Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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.

May 15-16 – Texas High School Bass Association State Championship Tournament on Lake Texoma with launches and weigh-ins at the Denison Dam launch site.

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

July 20-23 - ICAST Fishing Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

Sept. 1-Oct. 31 - First split of Oklahoma's dove hunting season.

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

Notes

Today marks the official practice day for the more than 270+ teams that have qualified for this weekend’s Texas High School Bass Association state championship tournament on Lake Texoma. The two-day state title fishing event will be officially contested on Texoma over the weekend, running from Saturday, May 15 to Sunday, May 16. The daily weigh-ins will be in the afternoon hours both days at the Denison Dam boat launch site. For information, visit www.thsba.net  …As a side note, given the number of competitors and boat captains from around the state, not to mention parents attending with their kids, expect business to be booming this weekend at area hotels, restaraunts, and lakeside stores. The major high school tournament is among the biggest events held on Texoma as far as boat numbers go and the derby should mean a huge influx of cash into area economies… The Red River Fly Fishers have announced on their website that while current meetings are postponed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the club hopes to restart its monthly meetings in August 2021. For more information, visit the club’s website at www.rrff.org …TPWD has announced that the state’s San Pedro Ranch, located near Carrizo Springs, will be awarded the state’s highest honor for private land conservation along with a $10,000 award at the Lone Star Steward Virtual Awards Banquet on May 27. The agency says that anyone can join the livestreamed banquet and can find more information on how to tune in, along with information on other award winners, on the Lone Star Land Steward page of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website… Wes Logan used his local knowledge and fishing skills to outlast the field on Alabama’s rain-swollen Neely Henry Lake last weekend, claiming the $100,000 top prize and coveted blue trophy that went to the winner of the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite Series event on the lake. The 26-year old Springville, Ala. pro used a four-day total of 20 bass tipping the scales to 57-pounds 9-ounces to capture his first career title. Logan’s 14-01 limit on Monday--the event's Championship Day was a day late due to flooding that forced postponement of last week's first day of competition--to outlast Connecticut pro Paul Mueller, the event's runner-up... The clock is now ticking on the 51st Bassmaster Classic, coming to Lake Ray Roberts next month for a June 11-13 derby that will crown the champion in the so-called Super Bowl of Bass Fishing. Look for previews, details, and analysis on the local Classic in coming weeks here in the Friday Herald Democrat Outdoors section…

Hunting Report

The 2021 spring turkey season concludes today on Friday, May 14 in Grayson County, Fannin County, and the other counties falling under the Lone Star State’s Eastern wild turkey hunting regulations package…Meanwhile, in the Texas North Zone for Rio Grandes that includes Cooke, Denton, and Montague Counties to the west, the spring season concludes this weekend on Sunday, May 16….As with last week, there’s little turkey hunting news to report as the 2021 spring turkey season reaches the finish line. Part of that is due to the chilly and damp weather this past week, not to mention severe weather and hailstorms, that have kept turkey hunters from being motivated to head outdoors and try and fill any remaining tags that are unused. But as noted last Friday, you can’t fill an unused spring turkey tag if you don’t go…After the conclusion of spring turkey season here in North Texas this weekend, next up on the Texomaland hunting calendar will be the Sept. 1-Nov. 12 first split of dove season here in the Texas North Zone…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, site of this weekend’s 2021 Texas High School Bass Association state championship tournament, water is stained; water temp is 68 degrees; and the lake level is 2.39 feet high. According to TPWD, striped bass are excellent on live bait in the river channel and tributaries while white bass are excellent on swimbaits, slabs, small crankbaits, and spoons. Largemouth bass are good for anglers using buzzbaits, crankbaits, soft plastic craws, and bladed spinnerbaits in water depths ranging from 2-12 feet. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber near a creek channel or ditch, and around brush piles...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of next month’s 51st Bassmaster Classic from June 11-13, water is stained; water temps are 65-69 degrees; and the lake is 0.70 feet high. Despite this week’s rainy and chilly weather, TPWD says that largemouth bass are good on Flukes, spinnerbaits, topwater stickbaits, and flipping jigs fished near coves, shorelines, and flats in water ranging from 2-14 feet. White bass are reported as excellent in water depths of 12-40 feet for anglers using live bait, slabs, and swimbaits fished near main lake points, flats, and the river channel. Look for birds diving over feeding schools of white bass to find the best action. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished around docks, bridge columns, and in brush piles....At Lake Fork, which also had its share of storms and chilly weather this week, water is lightly stained; water temps are 69-73 degrees; and the lake is 0.09 feet high. TPWD says that largemouth bass are excellent on crankbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, and skirted jigs fished in water depths of 4 -16 feet. Crappie are excellent on minnows and jigs fished near docks and creeks....At the Blue River near Tishomingo, conditions have taken a downturn after this week’s heavy rains and storms with the river running high, muddy, and having a water temp of 64 degrees. ODWC says that rainbow trout action is fair on in-line spinnerbaits and PowerBait fished along river channel and rocks. For fly anglers, try caddis flies, nymphs, and Wooly Buggers in the same locations. Also at the Blue, as the wintertime trout stockings fade away, fishing remains slow for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Use crankbaits, soft plastics, and spinnerbaits around points, rocks, and the shoreline…On the Texas Gulf Coast at Port Mansfield, TPWD says that redfish remain good on the flats for those anglers throwing KWiggler willows and paddle-tails to start the day off in shallow water. As the day deepens, look for deeper potholes to work. Speckled trout are described as here and there for anglers using KWiggler ball-tails. With emergency regulations remaining in place after February’s disastrous killer freeze, TPWD says that it is highly recommended for anglers to practice catch and release of all trout to allow for the South Texas bay systems to recover more quickly…

Tip of the Week

As a word of caution, there will be more than 270 boats on Lake Texoma this weekend as the Texas state bass fishing championship takes place for high schoolers around the state. Another couple of smaller events will also be contested on the lake as well, so everyone show some courtesy, a little extra attention to boating safety rules, and plenty of patience as anglers seek to find the right fish and win a big tournament title Be a good neighbor and make the experience of those visiting Lake Texoma a good one that will be remembered for the rest of some young angler’s lives.