Archive for the 'Fishing' Category

Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish

Friday, April 13th, 2018
Bass fishing partners.

Bass fishing partners.

This is Passport to Texas

Throughout 2018, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is highlighting epic Texas challenges. In the April issue: Angler versus Fish. Largemouth Bass, to be exact.

The article, by Randy Brudnicki, takes readers on a journey through time, starting with a competition in 1955 that was the precursor of the Texas State Bass Tournament.

This year’s tournament is April 28 & 29 at Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Brudnicki asks and answers the question: what makes this tournament epic. He writes that perhaps it’s a combination of elements such as a storied history, unpredictable weather, venue vagaries and a high level of fierce competition.

Part competition, part reunion and part angler fellowship, the Texas State Bass Tournament has kept the man vs. fish vs. man challenge alive for 63 years.

The tournament includes divisions for mixed adult/child teams, senior teams, high school teams, adult teams and individual teams. Competitors range in age from 8 to 80.

Read about the trials and triumphs from past tournaments in Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series

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

Creating Habitat for Freshwater Fish

Friday, March 30th, 2018
Creating a brush reef with dead trees.

Creating a brush reef with dead trees.

This is Passport to Texas

As we age, it’s natural to experience physical decline. That’s what’s happening to Texas’ reservoirs.

Many Texas reservoirs were formed years ago by constructing dams across rivers. As water filled the low lying areas it submerged trees and shrubs, which became fish habitat.

That organic matter’s been breaking down ever since—and has reached a breaking point in some reservoirs.

This past fall, with the help of local volunteers—and financial support from the Brazos River Authority (or BRA)—Inland Fisheries staff from TPWD completed several projects to improve fish habitat at Aquilla Lake, Lake Georgetown and Granger Lake.

Each water body received a different treatment, from replanting water willows and establishing new plant colonies, to creating artificial reefs, to sinking brush piles—all of which help to improve fishing.

These projects were completed with funding from the Brazos River Authority as part of a multi-year effort to improve all 11 BRA System reservoirs in the basin through 2020.

Learn about these habitat projects as well as others that have taken place in reservoirs across the state on the TPW website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

That’s our show…For Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cecilia Nasti.

How Drought Conditions Affect White Bass Run

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
Reeling in White Bass

Reeling in White Bass

This is Passport to Texas

In springtime, the white bass run is among the most anticipated freshwater angling events in the state.

Generations after generations seek these fish during this time, and it’s a good way to get kids involved in fishing. So there are a lot of traditional values to this fishery. And, there’s also a big economic impact by this fishery. It’s very important to our economy.

Marcos De Jesus is a fisheries biologist. When water levels in reservoirs are low, and river flows are down due to severe drought—that can spell trouble for the run.

Because the connectivity between the lakes and the rivers are being lost. So, without the flows that the fish need, they’re not running up river [to spawn].So, our concern is the fishery is not there for our anglers, and number two, these fish are not reproducing properly. And that starts to concern us because these fish are short lived, and we need them to reproduce within the second or third year.

Although the more than 40 percent of Texas is now in a moderate to severe drought, according to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, white bass are running.

Anglers need to understand that these drought cycles occur, and that the fish still can be caught in the main reservoirs. It’s just that they may not be able to catch them in those typical areas upriver where people traditionally catch them [during droughts].

Find the fishing forecast on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Spring White Bass Run

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
Many old timers say “when the redbuds (or dogwoods) are blooming the white bass are running.”

Many old timers say “when the redbuds (or dogwoods) are blooming the white bass are running.”

This is Passport to Texas

Beginning in late December and early January, white bass begin to congregate where rivers and reservoirs meet.

And those fish are getting ready for those environmental cues to happen so they can actually all start migrating and running up river.

Environmental cues like changes in temperature and water flows. Marcos De Jesus is a fisheries biologist. When conditions are right, white bass move up river to spawn—something anglers eagerly anticipate each year.

Some of them go up pretty far – as far as they can swim to complete their spawning run. So, they become congregated and create excitement for the anglers, because once they’re congregated they’re really fun to catch.

East and Central Texas offer many white bass fishing opportunities. De Jesus says while they’re active year round, springtime runs, which continue through April, practically set up anglers for success.

As we get into the springtime, they congregate towards the mouth of the river waiting for those cues. Right when they’re at the mouth of the river, they’re easy to catch. But, the easiest time to catch them is when they’re running up river spawning in those shallow waters, because you can actually catch them from the bank. Do these fish give you a good fight? Definitely. They’re very great fighters. They become aggressive, and they take on many types of lures and live bait. Once they hook on – they’ll fight pretty hard.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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

Sargassum: Not Pretty, but Useful

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Sargassum on Texas Beach, Image © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Sargassum on Texas Beach, Image © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This is Passport to Texas

The arrival of brown colored algae, called sargassum, to Texas beaches is nearly as predictable as the return of the swallows to Capistrano, but not as welcome.

It shows up on the beach, late spring through early summer, and it can be a nuisance to your average partygoer.

Paul Hammerschmidt, formerly with Coastal Fisheries, says tons of sargassum wash up on the Texas coast from the North Atlantic, hindering beachgoer access to the water. Yet, sargassum is far from being a mere nuisance. It provides habitat for other living things.

There are many animals that only live in the sargassum weed in the Sargasso Sea. It also is a nursery area for a whole lot of game fish like Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, that type of thing.

On shore, Hammerschmidt says beachcombers discover shells and sea beans in the slimy tangle, as well as live animals. Cities and counties that obtain permits may move the seaweed to help rebuild sand dunes. If you get a hankering to bring home some Sargassum, it does make a good garden fertilizer – with one caveat.

One thing you really do have to do is rinse the saltwater off of it. You don’t want that saltwater in your garden; that’s just not healthy for your garden.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

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