Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Preparing to Release the Kraken

Friday, November 11th, 2016
The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

The Kraken is in the Ships-to-Reefs program.

This is Passport to Texas

The artificial reef team at Texas Parks and Wildlife works on several projects at once. Each with staggered timelines.

The whole process [for each] can take several years.

Program leader, Dale Shively says monies for mitigation from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill that came to Texas Parks and Wildlife were earmarked to establish new reefs.

One of those is an offshore, deep water ship project. We have a reef site that’s 70 miles out of Galveston in 140 feet of water that is designed for a ship. Recently, we awarded a contract on a ship that’s currently being cleaned in Brownsville, Texas. One of my staff members thought it would be fun to name it The Kraken. I, for one, didn’t know what a Kraken was. Later I found out it was a sea monster from various movies and Greek Mythology.

Far from being scary, this ship will attract marine life and help to improve recreational and commercial fishing.

So, we’re hoping to have that cleaned and ready to go later this year, if we can get all the approvals in place.

For all the latest information on the artificial reef program, log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and use the key words “artificial reef”.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Types of Artificial Reefs

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

Tugboat preparing to deploy near shore reefing materials.

This is Passport to Texas

Artificial reefs created in the Gulf of Mexico provide substrate and habitat for marine life. The distance from shore factors into the kind of materials used for the reefs.

Well, in our program we look at the Gulf of Mexico as a whole.

Dale Shively is artificial reef program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife

As you get near shore, you get into shallower environments; you get into more mud-type environments. As you travel farther off shore, you get into deeper water, clearer water, more sand-type environments. The materials that we use are related to whatever water depth, and the type of water that we’re working in.

Rubble may be used near shore whereas ships and oil platforms are best in deep water.

In shallower environments, we need materials that are going to fit within a certain clearance—and that clearance is set by the coast guard and by the US Army Corps of Engineers. So, as we travel farther offshore, we’ll get into larger pieces of material such as ships and oil platforms. But, we’ll typically use pre-designed materials such as concrete pyramids, or man-made materials such as quarry rock, concrete culverts, and things like that for the shallower environments.

These reefs, near shore and farther out, attract marine life and create better fishing opportunities for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

What are Artificial Reefs?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

School of fish attracted to reefed oil platform.

This is Passport to Texas

The Gulf of Mexico has a lot going for it, except for hard substrate, which is necessary to attract marine life.

So, the little bit of hard substrate that we do have out there, we want to maintain and enhance that.

Dale Shively program leader for the artificial reef program at Texas Parks and Wildlife says they use various materials—from decommissioned ships and old oil platforms to construction rubble—to create substrate.

We don’t dump anything. We deploy materials. The materials that we use have been vetted, they are stable, complex and durable. They’re environmentally safe, and they add to the complexity of the environment that’s there.

Shively says it doesn’t take long before the artificial materials “come to life.”

The material immediately attracts marine organisms—especially fish. That’s one of the features. But, what we look for is long-term settling of organisms at that reef site. In a short period of time they will what we call ‘foul’ the material by growing on it. You’ll get barnacles, and crustaceans and other marine life. Once they settle and actually grow onto the structure that creates the basis of the food web. And from there, you develop a complex reef environment.

And that enhanced food web means better fishing for all.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Ask a Game Warden – Seafood Regulations

Monday, October 31st, 2016
Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

This is Passport to Texas Ask a Game Warden

Is it okay to sell, barter or trade your fresh gulf catch? To find out, we asked Game Warden Brandi Reeder.

Whenever you have a recreational license, those products [you harvest] are for recreational purposes [only]. At the point that you conduct a sale, barter, or exchange for some sort of gain, that is now a commercial purpose. Therefore, you must be commercially licensed.

Reeder is Assistant Commander Fisheries Law Administrator. She says anglers may purchase licenses that cover commercial harvest and sale.

There are fishermen licenses, and there are dealer licenses. And so the two are a little bit different. One authorizes—obviously—the harvest. The other would authorize the purchase for sale, and the subsequent resale.

If your license is for recreational fishing only, and your cooler runneth over after a coastal fishing trip, invite folks to the house for a meal of gulf fish, or give away some of your catch. But Game Warden Reeder says that’s all you can do legally with a recreational license.

If they are such a successful fisherman—which I have known a few—and they would like to pursue a commercial market, and possibly sell, themselves, they need to do their due diligence. And, they’re always welcome to call Parks and Wildlife law enforcement offices in order to gain more insight and information.

We have a link on passporttotexas.org where you can find additional information.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

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Additional Information:

Texas Commercial Fishing Guide [PDF]

Shrimp Regulations and Restrictions

Oyster Regulations

 

Cooper Lake State Park: Two Parks in One

Friday, October 7th, 2016
Fishing at Cooper lake State Park

Fishing at Cooper lake State Park

This is Passport

Midway between Dallas and Texarkana, Cooper Lake State Park is two parks in one.

We’ve got two different units. We’ve got the Doctor’s Creek unit on the north side of the Lake, and then we have the South Sulphur Unit on the south side of the lake.

Together, the units encompass just over 3,000 acres. Kody Waters, Complex Superintendent, says visitors enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on the trail systems found on both sides of the lake.

One of them is fairly flat at the Doctor’s Creek Unit, but then the other trail system—you have to have a little more experience on riding that. But, both trails are great during the fall. As we’re coming into this fall, it’s going to be great to be able to go on the trail and see the change in the colors on the trail.

Visitors can reserve camping sites, RV sites with water and electricity, shelters, and fully loaded cabins—some with lake views. Plus, there’s plenty of water recreation and fishing.

At Cooper Lake, a lot of folks will say—in the park system across the state—it’s one of the best kept little secrets. Cooper Lake is truly a great fishery. You’ve got the hybrid striped bass. You’ve got great catfishing, great crappie fishing. And largemouth bass as well. We do struggle with our lake elevation—we have over the years—but we’re at a great level now, and hope to be that way as we continue.

Find more information about Cooper Lake State Park as well as events at the park on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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