Fish Texas – Spring 2019

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In This Issue:

Get Ready for Some River Fishing

angler in kayak on Devils River

Rivers are the backbone of Texas freshwater fishing. But finding a spot to fish from the bank, or drop a kayak in the water, isn't always easy. So we lease river access sites for your angling pleasure.

We've recently expanded access to the Llano River, where you'll find popular sportfish, including Guadalupe bass, our Texas State Fish. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release of sportfish in the Llano, since recent flooding may have displaced some of the native fish. 

Check out our river access locations, including over 70 marked Texas Paddling Trails. Read our magazine story Freshwater Kayak Fishing for tips on angling and a list of sweet spots for kayak fishing.

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10 Spots to Fish a White Bass Run

stringer of white bass, video link

Spring means white bass are on the run, typically February through May. You'll find good fishing from river banks and by wading in the upper reaches of tributaries.

Below are 5 tried and true areas where you'll find spring white bass in Central Texas. Check out the entire list for details. 

  1. Canyon Lake
  2. Lake Somerville
  3. Lake Travis
  4. Lake Waco
  5. Lake Buchanan

Don't miss our suggestions of seasonal bait for white bass. In spring, you can expect to catch the limit: 25 per day with a 10” minimum length. 

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Texas Rivers conservation license plates

Become a Master of Saltwater Catch and Release

descending device being used on red snapper, video link

If a deep-water fish is brought quickly to the surface, it can show signs of barotrauma – its internal organs pushed out by an expanded swim bladder. Barotrauma causes a high death rate among released red snapper and other deep-water fish.

Research shows death rates are reduced if a fish experiencing barotrauma is quickly released at 1/3 or more of the bottom depth. For instance, if you're fishing in 120' of water, you'd release the fish at 40' or deeper. Watch this short video about using simple descending devices to release deep-water fish. Other methods of depressurizing saltwater fish can also be used if necessary. 

In-shore anglers can also improve release survival with 4 simple actions:

  1. Avoid long fight times
  2. Hold the fish horizontally
  3. Limit its time out of water
  4. Allow the fish to recover before release

Not every catch is a keeper. Become a pro at catch and release, and you'll help improve sportfish survival and contribute to the sustainability of our fisheries. 

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Bigger Better Bass

Gilbert Miller and wife with $5,000 shopping spree at Bass Pro Shops

The Toyota ShareLunker Program successfully ended its first year-long season with 486 entries from 89 lakes.

The top 5 ShareLunker-producing lakes in 2018 were:

To participate in the ShareLunker program, enter your bass 8 lbs. and larger. Along with receiving recognition, you'll be eligible for one of two $5,000 shopping sprees donated by Bass Pro Shops. These winners are drawn by random – one from Legacy Anglers, who donate a bass, and one from everyone who entered a bass that year. That's Gilbert Miller in the photo, one of last year's happy winners.

Download the app so you'll be ready to enter your Lunker. Then follow the ShareLunker program on Facebook to keep up with the latest big, bass catches!

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Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest

Record-Breaking Blue Catfish Caught from Bank

Tony Montoya holding his giant record-breaking catfish

Tony Montoya smashed the Lake Brazos blue catfish record with a 46” long, 52.6 pound fish. Amazingly, he caught her from the bank on rod and reel. He worked hard to keep the fish alive and released her back into the lake. Great job, Tony!

There's a good chance that someone reading this will be the next one to break an angling record, so be prepared and learn how to participate.

Catch and release record-breakers do not have to be weighed, but they must be treated with special care for a successful release. See our catch and release tips for accomplishing a successful live release.

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The Latest Game Warden Field Notes

2 Game Wardens in a boat, Game Warden Field Notes link

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Proposed Gar Regulation Changes + Survey Results

gar, video link

Regulation changes have been proposed for alligator gar. They include a ban on bowfishing harvest at night, a 4' maximum for gar taken on the Trinity River between Dallas and Houston, and an annual drawing for the chance to harvest a Trinity River alligator gar more than 4' long. Statewide reporting of harvest, except for Falcon Lake, is also proposed..

These proposed regulation changes are intended to limit the harvest of large alligator gar while populations are still in relatively good shape. The public is encouraged to provide comment on these and other proposed freshwater fishing regulation changes. You'll find the list of ways you can comment in our press release. These and other proposed freshwater regulation changes will be considered at the TPWD Commission meeting on March 20. 

We did a survey of Texas alligator gar anglers last year, and more than 8,600 anglers participated. Thank you! Please read the survey results to find out what it taught us.

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Proposed Saltwater Regulation Changes

Some saltwater fishing regulation changes are being proposed. They include:

  • Spotted seatrout: increase the bag limit to 5 fish on the upper Texas coast
  • Sharks: require non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks for shark fishing 
  • Cobia: increase the minimum size limit to 40"   

The public is encouraged to provide comment on these and other proposed fishing regulation changes. The changes will be considered at the TPWD Commission meeting on March 20. 

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