Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Leasing Land for Angler Access

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
Here's what river access can get you.

Here’s what river access can get you.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access to some of the state’s 191-thousand miles of rivers through a lease program.

We’re trying to bring in private landowners to help be a solution to open up angler access to rivers.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Landowners who participate in the program receive monthly lease payments and even funds for site improvements.

Such as trails, or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we support habitat improvements…addressing, sometimes, erosion issues, or maybe loss of vegetation along the stream bank that’s resulting in some kind of bank instability. So, there are a lot of things we can do at these sites to help benefit not just their general management of the site, but also provide for a better user experience.

Birdsong says users ought not to expect a family-friendly parklike setting.

This is more about showcasing a natural, functional, healthy river system. This is for folks that are experienced paddlers, and anglers that really know how to [navigate and] fish a river. Rivers are inherently dangerous and somewhat unforgiving. But we do want to provide an opportunity for people to experience what a natural, flowing river is.

Find more information about the program and river ecosystems on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Landowners Key to River Access for Angling

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

Landowners are the key to river access for angling in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

As 95-percent of Texas land is privately owned, angler access to rivers is challenging.

Our laws are such that many of the larger rives in the state are publicly navigable, so anglers—the public—have a right to recreate in those river segments. But, accessing those rivers is very difficult, because you have to cross land; often that land is under private ownership.

Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife. Through leases with landowners, Texas Parks and Wildlife has expanded angler access along the 191-thousand miles of rivers in Texas.

The program is intended to be a win-win scenario for landowners and for anglers. If they have a property that’s a good fit, and really does expand bank, wade and kayak fishing in the state, and they’re interested in making some money off of that, then what they do is participate in this lease program. We provide some funds for a monthly lease payment. We also provide funding for site improvements such as trails or parking areas. If there’s an interest, we will support habitat improvements.

Angler access improvements in Texas are funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

Find additional information about angler river access and how to get involved in the program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Expanding River Access for Anglers

Monday, August 22nd, 2016
South Llano River

South Llano River

This is Passport to Texas

Looking for a serene, wilderness experience and a high-quality fishing opportunity? You can hardly do better than one of Texas’ scenic, wild and storied rivers—if you can access them, that is.

Land ownership issues in Texas make it challenging for anglers to be able to access rivers.

Ninety-five percent of land in our state is in private hands. Tim Birdsong is chief of habitat conservation for Texas Parks and wildlife.

We have some access adjacent to right-of-ways of bridge crossings. Some cities, counties and state parks have river access. But, in general, there is very limited access to rivers around the state.

Public land with the best access may end up in Texas’ paddling trails program.

So, these are defined launch areas for paddling in general—for [angling], birding and other sorts of wildlife oriented recreation that can be done in these river segments. But, even with around 70 paddling trails in the state, that still only provides access to a small fraction of the 191-thousand miles of river that we have in Texas.

Tomorrow: a new a public-private partnership that’s creating more river access for anglers.

Meanwhile, find paddling trail information and maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Coastal Fisheries Gets Social (Media)

Friday, June 24th, 2016
Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

Crab clutching TPWD Coastal Fisheries hat. Photo by Braden Gross.

This is Passport to Texas

Social media has improved Texas Parks and Wildlife’s ability to communicate with the public.

I think Social Media is just a great way to network and connect with people.

Julie Hagen is the social media specialist for the Coastal Fisheries Division.

Right now we just have a Facebook page, and we also use the Texas Parks and Wildlife main [social media] pages to also get out some pictures and different videos that we’re doing. But, our Coastal Fisheries Facebook page is a great place for people to come and ask questions; we answer all your questions. Or, just [come by] to see what other people are doing. Tell a story. Like a picture. Send us your own pictures. If you catch a nice fish and you want to show it off, send it to us—we’ll post it on the page.

Visitors to the Coastal Fisheries Facebook page enjoy behind-the-scenes photos of researchers in action.

It’s fun to see what they do. They have very different jobs; they get to go out on the water every single day—collect data. And it’s really interesting to see a different side of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Julie Hagen encourages community among Facebook fans.

I want to create a community on Facebook where people can go and respond to other people’s comments. If they ask a question and an angler knows—‘Oh, where’s the best fishing spot in Rockport?”—well, I’d love someone in the Facebook community to come along and say: “Hey, I’m from Rockport. This is where I love to fish.’ Those interactions are my favorite because sure we can give you some ideas, but there’s so much knowledge people have on their own, and having a space for them to come and share that with other people is really important to us as well.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

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

Get to Know Coastal Fisheries

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Texas Fisheries Coastal Ecosystems Map

Texas Fisheries Coastal Ecosystems Map

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife achieves its conservation and regulatory goals via input from its various divisions, including Coastal Fisheries.

We work mainly on the coast with saltwater fishing, conservation, habitat, wildlife, marine life – anything that’s along the coast.

Julie Hagen is social media specialist for Coastal Fisheries. Researchers from the division’s eight field offices do their work on the water.

They are going out into the bay systems, into the Gulf. And they’re monitoring our marine resources: the fish, the habitat… They’re constantly going out and doing surveys. And so, they’re testing the water for salinity; they’re gathering fish and different marine life, collecting their weight, their sizes, and their ages. We’re collecting all that data for a very large dataset that we use for marine monitoring resources.

Once collected, the data doesn’t languish on a spreadsheet collecting dust.

With all the data that we get, we can go back, and if we need to make any changes to the regulations—we can do that. For instance, we were seeing the flounder population decreasing over the past few decades. So, we made some changes, and we’re seeing the population go up.

Monitoring, surveys and adjusting regulations allows TPW to maintain healthy coastal ecosystems for all.

So, we’re constantly making sure that we have the right regulations in place so that we can still go out and fish, but that we’re also not harming the resource.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program support our series.

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