Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


Through May 2 – Texas South Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.

Through May 6 – Oklahoma spring turkey season.

Through May 16 – Texas North Zone Rio Grande 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.

April 22-25 – Bassmaster Elite Series event at Lake Fork. For information, visit www.bassmaster.com.

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


The dam was closed on Wednesday at Fannin County’s 16,641-acre Bois D’Arc Lake, located to the northeast of Bonham. As the first major reservoir constructed in the Lone Star State in nearly 30 years, the trophy bass fishing potential looks awesome as the new lake fills. Look for a complete update on the fishery and its future prospects in next week’s Herald Democrat Outdoors… TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Dan Bennet, the head man at the Lake Texoma fisheries station, is a busy man with the new lake in Fannin County, striped bass survey work at Lake Texoma, and getting married in coming days. Bennett says that stripers are plentiful and plump right now, although he is worried about whether or not there will be enough river inflow for a good 2021 striper hatch. He says that flows from the Washita River may be sufficient this spring, but flows from the Red River are minimal at the moment as the breeding cycle window remains open through early May… The 2021 Bassmaster Classic is now less than 90 days from arriving in Texomaland! Look for a series of reports in coming weeks as the stage is set for the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing as its visits Grayson County’s watery backyard…Next week, the Bassmaster Elite Series will descend upon Lake Fork as the spawn continues, setting the stage for a incredible event as the April 22-25 derby unfolds. Look for a preview online at heralddemocrat.com…Want to see angling greats Roland Martin and Kevin VanDam? The two will serve as honorary weigh-in masters at the Bass Pro Shops qualifying tournament this Saturday at Lake Ray Roberts…

Hunting Report

The 2021 spring turkey season continues in North Texas and Oklahoma, where it runs through May 16 and May 6 respectively…Taking a look at the social media accounts for Dakota Stowers’ North Texas Outfitters, several good gobblers have hit the ground during the past week, including some during the afternoon hours…NTO hosted the Mojo Outdoors crew, who was in camp last week to film a TV episode for their shows on YouTube and the Sportsman Channel. Former world champion turkey caller Preston Pittman was filmed as he called in and shot a double-bearded gobbler that had more than 17-inches of beard measurements…So far, early season gobbling activity appears to be good despite this week’s turn back towards cooler weather…The spring turkey season for southeastern Oklahoma begins next week, running from April 19 through May 6…The 2021 spring turkey season for the Texas Eastern Turkey Zone (including Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar Counties) also starts next week and will run from April 22-May 14…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 59 degrees; and the lake is 2.01 low. TPWD reports that striped bass are excellent on large white swimbaits and crankbaits fished in the river channel and tributaries. White bass are excellent on swimbaits, Rooster Tails, small crankbaits, and spoons fished in creeks and tributaries. Largemouth bass are good for anglers fishing swim jigs, lipless crankbaits, topwater poppers, and Chatterbaits in 3-10' depths. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, creeks, and brush piles. Catfish are excellent on punch bait and cut bait...On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC game warden Garrett Beam says that striped bass are good on cut bait and live shad fished in the main lake and around points. Stripers are also being caught on the northern part of the lake between Hwy. 70 and the Railroad Bridge. The Bryan County game warden also notes that blue catfish are fair on dough bait, stink bait and sunfish fished along river channels, creek channels and in the main lake. Blue cats are still being caught between 25-35 ft. of water on juglines and rod-and-reel combos. Finally, Beam says that crappie are fair on jigs and minnows fished around brushy structure, docks, and standing timber. The ODWC warden says that crappie are biting pretty well around the 89,000-acre reservoir as the spring spawn runs its course…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic this summer from June 11-13, water is lightly stained; water temp is 62 degrees; and the lake is 0.03 high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on lipless crankbaits, swimbaits, soft plastic craws, and football jigs fished near coves, shorelines, and flats in 2-8’ depths. White bass are good in 25-35’ depths on slabs and swimbaits fished near main lake points, creeks, and the river channel. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished around docks, bridge columns, and in the creeks and river channel…At Lake Fork, site of the April 22-25 Bassmaster Elite Series event next week, water is lightly stained; water temps are 60-64 degrees; and the lake is 0.37 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are excellent on bladed spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastic frogs, and skirted jigs in 2-12’ depths. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs fished near docks and creeks…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports a normal water level, clear conditions, and a water temp of 58 degrees. Rainbow trout are good for fly fishermen using caddis flies and nymphs. Conventional anglers continue to find holdover trout on Power Bait, in-line spinnerbaits, and small spoons. Key on creek channel, river braids, drop-offs and rocks for the best action. Also at the Blue River, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are good on crankbaits, jigs, and tube jigs…On the middle Texas Gulf Coast at Rockport, TPWD reports that the fishing action is good for speckled trout and redfish hitting shrimp in the deeper cuts, drop-offs, and near the flats and reefs. Black drum are good on shrimp and can be found in the channels or around structure…

Tip of the Week

Interested in helping the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Quail Forever enroll new land for an exciting new public hunting program for the 2021-22 season? Then contact Quail Forever Coordinating Wildlife Biologist William Burkhead by phone at (903) 327-4277 or by email at wburkhead@quailforever.org and/or TPWD Biologist Kyle Thigpen by phone at (979) 255- 2761 or by email at kyle.thigpen@tpwd.gov.