Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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.

Notes

After last month’s historic period of winter weather, what can Lone Star State residents expect as the Texas spring wildflower season approaches? “Recent Texas flora Facebook posts, and photos from native plant enthusiasts, that I received during the winter storm included blooming bluebonnets covered in ice in central Texas,” said Jason Singhurst, a botanist with TPWD, said in a news release. “Believe it or not though, most native perennial or biennial plants such as bluebonnets fared just fine under the insulated snow and ice. If we can get some steady rain in the coming weeks and temperatures stay in mid-80’s or below through April, it should be a great Texas bluebonnet spring.”…TPWD notes that Texas bluebonnets typically peak at the end of March through mid-April across most of the state. Bluebonnets often start blooming near Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Houston and then do so farther north toward the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The native range of Texas bluebonnets is primarily the Hill Country and Blackland Prairie ecoregions…The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced that zebra mussels have now been detected at Medina Lake, the water body near Bandera. Known for many years as the home to the former 13.50-pound state record largemouth caught back in 1943, TPWD says that biologists received a report of the invasive mussels shortly after the winter storm that descended upon the area last month. After receiving a photo of a zebra mussel at a boat ramp on the lake, a search after last month's winter storm found two other zebra mussels attached to a rock along the nearby shoreline. While no other additional zebra mussels have been found, TPWD will now classify the lake as positive for the invasive species. ”This is the first detection of zebra mussels in the San Antonio River Basin and could result not only in impacts on infrastructure, boats, and other property but also in downstream spread within the basin and introductions by boats moving from Medina Lake to other nearby lakes,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD senior scientist for aquatic invasive species, in a news release. “Finding zebra mussels in a new river basin unfortunately means that they’ve most likely been transported there by boats, barges, or other equipment that didn’t take appropriate precautions to prevent their spread. The vigilance of all boaters and anglers is needed to stop or slow the further spread of zebra mussels in Texas lakes.”…Meanwhile, TPWD has also announced that Lake Placid, a water body located near Seguin in the Guadalupe River Basin, is being changed from positive to fully infested status after a number of adult zebra mussels were found in the lake. The new discoveries reinforce the importance of TPWD’s regulations to mitigate the spread of the invasive mussel throughout the Lone Star State. “Although zebra mussels are now found in 31 Texas lakes, there are still many other lakes in the state that they haven’t invaded. Boaters play a critical role in preventing them from spreading to new lakes. Before traveling from lake to lake, clean, drain and dry your boat and gear. Remove plants, mud and debris, drain all the water from the boat and gear, and then open up compartments once you get home and allow everything to dry completely,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD inland fisheries regional director, in a news release… To learn more about zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas, please visit TPWD’s website at www.tpwd.texas.gov/StopInvasives ...Collegiate bass angler Jack Franklin-Lee Hunt was fatally injured last Friday evening after being struck by a piece of debris as the 18-year old Erskine College student drove back to a boat ramp on South Carolina's Lake Secession. According to Bassmaster.com, Hunt was a two-time Bassmaster High School All-State recipient and had just finished up his first Carhartt Bassmaster College Series tournament on his home lake, Lake Hartwell. “Any time we lose an angler at that young of an age it is always tragic,” said Bassmaster High School and College Tournament Director Hank Weldon in the Bassmaster.com story about the tragedy. “Our angling hearts do hurt for him and his family and we will continue to keep them in our prayers.”

Hunting Report

With the conclusion of the Texas Conservation Order Light Goose Season last Sunday, the attention of Texas hunters now switches to the start of spring turkey season. The season on Rio Grande gobblers opens up this weekend in South Texas where hunters can chase longbeards from March 20-May 2…Spring turkey season starts April 3 in North Texas, April 6 in most of Oklahoma, and April 22 in Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar Counties where the Texas Eastern Turkey Hunting Zone regulations package is in effect… The Oklahoma Conservation Order Light Goose Season (COLGS) is winding down and conclude its spring season in the Sooner State on March 30… …

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 54 degrees; and the lake is 2.78 low. TPWD says that striped bass are good on swimbaits and live shad while white bass are good on swimbaits and spoons fished in creeks. Largemouth bass are fair fishing Alabama-rigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and gold spoons fished in 15-30’ of water. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near deep boathouses, timber, and brush piles in 18-32’ depths. Catfish are fair on punch bait and cut bait.…On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC characterizes the fishing this week as “…pretty good.” The agency says that Texoma stripers have been fair on Flukes, live shad and Sassy Shad fished along the river channels, in the main lake and around points. Meanwhile, ODWC says that blue catfish are fair on cut bait, live shad and sunfish fished along the river channels, in the main lake and in creek channels. Blue cats have been good on juglines and rod-and-reels at 30-40-foot depths. Crappie are also fair on jigs and minnows fished around brushy structure and docks in 15-20 foot depths…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic this summer from June 11-13, water is lightly stained; water temp is 53 degrees; and the lake is 0.31 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on crankbaits, plastic worms, and football jigs fished near drop-offs, timber, points, and the dam. White bass are fair in 25-45’ depths on slabs fished near main lake points, flats, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs thrown around docks, bridge columns, and the baitfish schools near the dam…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 0.25 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on bladed spinners, crankbaits, Chatterbaits, and skirted jigs fished near points, roadbeds, brush piles, timber, and shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished in 28-45’ of water near docks and baitfish schools located in the main lake.…Following the final stocking this week for the 2020-21 trout season at the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports a normal river elevation normal, a water temp of 48 degrees, and clear conditions. The agency says that rainbow trout are good on spoons and in-line spinnerbaits while fly anglers are taking rainbows on caddis flies, midges, and nymphs. Look for trout to be stackled up along channels, braids in the water, and near rocks… At Lake Murray, ODWC reports a normal lake elevation, a water temp of 54 degrees, and clear water. The agency says that crappie are slow on jigs and minnows fished in coves and creek channels while largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on Alabama-rigs, crankbaits, and jerkbaits fished around brushy structure, in coves and near main lake points…On the Texas Gulf Coast, spring breakers at South Padre Island will find fair fishing conditions. TPWD says that black drum are being caught in deeper water and are best on shrimp. Meanwhile, speckled trout and redfish may be found on the Laguna Madre flats and are good right now on shrimp. Flounder can be found around the jetties and are good on mullet...

Tip of the Week

Don’t forget tonight’s Texoma DU event in Denison as the local Ducks Unlimited group hosts its 2021 Couple’s Event. Doors for the fundraising dinner open up at 6 p.m. and the event is located at the Mayor Arena in Loy Lake Park. 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 Cajun Pot out of Shreveport, La. 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.