Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Through Jan. 2 – Texas North Zone general whitetail season.

Through Jan. 2 – General whitetail season in Grayson and Collin Counties with the means and method of take restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Through Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Nov. 13-28 - Texas North Zone duck season first split.

Nov. 13-28 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Nov. 13-Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Nov. 20-Dec. 5 – Oklahoma gun deer season.

Dec. 1-29 – Oklahoma dove season second split.

Notes

As the Oklahoma quail season begins this weekend, ODWC says that hunters taking to the field in search of quail this weekend are expected to find birds in locations throughout the state. Biologists say that hunters will likely find patches of birds with fair numbers in locations with favorable habitat and where reproduction was not severely impacted by weather. The agency also notes that while a well-trained bird dog can help hunters find quail and be successful, walking out areas with good habitat or where birds are known to live can also be a great tactic for dogless hunters. For the record, Oklahoma’s quail season will open Nov. 13 and run through Feb. 15, 2022… Interested in fly fishing for the rainbow trout now being stocked at Oklahoma’s Blue River near Tishomingo? ODWC says that this week, rainbow trout are good on caddis flies, squirrel tail nymphs, and pheasant tail nymphs drifted along stream braids and near rocks. Natural colored squirrel tail and pheasant tail nymphs seem to be getting the most bites the last few days for fly anglers, although wooly buggers are also catching numerous quality fish. For conventional anglers, orange PowerBait is working well as well as Siler Super Dupers fished with a slow retrieve on a light action rod-and-reel and 4-6-pound test monofilament line…

Hunting Reports

At last weekend’s Segment A bowhunt for white-tailed deer at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, there were several deer taken as the pre-rut phase turns towards peak breeding here in North Texas. Three of those deer were record book candidates. Look for more on these deer soon…A big buck was taken a few days ago in southern Oklahoma by a Denison resident. Look for details soon on this big bowkill…As the first split of duck season begins this weekend in North Texas and southern Oklahoma’s Zone 2, ducks are slowly trickling through. Hopefully, an arctic air surge will arrive soon and push a good group of ducks south towards the Texas Gulf Coast…Today marks the end of the Texas North Zone first dove hunting split. The second split will run from Dec. 17-Jan. 2 here in the North Zone…Tomorrow marks the opening day for the 2021 quail season in Oklahoma. While numbers are still not great, an ODWC news release earlier this week indicated that October counts are up a bit from a year ago…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 64 degrees; and the lake is 1.51 feet low. John Blasingame of Adventure Texoma Outdoors tells TPWD that striped bass are good right now with the topwater bite coming to an end and the fish transitioning to swimbaits and Alabama-rigs. Fish are still feeding up though, and anglers should look to the sky because the birds will point the way to schooling fish according to Blasingame. He says that they are also found in the backs of creeks now. Also keep in mind that the winter trophy catfish season is quickly approaching, the time of year when Splash, the former IGFA world record blue cat was pulled from the two-state reservoir… At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic earlier this year, water is lightly stained; water temp is 67 degrees; and the lake is 0.62 feet low. TPWD says that white bass are moving quickly in 20-28 feet of water on main lake points, biting on 1-oz. silver and chartreuse slabs. Anglers are also having better luck on smaller slabs because the smaller size is most similar to what the sand bass schools are feeding on. Crappie are good on main lake brush piles om 20-30 feet of water on minnows, with the bigger fish in the Buck Creek area hanging out in the standing timber around 20-feet with bait suspended in the 10-12 foot part of the water column… At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 62-64 degrees; and the lake is 2.56 feet low. TPWD says that largemouth bass fishing is fair, but in a bit of a holding pattern. Bass are biting on Chatterbaits fished in the backs of coves in 1-3 feet of water. Try Shakyheads and Texas-rigs too since they are good in submerged timber in 1-3 feet of water. Lake Fork Tackle Baby ring fry are good bets for the Shakyheads or Texas-rigs, by the way. The crappie bite is also heating up as slabs are reportedly moving to creek channels, and suspending in 15-20 feet of water. Anglers are finding success on Fork’s fall crappie by using minnows and jigs…At Oklahoma’s McGee Creek Lake, ODWC reports a water temp of 67 degrees and a lower than normal lake level. Largemouth and spotted bass are fair on crankbaits, soft plastic baits, and topwater lures fished along creek channels, points and rocks… On the Texas Gulf Coast at Port O’Connor, TPWD says the fall fishing is good. Speckled trout are good at POC, with catches up to 24-inches reported on live shrimp and artificial Voodoo Shrimp. Bull redfish are also biting well on Spanish sardines. And black drum are good on dead shrimp…

Tip of the Week

Got a deer decoy? As the peak of the breeding season approaches, now is the time to give such tactics a try here in North Texas. When a big buck has the rut on his mind, the sight of another potential buck on his home turf is often enough to lure a bruiser buck in close enough for a shot. In fact, you might have to wait for your shot opportunity until Mr. Big has finished knocking over and roughing up your plastic buck. When he pauses and glares at the fallen decoy, be ready and don’t miss!