FAMILY FISHING MM 01

Krista Mainard of Troy holds a fish during a family fishing day at Miller Park in Temple on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Temple Parks and Recreation Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocked Miller Pond with rainbow trout. Michael Miller/Telegram

Anglers of all ages, prepare for The Big Catch.

The free Temple family fishing event is scheduled next month — part of several local happenings scheduled each winter as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks ponds statewide with thousands of rainbow trout.

The Big Catch fishing event is scheduled 6-11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, at the pond at Miller Park, 1919 N. First St. in Temple.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife will also waive fishing licenses during the event,” Temple spokeswoman Kiara Nowlin said. “Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be provided.”

Belton spokesman Paul Romer said two family fishing events — Dec. 17 and Dec. 29 — are planned at Nolan Creek in Belton. Both events will run from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Family, Fishin’ & Fun is a great opportunity for families to create memories,” Romer said. “It is always one of our most popular events of the year.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife said it will be stocking ponds — with a total of 352,563 rainbow trout — from Nov. 24 to March 6 across the state in preparation for the fishing events.

“TPWD stocks catchable sized fish during winter months to create angling opportunities throughout Texas,” said Carl Kittel, the agency’s rainbow trout program director, said in a news release. “Rainbow trout love cold water, can be caught on a variety of baits and lures, and are great to take home and eat. Our winter rainbow trout program has been a favorite with anglers for over 40 years.”

The easy-to-catch rainbow trout are delicious table fare and can be found on many restaurant menus, Texas Parks and Wildlife said.

“Because rainbow trout are unable to survive in Texas after the winter, anglers are encouraged to keep up to their daily bag limit of five trout,” the agency said.

The state manages 18 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes across Texas, including those in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. These lakes are frequently stocked with rainbow trout during the winter stocking season

In Texas, children under 17 fish for free, but a fishing license with a freshwater fishing endorsement is required for adults in the family unless a waiver is given during a special event.

Rainbow trout are easy to catch, the department said.

“The good news is it doesn’t take a lot of sophisticated fishing equipment to reel in a rainbow trout,” TWPD said. “They can be caught using simple, light tackle or on hand-tied flies using a fly rod. However, keeping an array of baits and lures nearby while having ice available when harvesting trout to keep them fresh are good points to keep in mind before heading out to the water.”