure you use only artificial flies or lures in these areas.

You can find the full regulations for the Guadalupe River here.

Texas Fishing Report

Before you head out, you’ll want to check the most recent Texas fishing reports. The Texas Parks and Wildlife department provide helpful weekly updates on the waterways across all the regions of the state, including the temperature and conditions of the water, and what the fish are doing.

You can also find some more info on the Orvis website too. If you’re hoping to hit some stocked trout sites, the stocking generally begins around November 30th, but you can find the most up-to-date fish stocking report here.

Best Trout Lures and Flies

The rules are slightly different for the Guadalupe River. If you go Guadalupe river fishing, you’ll find that there are two sections where there are specific regulations for harvesting trout.

The first zone begins downstream 800m from Canyon Dam and stretches to the eastern bridge of the FM Road 306. Here, you can take trout that are under 12 inches or over 18 inches, and your daily limit is 5 trout, including just one which is longer than 18 inches.

The next zone runs from this point at the easternmost bridge to the second bridge on River Road, not far from Camp Huaco Springs.

In this section, trout caught must be more than 18 inches and the daily bag is just one trout of this size. Make sure you use only artificial flies or lures in these areas.

You can find the full regulations for the Guadalupe River here.

Texas Fishing Report

Before you head out, you’ll want to check the most recent Texas fishing reports. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides helpful weekly updates on the waterways across all the regions of the state, including the temperature and conditions of the water, and what the fish are doing.

You can also find some more info on the Orvis website too. If you’re hoping to hit some stocked trout sites, the stocking generally begins around November 30th, but you can find the most up-to-date fish stocking report here.

Best Trout Lures and Flies

Now you want the best trout lures when you go fishing to increase your chance of success.

We think that the best trout lures to use for fly fishing in Texas are the Bead Head Woolly Bugger streamers in brown, olive, or black. They get the fish biting like crazy and seem to work especially well for the conditions on the Guadalupe River.

If you’re taking the kids with a spinning rod you should try a Shaky Worm. We have a great list of the best spinning rod here.

Fishing for stocked trout is generally a lot easier than wily old wild trout. You can see the Worm in action in this video. They are definitely one of the best artificial bait options for stocked trout!

It goes without saying that you should keep your eye out for the insects that are around in the air or on the water, and aim to use flies that have a similar look, color, and size – match the hatch.

If you’re looking for a complete guide on fly fishing entomology you can check out our article.

Recommended Fly Shops In Texas

If you need to restock on fishing gear, ask some advice about flies and tactics, or just want to talk about some fishing, here are some great fly fishing shops in Texas.

Best Texas Fishing Guides

Most anglers looking to catch fish instead of just looking for them can benefit from having a guide with them.

Over the past months, we’ve reached out and contacted some of the best Texas fishing guides. Here’s our most recommended so far:

Fly Fish Rockport

Captain Jeff Johnson | ph. 361 420 3262 | Website

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any trout fishing in Texas?

Yes, there are Rainbow and Brown Trout in Texas. These are well stocked and provide some of the best fly fishing opportunities in the country.

The cooler sections of the Guadalupe River offer year-round fishing opportunities through early spring and summer.

You can see our post here if you want some summer trout fishing tips.

Do you need a trout stamp in Texas?

Yes, you need a trout stamp in Texas, unless you are fishing within the boundaries of a Texas State Park, like Garner State Park or Daingerfield State Park.

You must have a fishing license with a freshwater stamp. Unless you are exempt from sport fishing license requirements.

Possum Kingdom Tailrace

Where can I fly fish in Texas?

The best places to go fly fishing in Texas are at one of the stocking locations on or around stocking day. These locations include the Possum Kingdom Tailrace, Fort Worth, Fort Boggy, River Park, Canon Tailrace, and the Comanche Trails Park, as well as the Frio River in Garner State Park.

Are trout native to Texas?

There are no native trout in Texas. There are a few Cutthroat trout that live year-round in some cool-water streams in the Trans-Pecos.

Can you fish without a license in Texas?

If you are fishing within the boundaries of a Texas State Park you can fish without a license. Otherwise, you must have a fishing license with a freshwater stamp.

Wrap Up

So there you have our run-down of everything you need to know about fishing Texas! Drop me a comment to let me know if you found this article helpful, and if you’ve got any questions, pop them into a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

From the license you need to the perfect spot for catching your first trout of the season, you’ve got the latest info on fishing in Texas, and now you’re all set to head on out there.

So what are you waiting for? Get your license and stamp, pick your ideal spot, grab your gear and go catch yourself some trout!

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