Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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. 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.

Notes

With the second split of mourning dove season (in the Texas North Zone) and the state's woodcock season opening up this weekend (the woodcock hunting can be really good in East Texas), not to mention with waterfowl and upland bird seasons continuing across the Lone Star State, TPWD reminds wingshooters needing a  place to hunt that the agency offers over 1 million acres of publicly accessible hunting land. To take advantage, TPWD says that hunters need to have an Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit in addition to their hunting license. A map booklet showing various public hunting areas and regulations, as well as the opportunity to purchase the APH permit, can be found at the agency's website (www.tpwd.texas.gov)...Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond is scheduled to get its first rainbow trout stocking of the winter season this week. Other stockings will take place in January and February…While the Major League Fishing / Bass Pro Tour REDCREST Championship will still be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake of the Cherokees from Feb. 23-27, officials with the Tulsa-based angling circuit have reluctantly cancelled the scheduled REDCREST Expo due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions and crowd size limitations… Officials with the Bassmaster Elite Series have announced the 2021 Opens schedule, including the Central Opens division that recently held a tournament on Lake Lewisville. Next year, there won’t be any Texas stops on the three-event circuit, but the season’s final Open event in the Central Division will take place on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake of the Cherokees from Oct. 21-23… There will be a heavy B.A.S.S. presence in the Lone Star State in 2021 however as the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic is held at nearby Lake Ray Roberts on March 19-21. A few weeks later, the Elite Series will visit the Sabine River near Orange for an April 8-11 derby. And famed Lake Fork will once again be the stop for the April 22-25 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefitting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department... TPWD has announced that the agency has designated Lake Buchanan, located west of Burnet and north of Inks Lake in the Colorado River Basin, as “infested” with invasive zebra mussels…

Hunting Reports

Deer hunting has slowed into the typical post-rut action in recent days, with some reports of success, but not as much as in November…Want to take a late season buck in the local woods? Don’t overlook light rattling as an option, since post-rut bucks will still respond to antlers being tickled together. Ditto for fresh rubs and scrapes as the secondary rut kicks in. But far and away, the best late season hunting technique will be for hunters who can quietly slip into and out of stands near bedding areas and feeding locations…Speaking of deer, there was a report of a good upper 170’s non-typical buck a few days ago in Grayson County, look for details soon…Waterfowl hunting is picking up a bit in the region with the recent fronts. A look at the North Texas Outfitters social media pages shows NTO guides putting a number of clients on good shoots in recent days for gadwalls, wigeon, teal, a few pintails, a few mallards, and some diving ducks…While few Texoma hunters pay much attention to the start of woodcock season, the Dec. 18-Jan. 31 season for timberdoodles begins on Saturday with a daily bag limit of 3 birds and a possession limit of 9. While woodcock are occasionally found here in the Texoma region, the state’s best hunting—which is actually pretty good—is found in the Pineywoods of East Texas where marshy spots in forested lands attract many wintering woodcock each winter. While hunter participation is light for the species, there are countless acres of public land available on WMA’s and National Forest lands for wingshooters willing to drive east with their shotguns and pointers…Meanwhile, some mourning doves are being observed in the area as the Oklahoma second split of dove season continues through Dec. 29…Speaking of wintertime dove hunting, the second split of dove season for the Texas North Zone starts this weekend as the Dec. 18-Jan. 3 season runs its course…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 54-56 degrees; and the lake is 1.00 low. TPWD says that striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Meanwhile, largemouth bass are fair when anglers are fishing soft plastics, deep diving crankbaits, bladed jigs and spinnerbaits, and spoons in 15-30’ of water. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’. Catfish are good on fresh cut bait and punch bait… Also, remaining at Lake Texoma, ODWC reports that the winter season's blue catfish bite has been good the last week with the whiskerfish action being good on cut-bait and shad fished around docks and over the main river channels. Blue cats are being caught frequently near Texoma’s courtesy fish cleaning docks according to the agency with the top bait being cut-bait selections... At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 55 degrees; and the lake is 0.94 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are slow on skirted jigs, jerkbaits, and bladed jigs and spinnerbaits near drop-offs, timber, rip rap, and deep creek channels. White bass are slow in 15-35’ of water on slabs 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 2.24 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on grubs, spoons, diving crankbaits, and Shakyheads fished near creeks with timber, roadbeds, brush piles, creeks, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows in 12-25’ of water in brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or drop-offs… At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the river elevation is normal, water temp is reported at 40 degrees and the water is clear. ODWC's Ethan Lovelace reports that rainbow trout are good on in-line spinnerbaits, Power Bait options like peach, pale yellow or green fished 12-18 inches off the bottom, garlic scented lures, and gold spoons….Lovelace does note that fly fishing has been producing more trout in recent days at the blue as the stocked rainbows hit midges, nymphs, and blue-winged olive (BWO) patterns near channel braids, the main river channel, rocks, and current breaks near in-stream rocks…Lovelace says that there has been a good BWO hatch in recent afternoons and that some fly anglers are having success on BWO emerger or dry fly patterns when fish are rising…Other top fly patterns have been Zebra midges, Prince nymphs, and black Wooly Buggers…For lure anglers, Lovelace says trout seem to be favoring baits that have some sort of gold in the lure… If your Christmas holiday travels take you to the Houston area, the flounder bite remains good in a couple of areas. TPWD says that flounder are good near Rollover Bay or near the rocks on minnows while at Texas City, the agency says that redfish and flounder are good around the dike on shrimp and cut shad

Tip of the Week

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 this week at the city’s 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!