Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


Through Dec. 15 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Through Dec. 29 – Oklahoma second split of dove season.

Through Jan. 3 – Texas North Zone general whitetail deer season.

Through Jan. 3 – General whitetail deer season in Grayson County with means and methods of harvest restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Through Jan. 3 – Pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle.

Through Jan. 15 - Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Jan. 31 – Texas East Zone light and dark goose season.

Through Jan. 31 – Oklahoma pheasant season.

Through Jan. 31 –Second split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Through Jan. 31 – Second split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Through Feb. 7 – Second split of Oklahoma white-fronted goose season.

Through Feb. 14 – Second split of Oklahoma light and dark goose season.

Through Feb. 14 – Texas West Zone light and dark goose season.

Through Feb. 15 - Oklahoma quail season.

Through Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

Dec. 15 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Pottsboro Lake.

Dec. 18 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Denison's Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Dec. 18-19 – Light Up the Park! at Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma.

Dec. 18-Dec. 27 - Oklahoma holiday antlerless deer season.

Dec. 18-Jan. 3 – Second split of Texas North Zone Dove Season.

Dec. 18-Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.


Denison Parks and Rec recreation manager Andrew Means says that the City of Denison is looking forward to the first rainbow trout stocking of the season on Dec. 18 at Waterloo Lake Park Pond. Subsequent stockings will help set the stage for the City of Denison’s annual trout derbies put on each winter, including the 14th annual Howard Caylor derby on Jan. 9; the 17th annual Family Fellowship derby on Feb. 6; and the 22nd annual Youth derby on Feb. 27th. Look for more details on these events as they approach on the calendar… A recent mountain lion sighting on private property in Rowlett has been verified by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists as being authentic. According to TPWD biologists, they suspect that this mountain lion is most likely a transient juvenile male “…that is just passing through the area as it searches for a home range.”…Meanwhile, there has been much debate this week as to whether or not a mountain lion caused a fatality near Lipan. While local law enforcement thinks so (earlier in the week, at least), word is that TPWD biologists don’t think the case is consistent with mountain lion attacks. More on that in a future edition of the Herald Democrat Outdoors…The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is once again proposing a few changes to the administrative rules that govern hunting, fishing and Wildlife Department operations within the Sooner State. At the Blue River Hunt Area near Tishomingo, ODWC is proposing to extend the deer gun season for the entire 16 day season. At the Tishomingo WMU/Cooperative Unit, the agency is proposing requiring hunters to sign in and out at a designated location on the WMU as well as close waterfowl hunting each day at 1 p.m.…FYI, the public comment period for this year's proposed rule changes opened Dec. 1 and will close at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 2021…

Hunting Reports

The fall season’s third and final Hagerman NWR deer bowhunt took place last weekend and mild weather and post-rut conditions led to slow hunting. There were a small number of bucks taken along with a few does according to reports on the Internet…Waterfowl hunting is slow in the area. North Texas Outfitters guide Dakota Stowers says they’ve been able to put clients on some decent duck shoots through persistence and hard scouting, but he admits that a big arctic push of air is needed to reinforce the stale duck numbers many hunters are seeing right now…With the Oklahoma deer gun season wrapping up last weekend, Stowers and his guide crew ended the deer season with a bang. In addition to several good bucks taken over the two week long Sooner State season, a youth hunter took a big, burly non-typical buck to end things last weekend…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 55-58 degrees; and the lake is 1.20 low. TPWD says that striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Meanwhile, largemouth bass are good for those fishing soft plastics, crankbaits, bladed jigs and spinnerbaits, and spoons in 2-12’ depths. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’ of water...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; the water temp is 55 degrees; and the lake is 0.96 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on skirted jigs, jerkbaits, and bladed ji an spinnerbaits fished in 7-15’ depths near points, timber, rip rap, and creeks. White bass are fair in 15-35’ on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows and small jigs in brush piles between 18-28’…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 2.32 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on grubs, spoons, crankbaits, and Shakyheads fished near creeks with timber, roadbeds, brushy points, and rocky shorelines present. Crappie are fair on minnows in 12-25’ of water in brush piles and standing timber situated near creek ledges or drop-offs…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the river elevation is normal, water temp is 48 and the river is running clear. ODWC says that rainbow trout good on in-line spinnerbaits, midges, nymphs, Power Bait and spoons fished along channels and rocks. Peach colored dough bait has had great results this week followed by red salmon eggs. ODWC notes that gold spoons such as Little Cleo’s have been a top producer along with metallic super dupers and black/yellow Panther Martins. And fly fishermen have had a successful week using egg patterns and a variety of nymphs…If your Christmas plans take you to the Texas Gulf Coast and the beautiful Rockport area, TPWD says the fishing is good. In fact, the shorelines and reefs have been a great spot for speckled trout, flounder, and redfish in recent days for anglers using live baits like shrimp or mullet…

Tip of the Week

With duck numbers on the low side in the Texoma region right now, scouting can be a key consideration to finding a good shoot, especially if you hunt on public land or have several private spots at your disposal. But also pay attention to small details like picking up trash and spent shotgun shells from around your blind, keeping the retriever still as ducks circle, avoid leaving numerous footprints in the mud around a blind, and making sure that your face and hands are camouflaged well. Also use clear decoy lines when hunting in clear water to avoid being “lined” by ducks, something that can keep shy ducks from flaring as they fly overhead and observe dark decoy lines attached to decoys in the water.