Texas Fishing News (2014)

(April 13 Update)
 Toyota Texas Bass Classic Brings Texas Sized Entertainment to Lake Fork May 9-11, 2014
Limited tickets available at your local Toyota dealers, Academy Sports +Outdoors, Brookshire’s and www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com

QUITMAN—The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) is returning to Lake Fork in a big way. The Sabine River Authority in Quitman will again host this world-class bass fishing tournament and outdoor country music festival. We are proud to announce our exceptional entertainment this year, featuring country super stars, Pat Green, Little Big Town, and Justin Moore.

“The anticipation and excitement for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is off the charts this year. TTBC will be bringing premiere country music artists, as well as the world’s best anglers to Lake Fork. We hope to break records on and off the water” said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur. “Not only do we have family friendly ticket prices, but the sale of tickets will help us in our ongoing effort to support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.”

Single day, general admission tickets are available for $15 in advance (or $25 at the gate). That ticket includes parking and kids 17 and under get in free with a ticketed adult. Pat Green will be kicking off Friday’s country music concert and Little Big Town will take the stage on Saturday, May 10. Rounding out the event’s entertainment will be Justin Moore, Sunday, May 11. In addition to the headlining entertainment artists, the TTBC will also feature a variety of regional bands including Tyler and the Tribe, Southern Slang, Backroad Anthem, and Sister C. Tickets are available now at www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com, your local Toyota dealerships, Academy Sports + Outdoors, and Brookshire’s.

A three-time Grammy nominee, Pat Green has become a cultural force across the country selling out venues from Nokia Theater in Times Square to the Houston Astrodome in Texas. Green’s explosive live shows have made him a fan favorite and a hot ticket, landing tours with the likes of Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews Band. Named “the Springsteen of the South West” in People Magazine, Green has sold over 2 million albums, released a collection of hits at country radio and has been praised in Esquire, Blender, Billboard and USA Today.

Critically acclaimed country group, Little Big Town — consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman and Jimi Westbrook — first entered the music scene over 13 years ago with hits such as “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home,” “Good As Gone” and Grammy-nominated single “Little White Church.” The quartet’s fifth studio album Tornado was released on September 11, 2012 and debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Chart where it stayed in the #1 position for five consecutive weeks. The album recently received platinum certification with sales of over 1 million copies. Tornado, produced by Jay Joyce, includes 2x platinum-selling #1 hit single “Pontoon” and follow-up single and title-track “Tornado” which also peaked in the #1 position. The Grammy-nominated track, “Your Side of the Bed” and current single “Sober” are also featured on the album. Collectively, the group has earned over 25 award show nominations and has taken home the award for ACM Top New Vocal Group, CMA Single of the Year (“Pontoon”), CMA Vocal Group of the Year (2012 and 2013), ACM Vocal Group of the Year, ACM Video of the Year ("Tornado"), a Grammy Award for Best Country Group/Duo Performance (“Pontoon”) and an Emmy award (Outstanding Original Song-“Good Afternoon”). The foursome recently wrapped up their sold-out headlining tour and is also a tour with Keith Urban.

Little Big Town is currently working on a new album, which is expected for release later this year. The first single off of the new record entitled “Day Drinking” should hit country radio in late spring.

For a second consecutive time, Justin Moore debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and #2 on the all-genre chart with OFF THE BEATEN PATH. The project has already produced Justin’s fourth #1, “Point At You,” and current Top 25-and-rising single “Lettin’ The Night Roll," which has sold over 120,000 downloads. Combined with his previous GOLD-certified albums – JUSTIN MOORE and OUTLAWS LIKE ME – Justin has sold over 5.3 million digital downloads. While his music has been featured on the ABC hit drama “NASHVILLE,” Hannity & Colmes and NFL Rewind, he has been profiled by publications such as The Washington Post, People Country, Billboard and USA Today. Justin is currently headlining the OFF THE BEATEN PATH TOUR with special guests Randy Houser and Josh Thompson. Beginning March 24, fans can vote daily at www.voteacm.com to help Justin bring home the ACM New Artist of the Year trophy during April 2 awards show, airing on CBS. Visit www.moorejustinmusic.com for tour dates and more.

The 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Classic will host a stellar 50-angler field, assembled from the top professional leagues, including the PAA Tournament Series, Bassmaster Elite Series and the Walmart FLW Tour, creating a true bass fishing world championship. The TTBC is an outdoor festival that includes exceptional entertainment and a variety of family and industry activities.

Current sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shop, Leer Truck Caps, HOLT Cat, Ugly Stik, Republic Services, Tellespen, ATX Wheels, Geico, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire’s, TLC Radio, KMOO Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, the Coca-Cola Company, & the Sabine River Authority

(April 6 Update)
 Athens Eggfest 2014 Set for April 12 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS—The fourth annual Athens Eggfest is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC).

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cooking will end at 3 p.m. Tasting will continue until all the food is gone.

Regular admission to TFFC will be charged. Those who preregister will be allowed to taste for a $5 donation to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Persons who do not preregister can still taste by making a $10 donation to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center at the event entrance.

Both cooks and tasters may preregister at http://athenseggfest.wordpress.com/. There is no fee to cook.

This year’s Eggfest will feature guest cook Tyron Smith, known to Dallas Cowboys fans as Number 77. The TFFC Eggfest can be thought of as an ultimate tailgate cookout. Dozens of Eggheads will fire up Big Green Eggs and bake, smoke, grill and serve everything from breakfast casseroles to pork bellies to wild game to blueberry muffins to pig candy. It will all be cooked on the iconic ceramic cookers, and samples will be available for tasting.

The theme for this year’s Athens Eggfest is “Grillin’ and Chillin’.” An Eggfest is not a cooking competition, it’s a tasting frenzy accompanied by cooking instruction. Food will be coming off the Eggs all day long, starting with breakfast-type items in the morning and progressing to heartier foods as the day goes on. While tasting, you can learn how to cook on a ceramic cooker yourself.
“The basic idea behind the Eggfest is to get people outdoors, and what better way to do that than by offering them delicious food,” said Allen Forshage, TFFC director. “And while they are here, we hope they will take time to fish in our ponds, walk our Wetlands Trail and learn about the role TFFC and TPWD play in keeping fishing great in Texas.”

Demo eggs used at this event will be available for purchase at the end of the day. Click on the link above to reserve a once-used ceramic cooker prior to the event.

The Athens Eggfest is sponsored by Morrison Supply, Paragon Distributing, Brookshire’s Food and Pharmacy, Friends of TFFC and First State Bank—Athens.

For more information on visiting TFFC, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/tffc or call (903) 676-2277.

(March 30 Update)
 5-Fish Seatrout Bag Limit, Guadalupe River Trout Conservation Rules Adopted
News Release
Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov

AUSTIN — Expansion into the Texas coastal bend of special harvest regulations on spotted seatrout, and harvest modifications to the state’s only year-round freshwater trout fishery have been approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

As part of the 2014-15 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation, the Commission adopted rules to extend a 5-fish bag limit currently in effect in the Lower Laguna Madre up the coast through the Highway 457 bridge near Sargent with a five-year sunset date. The Commission modified the original proposal to set the possession limit on spotted seatrout for the area from the Lower Laguna Madre to the Highway 457 bridge twice the daily bag limit (10 fish in possession).

The Commission also approved a temporary 2-year closure of oyster harvest at a 54-acre oyster restoration site on Half-Moon Reef in Matagorda Bay, and a 2-year temporary closure of seven restoration sites in East Galveston Bay.

In other changes to saltwater fishing regulations, the Commission extended the two flounder per day bag limit restrictions currently in effect for the month of November into the first two weeks of December. During these first two weeks of December, however, harvest would be allowed by any legal means.

For freshwater, the Commission approved changes to the rainbow and brown trout fishery along a section of the Guadalupe River below Canyon Reservoir establishing a 12- to 18-inch slot length limit with a five-fish daily bag limit, harvest by artificial lures only, and only one trout over 18 inches could be retained. The new regulation zone would begin 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release and extend downstream to the easternmost Highway 306 bridge crossing.

The Commission also granted authority for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Executive Director to impose temporary prohibition of alligator gar fishing in specified areas to provide additional protection during spawning activity. Closures would be invoked in a selected area, limited to no more than 30 days, and occur only in areas having an active moderate flood event with water temperatures within an optimum range for alligator gar spawning.

In other freshwater fishing regulation changes, the Commission adopted the following:
Texas/Louisiana Border Waters (Toledo Bend Reservoir, Caddo Lake, and the Lower Sabine River in Newton and Orange Counties): regulations for blue and channel catfish changed to no minimum length limit and a 50-fish daily bag limit in any combination, of which no more than five blue or channel catfish 30 inches or longer could be retained.
Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir: the special limits for freshwater lakes where red drum have been stocked are removed and regulations revert to statewide length limits (20-inch minimum length limit, 28-inch maximum length limit, and harvest of up to two red drum 28 inches or longer per year with trophy drum tag). Bag limit remains at three.
Lake Kyle: regulations changed to catch and release (no harvest) of channel and blue catfish, largemouth bass, or any sunfish species.
Canyon Lake Project #6: Harvest regulation for channel and blue catfish changed to no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag and anglers restricted to only two poles.
North Concho River from O. C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam and the South Concho River from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam: Anglers restricted to using two poles.
Recreational anglers who fish with jug lines will be allowed to use floats of any color except orange. Commercial anglers will continue to be restricted to using orange-colored floats.

All changes take effect Sept. 1, 2014.


(March 23 Update)
 Colorado River Guadalupe Bass Is Multiple State, Potential World Records
Fish on display at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens
News Release News Images
Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov

ATHENS—A 3.71-pound, 17-inch Guadalupe Bass caught from the Colorado River below Austin appears to qualify as a new state and world record in several categories.

Dr. Bryan Townsend of Austin was fly-fishing with guide Shea McClanahan on Saturday, February 1, when he landed the largest specimen of the state fish of Texas reported caught.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist Marcos De Jesus met the party at the river and assisted in transporting the fish to the Cabela’s in Buda, where it was weighed on a certified scale.

DNA testing confirmed the fish is pure Guadalupe bass.

Townsend elected to donate the fish to TPWD for display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The fish can be seen in the dive tank in the theater.

“The Colorado River below Austin, from Longhorn Dam to La Grange, has been a special bass fishery for many years,” said De Jesus. “Productive waters and excellent habitat have helped support a healthy black bass population composed of largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass. Recently, with reduced pulses due to drought, aquatic vegetation exploded all over this river segment. Flood events in October flushed a lot of it downstream, making it easier to fish.”

De Jesus noted that many large Guadalupe and largemouth bass are caught by anglers every year from this stretch of river. Guadalupe bass in the two- to three-pound range are frequently reported and documented by fishing guides in their web pages. Reports of 50- to 100-fish trips are not uncommon.

“Spring and fall are good times to catch large numbers of fish,” De Jesus said. “TPWD has been working with local governments and private landowners to develop public river access in this stretch to allow paddlers to enjoy this resource. There are a number of public access points available, including the Bastrop paddling trail.”

For information on access points, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/.
Townsend’s fish qualifies as the new state and water body weight and water body and state fly-fishing records. It may qualify for International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records as well.
World records are established by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Texas records are available at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/.

(March 16 Update)
 Public Hearing Set for Proposed 160 Acre Public Artificial Reef Site
Media Contact: Dale Shively, 512-389-4686 or dale.shively@tpwd.texas.gov

AUSTIN— The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing to create a new 160 acre public artificial reef site south of the Galveston Jetties. The proposed site is six and a half miles from the shoreline in about 48 feet of water.

A public hearing to discuss the proposal is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2 at the Galveston Yacht Basin, 715 North Holiday Dr., Galveston, TX, 77550. For directions, call 409-765-3000.

The public may also provide input online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us or by contacting Dale Shively at 512-389-4686 or Dale.shively@tpwd.texas.gov .

(March 9 Update)
 Toyota Texas Bass Classic Looking for Volunteers
Volunteer opportunities available at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Fork
Media Contact: Annie Kooy, Marketing & Communications, (479) 715-6100 or Annie.Kooy@octagon.com; Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director, (479) 715-6103 or Lenny.Francoeur@octagon.com; Rebecca Zajac, Coordinator, (734) 717-4884 or Rebecca.Zajac@octagon.com

QUITMAN—The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) is seeking volunteers to help support the Texas sized outdoor music festival and world championship fishing event. The 8th annual TTBC is returning to Lake Fork, May 9-11, 2014. The event will host the world’s greatest anglers as well as chart topping country music performances. Fishing knowledge is not required and those who register now will receive an unforgettable experience.

Along with the memories, volunteers will receive exclusive tournament gear; including an official TTBC t-shirt, hat, lunch, volunteer badge (serves as general admission Friday, Saturday & Sunday) and a parking pass. Below you will find a list and brief description of the TTBC Committees.

ADMISSIONS/WILL CALL: Admissions volunteers will be responsible for supporting the admissions gate and assisting security to ensure that all spectators have the proper tickets for entry. Will Call volunteers will be responsible for staffing a ticket booth at the event entrance for ticket buyers to pick up previously purchased tickets.

MEDIA/PR: Assist Tournament and PAA staff with the general operations of the Media Center and promotion of the Tournament, assist with sponsor requests and angler appearances.

TOURNAMENT OFFICE: Assists Tournament Staff with answering the phones, greeting visitors, receiving and logging deliveries along with other administrative duties as requested by Tournament Staff.

TPWD OUTDOOR ADVENTURES AREA: Assist the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) with various activities in the TP&W Outdoor Adventures Area.

VOLUNTEER SERVICES: Responsible for staffing the volunteer headquarters, handling uniform distribution and maintaining a comfortable working environment for the volunteers.
“Volunteering is a great way to get in on all the action at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make an event of this size work, and the volunteers are a major part of making it a success,” said Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director. “Volunteering also provides an excellent opportunity to connect within your community and join in on the support of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.”

About The Tournament: The Toyota Texas Bass Classic is a world-class bass fishing tournament, featuring the top 50 bass anglers in the world, along with a festival to include exceptional entertainment and a variety of family and industry activities. This three day event will take place May 9-11, 2014 at Lake Fork, Quitman, Texas.

Events / Entertainment: Extraordinary live music and events that will appeal to the whole family. This will include a variety of games and activities at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area, incredible food and a fishing industry expo featuring seminars and the latest in fishing equipment, gear and accessories. Merchandise will be available for purchase at the Tournament venue.

Charity: Proceeds benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. For more information on TPWD click here www.tpwd.state.tx.us

Current sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Leer Truck Caps, HOLT CAT, Ugly Stik, Republic Services, Tellespen, ATX Wheels, Geico, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire’s, TLC Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch & the Coca-Cola Company.

For additional information, visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.

For volunteer application, visit http://www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2014-TTBC-Volunteer-Application.pdf

Make sure to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for tournament news, updates, contests, and more!

(March 2 Update)
 Lake Austin Joins ShareLunker Parade
News Release News Images
Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov

ATHENS—Lake Austin produced its twentieth Toyota ShareLunker February 21 when Robert Whitehead of Austin caught a 13.19-pound bass while fishing the upper end of the lake.
Whitehead was fishing in five feet of water when the fish took his plastic worm about 1:30 p.m. The fish was 27.28 inches long and 19.84 inches in girth.

Toyota ShareLunker 555 is the seventh program entry of the current season. Previous entries have come from Lakes Fork, Athens and Palestine. Whitehead’s catch moved Lake Austin into a tie for fourth place (with Falcon International Reservoir) on the list of lakes producing the most ShareLunkers. Lake Fork has produced 256, O.H. Ivie and Alan Henry 25 each, and Sam Rayburn 23. ShareLunkers have come from 21 private water bodies.

Catches of big bass typically begin to increase in February and peak in March as water temperatures warm and fish begin moving into shallow water to spawn. So far this season catches number one in November and two each in December, January and February. Abnormally cold temperatures in December appear to have pushed back the start of spawning activity. However, with seven entries at the present time and the month of March just ahead, the ShareLunker program seems on track to receive the 20 entries it’s averaged in the past.

Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.

Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.

The number to call to report a ShareLunker catch is (903) 681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600.

Official ShareLunker weigh and holding stations have been established at a number of reservoirs; a list is at http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/.

For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see http://tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker/. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.

Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, will be posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram. “Like” this page and you can receive notification and photos of catches as soon as they become available.

ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.

(Feb 23 Update)
 TPWD Proposing Seatrout Bag Limit Change, Gar Conservation Rules
News Release
Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov

AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is proposing fishing regulation changes that will affect both salt and freshwater anglers. Some of the most noteworthy include changes to harvest regulations for flounder and spotted seatrout, the rainbow trout fishery on the Guadalupe River below Canyon Lake dam, and additional restrictions on the harvest of alligator gar during critical periods of spawning.

TPWD staff presented proposed amendments to the 2014-15 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. The recommended changes include:

Salt Water
Oyster harvest: Temporary 2-year closure of a 54-acre oyster restoration site on Half-Moon reef in Matagorda Bay, and a 2-year temporary closure of seven restoration sites located in East Galveston Bay.
Flounder: Extension of the November 2-fish bag limit through the first 2 weeks of December, and during those two weeks harvest would be allowed by any legal means.
Spotted Seatrout: Extension of the 5-fish bag and possession limit up the coast through East Matagorda Bay with a five-year sunset date.

Fresh Water
Guadalupe River below Canyon Reservoir (Comal County): rainbow and brown trout regulations on a section of the river would be changed to a 12- to 18-inch slot length limit with a five-fish daily bag limit, harvest by artificial lures only, and only one trout over 18 inches could be retained. The new regulation zone would begin 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release and extend downstream to the easternmost Highway 306 bridge crossing.
Texas/Louisiana Border Waters (Toledo Bend Reservoir, Caddo Lake, and the Lower Sabine River in Newton and Orange Counties): regulations for blue and channel catfish would be changed to no minimum length limit and a 50-fish daily bag limit in any combination, of which no more than five blue or channel catfish 30 inches or longer could be retained.
Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir (McLennan County): the special limits for freshwater lakes where red drum have been stocked would be removed and regulations would revert to statewide length limits (20-inch minimum length limit, 28-inch maximum length limit, and harvest of up to two red drum 28 inches or longer per year with trophy drum tag). Bag limit would remain at three.
Lake Kyle (Hays County): regulations would be changed to catch and release (no harvest) of channel and blue catfish, largemouth bass, or any sunfish species.
Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County): Changes implemented last year were not fully implemented. To correct this, the harvest regulation for channel and blue catfish would be changed to no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag and anglers would be restricted to only two poles.
North Concho River from O. C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam and the South Concho River from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam (Tom Green County): anglers would be restricted to using two poles.
Jug Line Floats: Recreational anglers who fish with jug lines will be allowed to use floats of any color except orange. Commercial anglers will continue to be restricted to using orange-colored floats.

In addition to the proposed changes noted above, the TPW Commission directed staff to include for public comment proposed changes to alligator gar harvest regulations. The changes would give the TPWD Executive Director the authority to temporarily prohibit taking or attempting to take alligator gar in any area where conditions such as water temperature and water levels would be conducive for spawning of alligator gar. Typically, alligator gar do not spawn every year. This change would add increased protection to spawning gar in certain areas when they are concentrated and most vulnerable to over-harvest. Closures would be invoked only during those limited times when and where the specified conditions are occurring, and the public would be notified as soon as the closure is invoked.

Proposed changes can be found in the Feb. 21 edition of the Texas Register and on the TPWD website.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted by phone or e-mail to Robert Macdonald (512) 389-4775; e-mail: robert.macdonald@tpwd.texas.gov, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744. Comments may also be submitted through the department’s internet web site after February 21 and at the following upcoming public meetings scheduled around the state.

TPWD Public Hearing Schedule
All meetings set for 7 p.m.
 Alpine
March 10
Sul Ross, Range Animal Science Bldg, Rm 103, East Hwy 90
Sulphur Springs
March 10
Hopkins Co. Courthouse, 118 Church St.
New Braunfels
March 10
WORD Offices, 1928 FM 2673, Canyon Lake
Port Arthur
March 11
Holiday Inn, Neches Room, 2929 Jimmy Johnson Blvd.
Dickinson
March 11
Doyle Convention Center, Williams Goyens Room, 2010 5th Ave North, Texas City
Van Horn
March 12
El Capitan Hotel Conference Room, 100 East Broadway
Marshall
March 12
Marshall Lions Community Center, 1201 Louisiana St.
Zapata
March 12
Zapata County Technical and Advance Education Center, Rm 128, 605 N. US Hwy 83
Port Lavaca
March 12
Bauer Exhibit Building, 186 CR 101
San Antonio
March 13
Bass Pro@ 17907 IH-10 West
Rockport
March 13
Aransas County Courthouse, 301 N. Live Oak
Lubbock
March 17
Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center, 1102 E. FM1294
Nacogdoches
March 17
Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex, 203 West Main
Dallas-Fort Worth
March 17
Cabela's, 1 Cabelas Dr., Allen
Palestine
March 17
Ben E. Keith Building, 2019 W. Oak Street
Huntsville
March 19
Walker County Storm Shelter, 455 Highway 75 N
Port Isabel
March 19
Port Isabel Community Center, 213 Yturria
Amarillo
March 19
Texas AgriLife Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd West
Corpus Christi
March 20
Del Mar College Center for Economic Development, 3209 S. Staples St., Rm 106
Center
March 20
Fannie Brown Booth Library, Redditt Room, 619 Tenaha Street
Houston
March 20
Sheldon Lake State Park, 15315 Beaumont Hwy
Austin
March 20
Austin TPWD HQ Commission Hearing Room, 4200 Smith School Road

(Feb 16 Update)
 Fly Fish Texas March 8 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

ATHENS—Learn to tie a fly, cast a fly and catch a fish all in one day during the annual Fly Fish Texas event at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center March 8.

Throughout the day, experienced fly-tiers will be demonstrating and teaching fly-tying in the Anglers Pavilion on a one-on-one basis. In addition, group instruction in beginning fly-tying will be offered in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center beginning at noon. Both are offered on a walk-up basis.
Beginning casting instruction will take place all day in the Conservation Center parking lot, again on a walk-up basis. Scheduled sessions will teach single- and double-hand Spey rod casting.
For a complete schedule of activities and seminars, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc and click on the Fly Fish Texas link.

Vendors will be displaying and selling fly-fishing gear, and seminars will brief visitors on where and how to fly-fish in fresh and salt waters for a variety of species. The program will include presentations on fly-fishing the Llano River and Colorado’s backcountry canyons and high-meadow streams.

Other sessions will focus on caring for fly-fishing equipment, choosing a fly rod, fly-fishing for carp, tying flies for spring bass fishing, tying trout flies, tying flies to take advantage of fish senses and rigging for trout.

Kayaks and instruction on how to use them for fly-fishing will be available on the casting pond. Do-it-yourself fly-fishing for rainbow trout, sunfish and catfish will be available all day in TFFC’s ponds and streams. Bass and rainbow trout fishing will be available in the fly-fishing pond at the end of the Wetlands Trail.

Food service will be available onsite, or attendees may bring a picnic. TFFC’s regularly scheduled dive shows will take place in the dive theater at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and will be followed by tram tours of the hatchery.

Event sponsors include Sabine River Authority, Dallas Fly Fishers, Temple Fork Outfitters, Red Hat Rentals, Best Western Royal Mountain Inn—Athens, Friends of TFFC, Cripple Creek BBQ, Danny’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, First State Bank and Super 8—Athens.

Show hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center.

(Feb 9 Update)
 Dates for Annual Crab Trap Removal Set
Media Contact: Art Morris (361) 825-3356, crabtrap@tpwd.texas.gov

AUSTIN — Hoping to add to the pile of more than 33,449 derelict crab traps hauled from Texas bays since 2002, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department  officials are gearing up for the 14th annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program  Feb. 21 to March 2.

During this 10-day period, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing with wire mesh crab traps.  Any traps left in the bay will be assumed abandoned and considered “litter” under state law. This allows volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.

Prior to the 77th Legislature authorizing the abandoned crab trap removal program, only the trap’s owner or a Texas game warden could legally remove a crab trap. State game wardens confiscate more than 2,500 illegal traps annually, yet many more remain to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag anglers’ lines, “ghost fish” and create an unsightly view of Texas shores.

Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup.  To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, TPWD will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations in each major bay system along the coast from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 22, weather permitting.  Additionally at all sites, dumpsters or collection areas marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure.  Volunteers may focus their efforts on Feb. 22 or work at their own pace anytime during the closure, but traps cannot be removed prior to Feb. 21 or after March 2.

Last year, volunteers with the aid of numerous sponsors removed nearly 1,000 traps coast-wide.

"The success of this program is a reflection of the keen sense of stewardship anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts have for the marine resources of this great state,” said Art Morris, ACTRP program coordinator for TPWD. “Volunteers have removed more traps from Texas waters than any other Gulf state and the results show.”

Morris said the number of traps removed each year has steadily been decreasing, indicating the impact of the volunteer program.

The Coastal Conservation Association Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, NRG Energy and the Galveston Bay Foundation are providing continued support to the crab trap removal program. Numerous other organizations and companies also are volunteering their services.

To participate, volunteers may pick up free tarps, gloves, trap hooks and additional information at their local TPWD Coastal Fisheries field stations. TPWD requests that volunteers who remove traps record and submit information about the number of traps they collect as well as documenting any sightings of diamondback terrapins.

All other legal means of crabbing will not be affected during the closure period for wire crab traps. For more information, contact your local TPWD Coastal Fisheries office or Art Morris at the Corpus Christi field station, (361) 825-3356 or crabtrap@tpwd.texas.gov

Trap Drop-off Sites

Sabine Lake

Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104 (Ext. 222)

Pleasure Island Marina Boat Ramp

Galveston Bay

Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (281) 534-0110

Jones Lake State Ramp (Fat Boys) — Facilitated by NRG Energy and the Galveston Bay Foundation
Seabrook SH 146 Bridge Public Boat Ramp
Fort Anahuac County Park Boat Ramp — Facilitated by Galveston Bay Foundation
Chocolate Bayou State Boat Ramp- FM 2004

Matagorda Bay

Local TPWD coordinator Leslie Hartman (361) 972-6253

Mitchell Cut Boat (ICWW) Ramp at Sargent
Matagorda Harbor at Matagorda
Railroad Park at Palacios

San Antonio Bay

Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425

Charlie’s Bait Stand
Port O’Connor TPWD Docks

Aransas Bay

Local TPWD coordinator Emma Clarkson (361) 729-5429

Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp
North Cove Harbor Boat Ramp

Corpus Christi Bay

Local TPWD coordinator Tom Wagner (361) 729-2328

Marinaville (Nueces Bay) Boat Ramp
Port Aransas Public Boat Ramp

Upper Laguna Madre

Local TPWD coordinator Faye Grubbs (361) 825-3353

Bluff’s Landing Marina
Kaufer Park Boat Ramp

Lower Laguna Madre

Local TPWD coordinator Mark Lingo (956) 350-4490

Adolfe Thomae County Park at Arroyo City
Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp at Port Mansfield

(Jan 26 Update)
 Zebra Mussels Confirmed in Lake Lavon
Media Contact: Brian Van Zee, Texas Parks and Wildlife, (254) 867-7974, brian.vanzee@tpwd.texas.gov

ATHENS—Zebra mussels have now been confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Lake Lavon.

The presence of live zebra mussels or veligers, their larvae, has now been confirmed in six Texas water bodies: Lakes Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Belton, and Lavon.

A team of USGS scientists led by Dr. Christopher Churchill has been monitoring North Texas reservoirs and rivers for the presence of juvenile and adult zebra mussels as well as for the presence of zebra mussel DNA. Lake Lavon’s water samples recently tested positive for zebra mussel DNA and a veliger was also positively identified.

The USGS tests also detected zebra mussel DNA in lakes Grapevine, Fork and Tawakoni. This is the first detection of zebra mussel DNA in lakes Fork and Tawakoni. However, three consecutive surveys have detected zebra mussel DNA in Lake Grapevine making it highly suspect.

Dr. Robert McMahon, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington, says that while this news is of concern, he suspects that Lake Fork cannot sustain a zebra mussel population because of low levels of calcium, which the mussels use to construct their shells. He believes that Lake Tawakoni is likely more susceptible.

The finding of zebra mussel DNA in a lake does not necessarily mean that it is infested, but it may indicate that boaters are inadvertently moving zebra mussels or zebra mussel DNA from lake to lake. The USGS sample from Lake Fork was collected near the FM 17 boat ramp and the samples from Lake Tawakoni were collected near Lake Tawakoni State Park and South Shore Marina. The USGS will conduct a follow-up lake survey at Lake Lavon later this month and will resume routine sampling this spring at all areas that are currently monitored, which include lakes Texoma, Lavon, Ray Roberts, Ray Hubbard, Lewisville, Grapevine, Fork, Tawakoni and Palestine. The USGS also monitors several riverine areas including Sister Grove Creek, Elm Fork of the Trinity River, and Denton Creek.

Zebra mussels were first discovered on boats being transported from out of state to Lake Texoma in 2006. In 2009, Lake Texoma became the first lake in Texas to become infested. Zebra mussels can quickly cover boats and motors left in infested waters, clog public-water intake pipes and water-cooling systems, negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and can make water recreation hazardous because of their razor-sharp shells.

Boats are believed to be one of the main ways that zebra mussels move from one lake to another. The only way for boaters to ensure they’re not transporting zebra mussels is to always clean, drain and completely dry boats, trailers and gear after leaving a water body.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has instituted rules requiring persons leaving or approaching public water in 17 Northeast Texas counties to drain all water from their vessels and on-board receptacles. This applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not, personal watercraft, sailboats or any other vessel used to travel on public waters. A proposal to extend the regulation to 30 additional counties in North and Central Texas will be considered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Thursday meeting. Information about the proposed change and a form for online public comment until 5 p.m. Tuesday may be found at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/proposals/201401_water_draining.phtml.
Under the current rules in the 17 counties, live fish cannot be transported in water that comes from the water body where they were caught and personally caught live bait can be used only in the water body where it was caught.

TPWD and a coalition of partners are working to slow the spread of zebra mussels by reminding boaters to Clean, Drain and Dry their vessels before traveling from one lake to another. The partners in this effort include: North Texas Municipal Water District, Tarrant Regional Water District, City of Dallas Water Utilities Department, Trinity River Authority, San Jacinto River Authority, Sabine River Authority, Brazos River Authority, City of Waco, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Lower Colorado River Authority, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, City of Grapevine, City of Houston, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

For more information regarding zebra mussels, visit www.texasinvasives.org/zebramussels and http://nas.er.usgs.gov. Marinas or anyone wishing to receive a supply of informational brochures, wallet cards or posters about zebra mussels to distribute to boaters can submit a request for materials at http://www.texasinvasives.org/action/spreadword.php.

(Jan 19 Update)
 Lake Fork Does It Again: Third Toyota ShareLunker of Season
News Release – News Images
Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov

ATHENS—Lake Fork produced its third Toyota ShareLunker of the season Sunday night.

Randall E. Claybourne of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was fishing by himself in 15 feet of water in the east arm of the lake when the 13.86-pound bass took his jig-and-craw lure about 11:20 p.m.

The fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth. It was held for pickup at Lake Fork Marina, an official Toyota ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station.

Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.

The number to call to report a ShareLunker catch is (903) 681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600.

Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.

Official ShareLunker weigh and holding stations have been established at a number of reservoirs; a list is at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/.

For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker/. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.

Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, will be posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram. “Like” this page and you can receive notification and photos of catches as soon as they become available.

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects. Toyota also sponsors the Toyota Texas Bass Classic world championship of bass fishing, which will be held at Lake Fork in May 2014.

(Jan 12 Update)
 Texas State-Fish Art Contest Seeks Entries
Houston-based company to provide additional prizes

News Release News Images
Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov

ATHENS–The Texas State-Fish Art Contest, headquartered at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC), reminds Texas teachers and students that the deadline for entries in the 2014 State-Fish Art Contest is March 31, 2014.

The contest is open to any student in public, private or home schools in grades K-12. Students must draw or paint any recognized state fish and write an essay about it. Complete contest details and entry forms can be found at www.tpwd.texas.gov/fishart.

New to the 2014 Texas State-Fish Art Contest will be prizes for the top 10 winners in each of the four grade categories courtesy of FishFlops®. Each of the top 40 Texas winners will receive official FishFlops® merchandise. FishFlops® were created by Galveston teenager Madison Nicole Robinson and are available at Nordstrom.

“We recognize the spirit of the Texas State-Fish Art Contest is to inspire young talented individuals to explore the limits of their creativity,” said Madison Nicole, creator of FishFlops®. “We hope our brand will inspire the winners to take their artistic skills to the next level.”

The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) provides funds for prizes for first-, second- and third-place Texas winners in each of the four grade-level divisions. First place in grades 10–12 wins $1,000; second place $750; third place $500. Prizes in the K–3, 4–6 and 7–9 grade levels are $100 for first; $75 for second; $50 for third. Student art from the Texas contest is featured on TTBC tickets. The next TTBC will take place on Lake Fork in May 2014.

Additional support for the Texas contest is provided by the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

The Texas State-Fish Art Contest is part of Wildlife Forever’s State-Fish Art Contest. The TTBC also provides a travel allowance for Texas first-place winners to attend the national awards ceremony, which will be held August 15 and 16, 2014, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Wildlife Forever chooses one outstanding piece of artwork each year for the Art of Conservation Award, and a commemorative stamp featuring the artwork is produced for sale. Proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to fund conservation projects.

Educators who wish to have their students enter the contest can download the free “State-Fish Art Contest Lesson Plan” at www.statefishart.com. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes lessons and activities, a species identification section profiling each state fish, a glossary and student worksheets.

***

Located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species conservation organization dedicated to conserving America’s wildlife heritage. Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to “on-the-ground” efforts. Wildlife Forever supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations. www.wildlifeforever.org.

Houston-based FishFlops® was born in 2006 when Madison Nicole Robinson created the first designs for the line of footwear now known as FishFlops®. Together with her father, Dan, FishFlops® seeks to encourage responsible outdoor recreation, conservation of natural resources and development of the artistic talents of today’s youth. www.fishflops.com