Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


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

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

Through May 6 – Oklahoma spring turkey season.

Through May 6 – SE Oklahoma spring turkey season.

Through May 14 – Texas Eastern turkey spring season including Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties.

Through May 16 – Texas North Zone Rio Grande spring turkey season.

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

Sept. 1-Nov. 12 – First split of the Texas North Zone dove hunting season.


 Happy birthday to Charissa Burkhead, wife of longtime Herald Democrat outdoors writer Lynn Burkhead...Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever announced this week that they will be helping put on a Public Hunting Lease Workshop on Saturday, May 1 at the Muse Wildlife Management Area in May, Texas. The event will also be presented virtually through a Facebook Live showing. The event has registration and coffee beginning at 9:30 a.m. and runs from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. During the event, attendees will hear from Quail Forever biologists, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, and Texas game wardens. The presentations will talk about the importance of public lands for hunting, the benefits of leasing land for public hunting, setting up landscapes for success, law enforcement on such properties, and compensation rates and contract agreements with TPWD. The in-person attendance option is limited to the first 20 registrants and registration needs to take place by Saturday, April 24, 2021. An optional field tour is available after lunch for those who attend the event in person. For information, contact Quail Forever coordinating wildlife biologist Will Burkhead at wburkhead@quailforever.org …Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas took home last week’s Major League Fishing Heavy Hitter’s tournament title, the seventh tour-level victory of his career and the first time he has won an MLF event…Former Major League Fishing / Bass Pro Tour angler Jason Christie made good on his return to the Bassmaster Elite Series, claiming the recent B.A.S.S. stop on the Sabine River near Port Arthur and Beaumont.…

Hunting Report

 The 2021 spring turkey season continues in North Texas and Oklahoma and that now includes all counties featuring an open season anywhere close to the Texoma region…This week’s historical cold snap—which saw North Texas Regional Airport record a 32-degree low on Wednesday morning, the latest freeze in the history of Denison and Sherman—won’t help speed up the springtime process anytime soon. One local turkey hunter who chases longbeards out near Wichita Falls said he isn’t hearing many mature gobblers so far and is seeing lots of henned up action…A look at the social media pages for North Texas Outfitters shows that the action has slowed a bit this week. But there have still been a few trophy toms go down in the region near Waurika, Okla., including one big old longbeard with some seriously sharp spurs…

Fishing Reports

 At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 58-62 degrees; and the lake is 2.26 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, slabs, small crankbaits, and spoons. Largemouth bass are good for anglers fishing swim jigs, lipless crankbaits, topwater poppers, and Chatterbaits in 3-10’ of water. 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 the lake, ODWC says that striped bass are good on live bait, live shad and cut shad fished in the main lake and around points. Stripers are being caught primarily south of the railroad bridge in 20-30 ft. of water. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows fished around brushy structure, docks and standing timber. Crappie are biting better and better each day. Blue catfish are fair on cut bait, punch bait and sunfish fished along channels, in the main lake and in the river channel. Blue cats are being caught in 25-35 ft. of water on rod-and-reel and juglines...At Lake Ray Roberts, water is lightly stained; water temp is 62 degrees; and the lake is 0.14 high. TPWD says that largemouth bass are good on lipless crankbaits, swimbaits, soft plastic craws, and finesse jigs fished near coves, shorelines, and flats in 2-12’ depths. White bass are good in 25-35’ of water on slabs and swimbaits fished near main lake points, flats, and the river channel. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished around docks, bridge columns, and in the creeks and river channel...At Lake Fork, site of this week's Bassmaster Elite Series event, water is lightly stained; water temps are 60-64 degrees; and the lake is 0.21 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are good on bladed spinnerbaits, crankbaits, swimbaits, plastic frogs, and skirted jigs fished in 2-12’ of water. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs fished near docks and creeks...At Lake Murray near Ardmore, ODWC reports a normal lake elevation, water temp of 63 degrees, and clear conditions. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are fair on jerkbaits, soft plastic baits and spinnerbaits fished around brushy structure, rocks and shallow areas...At McGee Creek, ODWC reports below normal water levels and a water temp of 62 degrees. Largemouth bass and spotted bass are good on crankbaits, Flukes, jigs, spinnerbaits and topwater lures fished around brushy structure, coves, points, shorelines and standing timber...On the Texas Gulf Coast at South Padre Island, TPWD reports that speckled trout and redfish are very good in the shallow water areas along the shoreline for anglers using Kwigglers. Black drum are being found around structure and are best caught on shrimp. Flounder can be found around the rocks and are good on shrimp.  TPWD says that catch and release is still encouraged for speckled trout in the aftermath of the February freeze and fish kill...

Tip of the Week

If the tom turkeys are silent on the properties that you are hunting, put yourself in the area where the birds roosted the night before, 100 to 200 yards away. Make a few soft calls early on at first light to let the longbeards know you are there, and then wait and see what happens at fly down time. If the birds are henned up and disappear, don’t despair, but hold tight and wait patiently into the mid to late morning hours. Many times, satellite gobblers or even boss birds will show back up quietly at such times, suddenly appearing in shotgun range without making a sound. When that happens, shoot straight and don’t miss!