Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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. 3 – Second split of Texas North Zone Dove Season.

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 Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock 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.

Jan. 1 - TPWD First Day Hike at Eisenhower State Park (self-guided scavenger hunt)

Jan. 1 - TPWD First Day Hike at Bonham State Park (self-paced hike)

Jan. 8 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Denison's Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Notes

On this New Year’s Day, please allow the outdoors staff here at the Herald Democrat to wish you, your families, and your friends a very healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year!…With the start of the New Year in North Texas, all eyes in the local outdoors world will begin to look towards the 51st Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts from March 19-21, 2021. Look for numerous stories over the next several weeks as the local region gets ready to host the Classic for the first time since 1979 at Lake Texoma…Looking for something fun and healthy to do on this New Year’s Day? Then consider the two local “First Day Hikes” being offered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The first, a self-guided photo scavenger hunt, is being hosted today at Eisenhower State Park. Eisenhower SP Ranger Elizabeth Booth says to bring your cameras and sense of adventure for the hike, checking out the park’s Scavenger Hunt list along the way. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures of their discoveries and share them on social media, including the park’s Facebook page. There are four miles of trails at Eisenhower SP as well as an 0.8 mile Interpretive Nature Trail complete with benches and markers describing the ecosystem surrounding the trail. Add in the Ike’s Hike and Bike Trail with its 3 miles of rugged terrain and amazing views of the natural beauty surrounding Lake Texoma, and there’s no limit to the New Year’s Day fun that hikers can have. For more information, contact the park at (903) 465-1956…Meanwhile, over in Fannin County, the self-paced hike at Bonham SP runs from 1 to 3 p.m. today. In its news release, TPWD says that participants can see historic CCC structures, explore the parks natural beauty, and meet volunteers who can help educate visitors about the park’s history and natural resources….At all First Day Hike events around the state, TPWD asks that visitors do their part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, staying 6-feet from those who don’t live in the same household and following the strong encouragement from the agency to wear a mask for everyone’s health and safety…

Hunting Reports

The 2020-21 deer season concludes this weekend in Grayson County and the rest of North Texas. The archery season will continue on to its Jan. 15 closure in Oklahoma. Keep in mind that as was pointed out last week, some of the best bucks ever put into the Grayson County Whitetail Record Book have come at the end of December and the beginning of January…Three of those buzzer-beater bucks easily come to mind—Robert Taylor’s 219 1/8-inch non-typical in late December 2012, Mike Benson’s 201 1/8-inch non-typical on the last weekend of the 2007 season, and Dale Moses’ 184 0/8-inch non-typical “Captain Hook” buck taken at the end of December 2014—proving that there’s still plenty of reason to head into the Grayson County deer woods as the 2020-21 season concludes…Local duck hunting action is fair to good across Texomaland for a mixture of ducks. Hopefully, this week’s big front and storm will bring even more ducks as the season enters its final month…A glance at the social media accounts for Dakota Stowers and his North Texas Outfitters operation shows good duck hunting out near Waurika, Okla. with numerous limits of gadwalls, wigeon, teal, and a few mallards…Stowers’ NTO guides are also taking some Canada geese, including one banded goose earlier in the week…Charlie Holder and the Sure-Shot Game Calls crew were in southern Oklahoma recently for a media hunt with writers from several publications in camp, including Wildfowl magazine. Duck hunting was good and stories of the hunts should be forthcoming online and in future magazine issues…Ducks Unlimited’s website had a “Migration Alert” on Dec. 23, telling of good duck hunting across portions of Oklahoma, particularly in the western part of the state. To see that DU report and more, visit www.ducks.org …As the New Year arrives, a few plump mourning doves are still flying through Texomaland as the second split of dove season wraps up for the Texas North Zone on Sunday, Jan. 3…Covey Rise magazine editor Matt Soberg is a Minnesota resident who likes to chase grouse and woodcock among other upland birds. In recent days, Soberg has been in East Texas for a family holiday visit. And from the looks of his recent social media posts on Instagram and Facebook, the well-known outdoor writer and upland bird hunter is finding some good woodcock hunting as the Texas timberdoodle season continues…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 50-52 degrees; and the lake is 0.87 below seasonal pool. TPWD says that striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Meanwhile, largemouth bass are fair for anglers fishing soft plastic swimbaits, deep diving crankbaits, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, and spoons in 15-30’ of water. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’ of water…Continuing on at Texoma, ODWC reports that blue catfish action is good on cut bait and shad fished in the main lake and river channel. Jug-lining for blue cats has also been good in about 50 ft. of water for anglers fishing with whole shad…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 55 degrees; and the lake is 0.99 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are slow on skirted jigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, bladed jigs and spinnerbaits fished near drop-offs, timber, rip rap, and deep creek channels. White bass are slow in 15-35’ of water for those fishing slabs near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows and small jigs fished in brush piles between 18-28’ depths... At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 53 degrees; and the lake is 2.31 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair on green pumpkin weighted worms, spoons, diving crankbaits, and Shakyheads fished near creeks with timber, roadbeds, brush piles, creek channels, 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…Due to the early deadline brought about by the New Year’s Day publishing schedule, there’s no trout fishing report this week for the Blue River near Tishomingo. For those braving the cold and potential rain and/or snow at week’s end, trout should be hitting on small inline spinnerbaits, Power Bait nuggets, and fly selections including nymphs, Wooly Buggers, and Blue-Winged Olive nymphs, emergers, and dry flies…If your holiday travel plans take you to the Texas Gulf Coast, TPWD reports good coastal fishing at Port O'Connor where speckled trout have been very good lately on live or fresh baits such as shrimp or crab fished near shallow sand bars. Redfish are also very good in back bays on live shrimp while flounder are good on mullet in the shallow grass flats...Meanwhile, further down the coastal bend at Rockport, TPWD rates the holiday fishing action as good in back lakes and drains where the speckled trout and redfish are taking shrimp and topwaters. Meanwhile, the good flounder bite continues for those using mullet…

Tip of the Week

TPWD’s wintertime rainbow trout season is well underway across the Lone Star State, including at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond. The small pond in D-Town, which received a stocking of rainbows earlier in December, is scheduled to get its second stocking of rainbow trout next week. That load of catchable sized rainbow trout will be just in time for the city’s 14th annual Howard Caylor Trout Derby. Look for more information on the trout derby in next week’s Herald Democrat outdoors section or visit the City of Denison website at www.cityofdenison.com or call (903) 463-5116.