Outdoors Digest – Herald Democrat

By Lynn Burkhead, For the Herald Democrat


June 25 – Future Bass Trails Team Tournament out of Alberta Creek. For information, call Joe Copeland at (580) 504-7320 or visit the website at www.futurebasstrails.com.

July 19-22 – ICAST Fishing Trade Show in Orlando.

July 24 – JC Outdoors Lake Texoma Spring Tournament Division Championship out of Alberta Creek. For information, visit www.jcoutdoors.com, visit the Facebook page, or call (214) 773-5451.

August 2 — Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers in the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, including the night’s speaker and fly tying schedule info, visit www.rrff.org.

Aug. 12-14 – 46th annual Texas Trophy Hunters Association Hunters Extravaganza at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas. For information, visit www.ttha.org.

Sep. 1 – Nov. 13 – Texas North Zone dove season first split.

Sept. 1-Oct. 31 — Oklahoma dove season first split.

Sept. 10-19 – Oklahoma special resident Canada goose season.

Sep. 10-25 – Texas early tea season.

Sept. 10-25 — Oklahoma early tea season.

Oct. 1-16 – Oklahoma bear archery season.

Oct. 1 – Nov. 4 – Texas early archery deer season.

Oct. 1- Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 22-30 – Oklahoma muzzleloader bear season.

Oct. 22-30 – Oklahoma muzzleloader deer season.

Oct. 29 – Feb. 26 – Texas quail season.

Oct. 30-Dec. 13 — Oklahoma woodcock season.

Nov. 5 – Jan. 1 – Texas North Zone white-tailed deer general season.

Nov. 5-6 – Texas North Zone youth waterfowl weekend.

Nov. 12-27 – Texas North Zone duck season first split.

Nov. 12-27 — Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Nov. 19-Dec. 4 – Oklahoma gun deer season.

Dec. 1-29 — Oklahoma dove season second split.

Dec. 3 – Jan. 29 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Dec. 3- Jan. 29 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season second split.

Dec. 17 – Jan. 1 – Texas North Zone dove season second split.


ODWC reports that its fisheries staff has recently stocked 93,000 Tiger Bass fingerlings in Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in the northeastern portion of the state. The agency says that Tiger Bass are a true F1 Florida largemouth bass and northern largemouth potential bass cross, and have a better thermal tolerance than Florida LMB do (important for the colder winters in northeastern Oklahoma), but retain the Florida largemouth bass’ exceptional growth . “These fish will help increase trophy potential at Grand Lake,” said an ODWC news release. “This effort is made possible by generous donations from The Kevin VanDam Foundation ($5K), Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation ($5K), Flying Squirrel Farms ($10K), the Swank Family Foundation ($5K), Whiskey Point at Grand Lake ($5K), Southstone Construction ($5K), and Grove Convention and Tourism Bureau ($5K).… The US House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) according to a news release from Ducks Unlimited. “This landmark legislation will provide $1.39 billion for states, territories and tribes to support proactive habitat restoration of species of greatest conservation concern across the US,” states the news release. “The bill’s spending would be guided by federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans, in which state wildlife agencies have identified 12,000 species in the greatest need of conservation to date.” According to DU, the RAWA was introduced in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). Similar legislation now awaits a vote in the US Senate, where it has been introduced by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is stained; water temp is 73 degrees; and the lake is 2.41 feet above normal. Adventure Texoma Outdoors guide John Blasingame tells TPWD that “Fishing is fun as it enters the pattern we have waited for! Striped bass are excellent chasing shad all over the lake. Target deeper water starting with topwater baits until the fish are stacked up, then switch to slabs…On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, Bryan County game warden Garrett Beam reports to the agency that striped bass are fair on the Sooner Side of the lake, live shad, Sassy Shad, and topwater lures fished around creek channels, drains, near Denison Dam, on flats, and around points. “Fishing this week has been good,” he said. “Striper are being caught near Washita Point and Denison Dam. Live shad and topwater baits have (both) been pretty good right now.” Meanwhile, blue catfish channel catfish, and flatheads are fair on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, hot dogs, live shad, punch bait, stinkbait, and sunfish that are fished around drains, creek channels, doves, docks, points, the river channels, and the mouths of the reservoir’s two rivers. Beam also notes that juglines with live shad are producing blue cats in 18-34 feet of water this past week. Crappie on the Oklahoma side of Texoma are fair on hair jigs, plastic jigs, minnows, nymphs, and small lures tossed around brushy structure, coves, docks, rocks, and standing timber. The ODWC warden says that near brush piles and docks, look for crappie in 10-22 feet of water…At Lake Ray Roberts, water is lightly stained; water temp is 74 degrees; and the lake is 0.22 feet above normal. Jim Walling of Ucatchem Guide Service tells TPWD that “Sand bass are fair, schooling intermittently, and biting on small swimbaits with a single hook. Blue catfish are good in 40-feet of water (for those) using slabs or raw chicken mixed with Kool Aid. Largemouth bass are good on aquatic vegetation (for those angles) using swimbaits, or in deeper water, with Carolina-rigs and football jigs. Crappie are slow on brush piles, with only a few keeper sized fish.”… At Lake Fork, water is stained; water temp is 75 degrees; and the lake is 5.99 feet low after repair work on the dam. Guide Jacky Wiggins of Jacky Wiggins Guide Service tells TPWD that “The crappie bite on Lake Fork has been just a little bit finicky this past week. Best depths have been 13-23 feet with fish in brush and suspended on laydowns and trees, or holding on the bottom of underwater bridges and roadbeds. Minnows are still the go to bait and the smaller the minnows the better for finicky fish. Same goes for your hand ties and soft plastics. Downsizing can make the difference between a slow day and a stellar day in the heat of the summer.”…On the bass fishing side of things at famed Lake Fork, guides Marc Mitchell and Jason Hoffman of Lake Fork Pro tell TPWD that “Bass are good with ¾-ounce Shakyheads or football jigs in green pumpkin and orange, or June bug, fished in 14-25 feet of water off drop-offs or (near) channel swings. Carolina-rigs are good in the same areas with a 10-inch blue fleck or Lake Fork Tackle ring fry in bluegill color, which is good in 15-25 feet of water. Deep crankbaits are decent over long points and channel swings. Try DD -22’s in chartreuse and blue, TW Ghost chartreuse, and blue gold over 18-23 feet (of water).”…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC’s Ethan Lovelace says that the river elevation is normal, water temperature is 78 degrees, and the water is stained. Channel catfish are good on punch bait, stinkbait, and worms fished around brushy structure, in the main river channel, and near rocks. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass are good on buzzbaits, grubs, and topwater lures fished around brushy structure, channel braids, and rocks. Green and redear sunfish are good on crickets, in-line spinnerbaits, and worms fished around brushy structure, rocks, shallows, and shorelines…At Lake Murray near Ardmore, Carter County game warden Jaylen Flynn tells ODWC that the lake elevation is normal, water temperature is 80 degrees, and the water is clear. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are slow on Alabama-rigs, jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic baits fished around brushy structure, the main lake, near points, and around riprap. White bass are slow on jigs, minnows, and topwater lures fished around coves and in the main lake…At McGee Creek near Atoka, Atoka County game warden Jay Harvey tells ODWC that the lake elevation is normal, water temperature is 80 degrees, and the lake is clear. Largemouth bass and spotted bass are good on Flukes, topwater lures, and plastic worms fished around flats, points, and the shallows. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows fished around standing timber. White bass are good on crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, and topwater lures fished around flats, points, and the shallows. Harvey adds: “There are schools of surfacing fish to be found. Look for the surface activity for great action.”…At the Lower Mountain Fork River near Broken Bow, ODWC reports that the river elevation is normal, water temperature is 59 degrees, and the river is running clear. Rainbow trout are good on caddis dry flies for fly fishermen, while conventional anglers are finding success on PowerBait, small lures, and tube jigs. Best areas are below the dam, in braided channels, and in Spillway Creek…At Lake of the Arbuckle’s near Sulfur, the lake elevation is normal, water temp is 82 degrees, and the water is clear. ODWC says that largemouth bass are fair on topwaters early in the day, then on watermelon-hued Shakyheads as the sun gets up good and the fish go deeper…Down on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, as summer vacation season continues, Capt. Raymond Wheatley of Tail Spotter Guide Service tells TPWD that “Bolivar Peninsula is holding (speckled) trout on the bayside over the reefs. Hanna Reef is hot early with live shrimp under a popping cork and artificials (producing action) Goat Island is producing redfish the same way. The surf is heating up on both sides with limits of trout close to East Beach and on both jetties close to rocks.”…On the Middle Coast at Rockport, Damian Hubbs of Mathis Bait Company tells TPWD that “Fishing has been incredible with the low winds. Redfish (are) great out to two-feet of water with big schools of redfish in the shorelines. Follow the birds and baitfish to locate redfish, and tempt them to bite with anything. Trout are great in 2-6 feet of water for those using soft plastics and croaker. The topwater bite at first light has been deadly. Look for baitfish and birds on grass flats. Drum are good in 2-6 feet of water on dead shrimp. Waders are finding good success on trout and redfish in the early morning on live bait and (soft) plastics.”…And finally, on the Lower Coast at Port Mansfield, Capt. Wayne Davis of Hook Down Charters tells TPWD that “Winds have settled and tides have fallen, so the offshore game is on. Plenty of red snapper are being taken. Redfish in the bay have slowed, but you can still get (speckled) trout early by tossing topwaters, such as the Mansfield Knockers, (then) switching to K-Wiggler’s ball tails or Wigalo ¼-ounce jig heads after 8 am, fishing low in the water column.”…

Tip of the Week

There’s exciting news for any Texan heading for the beach this summer after TPWD has announced that Galveston Island State Park is reopening the beachside portion of the park on June 27. The reopening brings a new park headquarters building, two new restrooms, renovation of an existing restroom, new roads, 95 new campsites, two new changing areas and shower rinse-off areas, 20 new day-use shad shelters, a seasonal equestrian day-use area, more than five miles of hiking trials, a remodeled nature center, two Observation towers, two boardwalks, three kayak launch areas, a new vendor area, and new group-use pavilions. Those upgrades come after completion of a major redevelopment project which began in the summer of 2019 according to TPWD. The agency says in a news release that the Galveston Island State Park Beach Redevelopment project was brought to fruition thanks to $10.6 million in Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase III Early Restoration funds from the Texas Trustees. “The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is very excited to be able to reopen such a popular park on the Texas coast,” said Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. “I am extremely thankful for the hard work of our state parks team, TPWD partner divisions, numerous volunteers, as well as our partnership with the NRDA Trustees Implementation Group. The commitment and dedication of countless individuals and stakeholders made this redevelopment project a reality. Thanks to our ability to leverage grant funds along with sporting goods sales tax, the people of Texas will benefit from this enhanced outdoor opportunity for years to come.” For more information, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov.

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