Stocking Public Waters
Each year, the Inland and Coastal Fisheries divisions of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stock approximately 40 million fish in public lakes, ponds, and saltwater bays. Many of these fish are produced in the state's three saltwater and five freshwater hatcheries. Use the pages in this section to find out what, where, and why we stock.
Most fish are stocked as fingerlings or fry. These small fish may take several years to grow to sizes that would interest an angler. In some cases, however, the department stocks adult fish for immediate harvest. Schedules for these special stocking programs are listed here.
- Winter Trout Stocking - TPWD stocks rainbow trout in approximately 100 locations each winter. Dates and locations are listed on the website in mid-November each year.
- Neighborhood Fishin' - A sampling of small city park lakes receive frequent stockings of popular sport fishes. TPWD researchers are tracking public response to this program, and may extend this program to additional locations in the future.
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