Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

July 17 - Future Bass Team Trail Tournament on Lake Texoma out of Alberta Creek Resort & Marina. For information, call Joe Copeland at (580) 504-7320 or visit www.futurebasstrails.com.

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

July 25 - JC Outdoors Spring Teams Division Championship on Lake Texoma out of Alberta Creek Resort & Marina. For information, call (214) 773-5451 or visit www.jcoutdoors.com .

Aug. 7 - Future Bass Team Trail Tournament on Lake Texoma out of Alberta Creek Resort & Marina. For information, call Joe Copeland at (580) 504-7320 or visit www.futurebasstrails.com .

Sept. 1-Oct. 31 –Oklahoma dove season first split.

Sept. 1-Nov. 12 – Texas North Zone dove hunting first split.

Sept. 11-26 - Texas early teal season.

Sept. 11-26 - Texas early Canada goose season.

Oct. 1-Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 2-Nov. 5 - Texas archery deer season.

Oct. 2-17 - Texas pronghorn antelope season.

Oct. 30-Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – Texas North Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – General whitetail season in Grayson and Collin Counties with the means and method of take restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Nov. 6-Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 13-28 - Texas North Zone duck season first split.

Nov. 13-28 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Dec. 4-Jan. 30 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Dec. 4-Jan. 30 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season second split.

Dec. 17 - Jan. 2 - Texas North Zone dove hunting second split.

Dec. 18-Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

Notes

 As Uncle Sam and America celebrate the nation’s 245th birthday on Sunday, July 4, allow the Herald Democrat outdoors staff to wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, healthy, and happy Independence Day celebration… ODWC reports that Grant Rader of Wichita, Kansas set a new world and state record paddlefish mark recently when he snagged a 164-pound paddlefish at Oklahoma's Keystone Lake on June 22...Bassmaster Magazine has announced its annual “Top 100” bass waters list and Lake Fork is the new #1 lake in the country, joining Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn, which have held the top honor at various times in recent years. Sam Rayburn is the nation’s 6th best this year according to the magazine, followed by O.H. Ivie as the nation’s 9th best. On the Central Region’s “Top 25” list, Oklahoma's Lake Eufaula surprisingly checks in at No. 4 behind the three lakes mentioned above. Also on the Central Region’s “Top 25” list is Toledo Bend (#6); recent Bassmaster Classic host Lake Ray Roberts (#8); Oklahoma’s Grand Lake and 2013 and 2016 Classic host Grand Lake (#13); 2017 Classic host Lake Conroe (#14); Falcon Lake (#15); Choke Canyon (#19); Lake Texoma (#20); and Caddo Lake (#22)…At its regular meeting on June 7, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation noted that the state's Wildlife Conservation Commission decided to temporarily postpone a decision on a resolution that would change turkey hunting season dates and bag limits. That proposal was set forth earlier by ODWC staff that would, among other things, set a statewide season from April 16 to May 16 and would reduce the statewide spring season limit at one tom. Commissioners have expressed their interest in making the most informed decision possible, however, and will reportedly be taking a deeper look at the available data on the issue. That data includes population trends, harvest numbers, and reviewing more than 5,000-public comments concerning the proposed changes. A special meeting earlier this week on June 28 was scheduled to have taken place and be the point where Commissioners decided on any turkey season changes to the Sooner State's annual hunting calendar. As of press time on Wednesday, no word on the outcome of that meeting had been received...ODWC Commissioners have approved the annual resolution for setting fall hunting season dates and bag limits for migratory birds in the Sooner State. Hunting for ducks, mergansers and coots will be Oct. 9-Jan. 5, 2022 in the Panhandle counties. In the remainder of the state, Nov. 13-28 and Dec. 4-Jan. 30, 2022 will be the season dates. Even though serious drought is now in place up north in the Duck Factory--and changes could be forthcoming to season length and bag limits in future years--the 2021-22 Oklahoma duck bag limit will be six ducks daily to include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, one scaup and one northern pintail...At their June meeting, ODWC Commissioners approved a Fiscal Year 2022 agency budget totaling $78.15 million...Arizona became the first state to ban game camera usage for hunting activities in a recent Arizona Game and Fish Department Commission meeting where state commissioners approved the measure by a 5-0 vote. For full information on the decision, visit www.petersenshunting.com/editorial/no-photos-please-arizona-commission-bans-game-camera-usage-for-hunting/393697...

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 81-84 degrees; and the lake is 2.20 feet high. TPWD says that striped bass are very good on live bait, topwaters and shad-like swimbaits fished in the river channel and tributaries. White bass are good on slabs and jigging spoons. Largemouth bass are good for those fishing Wacky Worms, Shakyhead jigs, square-billed crankbaits, topwaters, bladed jigs, and spinnerbaits. Crappie are fair on minnows fished near boathouses, timber near a channel, and brush piles…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of last month’s 51st Bassmaster Classic won by Hank Cherry, water is lightly stained; water temp is 87 degrees; and the lake is 2.95 feet high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on drop shots, crankbaits, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, topwater plugs, and flipping jigs fished near flooded banks, vegetation, and drop-offs. White bass are good in water depths of 12-40 feet for those using slabs and swimbaits near main lake points, flats, and along the river channel. For white bass—or sand bass, as most anglers in Texomaland call them--look for birds diving over feeding schools. Ray Bob crappie are fair on minnows and jigs fished around docks, bridge columns, and in brush piles…At Lake Fork, the recently named #1 bass lake in America according to Bassmaster Magazine, water is lightly stained; water temps are 84-89 degrees; and the lake is 0.13 feet low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on topwaters, Texas-rigged plastic worms, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and football jigs. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near brush piles and timber… At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the river elevation is normal, water temp is 73, and the river is running muddy. ODWC says that largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are fair on crankbaits, Flukes and soft plastics fished around brushy structure, creek channel seams, in the main channel, near rocks, and along the shoreline...At Lake Murray near Ardmore, the lake elevation is above average, water temp is 76, and the lake is clear. ODWC reports that largemouth and smallmouth bass are fair on minnows and soft plastics fished around brushy structure, in coves, near docks, on flats, on points and near good sized rocks...As summer vacation season continues on the Texas Gulf Coast, down at Bolivar Peninsula, TPWD says that speckled trout have been fair near the north jetty and on the southern end of the peninsula as well, all in less than 6-feet of water for anglers using live shrimp. Redfish have been good along the Bolivar Peninsula shoreline and are best caught right now on shrimp or soft plastics. Black drum are good around vegetation or structure in the area for those using crab or shrimp. Flounder are fair around the rocks on shrimp…Further down the coast at East Galveston Bay, TPWD says that Seawolf Park is a hot spot right now for redfish and speckled trout with shrimp being the best bait. There have also been higher numbers of speckled trout and reds near the jetties too…At Port Aransas, TPWD says that speckled trout and redfish are in water less than 8-feet deep and usually along the shorelines and jetties. Earlier in the day, anglers should use soft plastics, topwaters, or shrimp…At Port Mansfield, which is one of the spots hit hard by the killer February freezes, TPWD says that redfish are good out on the flats for those using K-Wiggler paddle tails in red and white, topwaters and shrimp under a popping cork. Speckled trout are still tough to find in any numbers around Port Mansfield but can be caught by those willing to search for the scattered fish using the K-Wiggler ball tail in red and chartreuse along with shrimp fished under a popping cork. TPWD says that the Port Mansfield red snapper is also good in the Gulf when sea conditions allow anglers to get out…

Tip of the Week

Looking for some aquatic fireworks this 4th of July holiday weekend? Well, after running into Bill Carey of Striper Express Guide Service last Saturday at the Ducks Unlimited Expo, there's little doubt that a visit to Lake Texoma is in order given the recent topwater bite going on at the border lake. Get there early and throw a shad-resembling surface plug near main lake points and rocky shorelines just before and after sunrise and you should get bit. Be forewarned, however, that these big on-the-water explosions aren’t for the faint of heart right now as the late spring and summer topwater bite continues strong at the 89,000-acre reservoir!