Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Giant Reed is a Giant Problem in Texas

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has its share of invasive plants and animals, including Arundo Donax, or giant reed; you’ve probably seen it along roadways and river banks.

13— If you see it on roadsides, it’s very tall—grows up to about 30 feet. Has segments, really broad, pointed leaves—huge showy plumes. It can actually be quite pretty. And it looks somewhat like corn.

Giant reed is a non-native grass. Monica McGarrity who studies aquatic invasive for Texas Parks and Wildlife, says its greatest impact occurs when it gets into areas along rivers and creeks.

18—They have these impacts because they’re able to outcompete the native plants and push them aside, displace them. And when we’re talking especially about riverside, riparian areas, along our creeks – diversity of native plants is really important to the wildlife, and for maintaining the overall health of the community.

When giant reed displaces native plant communities, the result is reduced habitat quality.

17— It reduces quality for birds and other wildlife. And then it can start to— over time – have impacts on the stream itself, and reduce the habitat that’s available to the aquatic community, and make it more homogenous, more the same throughout. Rather than having diverse pools and riffles and habitats that they need.

Monica McGarrity returns tomorrow to tell us how not to try and remove this plant from our property.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Bass Classic and Toyota Texas Fest

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
During the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Conroe in Conroe, Texas on October 6, 2013. (Photo by Jason Miczek)

During the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Conroe in Conroe, Texas on October 6, 2013. (Photo by Jason Miczek)

This is Passport to Texas

The 10th Annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic, May 20 through 22, takes place on Lake Ray Roberts, and features family friendly activities at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

This is a new thing for Bass Classic. The fishing portion is going to take place at Lake Ray Roberts, and then they’re going to come over and do all the awards in the stadium. So, it’s really going to be a little different than it’s been, but almost a little cooler, because usually we’re out in the country, and this time a lot of people that haven’t been able to come out to this event in the past are going to get to come out and try it.

Lacey Estus is outreach and recruitment manager at Texas Parks and Wildlife. The festivities in Frisco offers urban families an opportunity to get acquainted with the agency and the diverse outdoor recreation opportunities available to them.

A lot of times, it’s the first time they see us. They’ve heard about us, but they don’t really know who we are and what we do. A lot of people have no idea we that we even do archery; they think a lot of times we’re just fishing and camping. But, we’re a lot of things. And, it’s a great place for them to touch and feel things. It kind of goes back to when we did EXPO. The idea was ‘Hey, let’s take this on the road and give people that experience—[take it] to places that may not have seen it before or know anything about it.

Enjoy country music concerts all three days of the Toyota Texas Fest. There are plenty of family friendly activities, food, drinks and big bass. Discounted single day tickets or weekend passes are available before the event at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Become a Volunteer Angler Education Instructor

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Bullfrog Pond Family Fishing Event.

Bullfrog Pond Family Fishing Event.

This is Passport to Texas

You don’t have to be a pro to teach angling to others.

I used to be a school teacher, and you just need to know a little bit more than the person you’re instructing. We have people come that have no background knowledge whatsoever in fishing. Picture a scout troop in which none of the leadership has a background in fishing, and yet they want to extend that to their scout troops.

A dedicated volunteer base allows Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic education training specialist Caleb Harris and his crew to reach a larger audience than they otherwise would.

That’s exactly why we need them. They extend our outreach efforts to hundreds of places a weekend. We’re a staff of four in our outreach office, and so they really multiply our efforts as a department to get the word out.

Harris says becoming a volunteer angler education instructor begins with a weekend workshop.

Our instructor workshops are normally on Saturdays, and they’re held all over the state. They’re listed on our Texas Parks and Wildlife calendar of events, and they’re free for anyone that wants to attend them. And they normally last about six hours, five hours. They’re, I’d say, about half classroom time and half playing the type of games and learning the type of fishing skills that we’d like our instructors to pass on. So, they’re pretty active workshops.

Find an angler instructor workshop near you in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and get ready to get hooked.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Go Fish! Learn to Fish Events Teach New Skills

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
Go Fish! Events

Go Fish! In Texas State Parks

This is Passport to Texas

Fishing dates back 40-thousand years. While we started as nomadic hunter-gatherers, archeological analysis indicates most permanent settlements were established near water, where fish became a primary food source. Today, fishing is not so much about survival as it is about connecting with nature and family. But most people are out of touch with the activity. And for them, we have Go Fish! events at State Parks.

At a Go Fish! event, they’re typically going to have a chance—after they’ve gone through learning stations—to borrow some equipment and fish there on the site.

Caleb Harris, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s aquatic education training specialist, says Go Fish! events take place at state parks year-round and are self-paced.

They normally have about five learning stations they learn how to assemble their fishing gear. The next station they may learn how to identify certain fish. So, they’ll go through those learning stations, and when they finish that, they normally have a check-list, and they come back up to the table and get their award for learning how to fish, and then can borrow some fishing poles.

Harris says it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to go through all the stations; those who do get an award and an opportunity to put their new found skills into practice.

We really hope they leave there [the Go Fish! Event] much more comfortable with the sport of fishing, and ready to try it out on their own.

Find Go Fish! events near you in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website…and get ready to get hooked. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Celebrating 10 Years of Take Me Fishing Hutsell

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Take Me Fishing Hutsell, image courtesy Katy Times.

Take Me Fishing Hutsell, image courtesy Katy Times.


This is Passport to Texas

Once a year, Hutsell Elementary school students in Katy ISD, trade school books for rods and reels.

Each year, in the spring, we invite our third, fourth and fifth grade students to Peckham Park. And we have a beautiful pond there. And through Texas Parks and Wildlife, they stock the pond for us. And on a Saturday, the children and their families all attend a fishing event.

That event is Take Me Fishing Hutsell. Principal Margie Blount says this year’s event is special, because it’s the 10 year anniversary of the program in the school.

We are going to be inviting the alumni. And those students will be invited to come back and enjoy the fishing event and enjoy the 10th year anniversary with us.

Over the years, Hutsell educators have seen improvement in the test scores of students who’ve participated in the Take Me Fishing program. Principal Blount says the upcoming celebration on April 23 is for the entire community.

Texas Parks and Wildlife will be there. They have been a great contributor. Game Wardens will be there. We will have angler clubs that will be coming. We’re looking at this to be one of our bigger fishing events.

If you’re in the area of Peckham Park between nine and noon on Saturday April 23, Hutsell Elementary Principal Margie Blount invites you to join in the festivities.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our Series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti