Calendar


Through May 3 - Texas South Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.


Through May 6 - Oklahoma spring turkey season for eight southeastern counties including Atoka and Choctaw counties.


Through May 6 - Oklahoma spring turkey season.


Through May 14 - Texas Eastern Turkey spring season including Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties.


Through May 17 - Texas North Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.


May 5 - Red River Fly Fishers meeting CANCELLED due to COVID-19 crisis.


May 20 – Oklahoma Controlled Hunts application deadline. For information, visit www.wildlifedepartment.com.


Notes


Happy birthday (yesterday) to Charissa Burkhead, wife of longtime Herald Democrat outdoors writer Lynn Burkhead…As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the annual ICAST fishing trade show in Orlando is the latest event casualty as American Sportfishing Association officials officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 event late last week…As some states look to start the return towards normalcy after the virus shutdown, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have now reopened Texas State Parks although some restrictions do exist…Jay Yelas, the 2002 Bassmaster Classic champ who once lived in Tyler, Texas prior to moving back to his native Oregon, headlines the 2020 class of inductees for the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Joining Yelas in induction ceremonies this fall will be the late Bryan Kerchal, the only amateur to ever win the Classic, the late lure designer James Heddon, fishing educator and media personality Ron Linder, and B.A.S.S. writer and video host Steve Bowman…TPWD confirmed this week that Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) was diagnosed in a wild black-tailed jackrabbit in Lubbock County and a wild cottontail rabbit in Hudspeth County. The agency noted in a news release that this marks the first confirmed cases of RHD in wild rabbits in Texas and follows the discovery of the disease in domestic rabbits in Hockley County. The agency says that there have been reports of mortality events in both wild cottontails and jackrabbits in El Paso, Hudspeth, Brewster, Terrell, Lubbock and Pecos Counties in Texas. TPWD notes that RHDV appears to only affect rabbit species. It is not known to affect humans, livestock or pets other than rabbits. However, pets should not be allowed to consume dead animal carcasses…


Hunting Report


The 2020 spring turkey hunting season is finally here for hunters in Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties, having started up on Wednesday, April 22. The 23-day season will run through May 14…As a reminder, since Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties fall under Texas’ Eastern turkey hunting regulations package, all successful hunters must electronically report their harvest to TPWD within 24 hours of taking the gobbler…North Texas Outfitters owner and chief guide Dakota Stowers reported another good week of turkey hunting action in south-central Oklahoma this past week. That includes the harvest of a near state-record longbeard…


Fishing Reports


As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues, TPWD advises anglers that if they plan to go fishing, check all local orders related to the current virus outbreak. Also check the status of the location you're planning to fish since some lakes, ramps, and access points may be closed… At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 65-69 degrees; and the lake is 0.90’ low. TPWD reports that striped bass and white bass are excellent on live bait. Largemouth bass are good for those fishing plastic creatures and crankbaits in 6-12’ of water. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished by boathouses, in marinas and over brush piles 8-15’...Incidentally, Sherman angler Brett Graham noted on a Facebook post that he was able to land a 9-lb., 4-oz. largemouth bass at Texoma this week. Great catch Brett! ...At Lake Ray Roberts, water is stained; water temp is 64 degrees; and the lake is 3.63’ high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on Texas-rigged soft plastic creature baits along with crankbaits and spinnerbaits worked near spawning areas and staging areas in 6-12’ of water. White bass are excellent in 20-40’ of water for anglers using slabs and jigging spoons. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows fished in the marina area, near bridges and over brush piles...At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 63-66 degrees; and the lake is 0.25’ low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are excellent on plastic worms, topwaters and Chatterbaits fished around roadbeds, submerged structure and points in 8-12’ of water. Hollow bodied plastic frogs are also producing good results in shallow grass and lily pad areas. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows fished in 12-20’ of water...At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the river elevation remains above normal, water temp is 60 degrees, and the river is clearing up. ODWC says that fishing is good for holdover rainbow trout with Rainbow PowerBait, copper or silver Super Dupers, and in-line spinnerbaits producing results. Fly fishermen are finding good results on mayfly emerger patterns, standard nymphs, black zebra midges, caddis flies, and egg patterns. The agency says that good mayfly and caddis fly hatches have been observed over the past week. Look to fish in side pockets, around brush and river structure, near channels and along the shallow shoreline for trout that remain in the river…For trout fly fishing success at the Blue River, ODWC says to try a tandem fly rig consisting of a #14 or #16 mayfly emerger pattern situated above a heavy nymph pattern like a Blow Torch or Rainbow Warrior…Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are currently fair in the Blue River on crankbaits, Flukes and lipless crankbaits fished around brush, river structure, side channels, shallow areas, and near the shoreline…


Tip of the Week


As mentioned last week, the largemouth bass spawn is happening right now in many areas across the Red River Valley. If you happen to catch an egg laden female in the shallows, do your part for future bass fishing success by practicing the angling version of C-P-R right now. What’s that? Catch the fish, take a quick photo if desired, and quickly release the female bass back into the water so that her eggs can be successfully hatched out to provide future generations of bass at your favorite lake.