Fish Texas – May 2018

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In This Issue:

Welcome to Catfish Season

3 boys with catfish, video link

Spring is here and summer is ready to pounce, which means we're stocking thousands of catfish across the state in Neighborhood Fishin' lakes and ponds. 


To find out when stockings are scheduled, check the list of catfish stocking dates

Neighborhood Fishin' spots are near cities, making it easy for you to go out and catch some fish. They're also perfect for getting children away from screens and into the fun of fishing. Watch this short video about Neighborhood Fishin' to see what we mean.

Children under 17 fish for free, but adults need a fishing license. You can purchase yours online or pick it up at a local retailer. All proceeds go toward fish management and conservation, including stocking. Thank you for purchasing a fishing license.

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Tips for Choosing the Right Rod

pile of rods with button

Considering fishing for something new? Check out this short video on how to pick the perfect rod for your new angling adventure. It can also help beginners learn about different types of rods. 

If you're planning to take kids fishing, the magazine article "Getting Kids Rigged" will help you equip them with a rod, reel and bait. And children love tackle boxes.

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Regulation Updates, Including Red Snapper

red snapper being weighed

A projected 82-day red snapper season in federal waters begins June 1 for private recreational anglers fishing from their own vessel. This is an increase of 40 days over last year’s season. Snapper fishing in state waters is expected to remain open year-round. Help us manage this resource by reporting your red snapper landings with the iSnapper app

Other updates to regulations go into effect Sept. 1, including standardized harvest regulations for largemouth bass and increased daily bag limits for king mackerel. For all bag and size limits and other regulations, refer to your Outdoor Annual, now available as a free phone app

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Uncovering the Truth About Alligator Gar

Alligator gar, video link

The largest freshwater fish in Texas, alligator gar, have been around since dinosaurs walked the earth. But misconceptions about them still abound. For instance, some folks think gar in lakes eat a lot bass, but bass make up only a very small portion of a gar's diet. 

Visit our new website about alligator gar to discover interesting gar facts, as well as angling tips for this unique Texas native. You can still find gar regulations in the Outdoor Annual.

We'd also like your input on who fishes for alligator gar, so sign up today to participate in our summer survey. 

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Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest – Lake Travis 5/17-20

BassMaster Fest contestant holding bass, video link

Lake Travis will be the site of this year's Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF), May 17-20, benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

Join us as the top 108 bass anglers in the world compete for $100,000 in prizes using the "catch, weigh and immediate release" fishing technique. 

This year we will recognize the Toyota Sharelunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated a 13 lb.+ largemouth bass to our breeding program. We'll also honor this year's inductees to the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

May 19-20, bring the family and join us in the exciting TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area for activities that include basic archery, paint a fish, catch a catfish and more. Check out TBTF's full schedule of events and come on out. It's free and it's fun!

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bass licenese plate link

The State of Sharks in the Gulf

Game Wardens pulling up a long line with a shark hooked on it, link to story

As apex predators, sharks are extremely important to the balance of a healthy marine ecosystem. But environmental pirates are taking a toll on sharks, as seen in this video. 

A 2005 study estimated nearly 60,000 sharks a year are caught in our Gulf waters on long lines alone, and use of this illegal fishing method has picked up since then. One way Texas Game Wardens and the Coast Guard combat this is by patrolling for long lines and gill nets, pulling them in by hand and releasing any marine life still alive.

Help protect sharks from poachers by reporting any suspected long lines or gill nets to Operation Game Thief at: (800) 792-4263. Something as simple as a floating bottle can indicate a long line.

If any sharks you catch are on the list of prohibited shark species, release them immediately without removing them from the water. Use the special catch-and-release techniques for sharks. Many sharks are subject to minimum size limits, so check the shark regulations in your Outdoor Annual before planning a fishing trip. 

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Protect the Lakes You Love

man draining bait bucket, video link

Giant salvinia and zebra mussels are highly destructive aquatic species. They both can be easily spread by anglers traveling from lake to lake. Stop them from hitching a ride on your boat and trailer, or in gear like bait buckets and live wells. Watch this video for the best way anglers can clean, drain and dry a boat, trailer and gear. Love your lakes back – always clean, drain and dry.

If you store your boat on a lake infested with zebra mussels, we urge you to call our 24/7 hotline at (512) 389-4848, and we will provide you with guidance and support to reduce the risk of spreading zebra mussels.

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Enter the We Will Not Be Tamed Sweepstakes

JT Van Zandt fishing

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) is encouraging all Texans to get involved in conserving the wild things and wild places of our state. As our nonprofit partner, TPWF is raising awareness about the lands, waters and wildlife we all love.

“We Will Not Be Tamed” calls you to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

TPWF has enlisted a group of remarkable Texan outdoorsmen and women who stand together and tell their stories about the place that has given so much. They include people like JT Van Zandt, pictured here, who finds harmony in nature in the coastal waters of Texas. Texas Monthly has recently featured JT in a story and inspiring video

TPWF has also teamed up with some popular Texas brands to give away everything you need to Live the Wild Life. Partners including Toyota, Yeti, Howler Brothers and Diablo Paddlesports have created a one-of-a-kind sweepstakes, and the grand prize winner will drive home in a new Toyota Tundra.


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Free Fishing Day June 2

Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 2. You can fish without a license in public water bodies all over Texas, making it the perfect day to introduce a beginner to fishing! 

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