Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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.

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

March 19 – Texoma DU Couple’s Event at the Loy Lake Park Mayor Arena in Denison beginning at 6 p.m. For information, contact Kris Spiegel at (903) 820-8882, Eric Kloppers at (903) 815-2229, or Jim Lillis at (903) 815-8002.

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

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…At its March meeting earlier in the week, Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners approved several hunting and fishing rule changes. Among the fishing rule changes approved were the setting of a daily limit of three trout statewide; allowing paddlefish harvest on Mondays and Fridays; and an amended rule to prohibit the disposal of fish remains within 100 yards of any boat ramp or swimming area…Commissioners also amended a requirement to label certain fishing equipment, such as trot lines and jugs, with the angler’s ODWC customer identification number or name and address…Commissioners made several wildlife related rule changes as well, changes that include exempting blaze orange clothing requirements for dove hunters when big-game firearms seasons are underway along with the closure of feral hog hunting on Kaw, Sandy Sanders, Hackberry Flat and Waurika Wildlife Management Areas because of ongoing eradication projects by the state’s Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department… Because of the severe winter weather conditions that gripped all of Texas a couple of weeks ago, officials with Major League Fishing made a last second, emergency decision to relocate the 2021 Bass Pro Tour REDCREST Championship from Lake Palestine in East Texas to Lake Eufaula in eastern Alabama. After the relocation of the event won by inaugural champ Edwin Evers last year, Dustin Connell won the 2021 derby, securing his first career Bass Pro Tour triumph and first victory in nearly four years. Capturing the $300,000 payday thanks to a final day catch of 12 bass weighing 36-pounds, 15-ounces, Connell said the REDCREST win came as he focused on offshore brush piles found near the lake's southeastern corner. "I started the week with swim jigs, spinnerbaits and flipping baits because that's just what you do here," he told MajorLeagueFishing.com reporter Mason Prince. "The only reason I won today is because I switched to a jerkbait at the end of my Knockout Round and just focused on brush piles all day today. I used my Lowrance Active Target and those two things made the difference for me."…

Hunting Report

The spring waterfowl migration back to the north is well underway now for ducks and geese remaining in Texas. There was a social media report from renowned Texoma area birder and wildlife photographer Laurie Lawler a few days ago about the sighting of a rare cinnamon teal drake at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, retired Ducks Unlimited senior regional director Jim Lillis reported seeing a few big flocks of ducks pushing through the region as they head north. He said that ducks seen on local waters over the last week include mallards, wigeon, gadwalls, pintails, and teal along with a good push of snow geese….Speaking of snow geese, the Texas Conservation Order Light Goose Season continues through March 14 in both the East and West Goose Zones across the Lone Star State…Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s annual springtime Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS) is also underway and runs until March 30…Don’t look now, but 2021 spring turkey seasons are now on the calendar’s horizon. With start dates looming next month on both sides of the Red River, now is the time to get your gobbler hunting gear together and make sure that your shotgun is patterning well. One piece of advice, however, is to go easy on turkey loads since ammunition is generally in short supply right now…

Fishing Reports

While the Lake Texoma water temp has rebounded from the frigid mid-30s reported last month, reports from both TPWD and ODWC this week indicate that plenty of cold water remains at the 89,000-acr reservoir where water temps are holding in the mid-40s… At Lake Texoma, TPWD reports that the water is lightly stained; water temp is 44 degrees; and the lake is 3.27-feet below seasonal pool. The agency notes that striped bass are good on swimbaits and live shad while white bass are fair on slabs and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass are slow for those fishing plastic worms, 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 slow on punch bait…Meanwhile, on the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC reports that striped bass are fair on Flukes and live shad fished along main lake channels and main lake points. The agency says that most stripers are being caught between 20-30’ depths. Meanwhile, crappie are slow on jigs and minnows fished around brush piles, standing timber, and docks. Blue catfish are fair on cut bait, live shad and sunfish fished along channels in the main lake itself and over the primary river channels. ODWC says that Texoma’s blue cats are still being caught on rod-and-reel and juglines between 30-40’ depths…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic this summer from June 11-13, water is clear; water temp is 41 degrees; and the lake is 0.31 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on crankbaits, jerkbaits, and football jigs fished near drop-offs, submerged timber, points, and the dam area. White bass are slow in 25-45’ depths on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are slow on minnows and small jigs fished around bridge columns and the baitfish schools swimming near the dam…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 47 degrees; and the lake is 0.06 high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs fished near deep points, roadbeds, brush piles, timber, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs at 28-45’ depths near baitfish schools located in the main lake…With only a few more wintertime trout stockings left at the Blue River this season, ODWC reports great fishing conditions with plenty of cold water and active trout at the stream near Tishomingo. According to the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area’s Facebook page, anglers are finding success on PowerBait, salmon eggs, silver spoons, and in-line spinners. Fly anglers are catching trout on caddis flies, zebra midges, and egg patterns. The social media report also notes that rainbows are holding deeper than usual, so anglers may have to spread out and search a bit in an effort to find active trout… As the assessment continues along the Texas Gulf Coast to determine the severity of fish kills involving baitfish and saltwater game fish species after last month’s historic and deadly freeze, fishing action is fair to good for redfish, speckled trout, and other species in only a handful of places located along the Upper Gulf Coast either side of Galveston Bay. The further south an angler goes along the Lone Star State’s coastline, the more glum the reports become with poor or slow action being reported at a number of locations including East Matagorda Bay, West Matagorda Bay, Port O'Connor, Rockport, Corpus Christi, and Port Mansfield. In fact, the TPWD fishing report for the coastal regions of the Lone Star State even goes as far as suggesting that anglers consider catch-and-release right now or even hold off from fishing along the coast for the time being in an effort to help fisheries recover until the agency can adequately assess the impacts from the disastrous cold wave…

Tip of the Week

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has announced in a news release that it is taking applications through March 26 for summer internships in all divisions, including Law Enforcement, Wildlife, State Parks, Infrastructure, Communications, Coastal Fisheries, and Inland Fisheries. “For university students who want to explore a conservation-related career, our summer internship program can be a great start,” said Cayley Birchfield, TPWD recruiter. “We provide college students a realistic view of what a career with Texas Parks and Wildlife really entails. Student interns are given the opportunity to gain practical experience in hands-on settings.” The agency notes that eligibility requirements, compensation, details about the application process and additional information can be found on its internship website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/jobs/internship.phtml. For more information on TPWD’s internship opportunities, please contact the Human Resources Recruitment Team by e-mail at TPWDIntern@tpwd.texas.gov  or by contacting the agency’s HR Manager for Classification and Recruitment (Cayley Birchfield) at (254) 389-4485.