Lake Texoma news Archives - Texoma Connect

Texas’ Fourth Annual Pollinator BioBlitz

Monarch Butterfly

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department | Austin Texas

For the next two weeks, Texans are invited to take part in the fourth statewide Pollinator BioBlitz. The goal of the BioBlitz, which runs from Oct. 4-20, is to raise awareness of the diversity and importance of pollinators while bringing greater attention to the critical habitat needs of monarchs and native pollinators across the state.

In support of the event, organizations and sites around the state will be hosting a variety of events to get people outdoors to observe pollinators of all types in yards, natural areas, gardens, parks and community centers. Of course, you don’t have to visit a particular site to participate; your very own yard or green space will do.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge will be holding Butterfly Garden Walks on October 5th and October 19th. Butterflies and all Texas pollinators have suffered during this hot summer. Now that the weather has begun to cool a bit, the pollinators are out feeding on fall blooming flowers.

“Documented declines in insect populations, particularly pollinators, have brought to the forefront the need to better understand these species and the support they provide Texas rangelands, agriculture and native ecosystems,” says Ross Winton, invertebrate biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Texas is home to thousands of pollinator species from the iconic monarch down to the smallest solitary bee.”

Citizen scientists involved in projects like this help us gather data on Texas species and the plant communities they are connected to, Winton adds. This helps us learn not only what we have in our great state but also what we need to strive to protect.

The BioBlitz is designed to be fun for all ages, with no experience required. Participants are simply asked to look for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and moths, as well as nectar-producing plants; photograph or take video of them; and share their discoveries online via Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #TXPollinators. Plant and insect species may be difficult to identify, so observers are encouraged to post what they know. For example, “Striped bee on Turk’s cap in Mission, Texas” is fine.

Participants are encouraged to take it a step further and help increase the amount of data collected during the peak of fall migration by becoming a citizen scientist. Anyone can sign up and record their observations through the iNaturalist application on their phones or home computers. All pollinators and flowering plants posted between Oct. 4-20 will automatically be included in the 2019 Texas Pollinator BioBlitz Project at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/2019-texas-pollinator-bioblitz.  There is no cost to participate and the only tools needed are a camera or smartphone and internet access.

In addition to the monarch, 30 species of pollinators have been designated as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” by TPWD. Native butterflies, bees, moths, bats, hummingbirds, wasps, flies and beetles are essential to healthy ecosystems and sustain native plant species, human food crops and crops for livestock.

To learn more about the importance of pollinators, sign up to be counted, and locate events across the state, visit the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz website at www.tpwd.texas.gov/pollinators.

Participants can also sign up for weekly email updates during the event that will add to the excitement as everyone works together to increase awareness of our pollinators and the availability of their habitat.

Join event partners TPWD, National Butterfly Center, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, National Wildlife Federation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as we celebrate the importance of pollinators.

It’s easy to get involved. Individuals and families, schools and clubs are all asked to join, observe, identify and share. At this time of year, cooler temperatures across the state also alert bees to eat as much as they can before hibernation begins, so it’s the perfect time to photograph, post and record the insects you see while enjoying the great outdoors.

To view a video news report about the Pollinator BioBlitz, visit https://youtu.be/IamRvnr7218.

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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from Captain Steve Barnes

Fishing with Captain Steve on Lake Texoma

by Capt. Steve Barnes Lake Texoma Fishing Guide

Lake Texoma striper fishing is really going strong, with the water temperature rising the fish get more active.

I made the switch from artificial bait to live bait last week, as I do every year about this time and the success rate has been 100% on getting limits every trip. The down side is that bait is pretty tough to catch.

Floodgates were open most of the winter and my belief is that we lost a lot of baitfish that got flushed thru the flood gates and washed down river.

Hard to predict what the summer fishing will be like with the bait numbers down but with my many years of experience I would suggest getting after them in May and June. I would also suggest you leave your cast nets at home and just hire a Lake Texoma fishing guide and let them worry about how to catch the bait.

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Lake Texoma Offers Great Spring Fishing

Texoma offers great spring fishing

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Spring fishing is heating up and many anglers are checking their tackle and planning their next Oklahoma fishing adventure. One popular destination, south central Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma, offers so many fishing and recreation opportunities it has been nicknamed the “playground of the southwest” and “striped bass capital of the world.”

“Lake Texoma has a phenomenal fishery; this is a great lake for striped and smallmouth bass, and it’s produced some record catfish,” said Billy Bob Walker, Oklahoma Game Warden for Marshall County. “Beyond fishing, this is just a really pretty area that offers a lot of boating and outdoor recreation opportunities.”

The lake spans the Oklahoma-Texas border with at least two-thirds of the reservoir located in Oklahoma. Management of the fishery is shared between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and TexasParks and Wildlife Department.

“A resident fishing license is all you need if you plan to just fish the Oklahoma side of the lake. The $12 Lake Texoma license can be added if you want to fish both sides of the lake, above the dam,” Walker said. The Lake Texoma license allows anglers to fish the entire lake without having to purchase a resident or nonresident license. A valid resident or non resident license is needed to fish below the dam.

“One really cool new thing is that you can buy and carry these licenses on your phone with our new license app.”  
 
Licenses can be purchased through a license dealer, or by creating an account at wildlifedepartment.com. All sportsmen – especially lifetime license holders and returning customers – are urged to sign in to update their information and complete their account setup. The accompanying free mobile app from the Wildlife Department is available for both Apple or Android devices.

“The Wildlife Department works hard to make sure there are high quality fisheries across our state. Texoma is a just one example of that successful work here in southern Oklahoma.”

Lake Texoma Regulation Reminders 
Consult the Oklahoma Fishing Guide for other statewide and Texoma-specific regulations.
  • Measure fish as several length restrictions are in place for Lake Texoma. Among other length limits, all crappie have a 10-inch minimum length limit, no more than two striped bass may be 20-inches or longer, and no more than one blue catfish may be 30-inches or longer.
  • The statewide daily limit of five striped bass applies to the Red River below the dam. Within the first 1,000 feet of water below the dam anglers must attach their name and license number to their stringer, and may use only two rods.
  • Angling for alligator gar is suspended on Lake Texoma from May 1 – 31, between the Highway 377 “Willis” bridge upstream to the I-35 bridge. Otherwise the statewide daily limit is one alligator gar. Harvest must be reported to the Wildlife Department at 405-325-7288. This May 1 – 31 closure also includes the Haggerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
  • To help keep the invasive bighead and silver carp out of Lake Texoma and other Oklahoma lakes, shad collected as bait from the lower Red River below Lake Texoma may not be used in other waterbodies. Stop the spread of other aquatic nuisance species by properly cleaning, draining and drying your boat and other watercraft.

 

Striped Bass Capital of the World Highlights

  • The 88,000-acre lake (12th largest in the nation) was created I 1944 by impounding the Red River.  This popular recreation area hosts more than 6 million visitors annually.
  • Striped bass were first stocked in Lake Texoma by the Wildlife Department in 1965. This popular fishery has developed into one of the most recreationally and economically important fisheries in the state.
  • Lake Texoma is one of only a handful of reservoirs in the United States that has a naturally reproducing striped bass population.  Other lakes must routinely restock their fishery.
  • The $12 Lake Texoma fishing license was created in 1979 to allow anglers to fish the entire lake without purchasing both the Texas and Oklahoma fishing licenses.

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