Archive for the 'Freshwater' Category

Bass Lakes in Texas

Monday, May 22nd, 2017
Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake, a great place to fish for largemouth bass.

Thus is Passport to Texas

Texas offers some of the finest bass fishing lakes around.

To the east, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is easily this state’s most popular bass tournament destination. Sam Rayburn may be the most consistent bass lake in Texas, and just finished hosting the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest.

Caddo Lake, on the border of Texas and Louisiana is a bass angler’s dream. It’s the state’s only natural occurring lake. Caddo is shallow, so, if you like shallow water fishing—this lake’s for you. Plenty of lunkers have come from Caddo, including one this past March that weighed in at a whopping 15.7 pounds.

Toledo Bend Reservoir is another lake we share with Louisiana, and it makes both states proud. It’s been number one on Bassmasters top 100 bass lakes for two years. Over the past few years anglers have reeled in more than 100 10 pound bass from the water annually.

Down south, Falcon International Reservoir, which Texas shares with Mexico, has fish numbers that fluctuate along with the water level. Even so, Falcon’s a favorite among many bass anglers because fishermen know that their next cast could produce a 10-pounder.

Find more Texas Bass lakes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show…Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Caring for Tournament Caught Bass

Friday, May 19th, 2017
Todd Driscoll with a big bass

Todd Driscoll with a big bass

This is Passport to Texas

During the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Tournament each professional angler has a judge onboard to weigh and immediately release their catch.

During a typical tournament, you know, anglers are allowed to keep five legal fish per person in a live well in the boat.

Inland fisheries district biologist, Todd Driscoll says immediately releasing them back into the lake reduces stress to the bass and the risk of livewell-related mortality.

Study after study have shown that you can pretty much average that at about five percent. So, during one of these tournaments, if there’s a hundred bass that are caught, weighed and immediately released, ninety-five of those bass are going to be plum fine and in great shape. Whereas, with a traditional tournament—bass held in live wells and taken to the scales—around 25 percent die. So, it’s five percent versus twenty five percent. And that’s what makes the catch, weigh and immediate release format so much better.

Texas Parks and Wildlife perfected the format over 10 years of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, where it was first implemented in a large, professional-level tournament—with only minor hesitation from pro anglers.

When you implement that catch, weigh and immediate release format, the entire tournament results are predicated on what that judge does. So, they’re highly trained; they absolutely know what they’re doing. And after one event, nearly all the tournament anglers were behind that process.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Texas’ Top Bass Lakes

Thursday, May 18th, 2017
Todd Driscoll doing field work.

Todd Driscoll doing field work.

This is Passport to Texas

District fisheries biologists like Todd Driscoll monitor fish populations in public bodies of water.

There are 15 other people like me in the state of Texas. And we primarily monitor the fish populations in public reservoirs, recommend fish stockings, habitat improvements, set length limits and bag limits relative to harvest…

Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend are two east Texas reservoirs under Driscoll’s care. Both are nationally recognized bass lakes.

It’s all about the habitat. You know, over here in East Texas, we’re blessed with fairly ample rainfall during a normal year, and that means we have fairly normal water levels in both of those manmade reservoirs. And normal water levels equal pretty good habitat. And good habitat leads to very consistent fish reproduction and consistent numbers of adult fish for anglers to catch.

Twice now, Toledo Bend Reservoir claimed the number one spot on Bassmaster’s list of 100 best bass lakes in the nation. And it’s no accident.

Inland fisheries at Texas Parks and Wildlife—we hire good people. And we tend to be on the cutting edge of the science. Our Heart of the Hills Research Center in Kerrville helps a lot with that. And, no doubt, that along with good productive watersheds and reservoirs in Texas all lead to good fishing.

Discover Texas’ diverse fishing opportunities across the state when you log onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Will the Pros Reel in a ShareLunker This Week?

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Mike Iaconelli during the 2006 season. [Image from www.bassmasters.com]

Mike Iaconelli during the 2006 season. [Image from www.bassmasters.com]

This is Passport to Texas

When more than 100 professional bass anglers converge on one lake for a tournament, excitement runs high. And when the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest kicks off today at Lake Sam Rayburn, east of Lufkin, the excitement amps up with the possibility of reeling in a lunker.

Well, it would be just awesome for our program.

Dave Terre, with Inland Fisheries coordinates the tournament for the agency. A lunker is a largemouth bass that tips the scales at 13 or more pounds.

For a lunker to be caught as part of this nationally broadcast TV program and this benefit event for Texas Parks and Wildlife, you know, it would be huge.

The Toyota Sharelunker program works with anglers to promote the conservation and management of trophy bass fishing in Texas.

Sam Rayburn has produced numerous Toyota ShareLunkers in the past. It would be an awesome thing [to reel one in during the Bassmaster]. But, you know what? I’ve made promises about catching a lunker for the past 10 years [of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic] and it has not happened. We’ve gotten close. And so, I’ve got my fingers crossed, and I’m a positive thinker—so it might happen.

Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the bass-t. The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is a free event that begins today and runs through May 21st at Lake Sam Rayburn. Details at bassmaster.com.

The Sport Fish restoration Program supports our series.

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

ShareLunker Genetics — All in the Family

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

ShareLunker #410 | 14.48 pound| length 25.25 inches | girth 21.75 inches | Caught by Edward Reid of Crosby, TX, March 22, 2006 in Conroe   ShareLunker #566 | 13.07 pounds | length 25.6 inches |girth 21.6 inches | Caught by Ryder Wicker of Fort Worth, TX,  February 10, 2017 in Marine Creek in Ft. Worth | Lake record

[Left] Mother ShareLunker #410 | 14.48 pound| length 25.25 inches | girth 21.75 inches | Caught by Edward Reid of Crosby, TX, March 22, 2006 in Conroe [Right]  Daughter ShareLunker #566 | 13.07 pounds | length 25.6 inches |girth 21.6 inches | Caught by Ryder Wicker of Fort Worth, TX, February 10, 2017 in Marine Creek in Ft. Worth | Lake record

This is Passport to Texas

Anglers dream of reeling in largemouth bass that tip the scales at 13 or more pounds. Called “ShareLunkers” Texas Parks and Wildlife encourages folks who catch these big fish to donate them to Toyota Texas Sharelunker selective breeding program.

Since the inception of the program—we just finished our 30th year—we’ve stocked over a million fingerlings of those sharelunker offspring back into the reservoirs of Texas.

Stocking lunker offspring into reservoirs increases an angler’s chance of hooking trophy bass. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the ShareLunker program for the agency, and says biologists can trace lunker lineage.

We’re able to take a small tissue sample from each sharelunker that’s caught. We can analyze that and determine who its parents are, or who its brothers and sisters are.

This year, for the first time, anglers caught “direct offspring” of previous lunkers. Although it’s taken a long time to do, it proves: from big fish, come big fish.

These ShareLunker’s are about 10 to 12 years old on average [and over 13 pounds]. It’s exciting to start to see results come in—and we should start to see more and more.

Anglers donated the “direct offspring” back to the program where they’ll become part of hatchery brood stock statewide, resulting in an increase of lunker-spawned fingerlings stocked in reservoirs.

So long term what that means is, we’ll go from stocking over a million fingerlings in the past 30 seasons of the program to stocking 6 to 8 million annually.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

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