Fish Texas - June 2014

Restoring paddlefish at Caddo Lake, fish reg changes, hand angler input sought and more 
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Fish Texas freshwater boat, dad, 2 childen

In this issue:


Restoring the Paddlefish to Caddo Lake

head of paddlefish, long noseA current-day wildlife project aims to restore an ancient survivor to a mystical lake. The American paddlefish has inhabited timeless Caddo Lake and its watershed for decades. Now on the threatened species list in Texas, the unique paddlefish can grow to seven feet, weigh 200 pounds and live for 30 years. It's a filter feeder, capturing plankton on its gill strainers as it swims with its mouth open.

A picture is worth a thousand words, as this video about the restoration shows. Providing adequate river flow through the Caddo Lake watershed has been just one critical step in a complex 10-year multi-agency project to restore habitat that will support not only paddlefish but many other species as well.

In March, 47 American paddlefish outfitted with radio transmitters were released in Caddo Lake. They will be followed to determine how well they can do in the lake system in the 21st century. Follow the paddlefish yourself with this interactive map.

Texas Parks and Wildlife staff members are participating in this multi-agency project which also includes U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S.G.S., Caddo Lake Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

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Fish Regulation Changes Affect Sea Trout, Flounder

man and woman wade fishing on coast

New fishing regulations that take effect September 1, 2014 will affect both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Spotted seatrout: The Commission adopted rules to extend a 5-fish bag limit currently in effect in the Lower Laguna Madre up the coast through the Highway 457 bridge near Sargent. The possession limit will be twice the daily bag limit (10 fish in possession).

Oyster harvesting: The Commission also approved a temporary 2-year closure of oyster harvest at a 54-acre oyster restoration site on Half-Moon Reef in Matagorda Bay and a 2-year temporary closure of seven restoration sites in East Galveston Bay.

Flounder: The two flounder per day bag limit restrictions currently in effect for the month of November will be extended into the first two weeks of December. During these first two weeks of December, however, harvest will be allowed by any legal means.

Rainbow and brown trout:  On the Guadalupe River below Canyon Reservoir, the Commission established a 12- to 18-inch slot length limit with harvest by artificial lures only. The daily bag limit will be five fish, and only one trout over 18 inches can be retained.The new regulation zone begins 800 yards downstream from the Canyon Dam release and extends downstream to the easternmost Highway 306 bridge crossing.

Regulations were approved by the Commission in March. A summary of fishing regulations for the 2014-2015 season will be posted in the printed Outdoor Annual late this summer and online at 

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Saltwater News: Shrimping Ends, Reefs Grow

shrimp boat underway, nets, seagulls

Gulf shrimping ended May 15 to allow small shrimp to grow to a larger, more valuable size after escapement to the Gulf before they are vulnerable to harvest, with a goal to achieve optimum benefits for the shrimping industry while providing proper management to protect the shrimp.

The Texas closure applies to Gulf waters from the coast out to nine nautical miles. The National Marine Fisheries Service has declared federal waters out to 200 nautical miles also closed to shrimping May 15 to conform to the Texas closure.

This summer, oyster reef restoration continues as more than 79,000 cubic yards of oyster reef building materials (known as clutch) will be distributed by Texas Parks and Wildlife over eight sites on four natural, publicly owned oyster reefs in Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake.

This work is part of ongoing efforts to restore oyster reefs affected by hurricanes, reduced freshwater inflows, hydrologic alterations, diseases, predators, heavy commercial fishing pressure and other natural and man-made stressors. 

The Galveston Bay project alone will be the largest oyster restoration work in Texas history, covering 180 acres to help re-establish these previously productive oyster reefs. In addition to benefiting the commercial oyster industry, the reefs provide natural water filtration. They also provide habitat for numerous bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates that are food for larger game fish which benefits commercial and recreational activities.

The majority of the work, which will cost about $4.7 million, is being funded through a federal grant to TPWD from the Coastal Impact Assessment Program, a program that distributes fees from offshore oil and gas leases to states which have leases off their coasts.

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Neighborhood Fishin’: It's Catfish Time Again

boy and older man in chairs, fishing

Channel catfish are now being stocked into 16 Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes in 10 urban areas, making it easier than ever for you to find great fishing for the whole family close to home. Stockings will continue every two weeks through the summer and fall except during August, when high water temperatures may limit fish survival.

One timely stocking of all Neighborhood Fishin' lakes will be June 6, the day before statewide Free Fishing Day - June 7, when no license is needed to fish in Texas public waters.

New to the Neighborhood Fishin’ program this year is Woldert Park Pond in Tyler. The park is located at 501 West 32nd Street; the pond is downhill from the Glass Recreation Center.

We've got all the info on how to fish, what you’ll catch and more.

You can also keep up with your local fisheries office on Facebook to see what stockings and events they have going on.

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A message from a Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertiser


Boaters: Protect Central Texas Lakes

attack of the zebra musselsAs the heat rises, Texas lakes call with promises of leisurely fishing, kayaking or boating the day away. However, these summer destinations are under attack by destructive zebra musselsZebra mussels spread from lake to lake by catching a ride on boats like yours. This destructive invasive species threatens aquatic life (including some popular sportfish like striped bass), boats, fishing equipment and water recreation.

But you can prevent this from happening. Clean, drain and dry your boat every time you leave a Texas lake. 

Additionally, in 47 North and Central Texas counties, anglers and boaters are required to drain all water from their boats, including live wells, bilges, motors, and bait buckets when approaching or leaving public waters. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider expanding the rule to include all Texas lakes.

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A message from a Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertiser

ADV Camper Clinic Road Trip

Lifetime License Drawing Coming Right Up

lone man fishing, tranquil lake in woods

What if every day could be a free fishing day for you? It could happen when you enter the Lifetime License Drawing to win a Lifetime Super Combo License, giving you the right to fish and hunt in Texas without ever having to buy another state license or stamp.* 

It's only $5 per entry, and you can enter as many times as you like! 

Purchase your entries wherever Texas hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Find a retailer near you or purchase online now! 

The next drawing will be held on June 30. Entries for this will be on sale through June 27. The winner also receives a 1-year subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. All proceeds from the Lifetime License Drawing go directly to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts that help make Texas one of the best places in the country to hunt and fish.

*Winners not exempted from the Federal Duck Stamp Requirement

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Big Bass, Big Winners: Watch TTBC June 21

Watch TTBC June 21

A catch of 15 bass weighing a total of 110 pounds made Keith Combs the winner of the 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Huge crowds saw fifty of the world’s best bass anglers complete at Lake Fork, which might be considered Texas’ best bass fishery.

He also broke the all-time record for any tour-level, three-day bass fishing tournament in the United States.

The tournament’s innovative “catch-weigh-and-immediate-release” format honors the stringent size limits that make the Lake Fork fishery great and ensures a near 100% survival rate of fish caught during the tournament.

The Toyota Texas Bass Classic benefits youth fishing programs at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Eight tournaments held since 2007 have generated $2 million to support youth fishing programs such as Neighborhood Fishin’ and the Texas State-Fish Art contest.

Watch the national TV broadcast of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on NBC Sports on June 21st at 11:00 AM CST.  (The show will re-air June 22nd, 11:00 AM CST).  For more information go to . 

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large mouth bass on license plate

Seeking Hand Fishing & Red Snapper Anglers' Input

father and young daughter show a redfish

Hand fishing. If you’re a hand fishing (aka noodling or grabbling) angler, fisheries biologists invite you to take a short survey. You may complete the 5 to 10 minute survey online any time between now and June 30. The survey is voluntary, no one has to answer any question they do not wish to answer and responses to the survey will remain confidential.

The purpose of the survey is to improve catfish populations across the state as well as to ensure that the needs and opinions of hand fishing anglers are included in future management plans. Hand fishing was legalized in Texas in 2011.

Red snapper anglers. Beginning June 1, red snapper anglers (with the exception of party boats defined as larger boats where people pay per person) are asked to log their landings on the TPWD website upon return from a fishing trip. You're asked to report the number of red snapper landed from both state and federal waters along with information such as date of fishing trip, number of anglers, and boat registration number (TX #).  Only one angler per trip will need to report these numbers for the entire party.

While TPWD currently performs routine dockside creel surveys to monitor the landings and fishing effort for a variety of species along the Texas coast, this pilot program will utilize angler reported data to compliment these routine surveys allowing for better estimation of  the recreational red snapper landings in the state.

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Reminder: "Wear It Texas!" and Other Safety Tips

grandfather, granddaughter, wearing vests

On hot summer days, Texas lakes, rivers and Gulf coast beckon with fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. Plan to play safely.

In recent years, almost 71% of all boating accident fatalities were the result of drowning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Of these, 85% were not wearing life jackets. Boating accidents often happen in the blink of an eye, too quickly to grab that stowed life jacket. 

So whether the fish are biting or not, be safety-conscious on the water:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
  • Children younger than age 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD while underway.
  • Enroll in a boater education class.
  • Don’t overload your boat.
  • Operate at a safe speed.
  • Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
  • Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.

Review the full list of safety tips.

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Texas Winners of State-Fish Art Contest Named

king salmon painting

The Texas winners of the Wildlife Forever’s 2014 State-Fish Art Contest have been announced. 

Tatyana Panchishna of Flower Mound won first place in grades K-3 of the Texas State-Fish Art Contest with this acrylic painting of a king salmon. See all the winning Texas entries.

The winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens on July 12. First-place winners will advance to the national level and compete against winners from other states. Scholarships and financial assistance for Texas winners to attend the state and national awards are provided by the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Additional prizes of beachwear will be awarded to the top 40 Texas winners by FishFlops®.

Research shows that Texas students’ participation makes them more likely to become interested in fishing. “Getting youth involved in the outdoors is a key goal of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” said Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, Texas coordinator, “and we applaud our sponsors for helping grow the future generation of stewards of our outdoors.”

Pictured: King salmon, by Tatyana Panchishna, Flower Mound. 1st place winner,  grades K-3, Texas State-Fish Art Contest 

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