Lake Texoma Fisheries Status Meeting

Lake Texoma Fisheries Status Meeting

Representatives from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be holding a public meeting at the Eisenhower State Park’s Recreation Hall on Monday, November 26th at 6:30pm (park entrance fees will be waived). A status update regarding Lake Texoma fish populations will be presented and information concerning plans for a year-long angler survey and economic analysis beginning this December will be discussed.

In summary, the focus of this random survey will be to estimate fishing effort and annual harvest of all sport fish species in Lake Texoma. Similar surveys were routinely conducted between 1987 and 2001, but this type of data has not been collected since that time. During the survey, biologists will be contacting anglers on the water and asking a short series of questions pertaining to the group’s fishing activities including the duration of their fishing trip, the species they are targeting, and how many fish the group has caught and harvested. In total, the disruption of fishing activity takes about one to two minutes, although anglers are encouraged to continue fishing during the survey.

In addition to the short, on-the-water survey, ODWC and TPWD biologists will be working with researchers from Texas A&M University to conduct a more in-depth economic analysis of fishing activity at Lake Texoma. During the on-the-water survey, biologists will be requesting contact information from one member of each group who will be sent a more detailed questionnaire about their group’s fishing trip. The goal of this study will be to assess the overall annual economic value of fishing at Lake Texoma as well as evaluate angler opinions and uncover potential fisheries management issues at Lake Texoma.

This type of data is vital to fisheries managers because it helps us to model how current fishing regulations impact fish populations as well as fishermen. The information also helps our agencies distribute information to reservoir stakeholders and prioritize fisheries management and stocking efforts.

The economic valuation will also help define how fishing at Lake Texoma benefits local and regional economies. This value is vital to understand when faced with reservoir or water management issues that may impact this nationally important fishery.
Contact Matt Mauck (ODWC) @ (580) 924-4087; or, Dan Bennett (TPWD) @ 903-786-2389 with questions.

Lake Texoma Fall Fishing Report

Lake Texoma Fall Fishing Report

As a fishing guide, it is my job to observe nature. To be aware of the patterns, how they change, how they repeat and yet are never the same. Right now it is fall and we have had plentiful rainfall for the season so the elevation of the lake is a bit higher than normal which changes the landscape of the lake. Grasses and shrubs are submerged in water creating new ecosystems for all types of life as well as new terrain to explore. We have been seeing a lot of egrets, waterfowl and eagles. I’ve been watching an osprey that stays around one of our fishing spots, I often see her dive and catch fish and occasionally we will venture near her tree and she will cry out as if to say hello. The flooded vegetation also provides cover for small fish which attracts the larger fish and they attract fishermen. In the fall, some of the larger stripers will congregate in the shallows to enjoy the cooler temperatures and they are also attracted to the vegetation. This makes for an excellent opportunity for topwater fishing, some of the most exciting fishing of the year. Typically we are blind casting up into the shallows where I think the fish may be and often times, if the fish are there, they will explode on the lure on the first cast. This may last all day if it is cloudy and rainy but if the sun is out, the fish will move out into deeper water after the first hour or so of daylight. The fish on topwater are mostly over 20” so we are not able to keep many of them but they are certainly fun. We mainly use pencil poppers but swim baits like sassy shad work good as well. To catch our smaller fish we have been using bait, though some are doing well using slabs too. Fishing on anchor with live bait in 25-40 ft of water has been working well for us and we have been consistently bringing home our limit on most days.

So far, we’ve had a good season fishing topwaters and there are still a couple of weeks left depending on how the fish respond to the weather. Usually it will last through the first week in November then we begin following the birds and casting sassy shad. We have some cooler weather approaching and I’m anticipating that the seagulls and loons will begin to arrive soon. It is a neat experience to join in a feeding frenzy with bird, fish, and man together as one. We usually follow the birds like this consistently from November through the end of December and will provide some of the best fishing of the year. Then around January as the water temperatures fall, the pattern shifts again and they change from roaming the lake in search of prey to holding stationary to structure where they feel comfortable. Catching fish in this pattern is a little more like bass fishing as we are targeting this structure all over the lake, moving from spot to spot and fishing with sassy shad swim baits. This is a reliable pattern which will typically yield some of our largest fish of the year.

Though the summer is fun and exciting, I really enjoy being on the water during the fall and winter months the most. Everything seems to settle down and the lake becomes more peaceful. It is not uncommon to have a trip during the week where you are one of the only boats on the lake. We will catch fish all winter long and right now, we have an abundance of fish in the lake right now so I’m anticipating a lot of fun to be had in the coming months for the foreseeable future. The holiday seasons are just around the corner and it is time to plan a trip to get out on the water with your family and friends while they are in town. Making memories with the people you love out on the water is what it is about, it is just a bonus that we get to bring home a cooler full of fish at the end of the day.

To find our more information, check availability and book your trip, visit our website www.stripersinc.com or give us a call at (903)815-1609.

Your Lake Texoma Striper Fishing Guide,
Brian Prichard
Stripers Inc.
www.stripersinc.com
(903)815-1609

Hagerman Adopt-a-Nestbox program helps Bluebirds

Hagerman Adopt-a-Nestbox program helps Bluebirds

By Wes Crawford, Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program is a well-established volunteer activity of the Friends Of Haggerman.  In 2018,  31 volunteers monitored 52 nestboxes and some also helped with trail maintenance.  Due to these efforts, at least 200 birds safely fledged from our monitored nestboxes, including 148 Eastern Bluebirds, up from last year.

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program will begin again  on December 1st, when twenty of the refuge’s nestboxes will go up for adoption for a fee of $35. Those who adopt a box will be able to follow all the exciting happenings in their nestbox via an emailed weekly report, complete with pictures and information about the stages of development of the birds and babies inhabiting it throughout the season. Funds from the adopted nestboxes go toward maintaining all of the nestboxes on the refuge.

NestboxesOur nestbox monitors had their first meeting in late February, when they paired up and selected the trails they preferred to monitor. Each week a pair of monitors carefully open each box and note observations on the Cornell NestWatch data sheet. A volunteer specialist enters the data into the Cornell database for scientific monitoring and research, and another volunteer emails the reports, with pictures, of each nestbox’s progress to its adoptive owner in the adopt-a-nestbox program. Though each nestbox is checked weekly, each pair of monitors activates monthly, on a rotating schedule.

We are excited about our 2019 season because we will be working with an OU researcher to use a nestbox camera to monitor one of our boxes. We hope to be able to generate a video image of the happenings frominside the box. The video will be available for educational use for programs at the Refuge.

If you enjoy being outdoors, care about helping wildlife and want to get to see some of the beauty at HNWR, the NESTBOX TEAM is for you. Join us by contacting us via the FOH website, friendsofhagerman.com/Contact.

We wish to thank our team members for their help:
Dick Malnory, Ken Neuhard, Steve Keller, John Brennan, Susan Knowles, Bert Garcia, Sue Raasch, Walter Bryant, Don Lawrence, Ken Hildebrand, Trey Crosthwaite, Jerry Reid, Enid Kasper, Sharon Barker, Bill Nance, Kathy Nance, Larry Vargus, Wayne Meyer, Donna Rogers, Nana Rylander, Sue Abernathy, Cathy Van Bebber, Jim Russell, Teresa Crawford, Patricia Crain, Gene and Nancy Cushion.

We also thank Dick Malnory for fabricating box panel repairs.  A new addition to our program this year was a mowing team that helped the staff keep Harris Creek and Raasch trails mowed and vegetation clear from around the nestboxes. Our team consisted of Bert Garcia, Larry Vargus,
Don Lawrence, Gene Cushion, Alan Bosma, Jay McCurley, Stephen Walker, and Mike Grubb.