Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
Herald Democrat


July 11 - Future Bass Trails Texoma Division Tournament out of Alberta Creek. For information, call Joe Copeland at (580) 504-7320 or visit the website at www.futurebasstrails.com.

August 4 - Red River Fly Fishers monthly meeting CANCELLED.

Sept. 1 – Application deadline for Hagerman NWR deer hunts (at TPWD’s Drawn Hunts web page).

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

Sept. 1-Oct. 31- Oklahoma dove season.

Sept. 12-21 – Oklahoma special resident Canada goose season.

Sept. 12-27 – Texas early teal season.

Sept. 12-27 – Oklahoma early teal season.

Sept. 12-27 – Texas early Canada goose season.

Sept. 19 – Whitesboro Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner at Ranch 82. For information, contact Whitesboro DU chairman Doug Rodgers at (903) 814-5826.

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

Oct. 3-Nov. 6 – Texas early archery season.

Oct. 24-Nov. 1 - Oklahoma primitive arms/muzzleloading deer season.

Oct. 31-Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

Nov. 7-8 – Texas North Zone youth-only duck season.

Nov. 7-Jan. 3 – Texas North Zone general whitetail deer season.

Nov. 7-Jan. 3 – General whitetail deer season in Grayson County with means and methods of harvest restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Nov. 14-29 –First split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Nov. 14-29 – First split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Nov. 14-Feb. 15 - Oklahoma quail season.

Nov. 21-Dec. 6 - Oklahoma deer gun season.

Dec. 5 - Jan. 31 –Second split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Dec. 5-Jan. 31 – Second split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Dec. 18-Dec. 27 - Oklahoma holiday antlerless deer season.

Dec. 18-Jan. 3 – Second split of Texas North Zone Dove Season.

March 19-21, 2021 – 51st Bassmasters Classic on Lake Ray Roberts.


As noted in last week’s Herald Democrat Outdoors, the application period for this fall’s Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge archery whitetail hunts is now open through Sept. 1. With the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department now handling the drawing process, visit the TPWD Drawn Hunts web page to apply…Bassmaster Magazine's annual list of “Best Bass Lakes” is a bit different this year because of COVID-19 (and the lack of tournament data that pandemic forced cancellations has produced). The 2020 list is a look back at the "Top 25 of the Decade" with Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, Falcon Lake, and Lake Fork being making the list from Texas and Grand Lake making the list from Oklahoma…On the magazine’s “Best of the Last Decade” list for the Central Region of the country, Lake Ray Roberts—host of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic—and Caddo Lake on the Texas/Louisiana border both make the list from Texas...As a resurge of COVID-19 cases continues in Texas, the Lake Amistad National Park Service website notes that effective July 11, the Amistad National Recreation Area will be closed to all visitors on weekends and holidays until local public health guidance changes. This includes boat ramps at Amistad, hiking trails, day use areas, and the visitor center…With a promise of more details to come later this year, the Quality Deer Management Association made a big announcement earlier this week. “We are seizing a rare opportunity to work more effectively for deer during a challenging period in wildlife conservation by embarking on a joint venture with the National Deer Alliance (NDA) that will unify our two organizations into a single group,” said a QDMA e-mail earlier this week. “The venture will combine the strengths, resources and core initiatives of QDMA and NDA so that we are able to better serve deer and hunters more effectively at a time when the need is greatest.” …

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temps are 81-86 degrees; and the lake is 2.55 high. TPWD says that striped bass and white bass are good on live bait and topwater baits when fish are near the surface. Diving birds are marking feeding schools on the surface throughout the lake. Use sonar to mark schools along the river channel and flats to find fish that aren’t surfacing. Largemouth bass are fair for those fishing Shakyhead worms, swimbaits, and crankbaits in 10-24’ of water. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs by boathouses, marinas and brush piles in 15-25’ of water...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 83 degrees; and the lake is 0.59 high. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on plastic worms, diving crankbaits, and jigs in 16-26’ of water near timber, drop-offs, and channel edges. White bass are excellent in 20-40’ of water on slabs and jigging spoons. Main lake flats, ledges, and drop-offs are holding plenty of these schooling fish. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows around bridges, standing timber and brush piles…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 83-85 degrees; and the lake is 0.39 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on blue plastic worms, bladed jigs and crankbaits near deep structure, points and humps in 10-22’ of water. Hollow bodied plastic frogs are effective in grass patches and lily pads. Crappie are excellent on jigs and minnows in 18-25’ of water in brush piles and standing timber…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports a normal river elevation, clear water, and a water temp of 76 degrees. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are all reported as good on buzz baits, crankbaits and topwater lures fished around brushy structure, rocks and the shoreline areas...As Texans head for the Gulf Coast to enjoy summertime beach and fishing vacations, at Sabine Lake, TPWD says that the ship channel or the Neches River are both excellent spots for speckled trout. Anglers should fish the shelf in 2-4 feet of water with minnows. The agency says to also fish the river on points and drops to 20ft of water keying on shad…At Port O'Connor, TPWD says that stable winds are providing excellent fishing opportunities with healthy numbers of speckled trout being caught over mid-bay structure and by anglers wading the shorelines. The fishing pier is great for redfish, trout, and flounder…At Port Aransas, TPWD says that Fish Pass Jetty and Horace Caldwell Pier have been great spots all around. Redfish are good on shrimp under a popping cork, which will stimulate fish activity on soft plastics. Speckled trout are good on shrimp, KWigglers ball tail, and top waters…At South Padre Island, speckled trout are plentiful near the surf on spoons, MirrOlures, and topwater plugs. The agency says that soft-plastic tails work best in the clear/green water. Spanish mackerel have been excellent for those using fast-moving spoons and jigs, especially when a clear, clean tide moves against the sand. Holly Beach and the jetties are also great locations to fish right now...

Tip of the Week

It’s hard to believe, but dove season is now less than 60-days away in both Texas and Oklahoma. With the weather getting hot over the next few days, now is the time to start knocking the rust off dormant shotgun shooting skills. Spend some time on the range this weekend with a box of clay pigeons, a trap thrower, and some field loads as you start working on scattergunning weaknesses. A few weekends of practice between now and Sept. 1st will go a long way towards a quick opening day limit!