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Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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

Jan. 9 – 14th annual Howard Caylor Trout Derby at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond. For information, call Denison Parks and Rec at (903) 463-1115 or visit the City of Denison’s website at www.cityofdenison.com.

Feb. 5 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Denison's Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Notes

While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of this week’s previously scheduled Jan. 7-11 ATA Archery Trade Show in Indianapolis, the show goes on next week in the cyber-space world as ATA unveils a virtual event from Jan. 11-15. If you’d like to keep up with all of the new 2021 gadgets and gear being unveiled in the archery industry and bowhunting world, visit Bowhunter.com, BowhuntingMag.com, and GameandFishMag.com…There will also be a special TV presentation about all of the new bowhunting gear this year, scheduled to air on Jan. 16 on Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel…One of the biggest bucks taken during the 2020-21 season fell in Oklahoma when Alabama hunter Lance Young used a crossbow to down a monster non-typical that greens scores near 240-inches. To see the photos and read the full story, visit NorthAmericanWhitetail.com…Major League Fishing has  announced that REDCREST 2021, the MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship event, will move from Oklahoma to Texas next month, being held on Lake Palestine near Tyler instead of Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma. In addition to the change in venue, the new dates for the event will be Feb. 21-25 as MLF showcases the Top 40 Bass Pro Tour anglers from the 2020 season. Those anglers will be competing for a top prize of $300,000 as big bass begin to stage up in the East Texas pre-spawn… While it looks different than it did in the late 1980s when it all began, the 35th season of the Toyota Sharelunker program is now underway. With four levels of participation for those catching bass at or above the 8-pound mark or the 24-inch mark, the ShareLunker program is now year round from Jan. 1-Dec. 31. “We are excited to kick off another ShareLunker season,” said Kyle Brookshear, SL program coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Not only for the selective spawning and stocking of these world-class offspring, but also to help gather vital catch and genetic data to help our fisheries biologists better manage trophy bass populations throughout the great fisheries of Texas.”….While the SL program has changed somewhat in recent years, one thing remains the same. During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who catch a 13+ pound bass can loan it to TPWD for its selective breeding and stocking program. Anglers who catch such a fish can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 from Jan. 1 until April 1…With TPWD recently announcing that Lake Buchanan is the latest Texas water body added to the “Infested” list for zebra mussels, the Austin-based agency urges boaters, anglers, and even duck hunters using Texas waterways to remain diligent. “Although zebra mussels are now found in 31 Texas lakes, there are still many other lakes in the state that they haven’t invaded,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries regional director, in a news release. “Boaters play a critical role in preventing them from spreading to new lakes. Before traveling from lake to lake, clean, drain and dry your boat and gear. Remove plants, mud and debris, drain all the water from the boat and gear, and then open up compartments once you get home and allow everything to dry completely.”…

Hunting Reports

The 2020-21 deer season concluded last weekend in Grayson County and the rest of North Texas and at least one great buck fell at the buzzer. Local hunter Jamie Legg reported on his social media accounts that he took a big crossbow buck—dubbed “Banana Man” by his grandson—on New Year’s Day that has a score of 153 1/8-inches…Duck hunting is good in portions of Oklahoma and not as good in portions of Texas as the last month of the 2020-21 season continues on both sides of the Red River. With another winter storm expected to roll across the southern Great Plains over the weekend, look for a new push of waterfowl into the Red River Valley over the next few days…Most recent bag limits are made up of gadwalls, teal, wigeon, divers, and a few mallards…Dakota Stowers and the North Texas Outfitters crew continue to have a good season in southern Oklahoma out near Waurika. Recent NTO duck shoots have found plenty of gadwalls (gray ducks), wigeon, a few teal, a few mallards, and even some canvasbacks…NTO is also finding fair success on Canada geese…NTO guides are also having a great winter hunting season for wild hogs…A glance at the migration reports on the Ducks Unlimited app shows poor duck hunting on some North Texas reservoirs. One hunter near Lake Fork reported seeing more ducks on Thursday than he had all season. While the freshening north wind yesterday might have helped push some ducks into the region, that same hunter had little success to report despite seeing more waterfowl on the wing…Reports on Instagram and TexasHuntingForum.com indicate that there was some decent end-of-season pheasant hunting in the Texas Panhandle last weekend as the season finished up on Jan. 3…Quail hunting reports continue to be poor in Oklahoma, not so great in the Texas Panhandle, and fair to good in parts of South Texas according to social media posts…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 50-52 degrees; and the lake is 0.03 low. TPWD reports that striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Largemouth bass are fair for anglers fishing soft plastic swimbaits, deep diving crankbaits, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, and flutter spoons in the 12-25’ depth zones. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’ of water. Catfish are good on fresh cut bait and punch bait…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic from March 19-21, water is lightly stained; water temp is 51 degrees; and the lake is 0.37 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on crankbaits, jerkbaits, and jigs fished near drop-offs, timber, points, and deep creeks. White bass are slow in 15-35’ of water on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are slow on minnows and small jigs fished in brush piles and submerged cover between 18-28’ depths… At the Blue River near Tishomingo, river elevation is normal, water temp is 45 degrees and the water is clear. ODWC says that rainbow trout are excellent on rainbow and peach colored Power Bait, silver spoons, and punch bait fished along channel braids, creek channel bends and rocks. Fly fishermen have been doing well at the Blue River on zebra midges and nymphs…At Lake Fork, water is stained; water temp is 53 degrees; and the lake is 0.97 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on finesse worms, silver spoons, diving crankbaits, and football jigs fished near creeks with timber, roadbeds, brush piles, creeks, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished in 14-28’ depths near brush piles and standing timber situated near creek ledges or drop-offs…At Lake Palestine, the newly announced site of the Feb. 21-25 MLF Bass Pro Tour REDCREST Championship, water is lightly stained; water temp is 53 degrees; and the lake is 0.96 high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair for anglers working Carolina-rigged worms, skirted jigs, and crawfish colored deep diving crankbaits fished near boat docks, creek bends, ledges, and rocky coves…Headed to Galveston for a wintertime trip to the Texas Gulf Coast? TPWD says that the fishing action in West Galveston Bay is good right now with redfish hitting baits fished near south shoreline coves, speckled trout hitting shrimp under popping corks fished over deeper water, and flounder taking live shrimp…

Tip of the Week

Don’t forget tomorrow’s 14th annual Howard Caylor Trout Derby at Waterloo Lake Park Pond in Denison. For information on the Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 event, please visit the City of Denison’s website at www.cityofdenison.com or call (903) 463-5116.