ATHENS, Texas — Urban fishing is due to improve during the next few years as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ramps up its Texas Urban Fishing (TUF) program in small lakes located in urban areas throughout the state.

“We have had a community fishing lake program for many years, but we are interested in expanding it in major metropolitan areas,” said Bob Betsill, a research biologist at TPWD’s Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center near Kerrville. “The goal is to provide year-around, family-oriented fishing opportunities in each of the 25 metropolitan statistical areas in Texas. We now have eight small lakes in the program and are currently evaluating additional ones.”

The outstanding feature of the program is frequent, repeated stocking of fish throughout the year. “We will be partnering with cities to set up programs to stock rainbow trout in winter and 12-inch channel catfish the rest of the year,” Betsill said. “We’ll stock fish every other week for about 10 months out of the year.”

For a list of lakes in the program and the stocking schedule, go to TPWD is also working to expand loaner fishing tackle programs at the sites.

“Research shows that most people who fish in urban fishing lakes live within two miles of the lakes,” Betsill said. “The key to success of the program will be involving local parks and recreation departments, civic organizations, fishing clubs and individuals in mentoring kids.”