Outdoors Digest

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

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

April 6-May 6 – Oklahoma spring turkey season.

April 8-11 - Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the Sabine River near Orange, Texas.

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 continues to try and figure out the coastal fish kill brought on by the severe winter weather the week of Feb. 14. The agency says that so far, the kill looks severe, but not to the disastrous level of the December 1983 freeze event. Look for a full report in a coming edition of the Herald Democrat Outdoors…TPWD says that Texas State Parks have begun the process of expanding capacity statewide following the order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to open up the state 100% following a year of curtailed activity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency says that while masks are not required any longer, they are strongly encouraged for park visitors, especially when visitors are in indoors areas or spots where social distancing is difficult to maintain. TPWD also notes that restrictions concerning group size have now been lifted. “We’re excited to welcome more visitors to our parks,” said Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks, in a news release. “We want Texans to know that the safety of our visitors and our park staff is our top priority as we increase visitor capacity. Prior to COVID-19, and throughout the last year, our parks have seen growing  visitation and our teams are working hard to accommodate those who want to get outside and experience the incredible natural and cultural resources our parks have to offer.”…TPWD notes that while most state parks will be able to expand capacity immediately, others may continue to have some capacity limits in place. A few parks are still recovering from last month’s historic winter weather and are completing repairs or have other operational considerations. The agency says that capacity limits were already typical before the pandemic began last March and for some heavily-trafficked parks, they will continue to protect natural resources and to make the visitor experience safe and enjoyable…TPWD executive director Carter Smith noted in the news release that “This time of COVID-19 has reinforced the power and criticality of providing quality, accessible, and affordable outdoor recreational opportunities for all Texans. Getting outdoors is essential for people’s physical and mental health, and Texas State Parks play a critical role in meeting this need.”…TPWD reports that state parks visitors can purchase day passes up to one month in advance now, guaranteeing access to parks even during busier times. To purchase a day pass or to reserve a campsite, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov or call (512) 389-8900…Following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to get Texas fully open again following a year of COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns, the bass fishing calendar saw a change this week as officials with B.A.S.S. adjusted the dates for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series event in the Sabine River region of southeastern Texas. Originally scheduled for April, the event was shifted to August when it didn’t look like a full contingent of fans would be possible. Now in the wake of the Lone Star State’s opening up again towards full capacity, B.A.S.S. officials have decided to move the event’s dates to April 8-11 to take full advantage of spring fishing possibilities in the Orange, Texas area…

Hunting Report

 The Texas Conservation Order Light Goose Season reaches its finish line this weekend on Sunday, March 14 in both the East and West Goose Zones across the Lone Star State…North of the Red River, the Oklahoma Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS) runs through March 30…Spring turkey season starts March 20 in South Texas and early next month in North Texas (April 3) and Oklahoma.(April 6) early next month. No report of gobbling just yet, but one local hunter reported seeing several big Grayson County longbeards putting on a show in a late winter group of Rio Grandes enjoying the warming weather …

Fishing Reports

 At Lake Texoma, TPWD reports that water is lightly stained; water temp is 48 degrees; and the lake is 3.09 low. Striped bass are fair on swimbaits and live shad while white bass are good on swimbaits and spoons fished in creeks. Largemouth bass are slow for those fishing plastic worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and flutter spoons in 15-30’ depths. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near deep boathouses, timber, and brush piles in 18-32’ of water. Catfish are fair on punch bait and cut bait.…

On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC reports water temps in the 46-48 degree range. The agency says that striped bass are fair on Flukes, live shad and Sassy Shad in the main lake, near points, and in the river channel. Striped bass are still being caught on live shad in the western part of the lake as the spawning run nears. Blue catfish are fair at Texoma on cut bait, live shad and punch bait fished along channels, in the main lake, and near the mouths of the river channels. ODWC says that most fishermen are catching big blue cats right now in the 30-40 ft. of water range on juglines and rod-and-reel. Meanwhile, the Texoma crappie bite remains slow on jigs around docks and standing timber, but it is starting to pick up as the spring spawn approaches…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic this summer from June 11-13, water is lightly stained; water temp is 50 degrees; and the lake is 0.34 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair on crankbaits, plastic worms, and football jigs fished near drop-offs, timber, points, and the dam. White bass are slow in 25-45’ depths on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished around docks, bridge columns, and baitfish schools near the dam…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 55 degrees; and the lake is 0.29 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are slow on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs fished near deep points, roadbeds, brush piles, timber, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs in 28-45’ depths near docks and baitfish schools in the main lake…As the final few weeks of the wintertime trout stocking season continue at the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports a normal river elevation, water temp of 48 degrees, and clear conditions. The agency says that fishing for rainbow trout is good on Power Bait, small spoons, and in-line spinnerbaits fished near rocks and channels in the riverbed. Fly anglers are finding good success in the same places using caddis flies and nymphs… At Lake Murray, ODWC reports a normal lake elevation, water temp of 51 degrees, and clear conditions. Largemouth bass are good on jerkbaits fished around brushy structure and main lake features…On the Texas Gulf Coast, fishing reports range from poor to fair success as winter fades and fish metabolism rates slowly increase. TPWD says that the assessment is still ongoing to determine the full effects of last month’s killer freeze that killed at least 3 million fish, many of those baitfish species. For those heading for saltwater venues like Port Aransas, the agency says that for now, anglers can find some success for black drum on mullet or shrimp fished in the deeper water. Some luck is also being reported for speckled trout and redfish for those fishhing around the jetty while using mullet or shrimp…

Tip of the Week

Don’t forget the upcoming quacker backer event in Denison next week as the Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited holds its 2021 Couple’s Event on Friday, March 19. Scheduled for the Mayor Arena inside Loy Lake Park, the doors open up at 6 p.m. for an evening of Cajun food, live and silent auctions, raffles, special games, and door prize opportunities. Everyone who attends will have the chance to take home a wide array of hunting and fishing gear, decorative art and decoys, and limited edition DU merchandise. Tickets are $60 for individuals and $75 for couples and include a year’s membership in DU, door prize chances, and plenty of crawfish and other Cajun cuisine catered by Savoie’s of Shreveport. For tickets and/or information about the event, please contact Kris Spiegel at (903) 820-8882, Eric Kloppers at (903) 815-2229, or Jim Lillis at (903) 815-8002.