Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Dec. 29 – Oklahoma dove season second split.

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 Jan. 30 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Through Jan. 30 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season second split.

Through Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Through Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Dec. 14 – TPWD trout stocking at Pottsboro Lake.

Dec. 17 – First TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Dec. 17 - Jan. 2 - Texas North Zone dove hunting second split.

Dec. 18-Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

Jan. 4 - Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, visit www.rrff.org .

Jan. 7 - Second TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Jan. 8 - 15th annual City of Denison Howard Caylor Trout Derby at Waterloo Lake Park Pond. For information, call (903) 465-2720 (extension 2034) or visit the city of Denison's website at http://www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec .

Jan. 30 - Third TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Notes

As the city of Denison gets ready to celebrate the city's Sesquicentennial Celebration next year, D-Town is getting ready to host the 15th annual Howard Caylor Trout Derby early in 2022. This upcoming event will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 at Waterloo Lake Park Pond according to Andrew Means of the city’s Parks and Rec Department. Look for more details soon; call (903) 465-2720 (extension 2034) during business hours; or visit the city of Denison website at www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec...As ODWC trout stockings continue on a regular basis at the Blue River near Tishomingo, it’s about time for the first TPWD trout stockings to occur here in Grayson County. The first of those local stockings of catchable size rainbow trout will be on Dec. 14 at Pottsboro Lake while the second one will happen on Dec. 17 at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond…Did you know? TPWD says in a news release that it will stock this and other sections of the Guadalupe River, also known as the Canyon Reservoir Tailrace, with more than 20,000 rainbow trout during weekly stockings from early December through late-February…

Hunting Reports

After a few good bucks have been reported in recent days here in Grayson County, longtime area bowhunter Tarif Alkhatib arrowed what might be a new county record typical buck on Wednesday morning this week. The big 12-point mainframe buck has a reported green gross score in the mid-190s and a reported green net score in the upper 170s. Stay tuned for more information on this buck as it develops…As the second split of duck season ramps up, Dakota Stowers and his North Texas Outfitters guides found good shooting for a number of clients this past week, including a number of limit shoots for mixed bags of mallards, pintails, gadwalls, wigeon, and a few divers…On one NTO hunt earlier in the week, a group of clients found seven different duck species in their bag for the day…NTO guides are also finding a few Canada geese here and there, so don’t forget to add a few Canada floaters, full bodies, shells, or even silhouettes to your duck spreads… Oklahoma’s ring-necked pheasant hunting season began on Dec. 1st and ODWC says that upland bird hunters planning on chasing the wily roosters might find a little bit better bird numbers this year. That optimism is based on results from annual roadside surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, which says that this year’s crow count survey suggested similar numbers to last year. “I anticipate numbers to be equal to or slightly improved over 2020, depending on the area, but still below the 10-year average,” said Tell Judkins, Upland Game Biologist for ODWC, in the news release... ODWC says that it conducts two pheasant surveys each year, one a count of the number of crowing male birds heard per mile along 20-mile routes during April and May, and the other a count of the number of broods seen per mile along 20-mile routes during late August…The agency says that the pheasant surveys are conducted in Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties. Results are then reported as an index for all the counties combined, but also for a subset of counties that traditionally has the highest pheasant densities in Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Grant and Texas counties….ODWC says that these indexes provide insight into the pheasant population over entire regions, and not necessarily for localized areas…FYI, ODWC notes that the Sooner State’s pheasant hunting season will run through Jan. 31 and the daily bag limit is two cock pheasants only. Also, hunters must wear daylight fluorescent orange clothing when required…With some walk-in public hunting options available in the state, areas open to pheasant hunting in 2021-22 are Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Osage, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties, as well as the portions of Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher and Logan counties north of State Highway 51…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma,  the water is lightly stained; the water temp is 57 degrees; and the lake is 1.37 feet low. Guide John Blasingame tells TPWD that the fishing action for Texoma’s striped bass remains good, although it is transitioning away from the slab bite to swimbaits, four-inch worms, and on windy days, Alabama rigs. The dead stick bite is also starting to pick up as water temps chill down. Those chilly water temperatures in the reservoir’s creeks will soon have the fish moving back out to the main lake according to Blasingame’s report…On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC says that the fishing action this week has been good. According to the agency, striped bass are good on Flukes, live shad, soft plastic baits, Sassy Shad, and slabs fished below the dam, along river and creek channels, on the flats, in the main lake, on points and out in the main river tributary. Striper fishing has been very good this week according to ODWC, particularly for anglers who are dead-sticking…Meanwhile, the Sooner State side action for blue, channel and flathead catfish is fair at Texoma on cut-bait, dough bait, goldfish, live shad, punch bait, stink bait, and sunfish when fished below the dam, along channels, in coves, in creek channels, near docks, over the main lake, over points, and in the main river channel. Blue cats in particular are being caught on juglines and rod-and-reel set-ups on live shad and punch bait when fished in 20-45 ft. of water…ODWC says that Texoma crappie are fair on hair jigs, plastic jigs, minnows and small lures fished around brushy structure, in coves, around docks and in standing timber. With the crappie getting better as winter sets in, many bites are occurring on jigs and PowerBait…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic in June, there is no largemouth report this week. Meanwhile, TPWD says that crappie are good on main lake brush piles in 20-30 feet of water as anglers use minnows. As in previous weeks, the bigger slabs are being caught in the Buck Creek area in the standing timber, around 20-foot depths with the bait suspended in 10-12 feet of water…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 62-64 degrees; and the lake is 2.92 feet low. TPWD says that Fork’s largemouth bass are good on Carolina-rigs and Viper XP jigs in black or blue hues, fished along the creek bends and drop-offs in 4-8 feet of water. Medium diving crankbaits colored in a bream pattern are also good on points and humps on the deeper side in 6-8 feet of water. The agency also says that suspending jerk baits with black back and gold sides, an orange belly, or AYU are working best on the points in 4-6 feet of water and in the grass in 3-5 feet of water…While there is no fishing report from the Blue River near Tishomingo, Okla., the trout fishing continues to be good on the wintertime trout fishery north of Lake Texoma. That much seems apparent from an ODWC photo this week of angler Kody Young holding up three very impressive and large rainbow trout pulled from the southern Oklahoma stream during the past several days…At Lake of the Arbuckle’s near Sulphur, Okla., ODWC reports that the lake is two feet below normal, the water temp is 53 degrees, and the water is stained. Bass are reported as fair to good on jerkbaits and topwater lures fished early and late in the day on Shakyhead worms or Ned rigs…On the Texas Gulf Coast at Sabine Lake, TPWD reports that fishing has been good in the incoming tides, and the lake still has shrimp, which indicates that the salinity is good. The water is dirty, so when targeting redfish and speckled trout, use darker colored baits like red shad with Z-man five-inch swimbaits… On the Bolivar Peninsula, TPWD says that there are many reports of bull redfish, redfish, and jackfish being caught. The agency says that most catches happen with live finger mullet, fresh cut bait, or squid… At Port O’Connor, TPWD says that trout are good in the jetties using plastics or live shrimp. Redfish are good on gold spoons and sardines according to Captain Marty Medford of Captain Marty’s Fish of a Lifetime Guide Service…At Port Aransas, TPWD says that Capt. Doug Stanford of Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters is reporting that bull reds are in the jetties biting on cut menhaden, cut mullet, and cut sand trout. Black drum are biting on free-lined shrimp. Sheepsheads are good on live shrimp…At South Padre Island, Capt. Lou Austin tells TPWD that there's a lot of oversized redfish at the jetties. Good-sized mangrove snapper can be found up the Brownsville Ship Channel and around the pilings at the old causeway. Mixed in are limits of sheepshead too. Finally, good-sized trout are on the gas well flats and on the edges of Intracoastal Cause Way and in the shacks at Three Islands…

Tip of the Week

Making a trip to central Texas over the Christmas holidays? Then consider a trout fishing trip if your journey takes you anywhere near New Braunfels. That’s because TPWD says that anglers have the opportunity to target rainbow trout during the peak of cold-weather stocking and fishing season thanks to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) “no fee” public access lease on the Guadalupe River. “This lease location provides great bank angler access to river trout fishing coupled with gorgeous Guadalupe River scenery,” said Patrick Ireland, TPWD Inland Fisheries Division San Marcos and Austin District Supervisor, in a news release. TPWD says that the site is at Camp Huaco Springs between New Braunfels  and Sattler and features nearly a half-mile of bank access along alternating pools and riffles on the Guadalupe River. Anglers can utilize the bank, which is gently sloped and rocky, or wade fish both upstream and downstream according to TPWD. There is a low-water dam at the upper end of the property and deep pool at the lower end and public access is open from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset through Saturday, March 5, 2022. See the TPWD website for more details at www.tpwd.texas.gov .