Fish Texas – February 2021

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When Redbuds Bloom, White Bass Run

white bass with video link

The white bass run is a spring highlight, but it may begin in earnest a little late this year. A rise in water temperature to about 60° plays an important part in triggering the run, and this month's cold weather will likely delay that. This will be a good year to test the old Texas saying, "When the redbuds are blooming, the white bass are running."

We lease river access for public fishing, and the areas at Kingsland Slab RV on the Llano River, Grand Bluff on the Sabine River and Chandler River Park on the Neches all provide excellent opportunities for white bass in spring. We've also put together a list of Central Texas hot spots for white bass.  

If you want to improve your skills, check out our free online class, Fly Fishing for White Bass, on March 5 – pre-registration is required.

In most places, the white bass limit is 25 per day with a 10" minimum length. We'll see you out there!  

Impacts of the Recent Freeze Event on Fisheries

Fish kill due to cold at Lower Laguna Madre

The full impact of the recent freeze event on Texas fisheries is not yet known, but saltwater species were hit harder than freshwater fish.

Most of the Texas coast has fish kills, and it appears bay systems south of Galveston Bay received most of the impact. Affected recreational fish include spotted seatrout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, grey snapper, snook and tarpon. 

Fortunately, no impacts to freshwater sport fish have been documented at this time. Some rainbow trout stockings were postponed due to ice cover on waterbodies and poor travel conditions. 

More information about how the freeze impacted fisheries will come from our spring-summer fish surveys, and biologists will also collect information from anglers at boat ramps. This data will help us decide what management actions, if any, are needed to help in the recovery of fish stocks.

See the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine blog post, Did Texas Fish Weather the Snowmageddon?, for more information, including fish kill reports in specific coastal areas, and how to report fish kills you suspect are a result of the freeze event. 

Dutch Oven Salt-Crusted Fish

salt crust on trout  with video link

Ranger Carlos of Texas Outdoor Family is a pro at cooking fish in camp. One of his methods is salt-crusted fish in a Dutch oven – a dressed fish is coated in a salt shell, then the salt is cracked off at the end of the bake, revealing a deliciously moist fish.

Ranger Carlos also shares the trick to knowing how many coals you need on your Dutch oven to reach a specific temperature. Watch the video, Dutch Oven Salt-Crust Fish, then try it at your next fish camp. 

Share Your Lunker With Texas

man holding lunker with video link

ShareLunker season is year-round, and if you reel in a largemouth bass at least 8 lbs. or 24", you can participate in the program. Everyone who enters is eligible for prizes, including a $5,000 shopping spree. 

If you catch a lunker, enter it using the mobile app or at Texas ShareLunker. If you catch a 13+ lbs. largemouth bass before April 1, consider loaning it to ShareLunker for spawning – call (903) 681-0550 immediately after making one of these remarkable catches. There have already been 7 Legacy Lunkers hooked this season!

Read the blog post, Toyota ShareLunker Program Caps Off the 2020 Season, for details on the bass entered last season, who won the grand prize and more. To see photos and keep up with the latest Lunker catches, follow Toyota ShareLunker Program on Facebook. Join us in making Texas bass fishing bigger and better!

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Prize sponsors Bass Pro Shops,, American Fishing Tackle Co. and Stanley Jigs provide additional support.

Fish Art Contest ad with link

Lake Waco Now Free of Zebra Mussels!

Stop zebra Mussels sign, video link

Good news, zebra mussels have been completely removed from Lake Waco. It's extremely rare to eradicate them, and in this case it was very early detection and a rapid multi-agency response that got it done.

Zebra mussels are a destructive invasive species that ruin shores, hurt aquatic life, clog water intakes, and can even foul the taste of drinking water – all costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

If you're a boater or angler your continued help is needed – take the time to clean, drain and dry (video) your boat and gear before moving it from a waterbody. Our combined commitment to this will help stop the spread of invasive species.

Find more information in our news release, Zebra Mussels Eradicated from Lake Waco in Central Texas.

Black Contributions to Conservation

Michael Homer holding gar

Black History Month gives us the opportunity to celebrate the many accomplishments of our Black colleagues like Michael Homer, a fisheries biologist and district supervisor. Find out how catfish helped Michael find his career in the magazine blog post, Black History Month, where you'll also find more stories of Black Texas conservationists, past and present.

Toyota tundra Ad, with link

Input Requested for Proposed Regulation Changes

We are now taking public comment on proposed fishing regulation changes. Your input is encouraged, and it will be considered before action is taken by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 25 public hearing.

You can comment online until 5 p.m. on March 24. Other ways to submit your comments can be found in the news releases on proposed freshwater fishing regulations and proposed saltwater fishing regulations.

Responsible Recreation practices graphic, with link

Moore Maker Knives ad, with link

Hoffpauir ad with link

The Fish Texas newsletter is made possible in part
by the generous support of Toyota.