Archive for the 'Sharelunker Program' Category

Some Changes in the Toyota Sharelunker Program

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 564 Caught by Roy Euper of Lufkin, TX November 2, 2015 in Sam Rayburn 30 feet of water 13.2 pounds, length 25.5 inches, girth 22 inches

ShareLunker No. 564 |Caught by Roy Euper, Lufkin, TX | November 2, 2015 | Sam Rayburn 13.2 pounds | length 25.5 inches | girth 22 inches

This is Passport to Texas

Largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds are eligible for the Toyota Sharelunker program, which runs October 1 through April 30.

It has to be legally caught in Texas waters.

And weighed on a certified scale. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program, and taught me something new about ShareLunkers.

The males typically don’t get that large. So, they’re normally all female.

Something new this year is only the 13+ pound largemouth caught during the “spawning window of January 1st through March 31st are eligible to participate in the selective breeding program.

So, if an angler catches a fish outside of that window. We’ll come to them with a certified weight, and enter them into the program, and then release that fish back into the lake.

Brookshear says they anticipate improved efficiencies and outcomes as a result of the change.

Through our analysis of our spawning results over the past 30 seasons, and 30 years of the program, we’ve determined January through March provides us with the greatest opportunity to attain good candidates for spawning…meaning that most of those fish that come in are healthy and capable and ready to spawn.

Find information about the Toyota Sharelunker program on the TPW website. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the TFFC in Athens.

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

Toyota Sharelunker Program

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 565 Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry 13.13 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 21 inches

ShareLunker No. 565 | Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX | April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry | 13.13 pounds | length 26 inches | girth 21 inches

This is Passport to Texas

The Toyota Sharelunker program is in full swing.

It’s an angler recognition program and it’s a selective breeding program.

Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife. For the past 30 years, anglers who reeled in 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass, caught legally in Texas waters, could donate their fish to the program.

We bring that fish back to the Texas freshwater Fisheries center in Athens and then attempt to spawn that fish. Once the fish is successfully spawned, we return the fish to the angler. The angler releases the fish back to the reservoir [where it was caught]. We will raise those fry up, and then stock them back into the public waters of Texas.

By breeding the big bass Texas Parks and Wildlife creates a better bass fishery in Texas with more potential for trophy fish. New this season, only largemouth bass caught between January and March may be entered into the breeding program.

Through our analysis, we’ve determined that not only do we get more candidates during that time, but those candidates actually do spawn successfully.

Brookshear says fish caught outside this window may still be certified as a sharelunker, and then released back into the reservoir. Anglers who have lunkers accepted into the Toyota Sharelunker program receive a fiberglass replica of their fish.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.

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

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.

Fishing: Sharelunker Program

Friday, March 13th, 2015
ShareLunker No. 562 Caught by Darrell Tompkins of Huffman, TX March 7, 2015 in Sam Rayburn, TPWD Photo by Reese Sparrow

ShareLunker No. 562 Caught by Darrell Tompkins of Huffman, TX March 7, 2015 in Sam Rayburn, TPWD Photo by Reese Sparrow


This is Passport to Texas

If you catch a 13 pound or bigger largemouth bass, your first instinct may be to take a photo with it, and then release it. Or…you could donate it to the Toyota ShareLunker program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

04—The ShareLunker Program is probably the reason this facility is here.

Allen Forshage is Director of the Center, which is a state-of-the-art fish-care facility that contains special tanks known as the “Lunker Bunker”.

17—The way this center was built, particularly the extensive hatcheries, improved our ability to do a selective breeding program where we’ve been taking these ShareLunkers and spawning them with males that are also offspring of ShareLunkers in an effort to try to improve the genetics of fish that we put back into public lakes.

Find out how to donate a fish to the program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. The program will accept donations of live fish through April 30. Every time an angler donates a fish to the program they make bass fishing better for everyone.

13—One of the measures of success for the program is how many column inches are being written about the ShareLunker Program. A lot of the outdoor writers use the ShareLunker Program as a barometer to measure how good fishing is in Texas.

It’s darned good if you believe what you read. And you should. Find details about the Toyota ShareLunker Program on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series and provides funding for the operations and management of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti