Rainbow trout poured in pond, fishermen ready with rods

HARLINGEN — Local anglers couldn’t wait to grab their rod, reel and tackle box to net some rainbow trout in town yesterday.

The cold and wet weather didn’t stop them either.

They were there waiting as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked the pond yesterday at the Harlingen Sports Complex located on Wilson Road with 1,000 rainbow trout.

The rainbow trout are 10 to 12 inches long.

“It’s an added amenity that people can come and enjoy and do at our park,” said Javier Mendez, director of Harlingen Parks and Recreation. “It helps out families and kids that don’t get the opportunity to go to the Island or bay to fish.”

Throughout the winter months, Texas Parks and Wildlife stock more than 200,000 rainbow trout at 100 sites across the state.

The program’s goal is to hook new anglers into the sport by making fishing more accessible at urban lakes, state parks and rivers.

“I like to go out on days like these when it’s cold and rainy,” said Pedro Rodriguez, 65 Rio Hondo resident. “It’s nice and chilly and it reminds me of home.”

Rodriguez moved to Rio Hondo after living in Zion, Illinois, until he and his wife retired recently.

“This is the first time I’m here, but it won’t be the last,” Rodriguez said. “It’s pretty nice here, there is a lot of room, and it’s a nice walking area.

Rodriguez heard about the pond stocking and was the first one there yesterday as the 1,000 fish were dropped into the water.

He was using live shrimp, cheese balls and Power Bait because he heard rainbow trout like it.

He said he was glad the Harlingen pond was stocked with trout because it reminded him of places he fished at back in Illinois, near Lake Michigan.

He was told the closest place to catch rainbow trout is at Falcon Lake in Starr County.

“It’s good eating fish and its easy to catch,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a very clean fish, and tasty, too.”

Harlingen resident Teddy Green, 18, missed out on the all the fish last year when the Texas Department of Wildlife stocked the pond the first time.

So Green kept checking the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and noticed yesterday was the day it was going to be stocked again, so he was there early with his fishing gear.

As a fly fisherman, Green said he likes the action trout give on the rod when trying to haul in the fish.

“It’s more of a challenge and it adds a little more sport to fishing,” Green, said.

Trout anglers will need the $5 Freshwater Fishing Stamp, which is included in all freshwater license packages.

Anglers younger than 17 years of age are not required to have a license and don’t need to purchase a stamp.