With the summer solstice arriving yesterday morning, summertime is in full command across the Red River Valley.
As typically happens at this time of the year, fishing news is plentiful as the Fourth of July approaches. With that in mind, here are a few fishing notes to consider.
To borrow from an old saying, this isn’t your grandfather’s ShareLunker program.
Because as many anglers might recall from earlier this year, the now revamped TPWD program runs year round, although spawning donations can only take place during the months of January, February, and March.
With a successful first half of the year nearly in the books, TPWD reminds as mid-summer approaches that the chance for ShareLunker prizes and program recognition continues until Dec. 31.
How successful has the program been so far in 2018? According to TPWD, to date anglers have entered nearly 300 largemouth bass ranging from 8-15.48 pounds from 64 water bodies across the state. Of those fish, 194 are “Lunker Class” (eight pounds and larger); 72 are “Lunker Elite Class” (10 pounds and larger); and three are “Legend Class” (13 pounds and larger).
That’s in addition to the six 13-pound plus largemouth bass caught during the first three months of 2018, fish that qualified as potential spawners and were donated to TPWD as “Lunker Legacy Class” largemouths.
The agency notes that each of the six Lunker Legacy Class fish loaned to biologists at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens have since been released back into their home lakes (one each from Sam Rayburn, Kurth Reservoir, and Twin Buttes Reservoir and three from Lake Fork). Those lakes will receive a portion of the offspring produced from spawning efforts, based on the number of fish entered from each lake.
In addition, other pure Florida largemouth bass offspring from the Kurth Reservoir bass will be retained by the agency as hatchery brood stock so TPWD can stock millions of these Florida bass in statewide water bodies during coming years.
“Stocking offspring from the Lunker Legacy Class entries we collect during the spawning season is incredibly important to fulfill our mission of creating bigger, better bass in Texas; but the size and genetic data we collect from all of the entries 8-pounds and larger is another important piece of the puzzle,” said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator for TPWD.
Anglers can enter fish year round using the Toyota ShareLunker app — available for free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play — or by using a form online at www.texassharelunker.com. Instructions for how to properly measure, weigh, and hold such bass are provided as well as instructions on how to provide a fish scale sampling for TPWD biologists to use in genetic analysis.
Anglers who participate at any level will receive a prize package for every certified ShareLunker bass they enter throughout the year. This package includes a Toyota ShareLunker Catch Kit that contains branded merchandise, an achievement decal, and other giveaways.
Entries also put anglers into a year-end ShareLunker prize drawing for an annual TPWD fishing license and a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree.
“All of the corporate sponsors that support our program help us greatly in our efforts to make the best bass fishing possible in Texas,” said Brookshear. “The Bass Pro Shops shopping spree is the icing on the cake — we are very grateful to be able to offer that and other exciting prizes to recognize bass anglers in Texas and encourage participation in our program.”
For updates, photos, and to keep up with ShareLunker catches, join the community online at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
Good Texoma fishing
If you’re heading out to Lake Texoma this weekend, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say that the summer angling action is really good right now for multiple species.
That includes boat dock crappie fishing, which is great for anglers using hair jigs, plastic jigs and minnows. According to a report from Bryan County game warden Trey Hale, boat dock crappie fishing might be the most productive tactic on the reservoir right now, particularly when anglers fish the early morning hours with pink and black jigs in clear water and orange-pepper flake jigs in stained conditions.
The striper fishing action is excellent too in a number of spots around the lake as anglers use live shad, slabs and topwaters. While the live bait action can produce good results throughout the day, the best topwater action is early and late on windblown banks with plugs like Chug Bugs.
Finally, don’t forget Texoma’s whiskerfish since ODWC says that channel catfish are fair on live shad and whole shad fished near the dam, on main lake points, and in the river channel. Meanwhile, blue cats are being caught on fresh cut bait and whole shad that is being slowly drifted around points and in the river channels.
IGFA record fish
Officials with the International Game Fish Association note that the IGFA record book could soon have a potential new world record entry, thanks to the fly fishing efforts last month of Houston angler Meredith J. McCord.
McCord, who is an ambassador for the Dallas-based Tailwaters Fly Shop and fly fishes for numerous freshwater and saltwater species all over the world, needed 10 minutes to land, document, photograph and release alive the 11 pound, 10 ounce brown trout she caught while in Iceland on May 13, 2018.
If approved by the IGFA, McCord’s fish will become the new women’s three-kilogram (six-pound) tippet class world record.