Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

TPW TV: A Fish Called Ethel

Friday, July 24th, 2015
The big girl who started it all: Ethel

The big girl who started it all: Ethel


This is Passport to Texas

Ethel was a big girl from Lake Fork, and the first largemouth bass entered into the Sharelunker program in 1986.

06— And if you’d ever seen a picture of Ethel, she was as big around as she was long.

The Sharelunker program works to improve and grow bigger largemouth bass. Ethel was a 17.67-pounder caught and donated by fishing guide, Marks Stevenson. She served the program well, and changed the face of bass fishing in Texas

Former Director of Inland Fisheries, Phil Durocher, says bass fishing in Texas was very different before Ethel.

17— Back before ’86, bass fishing was primarily fish caught for food. People kept the big fish, and released the little fish. And we realized the larger fish were so valuable that we had to change the direction from a consumptive sport to recreation.

They brought Ethel to the Tyler fish hatchery where her survival was touch and go, says David Campbell, who oversaw the Sharelunker program from the beginning until his retirement in 2012.

13— This fish did not eat for a long time. My concern was if this fish died, it may kill the whole program. And I spent hours at night with a sunfish or something on a string and dangling it in front of her and she just sort of was sitting there looking at it.

She eventually, and literally spawned the success of the Sharelunker program. Learn more about Ethel and her legacy in a segment next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

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

Battling Big Bass at Night

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
7/13/12 - Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas.  July 13, 2012.

Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas. July 13, 2012.


This is Passport to Texas

When the sun goes down, angling for big bass in shallow water picks up–particularly on one lake.

05- Lake Fork. That’s the lake in Texas that has the most really big bass.

Larry Hodge, with the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center says in the 1980s and 90s, fishing guide John Hope put radio transmitters on big bass–including ShareLunkers–to track their whereabouts day and night.

21–And one of those fish, was a fish named Wanda. He followed her for three years on Houston County Lake, and found that during the day, she was in deep water and was not interested in any kind of lures that anybody showed her. But at night, she’d cruise around the shoreline in shallow water, and he and his don caught her–a total of six times.

Fish hear everything that goes on for hundreds of yards around them, which is why many fish go to quieter, deeper waters in the daytime; once things calm down,
they emerge to feed in the shallows. Hodge says if you’re going after big bass, bring the heavy duty gear.

18- [When] night fishing, most people are best advised to use braided line, perhaps even as heavy as 50 pounds. Dark lures. Big lures that move a lot of water, because bass can’t see it–but using the lateral line they can feel it move through the water. And be prepared to do battle with a really big bass.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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

TPW Magazine: Bass Fishing at Night

Monday, July 20th, 2015
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 21, 2015 -  Dan Campbell night bass fishing in his kayak on Lake Austin in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, TX – APRIL 21, 2015 – Dan Campbell night bass fishing in his kayak on Lake Austin in Austin, Texas.


This is Passport to Texas

The stars at night are big and bright in Texas, and so are the bass. They’re big, anyway. It seems the biggest of the big come out when the sun goes down.

07- Talking with a number of people who practice fishing at night, I got a lot of tips on where and why and how.

Larry Hodge, with the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens compiled tips on bass fishing at night for an article in the July issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. According to the guides and anglers he interviewed, big fish come into the shallows at night, because that’s when the food arrives.

25- At night, the bait fish–shad, primarily–minnows, crayfish, and other things that know that daytime is the dangerous time to be out because you might get eaten, tend to move up into shallow water at night because it’s safer–until a big bass comes along. So, there’s more food at night available up in the shallow water, and the bass know that, so that’s when they go fishing.

Tomorrow, Larry Hodge returns to tell us the best place fish for bass at night, and the gear to have with you when going after the big one.

05– Use heavy line. Heavy equipment. And be prepared to do battle with a really big bass.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Improving River Flows for Paddlefish and Beyond

Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Paddlefish

Paddlefish

This is Passport to Texas

The batteries in the radio transmitters used to track 47 paddlefish reintroduced to Caddo Lake more than a year ago are fading.

06—We’re still tracking some paddlefish, but we know this is about the time we’re not going to be able to track ‘em anymore.

Native to Caddo, paddlefish disappeared following construction of a dam upstream at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

Tim Bister, with Inland Fisheries, says early data suggest changes Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners made to simulate natural river flows and spawning habitat, kept the rare fish in the Big Cyprus Bayou and Caddo Lake system.

21—Having the opportunity to restore a native fish into the system, is certainly a good idea. But, to tie it into more of these natural river flows, and the idea that not just paddlefish—but
many other species—need natural river flows and appropriate spawning habitat, it’s going to benefit those things for rivers in Texas.

Bister says while they’ll continue monitoring paddlefish, the ongoing work is more expansive.

12— We will always be trying to do something in the Big Cyprus Bayou / Caddo Lake system to maintain quality river flow and quality habitat, and to monitor the fish populations.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Revisiting Paddlefish in Big Cypress Bayou

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service

Paddlefish at hatchery, photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service


This is Passport to Texas

Paddlefish, once abundant in the Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake, started disappearing following construction of a dam at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

07- So, basically, it took away the flows that the paddlefish need, and it took away their spawning substrate; eventually paddlefish just went away.

Inland fisheries’ Tim Bister says in spring 2014 a broad coalition of non-profits, landowners, and government agencies, reintroduced paddlefish into the system. But they first made improvements to benefit the rare species, including development of natural water releases upstream from Lake of the Pines, and gravel bar spawning areas.

14-We stocked 47 paddlefish, a year and a half old, between two and three feet long. And each were implanted with a radio transmitter, with a specific radio frequency that could be identified by a radio receiver.

Researchers tracked the paddlefish to see whether they would swim downstream over the spillway at Caddo Lake, and into Louisiana.

12-[If they did], they wouldn’t be able to swim back upstream because of that barrier. So, we wanted to make sure, by tracking these paddlefish, to see if they’re going to stay in the system. And after a year, I’m happy to say, that no fish were seen going over the spillway.

The radio transmitter batteries are fading, but the data collected so far is promising. Until the paddlefish reach reproductive maturity, we won’t know if we’ll see a self-sustaining population in Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Supports our series.

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