WinterFisch: A winter fly fishing paradise

WinterFisch is a winter trout fishing program that takes place at the Dos Rios. The program is sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and several local businesses.

Each year, TPWD stocks rainbow trout in the Llano River at James River Crossing. The trout are stocked in two phases: one in December and one in January or February. The fishing season typically begins on the first Saturday in December and ends on the last Sunday in February.  

WinterFisch is a popular event for fly anglers of all skill levels. The Llano River is a beautiful river with a variety of fishing spots to choose from. Anglers can fish from the bank or from kayaks.

In addition to fishing, there are a variety of other activities that anglers can enjoy at WinterFisch. There is a food court, a live music stage, and a children’s activity area. There are also several vendors selling fly fishing gear and other merchandise.

WinterFisch is a great way to enjoy the winter months in Texas. With its beautiful scenery, abundance of fish, and family-friendly atmosphere, WinterFisch is sure to be a hit with anglers of all ages.

Here are some tips for fly fishing at WinterFisch:

  • Use a variety of flies. The trout at WinterFisch are stocked, so they are not used to seeing the same flies every day. Try using a variety of flies, including nymphs, dries, and streamers.
  • Fish early in the morning and late in the evening. The trout are most active during these times of day.
  • Fish the deep pools and runs. The trout will often hold in the deeper water during the winter months.
  • Be patient. It may take some time to find the fish, but if you are patient, you will be rewarded.

WinterFisch is a great opportunity to catch some rainbow trout in Texas. With its beautiful scenery, abundance of fish, and family-friendly atmosphere, WinterFisch is sure to be a hit with anglers of all ages.  And the best place to stay is right in the heart of the action – yep, you can book your stay here.

And more information from a recent press release:

Mason County WinterFisch: A Celebration of Rainbow Trout Fishing on the Llano River

Mason County, TX – The 7th annual Mason County WinterFisch is back, and it promises another exciting season of rainbow trout fishing on the picturesque Llano River in the Texas Hill Country. Running from December 2, 2023, to March 17, 2024, this event is a highlight of the winter season, attracting both locals and visitors alike.

Fishing Season Details: The event kicks off with the release of 2,500 rainbow trout, generously sponsored by businesses in Mason and Gillespie counties, as well as friends of WinterFisch. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) contributes 500 trout, enhancing the angling experience for participants.

The trout stocking is done in two batches, with the first 1,500 released on December 2, 2023, and an additional thousand on February 1, 2024. The Mason Bank proudly supports WinterFisch, emphasizing the importance of appreciating the natural beauty of the Llano River.

Location and WinterFisch Celebration: The fishing and celebration take place at the James River Crossing area of the Llano River on State Highway 2389. This spot is known for its large natural island, providing a unique setting for both experienced and novice anglers.

The WinterFisch Celebration, scheduled for December 2, marks the official opening of the season. Attendees can enjoy rainbow trout fishing, various outdoor and nature demonstrations, loaner poles, live music, freshly cooked catches, food trucks, campfires, and exciting prize categories.

One satisfied participant, Gerardo Huerta from San Antonio, shared his experience, saying, “I took my son to WinterFisch to get away from the big city and relax. We enjoyed a fun, beautiful, sunny day of fishing, catching numerous fish that day. It is a great memory, and it was a wonderful day!”

Prizes and Competitions: WinterFisch offers cash prizes for tagged fish during the celebrations and throughout the season. Submitters of tags automatically enter a post-season grand-prize drawing in mid-March 2024.

Golden-colored rainbow trout, also known as “Palominos” or “Lightnings,” carry special incentives, with catchers of the first five receiving $100 gift certificates from sponsoring businesses.

The event also features the Big Joe Martinez Small Fry Competition, honoring a beloved community member. Five kids under age twelve who catch the five smallest rainbow trout during the WinterFisch Celebration will receive cash awards and gift certificates to Backwoods BBQ of Fredericksburg.

Island Parking and Safety Reminders: Parking for the WinterFisch Celebration is available on the natural island at the James River Crossing and at the James River Icehouse. Attendees are encouraged to carpool, and safety reminders are issued for accessing the event and throughout the WinterFisch season. Fishing from the bridge is prohibited, aligning with state law.

About TPWD’s Winter Rainbow Trout Stocking Program: TPWD’s Winter Rainbow Trout Stocking Program aims to provide a fishing opportunity during a time when native fish are less active. The hatchery-reared trout, 9-12 inches long, create a put-and-take fishery, enhancing angling experiences in the region.

About Mason County WinterFisch: Mason County WinterFisch offers a family-oriented outdoor experience for residents and visitors. Local businesses actively promote WinterFisch, boosting tourism during the quieter winter months. Fishing, an affordable and enjoyable family activity, serves as a catalyst for various outdoor pursuits.

Contact Information: For more information, contact Tony Plutino, WinterFisch Organizer, at 512-496-2020 or

Links for Additional Information:

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