Texas Department of Wildlife fisheries release thousands of rainbow trout into community lakes, ponds and streams every fall. In Temple, about 1,000 trout will be added to Miller Park Pond in time for The Big Catch on Dec. 17.


Santa Claus and a bunch of rainbow trout are coming to town next month, and while Santa’s arrival is common knowledge, the fish-stocking date is a tad less certain.

“About 1,000 adult rainbows will be stocked in Miller Park Pond by mid December,” said Chuck Ramm, assistant director of Temple Parks & Recreation. “They will be here by Dec. 17 — probably either that morning or the day before.”

The city of Temple is hosting its annual Big Catch family fishing event starting bright and early at 6 a.m. on Dec. 17, and according to Ramm the popular event will end at 11 a.m. 

Fishing license requirements will be waived by Texas Parks & Wildlife during the event with a signed waiver that will be provided by Wilson Park Recreation Center. No registration is required for the free event.

While anglers can continue fishing after 11 a.m., standard Texas fishing permits will be required after that time.

The fish will be stocked by the AE Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos, according to Carl Kittel of TP&W’s Inland Fisheries Division.

“The rainbow trout stocking program is very popular at community fishing holes around the state,” Kittel said. “Sometimes the stocking truck is greeted by families ready to fish.”

“Since rainbow trout generally do not reproduce in Texas and because they are unable to survive a hot Texas summer, the species is primarily used for winter put-and-take events,” he said.

Most trout species — including the fighting rainbows — will live until water temperatures start to approach 80 degrees. The fish thrive in 45 to 60 degree water and become less and less active as temperatures reach the 70s. At small lakes such as Miller Park Pond, most are fished out within a couple weeks of the stocking date.

“The Big Catch is a great family event,” Ramm said. “In addition to great fishing, the city will be providing hot cocoa, coffee and snacks. We usually have a crowd.”

The Big Catch is one of two annual fishing events hosted by the city at Miller Park Pond. 

“We also do a Family Fishing Extravaganza every June,” Ramm said. “In the summer, we stock the pond with catfish.”

Miller Park and other ponds in the Temple and Belton areas likely will receive additional fish during 2023, but Ramm was not aware of the state’s stocking schedule. Kittel said the small lake, pond and stream stocking dates will be announced in February.

Miller Park Pond has received rainbow trout every year since 2012 with the exception of 2013.

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