Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


Through Oct. 17 - Texas pronghorn antelope season.

Through Oct. 31 –Oklahoma dove season first split.

Through Nov. 5 - Texas archery deer season.

Through Nov. 12 – Texas North Zone dove hunting first split.

Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 14 – Bryan County Ducks Unlimited Dinner at Choctaw Casino.

Oct. 16 – Temple Fork Outfitters Demo Day and Blane Chocklett appearance, private fly tying seminar, and public fly fishing seminar at Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company fly shop in Dallas. For information, call 1-888-824-5420 or e-mail the shop at tailwaters@tailwatersflyfishing.com .

Oct. 19 – Texoma Ducks Unlimited Dinner at Denison’s Hilton Garden Inn. For information, call Newt Wright at (918) 557-2622; Paul Terrell at (903) 267-4108; or visit www.ducks.org .

Oct. 23-31 – Oklahoma muzzleloader deer season.

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

Oct. 31-Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.


Happy Texas/OU weekend from the outdoors staff of the Herald Democrat...Don’t look now, but the Red River Showdown of Ducks Unlimited dinners is getting ready to unfold on both sides of the Red River. First up is the Bryan County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, which will have its 2021 fundraiser this next Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 at the Choctaw Events Center south of Durant on the Sooner State side of the border stream. A few days later, it’s the Longhorn’s side of the Red River that gets into the action as the Texoma Chapter of DU hosts its annual fundraiser at the Hilton Garden Inn on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021…ODWC reports that angler Jarrid Monroe recently landed a new Sooner State record river carpsucker, which he promptly donated to the agency. According to an ODWC news release, Monroe’s catch tipped the scales at 11-pounds and 0.28 ounces and was pulled from Konawa Reservoir. The agency says that despite the common name "carpsucker," these fish aren't actually related to carp at all, and instead, are actually one of Oklahoma’s 16 species of native sucker fish. Like many other native sucker fish in the country, the river carpsucker has a downturned mouth, which allows them to feed on the bottom of a stream or river, primarily on planktonic plants and animals… A TPWD news release indicates that Ray Roberts Lake State Park is getting ready to host the grand opening this weekend of a new Nature Center at the Johnson Branch of the park. Scheduled for Saturday, October 9, the grand opening event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will begin with a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony, which will then be followed by tours of the facility. According to TPWD, the park is waiving entrance fees for this special event. “We are all very excited to open the new Nature Center to the public at last,” said Robbie Merritt, park superintendent, in a news release. “This facility is the result of many years of vision and dedicated work by numerous park staff, volunteers, partner organizations, and private donors that have made it all possible. It will significantly enhance our public services at Johnson Branch.”…TPWD notes that in addition to the Nature Center tours tomorrow, the park will also host numerous activities for children and have booths showcasing Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) programs, various outdoor recreation opportunities, and TPWD job opportunities. TPWD says that area partners such as the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association, Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Forest Service, and many others will also be on hand to interact with visitors…Finally, the agency says that this project was made possible by a generous donation from the Araoz family in honor of Eulalia Araoz… The Red River Fly Fishers have announced that with the group's October 5th meeting early this week, the RRFF will resume in-person meetings going forward…

Hunting Reports

Dove hunting continues to be slow in the area as late season wingshooters hope for a good front to bring in a new influx of birds on a strong north wind …With the start of the first split of 2020 duck seasons still a few weeks away, duck movement into the southern portion of the Central Flyway continues to be slow as warm weather continues here and to the north…The warm weather also has the early archery season off to a slow start, although social media reports do indicate that several good bucks have been taken in Oklahoma over the course of this week…

Fishing Reports

As the 2021 Red River Showdown arrives at the Cotton Bowl tomorrow morning, which side of Texoma—the Texas Longhorns side or the Oklahoma Sooners side—has the best fishing at Lake Texoma right now? Well, that depends on which agency you ask since both TPWD and ODWC report pretty good action on this second weekend in October. On the burnt orange side of the two-state lake, TPWD says that water is lightly stained; water temp is 70 degrees; and the lake is 2.19 feet low. TPWD reports that striped bass are good in shallow water during the early morning bite, with bigger fish coming on topwater pencil poppers. As the sun gets up good, look for boxfish (under 20-inches) on 2-ounce slabs or Assassin Jigs fished on the ledges found along the edge of lake flats…On the crimson and creme side of Texoma, ODWC game warden Garrett Beam says that striped bass are good on Alabama-rigs, Flukes, live shad, soft plastic baits, Sassy Shad, slabs and topwater lures. Best striper action is below Denison Dam, around main lake points, in creek channels, and in the main lake itself. Catfish are fair at Texoma on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live shad, punch bait, stinkbait and sunfish, when fished below the dam, around points, along deeper creek channels and in the main lake. Meanwhile, crappie on the Oklahoma side of Texoma are slow on hair jigs, jigs, minnows, PowerBait and small panfish sized lures fished around brush, coves, docks and standing timber…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic earlier this year, TPWD says that water is lightly stained; water temp is 74 degrees; and the lake is 0.52 feet low. TPWD says that white bass fishing is pretty good during the early morning topwater bite, then the sand bass are transitioning to deeper water later in the day. Anglers hoping for a limit of sandies should target them with slabs and jigging spoons fished on points, humps, and ridges. Largemouth bass are fair at Ray Bob on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs fished near timber, rip rap, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around timber, bridge columns, and in brush piles…At Lake Fork,  water is lightly stained; water temp is 77 degrees; and the lake is 1.81 feet low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are good right now and that anglers should try topwaters at first light on main lake points and secondary points in 1-3 feet depths. Best topwaters right now are KVD Sexy Dawgs and Yellow Magics. Later in the morning, try Shakyhead worms with four-inch Yum Dingers or Lake Fork Tackle’s Baby Ring Fry in 5-8 feet of water. The early morning bite is also producing action in the backs of coves in 2-5 feet of water for those anglers using Z-Man Chatterbaits. The mid-morning bite is generally in 10-15 feet of water right now, and along the deep water edge of the bream beds for those anglers using Carolina- or Texas-rigged 10-inch plastic worms in blue or green flake colors. Towards lunch and beyond, switch to shad colored deep diving Xcite XB-5 crankbaits fished in 3-5 feet of water. Also, crappie are good at Fork for those anglers’ minnows and jigs near brush piles, bridge pillars, and timber…As fall fishing patterns take hold on the Lower Mountain Fork River near Broken Bow, ODWC says that the river is normal level, water temp is 68 degrees, and the water conditions are clear. Rainbow trout are fair for anglers using PowerBait and for fly fishermen using caddis flies fished in the channel seams and Spillway Creek area...At McGee Creek near Atoka, ODWC says that the lake level is below normal and the water temp is 76 degrees. Largemouth and spotted bass are good on Alabama-rigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater lures fished in coves, creek channels, points and standing timber...Down on the upper Texas Gulf Coast at Sabine Lake, TPWD says that speckled trout are good in 6-14 feet of water, particularly in the Sabine Channel when anglers are using live shrimp. Redfish in the area are also good on mullet and shrimp fished in 25-feet of water...At West Galveston Bay, TPWD says that the fall run of big bull redfish is heating up near the jetties along with a few keeper black drum also being caught on the rocks...At Texas City, anglers are reporting numerous "Texas Slams" of flounder, speckled trout, and redfish in the bay when using artificial lures and live shrimp...On the Middle Coast at Port O'Connor, bull redfish are being caught near the jetty on live piggy perch while a few 5-20 pound tarpon are being caught on live croaker...At Port Aransas, TPWD says that redfish remain "on fire" near the jetties for those using live mullet, croaker, and cut menhaden...And finally, on the Lower Coast at Port Isabel, TPWD says that a few "hog" size bull redfish are being caught near the Gas Well Wreck...

Tip of the Week

If you’re hoping for a nocturnal buck to show himself during the mid-October lull, focus on “staging areas” located some100 to 200-yards away from corn feeders, food plots, and natural food sources in the deer woods where you hunt. Why is that? Because big bucks will get up on their feet and move a short ways from bedding areas right now, but they’ll generally do so in the final moments of daylight and stay far away from feeding areas until total darkness falls.