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Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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.

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

Feb. 6 – 17th annual Family Fellowship 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.

Notes

Happy DU Day! Today, Friday, Jan. 29, marks Ducks Unlimited’s 84th birthday after the Memphis, Tenn. based conservation group was started by a small group of waterfowl hunting enthusiasts embarking on a mission to save North America’s waterfowl populations and the continent’s strong waterfowling traditions. The organization was founded in 1937 during the Great Depression and one of the worst droughts in U.S. history and has made a massive difference ever since. If you go duck hunting this weekend, tip your hat to DU and their eight plus decades of hard work to keep ducks flying. For more information, or to join DU, visit www.ducks.org …The next TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond will be this next week in preparation for Denison’s 17th annual Family Fellowship Trout Derby. According to Andrew Means with the Denison Parks and Rec Department, that derby is scheduled for next Saturday, Feb. 6… ODWC reports that the agency’s most recent quail research project is beginning to wrap up. According to a news release, quail trapping continued through Dec. 12 with four more GPS transmitters being deployed on Beaver River Wildlife Management Area. ODWC says that six downed transmitters have been recovered since early December: three from Beaver River and three from Packsaddle WMA. While no clear mortality signs could be identified for three of the recovered transmitters, two showed signs of avian predation and one was attributed to a winter storm in early December…ODWC says that during the month of December, 13 of its GPS quail study transmitters were active across two of the four WMAs in western Oklahoma where the study is being conducted. The agency says that 10 were deployed at Beaver River and 3 at Packsaddle…In total, ODWC says that 64,876 individual locations have been collected since the launch of the first GPS quail transmitter back in May 2018…In a shocking crime earlier this week, two young duck hunters in their 20s were murdered in a duck blind at Tennessee’s famed Reelfoot Lake. A third person reportedly avoided injury when he wrestled the shotgun away from the 70-year old suspect accused in the crime and threw it into the water. The suspect remains at large according to the latest reports. For more on this story, visit www.GameandFishMag.com …Want to find out more about the new-look Ravin R18 crossbow that is causing quite a stir here in the early days of 2021? A full report on that innovative crossbow can be found at www.BowhuntingMag.com …To learn more about the new bows from Hoyt, Mathews, and Bowtech this year, visit www.Bowhunter.com …

Hunting Report

This Sunday, Jan. 31, marks the close of the 2020-21 duck hunting season in both North Texas and southern Oklahoma…As the late January push of migrating ducks starts back north, more pintails are showing up in the area along with a few shovelers. Adding a few pintail blocks to your final weekend decoy spread is probably a good idea…Some local duck hunters are reporting fair to good duck hunting during the final week of the season. One midweek report found a couple of young hunters reporting good shooting for a few mallards, a few pintails, and wigeon near a local water body in the Texoma region…Another hunter reported some scattered shooting at gadwalls at Lake Ray Roberts according to the Ducks Unlimited app. That same app had another waterfowler reporting a limit of ducks and a couple of bonus geese earlier this week at a small lake near Bridgeport…Dakota Stowers and his North Texas Outfitters guides are getting ready to close the books out on a good 2020-21 season this weekend. NTO social media reports this past week show NTO guides putting clients on several good shoots for mallards, gadwalls, wigeon and a few Canada geese on stock tanks, sheet water, and dry wheat fields in the Waurika, Okla. area… Sunday, Jan. 31 also marks the end of the current woodcock season in East Texas. Meanwhile, the 2020-21 quail hunting seasons are winding down on both sides of the Red River. In the Sooner State, the current Oklahoma quail season will end on Feb. 15. South of the Red River in the Lone Star State, the current Texas quail season will conclude on Feb. 28…Texas hunters who took a big whitetail, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, or first big game animal harvest during the 2020-21 season are reminded that the postmark deadline to enter this year’s Texas Big Game Awards Program is March 1. For information, visit www.texasbiggameawards.org...

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is clear; water temp is 45-48 degrees; and the lake is 0.56 high. TPWD reports that striped bass are fair on shad-like swimbaits and live shad. White bass are fair on slabs and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass are fair for those fishing soft plastic swimbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and flutter spoons in 15-30’ of water. Crappie are fair on minnows and white jigs fished near deep boathouses, timber, and brush piles in 18-32’ of water. Catfish are fair on fresh cut bait and punch bait… Staying at Lake Texoma, ODWC reports that striped bass good on flukes, live shad, and Sassy Shad in the main lake, around points and in the river channel. Striped bass fishing remains very good. The agency says that most of the striped bass have been caught on the northern part of the lake this week as opposed to the western reaches of Texoma as has been the recent trend. Meanwhile, Texoma’s blue catfish are fair on live bait, live shad and sunfish fished along creek channels, in the main lake, in the river channels and near the river mouths. Blue cats are also being caught between 30-40 ft. depths on juglines….At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic from June 11-13, water is clear; water temp is 48 degrees; and the lake is 0.40 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are slow on drop-shots, jerkbaits, and football 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 fair on minnows and small jigs fished near schools of bait…At Lake Palestine, site of the Major League Fishing / Bass Pro Tour 2021 REDCREST Championship from Feb. 21-25, water is clear; water temp is 50 degrees; and the lake is 0.62 high. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair for anglers working swimbaits, orange/green skirted jigs, and diving crankbaits near boat docks, creek channel bends, ledges, and rocky coves…At Lake Fork, water is stained; water temps ae 47-50 degrees; and the lake is 0.66 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on spoons, dark blue or black finesse worms, medium crankbaits, and flipping jigs fished near deep points, roadbeds, brush piles, timber, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished in 28-45’ of water… At McGee Creek Reservoir in southern Oklahoma, the lake elevation is below normal; water temp is 48 degrees; and water is mostly clear. ODWC says that largemouth and spotted bass are slow on Alabama-rigs, crankbaits and soft plastic baits fished in coves, along the dam and near points…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, river elevation is normal; water temp is 40 degrees; and the water is clear. ODWC reports that the river elevation is normal, water temp is 42 degrees, and the water is slightly stained. Rainbow trout are reported as good by ODWC, particularly on in-line spinnerbaits, Power Bait, and spoons being used by conventional tackle anglers. Meanwhile, fly fishermen are reporting good action on midges and nymphs fished near channel braids and rocks…As wintertime fishing prepares to ease towards springtime conditions on the Texas Gulf Coast, TPWD is reporting good saltwater action this week at Port Mansfield. With water temperatures slowly rising, the agency says that the speckled trout and redfish bite is starting to pick up with good numbers for those working the potholes, grassy areas, or the mud flats in shallow water areas. Best results are for those using a Kwiggler paddle tail lure in red and white, shrimp under a popping cork, or top waters. Meanwhile, the absence of strong cold fronts moving into Gulf waters is letting anglers find good red snapper action just offshore when sea conditions allow…

Tip of the Week

Don’t forget that the 17th annual Family Fellowship Trout Derby is coming up next weekend at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond! The 2021 Family Fellowship derby is being held on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 6 and will be right after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks more than 1,500+ catchable size rainbow trout next week.  For information or to enter, call Denison Parks and Rec at (903) 463-1115 or visit the City of Denison’s website at www.cityofdenison.com.