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Toyota ShareLunker Season: Big Bass Time in the Big Country
ATHENS — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Toyota ShareLunker program begins October 1. This program was established in 1986 to promote catch-and-release fishing of trophy-sized largemouth bass and to selectively breed these fish to stock ShareLunker offspring in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
Anglers are an integral part of this program. Texas Parks Wildlife Department relies on anglers to temporarily donate their trophy largemouth bass (13 pounds or larger) to the program. An angler who donates a fish to the program receives a fiberglass replica of the fish made by Lake Fork Taxidermy (these guys are world renowned for their work), Toyota ShareLunker clothing and recognition at an annual awards banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. In addition, the Texas resident who donated the largest fish of the season gets a free lifetime fishing license; Brian Monsey won this award back in 2001 with a 14.80-pound bass from Lake Clyde.
There are several Big Country reservoirs capable of producing ShareLunker largemouth bass, but the best lakes may be O. H. Ivie, Hubbard Creek Lake, and Lake Cisco.
Trophy largemouth bass have been donated from reservoirs and private lakes all over the state. Last year 19 fish were donated. Seven ShareLunkers were caught at O. H. Ivie Reservoir and six from Falcon. The biggest ShareLunker was caught at Caddo Lake and weighed 16.07 pounds.
To donate your 13-pound or bigger bass to the Toyota ShareLunker program, call the 24-hour pager at (888) 784-0600 or call (903) 681-0550. The angler can choose whether to release the fish or permanently donate it to the program at the end of the spawning season. Most choose to return their fish to the lake.
Be a part of TPWD’s largemouth bass management program by donating your trophy fish. More information on the Toyota ShareLunker program can be found at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
On the Net:
- On the Net: ShareLunker program records: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/
- Latest catches and angler interviews: http://www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram
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