Fish Texas - May 2017

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In This Issue:

Fishin' for Cats

boy with catfish video

It’s starting to heat up out there, and that means we’re stocking channel catfish in urban Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes and ponds! Catfish love stinky bait, so try to catch them using chicken livers, shrimp, stinkbait, or cut hot dogs.

Neighborhood Fishin’ lakes are an easy way to introduce children to fishing. Stockings occur every 2 weeks for most of the summer, so the kids have a good chance of catching something. The next stocking is May 19. Look online for more stocking locations and dates.

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Fish Need Seagrass

fish in seagrass

Saltwater anglers enjoy fishing our shallow saltwater flats because of the many kinds of fish, birds and seagrasses found there. Considered a unique ecosystem, it is now in danger because inexperienced boaters have been destroying seagrass with their propellers.

Creating propeller scars is illegal in Texas. To protect seagrass, boaters should follow these guidelines when approaching shallow water: LIFT your motor out of the water and then DRIFT, POLE or TROLL to move about in the shallows.

Use your motor to get to the flats, not to get through the flats. We don’t want to lose any more seagrass and the bountiful fishing that it supports. 

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New! Show Your Support for Texas Rivers

Rivers plate in hand horizontal

The new Texas Rivers license plate is a tribute to every angler who enjoys time on a river. For every plate sold, $22 goes directly to restore and improve access to our rivers. Get one today and help keep Texas rivers healthy! 

Anglers can also support fishing in our state with the bass license plate

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Dangers of Fishing Line

line recycling bin

Snarls in line are a part of fishing. But the next time you cut one off, do not toss it in the water or onto the pier or shore. Discarded monofilament line can be deadly for wildlife, especially pelicans and sea turtles. It also fouls boat props. So keep your used line until you can safely dispose of it.

Recycling bins for monofilament are located at popular fishing spots, boat docks and bait shops. If you can’t find one where you need it, make one! This webpage has a list of the materials and a video demonstrating how easy it is to build a recycling bin.

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Bassmaster Texas Fest

Federal Red Snapper Season Announced

red snapper held by angler in hat

The red snapper recreational season for private anglers in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico opens on June 1, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. local time. It will last for 3 days and closes on June 4, 2017, at 12:01 a.m., local time. 

The season for federally-permitted for-hire vessels opens on June 1, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. local time. It will last for 49 days and closes on July 20, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. local time.

Go to the NOAA website for information on how federal red snapper season lengths in the Gulf were created. For red snapper regulations in Texas waters, see our saltwater bag and length limits webpage.

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Protect the Lakes You Love

Aaron Martens video

As a professional angler that depends on healthy lakes to make a living, Aaron Martens knows the many dangers posed by aquatic invasive species. Giant salvinia can cover a lake, cutting off sunlight and oxygen. Zebra mussels multiply rapidly, covering anything in the water. 

Invasive species are mostly moved from lake to lake by boaters. To avoid this, boaters and anglers need to empty the live wells and bait buckets, as well as clean, drain and dry their boat when going from one lake to another. 

As he explains in this video, Martens pulls his plug as soon as he gets off the water, then pressure washes and inspects his boat. He also bleaches the live wells. You should, too. 

“You’ve gotta take the time to do it,” Martens explains. “It’s important. It’s not hard.” Do your part to protect the lakes you love. 

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Gulf Spill Restoration News

Restoration of natural resources that were injured by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues. A new proposed project-specific restoration plan for Texas will be released in mid-May. Two public meetings to gather your feedback will be held in June.

Specific information on the proposed plan and meetings will be available on the NOAA Texas Gulf Spill Restoration website later in May. You will also find there a list of projects already approved, as well as other information about efforts in the Texas Restoration Area.

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Game Wardens Uncover Illegal Seafood Operation

game wardens in a row

 A network that allegedly violated recreational fishing regulations to an extreme was uncovered in a two-year investigation by Texas Game Wardens. Nearly 28,000 pounds of unlawfully-caught finfish, mostly red snapper, are alleged to have been illegally sold to 2 Houston restaurants for an estimated profit of over $400,000. 

There was a big break in the case last year, when the Coast Guard stopped an unlicensed fishing boat and found 488 red snapper. This is believed to be the largest illegal seafood network of its kind in Texas history, and you can read the whole story here.

Protecting Texas’ natural resources is all in a day’s work for Texas Game Wardens. Read the latest Game Warden Field Notes for a sample of some of the unexpected things they encounter on the job.  

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FREE FISHING DAY IS JUNE 3 and you, your friends and your family can fish anywhere without a license. There will be a variety of fishing events that day, so check the calendar and find one near you.