Sports Archives - Texoma Connect

TPWD Considering Fishing Regulation Changes for Area Lakes

Catfish

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries management staff are considering changes to freshwater fishing regulations at water bodies located in Cooke, Tom Green, Grayson, and Williamson counties for 2020-21. Staff previewed the potential changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at their meeting this week in Austin.

At Moss Lake near Gainesville in Cooke County, staff are considering modifying the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit to encourage the harvest of smaller fish. This change would aim to reduce competition for forage and habitat and improve the growth potential of largemouth bass in the lake. Additionally, this change would reduce confusion for anglers with identification of spotted versus largemouth bass in the lake.

At Lake Texoma and the Texas waters of the Red River below the Denison Dam, staff are considering modifying harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish to standardize the regulations for these species on both sides of the reservoir and the river. For blue and channel catfish, the potential changes would specify no minimum length limit, a 15-fish daily bag limit, and anglers could harvest only one blue catfish 30 inches or greater. For flathead catfish, the change would specify no minimum length limit and a five-fish daily bag limit. In addition to standardizing regulations with Oklahoma and making harvest limits less complicated for catfish anglers, the potential changes could increase protection of larger blue catfish on the Texas side of the river.

In January, Inland Fisheries staff will present these possible changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. If the Commission approves, the proposed changes will be published in the Texas Register, which begins the process of official public comment. Prior to that, anglers wishing to comment on the potential changes can direct them to Ken Kurzawski, TPWD Inland Fisheries Director of Information and Regulations, by email at ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov or phone at 512-389-4591.

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Texas Hunters Brace for Hot Teal Season Opener

Teal Season Opening Day

Texas Parks and Wildlife | Austin Texas

This year’s early teal hunting season is expected to be a hot one, both in terms of temperature and prospects. Extended forecasts for Saturday’s opener indicate waves of blue-winged teal headed for Texas, along with daytime highs in the mid to upper 90s.

The 16-day statewide early teal and Eastern Zone Canada goose season in Texas will run Saturday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 29. The daily bag on teal is six, with a possession limit of 18. Bag limit for Canada geese will be five and a possession limit of 15 in the Eastern Zone only.

“Literally millions of teal are heading our way and growing numbers are already being reported across the state,” said Kevin Kraai, waterfowl program leader with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “It is looking like the timing of this year’s teal season may be another encouraging point considering the full harvest moon will be on Friday, the day before the season opener. That will trigger mass migration of teal out of the Dakotas.”

While the stars may be aligning for what could be a bountiful teal season, the extended dry weather across much of the state could be a concern. Kraai indicated a lack of water now following the wet spring and early summer that hit much of the eastern half of Texas isn’t necessarily a detriment to hunting.

“Seems we are always in a pattern of too much or too little rainfall here in Texas,” he said. “We have definitely entered a dry spell over the last couple of months, which is not necessarily a terrible thing for many parts of Texas. Typically, when there is less water spread out across the landscape it concentrates birds in areas where hunters tend to be waiting.”

The extremely wet spring and summer in eastern Texas had rivers in flood and lakes way above conservation pool. This unfortunately will impact the amount of terrestrial seed producing vegetation that generates the high energy foods that teal will be seeking. The upper ends of these reservoirs will still be a great place to check for migrating teal despite high waters earlier in the year. Submerged aquatic vegetation should be growing rapidly this time of year and aquatic bugs, essential to migrating and molting teal, will be flourishing in those locations.

As for conditions and prospects for teal season around the state, TPWD waterfowl biologists report:

•             The Gulf Coast is drying out quick but freshwater flows into the bay systems have sparked an above average amount of submerged aquatic vegetation currently growing in places that are typically much more saline.  Marsh complexes up and down the coast should see an increase in teal use this fall.

•             Further inland in the agricultural areas of the Gulf Coast there are a lot of people prepping for the wave of teal coming our way. Pumps are running night and day and canals are open and flowing. These folks will most certainly see incredible teal concentrations enjoying the tables that they set for them.

•             Much like the rest of the state the High Plains playas received substantial rainfall this spring and summer. Very high temperatures and strong dry winds have really wreaked havoc on the standing water across much of the Panhandle the last couple of months. There are still some locations with clusters of wet playas, but they are receding fast. Definitely going to need some replenishing rains soon to carry this important waterfowl area into the winter.

Hunters are reminded to purchase their 2019-20 hunting license before heading afield, available online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/buy, at license retailers or by phone at (800) 895-4248. The online transaction system is available 24/7. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction, but unlimited items can be purchased during a single transaction for this $5 fee.

New this year are enhancements to make the licensing process simpler and faster. “Expedited checkout” speeds the process of re-purchasing the same license items bought during the previous three years. TPWD has also made it easier to show proof-of-license. Now hunters and anglers can use an electronic image of their license as proof-of-license and show/display it in any of these ways: (1) an electronic photo of your license, (2) an emailed receipt, (3) via your account within the license point-of-sale system, the Outdoor Annual App or the My Texas Hunt Harvest App (for hunters). You still must have your physical license for any activities requiring tags and the physical federal duck stamp for waterfowl hunting.

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Lake Texoma HOT Summer Fishing!

The June fishing on Lake Texoma has been great, and I expect July fishing will be hot as well! Big fish and good box fish are roaming around and a ton of fun to catch on slabs. Big slabs been working best to keep the “dinks” off the hook.

Early mornings should begin with some schooling top water action over deeper water as these fish began to group into large schools for the summer. These fish can be caught with small top water plugs or rattle baits casted out into the boiling water. They can literally pop up just about anywhere so watch for splashing and keep an eye open for the Blue Herons or the Great Egrets hovering over deep water. These birds are some of the best fish finders on the lake and will lead you in the right direction. Just keep in mind as you approach these schooling fish that running engines will tend to scare them off, so coast in quietly or use your trolling motor to sneak in for the attack!

Nice Limit!

Another great method for catching these fish when they are not “schooled up” is dropping slab spoons through schools of Striper and Sandbass. Once you have located a large school using your fish finder, drop a 2 to 3 ounce slab down through the school.

A Beast!

A bait casting reel works great for this method because you can keep your thumb on the line spool as the slab spoon descends through the school of fish and if a strike is detected you can stop the spool with your thumb and set the hook at the same time. If your slab spoon makes it through the school without a bite, simply reel it back up as fast as you can and get ready as these fish will aggressively hit a fast-moving spoon. White, green, and blue are my favorite slab colors; or a combination of those colors seem to work great most of the time.

The Big One!

10 pounder!

Line Stretcher!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice 12 pounder!!!

With the summer comes the heat, and it is very important to keep your catch cold in the cooler. I typically use three 2 gallon blocks of ice in my 120 quart cooler. This will keep 30 to 60 fish very cold for up to six hours. If you’re going to be on the water much longer than that please bring plenty of ice to keep your fish cold. The colder you can get your fish, the better they will taste, I promise you!

Good luck out there, and be safe! I’ll see you all on the water!
Capt. Stephen Andre’
Striper Hunter Guide Service
972-816-6000

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