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Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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.

Through March 14 - Texas East Zone Light Geese Conservation Order Season.

Feb. 15-March 14 - Texas West Zone Light Geese Conservation Order Season.

Feb. 15-March 30 – Oklahoma Conservation Order Light Goose Season.

Feb. 21-25, 2021 – MLF REDCREST Championship on East Texas’ Lake Palestine. For information, visit www.majorleaguefishing.com .

Feb. 22-26 – ODWC Virtual Rack Madness Event. Visit www.wildlifedepartment.com for information.

Feb. 26 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Denison's Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Feb. 27 – 22nd annual Youth 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. 27-28 – 4th annual Texas Fly Fishing Festival at the Mesquite Convention Center. For information, visit www.txflyfishingfestival.org, e-mail festival director Beau Beasley at Fishutopia@comcast.net , or call 703-402-8338.

Feb. 28 – JC Outdoors Lake Texoma Spring Team tournament out of Alberta Creek. For info, visit the JC Outdoors Facebook page or call (214) 773-5451.

Feb. 28 - TPWD rainbow trout stocking at Sherman's Pebblebrook Community Park Pond.

March 1 - Postmark deadline to enter scored entries and 1st Big Game Harvest forms for this year’s Texas Big Game Awards Program is March 1. For information, visit www.texasbiggameawards.org .

March 13 – B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series tournament on Lake Fork. Visit Bassmaster.com for information.

March 20-May 2 – Texas South Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.

March 25-27 - MLF Big 5 Toyota Series Southwestern Division Tournament at Lake Texoma out of Catfish Bay Marina. For information call (580) 564-2307 or visit the website at https://majorleaguefishing.com/events/2021-03-25-lake-texoma

April 3-May 16 – Texas North Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.

April 6-May 6 – Oklahoma spring turkey season.

April 19-May 6 – SE Oklahoma spring turkey season.

April 22-May 14 – Texas Eastern turkey spring season including Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties.

June 11-13, 2021 – 51st Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts (rescheduled from March 19-21).

Notes

TPWD reports that Galveston, San Antonio, and Surfside Beach have all been certified as Bird City Texas communities through December 2023. The partnership is a program between Audubon Texas and TPWD, one that hopes to raise awareness and success in protecting bird populations and habitat across Texas. TPWD says that the program is centered on science-based bird conservation initiatives and community action, all designed to help enhance and restore bird habitats, increase native plant coverage, reduce population-level threats, increase public awareness of the benefits and challenges of bird conservation, and promote overall environmental stewardship. “Intuitively, many people understand the value of nature and green spaces, and the need to escape to green spaces was highlighted in 2020,” said Audubon Texas Director of Conservation Strategy, Romey Swanson, in a TPWD news release. “Communities that achieved certification in January 2021 did outstanding work in creating and maintaining places of respite for people and wildlife alike. Galveston, San Antonio and Surfside Beach all embody the conservation ethic and leadership both TPWD and Audubon Texas want for all our Texas communities.”…If you weren’t able to purchase a ticket to the annual Dr. Deer Field Day later this spring, don’t fret. Why? Because renowned Texas white-tailed deer biologist Dr. James C. Kroll and Wildtree have decided to host a second field day this spring due to ongoing demand in this era of coronavirus restrictions. With that second field day now scheduled for Saturday, March 27, the event will take the principles that Kroll—a retired wildlife management professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches—has learned in a 40+ yearlong teaching career. A weekly fixture on the North American Whitetail TV show, Kroll’s presentation next month will help deer management enthusiasts learn how to landscape their properties for better wildlife management, what trees and vegetation to plant and how to maximize those plantings, and how to create better deer herds and hunting opportunities. The second Dr. Deer Field Day—which will have a barbecue lunch provided—will be held at the Institute for Whitetail Management & Research Facility near Trawick, Texas. Tickets are limited, so anyone interested in attending needs to act quickly. For information and to purchase tickets, call (346) 707-6024, e-mail Wildtree at info@wildtree.com , or visit www.wildtree.co … TPWD reports that anglers across the state entered 340 lunker bass weighing more than 8-pounds during last year’s Jan. 1-Dec. 31 Toyota ShareLunker season. “We are excited to announce that after wrapping up another great year of data collection in the Toyota ShareLunker program, angler Roy Saunders of Abilene was randomly selected from the 2020 entries to win the coveted year-end $5,000 shopping spree to Bass Pro Shops,” said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator, in a news release. “We want to remind anglers that every certified ShareLunker entry will earn you a chance of winning this drawing along with many other great prizes in 2021, so be sure to download the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app and get fishing.”…According to TPWD, Saunders reeled in his prize-winning Elite Class Lunker on Feb. 16, 2020 while fishing at Kirby Lake. The fish checked in at 10.22-pounds and gained Saunders entry into the ShareLunker drawing…Incidentally, TPWD says that the Toyota ShareLunker program is year-round effort and offers four levels of participation for bass over 8-pounds. In 2020, anglers entered four Legacy Class bass over 13-pounds and loaned them to TPWD for the selective breeding and stocking program during the Jan. 1-March 31 spawning season window. Anglers also entered three additional Legend Class bass over 13-pounds that were caught outside the spawning season window. There were also 84 Elite Class bass entered across Texas, fish weighing 10- to 12.99-pounds, and 249 Lunker Class bass weighing between 8- and 9.99-pounds or measuring at least 24 inches in length. The agency says in its news release that the top five ShareLunker producing lakes in 2020 included: Lake Fork with 60 entries, Lake Conroe with 20 entries, the Brazos River with 16 entries, Sam Rayburn Reservoir with 15 entries, and Falcon Lake and Lake Athens tied with 10 entries each. To learn more about the program, visit www.TexasShareLunker.com...

Hunting Report

From the “wouldn’t you know it department,” nearly two weeks after the closing bell for 2020-21 duck hunting campaigns, Texomaland quacker hunting enthusiasts are seeing good numbers of ducks push into the area from northern states where open water bodies are finally freezing up. Better luck next season, right?…The second split of Oklahoma’s light and dark goose season concludes this weekend on Valentine’s Day. In Texas, goose hunting in the West Zone for both light and dark geese also ends on Feb. 14…In the Texas East Zone, the spring’s conservation order light goose season began on Feb. 1 and continues through March 14. In the Lone Star State’s West Zone, conservation order light goose hunting starts on Feb. 15 and continues through March 14…Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s annual springtime Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS) will open on Feb. 15 and run until March 30…Upland bird hunters and their bird dogs are seeing their favorite hunting seasons head towards the finish line over the next couple of weeks. Oklahoma’s current quail season will end this weekend on Feb. 15 while the 2020-21 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 51 degrees; and the lake is 0.71 low. TPWD says that Texoma’s striped bass are good on live shad while the lake’s white bass remain fair on slabs and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass are fair for anglers fishing plastic worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and flutter spoons in 15-30’ depths. Crappie are fair on minnows and white jigs fished near deep boathouses, timber, and brush piles in 18-32’ of water. Catfish are good on fresh cut bait and punch bait… At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic from June 11-13, water is clear; water temp is 51 degrees; and the lake is 0.49 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on crankbaits, jerkbaits, and football jigs fished near drop-offs, timber, points, and the dam. White bass are fair in 25-45’ of water on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are slow on minnows and small jigs fished near brush piles and the dam…At Lake Palestine, site of the upcoming 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 0.40 high. While the coming arctic blast may considerably slow fishing action for the lake’s largemouth and spotted bass populations, bass catching success is fair right now according to TPWD. That’s particularly true for anglers working swimbaits, skirted jigs, soft plastic craws, and diving crankbaits near boat docks, creek bends, ledges, and rocky coves at Palestine…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 48-53 degrees; and the lake is 0.72 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on spinnerbaits, spoons, 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 near baitfish schools located in the main lake…There is no current report this week from the Blue River near Tishomingo where ODWC’s wintertime put-and-take trout season continues through the end of March. Try small gold spoons, Mepp’s style inline spinnerbaits, and Power Bait if you’re a conventional tackle angler and small midges, nymphs, and streamers if you’re a fly fishing enthusiast …And finally, there are obvious concerns about the potential effects that the coming severe blast of arctic weather may have on the Lone Star State’s coastal fishing resources. That’s because similar cold waves in the past—think December 1983 and December 1989—have caused massive fish kills of redfish and speckled trout along the coast from South Padre Island all the way north to Sabine Pass. All that saltwater anglers can do right now is to get out and fish, albeit while nervously watching the weather reports and hoping and praying for the best. Right now, as the polar plunge prepares to push through the state, TPWD says that the speckled trout action is pretty good at Baffin Bay for anglers using shrimp…

Tip of the Week

Since the threat of winter weather and the ongoing pandemic will likely limit options for eating out over the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend, what can you do to still find a memorable and romantic meal for Feb. 14th? Simple - pull some venison from the freezer and use one of six mouthwatering recipes from Eric Conn and the staff at North American Whitetail magazine. From sizzling venison steaks to juicy burgers and plenty more, these six gourmet dishes will help deliver a memorable meal just in time for Cupid’s big day, a weekly date night, or any other special occasion that requires good food and great company. To see the NAW venison recipes, visit www.northamericanwhitetail.com/editorial/6-easy-venison-recipes-for-date-night/263134.