Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


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. 23-31 – Oklahoma muzzleloader deer season.

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

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

Nov. 2 – Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, visit www.rrff.org .

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.

Nov. 13-Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.


TPWD has announced that an East Texas tradition—which was forced to take the year off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic response—is rebooting for 2021 as the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center prepares to host “Halloween at the Hatchery.” The agency says in a news release that the annual event provides a safe place to go trick-or-treating while raising money for three local beneficiaries including The Rainbow Room, the Est Texas Crisis Center, and the Athens High School Fishing team. TPWD says that the outdoor event will feature family-friendly games, photo opportunities, and activities next week on Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 — 8 p.m. “We’re certainly excited to be able to once again host this family friendly fall event here at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center,” said Tom Lang, the TFFC director, in a news release. “October in the outdoors, smiling kids making great memories, and everyone coming together to help area non-profits to serve the community, that’s a great combination in my book.”…Admission for “Halloween at the Hatchery” is only $1 cash per person, and all proceeds will benefit the aforementioned local nonprofit organizations….Speaking of high school fishing teams, word surfaced this week that the University Interscholastic League is looking at the prospects of making high school bass fishing a UIL sanctioned competition. Stay tuned for more information on that as it becomes available…The Red River Fly Fishers have announced that with the group's October 5th meeting earlier this month, the RRFF will resume in-person meetings going forward. For details on upcoming meetings, visit the group’s website at www.rrff.org … ODWC announced this week that trout stocking scheduled to begin Nov. 1 at seasonal stocking sites like the Blue River near Tishomingo will be delayed several days. While exact stocking dates are uncertain as the mild weather continues and water temperatures remain warm, the agency says that it hopes “…that all trout areas will be stocked within the first week of November.” 

Hunting Reports

With the approach of quail hunting seasons on both sides of the Red River, as well as the first split of duck season and the 2021-22 Texas general deer season, look for season forecast stories in next week’s Herald Democrat Outdoors…TPWD is currently reporting fair numbers of big ducks pushing into the flooded rice fields, water storage areas, and coastal marshes of southeastern Texas…With occasional cool fronts pushing through Texomland in recent days, some of those same big ducks are also filtering through the Red River Valley region as the first split of duck season approaches early next month in both North Texas and southern Oklahoma…Mild weather in recent days has resulted in limited daytime deer movement right now in North Texas and southern Oklahoma. Still, ODWC big game biologist Dallas Barber said that so far in the Sooner State, the archery harvest totals that are being reported under Oklahoma’s mandatory deer check-in system are only slightly down from what was experienced a year ago…As the final full week of October approaches, don’t be surprised if the first really big monster buck goes down here in the Red River region as the pre-rut ramps up and the November rut approaches…Believe it or not, migratory mourning doves—which many wingshooters call “Kansas doves”—are still pushing into the Texomaland area, although many of them are staying in metro areas right now…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 70 degrees; and the lake is 2.08 feet low. TPWD reports that seagulls have migrated into the area and are currently pointing out the schooling stripers on the lake as they feed on shad. With that in mind, the agency says that striped bass action is producing bigger fish on topwaters right now, and that the linesiders are being found in 20-60 feet of water over wind-blown points. Crappie are currently good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber near a channel, and near brush piles...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic a few months ago, water is lightly stained; water temp is 72 degrees; and the lake is 0.62 feet low. TPWD reports that white bass are moving quickly in 20-28-feet of water on main lake points. Those fast moving sand bass are currently biting on one-ounce silver and chartreuse slabs, with anglers also reporting better luck on smaller slabs because the smaller size is most similar to what they are feeding on. In other words, match the hatch! The largemouth bass are moving quickly too, so TPWD says that the bite is best on the bottom using jigs in 30-35-feet of water, letting the bait hit the bottom and slowly reeling up. The bite is best while the wind is blowing and dies down when the wind speed goes down. Crappie are good on the main lake near brush piles in 20-30-feet as anglers use minnows, with the bigger fish being found in the Buck Creek area in standing timber around 20-foot depths with the bait suspended in the 10-12-feet zone...At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 75-76 degrees; and the lake is 2.05 feet low. TPWD says that the bass fishing has been slow due to the fall lake turnover, but should improve very soon with the cooler weather approaching. Currently, bass are liking white or chartreuse Chatterbaits, shad colored squarebill crankbaits, jerkbaits, and wacky rigged Senko’s fished in shallow water. Crappie are very good on jigs and minnows fished near brush piles and standing timber in 15-20-feet of water...At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports that the river is clear, water levels are normal, and the water temperature remains warm at 71 degrees. The agency also notes that the fishing action for spotted bass, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass remains good on crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits fished around brushy structure, rocks in the stream, and below waterfalls just off of the main current....At Lake of the Arbuckle’s near Sulphur, ODWC reports slow bass fishing thanks to a warm water temperature of 79 degrees, a below normal elevation, and stained to clear water conditions. Bass are hitting topwater lures in the early morning low-light conditions, as well as on overcast days, near points and brush...On the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, TPWD reports that the fall flounder bite is finally starting to pick up at Sabine Lake after the last cold front. Look for flounder along the north banks and the south end of the lake as well, particularly with a pearl white Matrix Shad...On the Middle Coast, TPWD says that bull redfish are biting on sardines and live piggy perch near the jetty at Port O'Connor. Also at POC, a few tarpon in the five to 20-pouund range continue to be caught on live croaker...Also on the Middle Texas Coast, TPWD says that the action for outsized bull redfish action is also good at the Port Aransas jetties, particularly on cut bait...On the Lower Texas Coast at South Padre Island, TPWD says that there are currently lots speckled trout on the edge of the Intercoastal Waterway for anglers using live shrimp under popping corks and on 1/8-ounce jig heads with a glow chartreuse tail. While the trout are getting bigger after last winter's deadly freeze event, keepers are still very spotty. Meanwhile, redfish action is reported as good to the north of Arroyo and east of Green Island in the SPI area...

Tip of the Week

As the pre-rut ramps up for whitetails across Texomaland, don’t forget to pack a grunt call and some rattling antlers when you head to your deer stand this weekend. While you certainly don’t want to overdo the grunting or ratting action right now, a little bit of grunting and tickling the antlers together can be just enough to gain the curiosity of a big old buck, maybe even luring him into bow range.