Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

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

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

Through March 30 – Oklahoma Conservation Order Light Goose Season.

Feb. 20 – Red River Valley Chapter of Ducks Unlimited annual fundraising dinner beginning at 6 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center. For information, please contact Phil Bellows at (940) 390-0081 or Jared Groce at (940) 736-3885.

Feb. 22-26, 2021 – MLF REDCREST Championship on East Texas’ Lake Palestine (Note: the schedule has been pushed back one day). 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.

Notes

The Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual Couple’s Event on March 19 at the Mayor Arena at Loy Lake Park, beginning at 6 p.m. in Denison. Tickets are $60 for individuals and $75 for couples. For information, contact Kris Spiegel at (903) 820-8882, Eric Kloppers at (903) 815-2229, or Jim Lillis at (903) 815-8002…Because of severe winter weather conditions hampering angler travel into the snow and ice covered East Texas region surrounding Lake Palestine, officials with Major League Fishing have pushed back next week’s Bass Pro Tour REDCREST Championship event by one day. As of now, weather conditions permitting, the REDCREST derby on the reservoir near Tyler is scheduled to occur between Feb. 22-26. While the event will be closed to fans due to COVID-19 restrictions, live-streaming coverage can be seen throughout the entirety of the championship derby at www.majorleaguefishing.com . Post-game coverage can be found at the MLF website mentioned above or on the www.BassFan.com website…FYI, the winner of the REDCREST derby—where former Southeastern Oklahoma State University grad Edwin Evers is the defending champion—will award the winner a $300,000 check…With weather conditions forecast to moderate significantly over the next week, the Denison Parks and Recreation Department’s 22nd annual Denison Youth Trout Derby remains on schedule as of now. Barring any unforeseen complications with the delivery of the stocked trout to Waterloo Lake Park Pond for next weekend’s event, look for full details in next week’s Herald Democrat Outdoors…Already hampered in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is operating at limited capacity this week due to ongoing power outages and ongoing winter weather conditions including more snow in Austin at midday on Thursday….In addition to the Austin headquarters being closed, field operations are operating at limited capacity along with all telephone services and some online services being partially or completely unavailable. TPWD reports that this includes the agency’s main telephone line, State Park reservations, boat titling, and the Law Enforcement call center…As the cold weather siege continues, to report game violations, TPWD advises contacting the local sheriff’s office…

Hunting Report

After the severe arctic blast of the last week and a half, Texomaland waterfowlers can only watch and ruefully think about what might have been as a big push of ducks hangs out in the region’s dwindling supply of open surface water. Lots of mallards, pintails, wigeon, teal, and more puddle ducks are being seen…On Lake Texoma and other smaller water bodies with open water, lots of divers are also being seen including a few buffleheads on Wednesday…In Texas, the Lone Star State’s spring’s Conservation Order Light Goose Seasons are off and running in both the East and West Goose Zones. Hunting for spring snows continues through March 15…Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s annual springtime Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS) is also underway and runs until March 30…Upland bird hunters in Texas have one more week of quail hunting action left on the calendar. The Lone Star State’s current quail season comes to an end on Feb. 28…Texas hunters who took a big whitetail, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, or first big game animal harvest during the 2020-21 hunting seasons 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

After the historic arctic blast of recent days, all area lakes and rivers have seen significant ice buildup on many coves, creek channels and lake arms that don’t have flowing current or aren’t exposed to the northerly wind. At Lake Texoma, the Big Mineral Arm is frozen near Hagerman NWR according to social media photos. With subzero temperature readings earlier in the week—including an all-time record low of -4 in Denison/Sherman, along with -6 in Denton and -7 in Durant—most smaller water bodies in the region are completely ice covered and blanketed with snow…In short, most fishing in North Texas and southern Oklahoma is very difficult, if not outright impossible, and remains dangerous given the bitter cold and serous wind chills. The best bet for Texomaland anglers right now is to wait a few days until the weather moderates, the snow and ice melts, and water temperatures begin to warm up…The last fishing report from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department showed that striped bass fishing was good at Lake Texoma on live shad. Meanwhile, fishing for white bass was fair on slabs and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass were slow on plastic worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and flutter spoons in 15 to 30-feet of water. And crappie were fair on minnows and white jigs fished in 18 to 32-foot depths near boathouses, sunken timber, and brush piles…There was no fishing report this week from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation since offices are closed and many Sooner State lakes and rivers are ice covered and surrounded by deep snow…Even lakes as far south as Lake Amistad on the U.S./Mexico border are being affected by the cold and snow. In fact, the Del Rio area was under a Winter Storm Warning on Thursday afternoon due to very heavy snowfall in the region…Because of the severe cold wave and its effects all the way to the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department used their emergency power to close various portions of the Texas Gulf Coast for a couple of days this week as fish trying to survive the cold blast congregated in deeper saltwater holes where they were vulnerable to both the weather and overfishing…Fish kill reports are scattered along the upper Texas Gulf Coast so far, but more numerous fish kills are being reported along the middle coast and lower coast regions of the state. Reports of dead speckled trout, tarpon, snook, mullet and other saltwater fish and baitfish are becoming increasingly common in Texas waters from Port Aransas south to Port Mansfield…

Tip of the Week

At last check, tomorrow night’s Red River Valley Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is still planning for the group’s annual DU fundraiser. The 2021 dinner is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center according to the DU website at www.ducks.org. Tickets are limited to table sales only this year because of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions that remain in place. For information and to inquire about purchasing a table for tomorrow night’s DU event in Cooke County, please contact Phil Bellows at (940) 390-0081 or Jared Groce at (940) 736-3885. Next month, it will be Grayson County’s turn as the Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited holds its annual Couple’s Event beginning at 6 p.m. on March 19 at the Mayor Arena in Denison’s Loy Lake Park. Tickets to the Texoma event are $60 for individuals and $75 for couples. For information, contact Kris Spiegel at (903) 820-8882, Eric Kloppers at (903) 815-2229, or Jim Lillis at (903) 815-8002.