|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2006-05-15                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
May 15, 2006
Family Fishing Celebration Hits High Gear This Summer
AUSTIN, Texas -- Fishing for crappie, bass and whatever else is biting takes center stage at more than 70 Texas state parks this summer, with dozens of Family Fishing Celebration events scheduled throughout the state.
Most events, such as the Kids Fishing Derby, Go Fishing With a Ranger and the Junior Angler Fishing Clinic, are geared toward youngsters who want to learn how to fish or how to fish better. The events also help instill in youngsters the importance of aquatic stewardship and the role they can play in sustaining a healthy fisheries resource.
The Family Fishing Celebration kicked off in 2003 to give families and others one more way to enjoy their Texas state park visits by eliminating the requirement for anglers to have a fishing license and the required stamps while fishing inside state parks.
"We're trying to remove obstacles or excuses not to fish through this program," Ann Miller, TPWD's Aquatic Education coordinator, said. "And, in some cases, we're reintroducing folks to how much fun fishing can be."
The FFC's license-free angling applies only to fishing inside a state park from the bank, a pier or from a boat if done in a body of water totally contained within the boundaries of a state park, such as Copper Breaks State Park's 60-acre lake.
Eight state parks this spring will feature a grant-sponsored coordinator to organize Family Fishing Celebration events. The state parks are: Bastrop/Buescher, Blanco, Bonham, Brazos Bend, Eisenhower, Fairfield Lake, Galveston Island and Inks Lake.
One of the bigger events this year is expected to be at Eisenhower State Park north of Denison on Lake Texoma. Gander Mountain Outdoor Retail Store has joined as a sponsor of the FFC events, including the 3rd annual Eisenhower-Grayson County 4-H Kids Fishing Derby June 3.
Park superintendent Richard Kellogg says the Sherman outdoor sports retailer is helping promote the June 3, June 24 and July 1 events, and by providing bottled water and other giveaways.
"Fishing will be from 8 a.m. to noon with a free hotdog lunch afterwards," Kellogg said. "After that, there'll be some fishing games and prizes given out for first fish ever caught, the biggest fish and the most fish caught that morning."
Last year's event, which was held at the state park marina, drew 150 people. The park has a dozen or so loaner rods and reels, but Kellogg suggests anglers bring their own equipment if possible.
The June 24 event at Eisenhower is a family fly fishing event being taught by Steve Hollensed, a certified fly fishing instructor. Programs, which are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will showcase fly fishing opportunities at Lake Texoma and the park. This is a rare opportunity to learn fly fishing techniques and fly-tying from certified instructors and coaches. Call (903) 465-1956 for more information.
Bastrop and Buescher state parks east of Austin have already staged one spring FFC event, a Junior Angling Clinic that offered door prizes. Future clinics for youngsters 6 to 13 years of age are scheduled June 3, June 17, July 15 and July 22. Anglers of all ages are invited to attend an Advanced Fishing Clinic on Aug. 5.
"Over Spring Break, 51 kids came out for the first event," said Todd McClanahan, assistant superintendent of Bastrop and Buescher state parks. "Five of them caught their first fish and couldn't have been happier."
For more information, about the Bastrop-Buescher FFC events, call Jamie Hackett at (512) 237-2241.
Lake Livingston and Ray Roberts Lake state parks also will be hosting special FFC events this summer. At Lake Livingston State Park in Polk County, anglers can attend workshops from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on July 22 to learn about freshwater fishing rules, knot-tying, fish identification and casting safety. To reserve your spot, call (936) 365-2201, Ext. 17.
From 9 a.m. to noon on June 3, the Isle du Bois unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park near Pilot Point will host the 2006 Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby at the fishing pier. In addition, there also will be a Junior Angler Education clinic and Family Fishing Celebration on June 17 to educate youngsters and parents alike. Participants will learn about the basics of fishing through hands-on instruction during the morning clinic. To register, call (940) 686-2080.
Even one of Texas' state historic sites, Landmark Inn in Castroville, is taking part in the Family Fishing Celebration festivities. Children 4 to 16 years of age will head to the banks of the Medina River that flows by Landmark Inn to participate in the 4th annual Catfish Kid Fish. All tackle will be provided for the July 22 event, which lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (830) 931-2133.
A complete list of state parks offering fishing opportunities and upcoming FFC events and seminars can be found on the TPWD Web site or by calling (800) 792-1112.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
May 15, 2006
Public Invited To Participate in Reefing Program
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Artificial Reef Program is initiating a new reefing option in which organizations and members of the general public can participate. The new Public Reefing Program will enable persons to reef materials approved by TPWD at existing reef sites in the Gulf of Mexico that have been permitted to TPWD.
The Public Reefing Program will provide greater opportunities to enhance the artificial reef potential off Texas through direct participation of the general public in development of offshore artificial reefs along the Texas coast. It is designed to allow private citizens, organizations or corporations to deploy their own artificial reef materials creating new and expanded artificial reefs off Texas under the direction and guidance of TPWD.
Reefs created under the authority of the program will be placed on sites permitted to TPWD by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. TPWD currently holds numerous reef building permits, and is authorized by these permits to conduct reef development activities by placing inspected and approved artificial reef materials within these sites.
It is the Artificial Reef Program's intention to establish a 160 acre reef site nearshore of each major port area, including Galveston, Corpus Christi and Port Mansfield. In addition, other pre-existing sites can be used by the general public for the reefing of additional materials.
The TPWD Artificial Reef Program's goal is to provide artificial substrate that supports marine habitat which will develop into a complex reef community. Materials to be used in the construction of artificial reef units must be chosen with safety to the marine environment, durability and stability in mind.
Any person, organization, firm, or corporation wishing to participate in the Public Reefing Program and deploy materials to be used as artificial reefs must adhere to the rules and guidelines that will be established by TPWD and incur all costs associated with the acquisition, building, inspection, testing and deployment of the materials. All materials deployed under this program become the property of the State of Texas.
The Public Reef Building Program does not replace the Rigs-to-Reef or any other artificial reef program. It will be a means in which the general public can participate in the building of fishing reefs in waters closer to shore than many of the reefs currently managed by the program.
Participants should submit an application to TPWD listing the materials they would like to reef. Once inspected and approved, participants will be issued a reefing permit to deploy those materials at a pre-determined reef site.
Workshops for public input into the program will be held:
--June 6, 7 p.m., at the TPWD Dickinson field office (1502 FM 517 East);
--June 8, 7 p.m., at TAMU-Corpus Christi (Natural Resources Center, 6300 Ocean Drive);
--June 13, 7 p.m., at Port Isabel (101 Port Road; actual building is part of Port Isabel High School right on Hwy. 100 between Laguna Heights and Port Isabel.)
For more information, contact Dale Shively, Artificial Reef Coordinator, at (512) 389-4686 or dale.shively@tpwd.texas.gov or Paul Hammerschmidt, Resource Specialist, at (512) 389-4650 or paul.hammerschmidt@tpwd.texas.gov.
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[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
May 15, 2006
Youth Events Highlight Free Fishing Day June 3
AUSTIN, Texas -- A "Free Sportfishing Day" will highlight National Fishing and Boating Week, allowing anglers to fish any public waters in Texas without a fishing license on Saturday, June 3.
The sixth annual National Fishing and Boating Week is June 3-11 with thousands of local events in communities across the country. Events will provide hands-on opportunities for families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about two of our nation's favorite pastimes - boating and fishing.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said the special day in this state, authorized by the Texas Legislature, is intended to promote fishing and encourage people to enjoy the state's fishing resources. Both resident and nonresident recreational anglers will be allowed to fish without a license and will not be required to have special stamps such as the saltwater or freshwater fishing stamps.
Numerous youth fishing activities are scheduled around the state during National Fishing and Boating Week, including special fishing events in state parks and fish stockings in community lakes. Park entry and facility use fees will still apply for those who wish to fish in state parks. Camping reservations are recommended.
National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation's national awareness campaign, Take Me Fishing. Funded by the federal government's Sport Fish Restoration Program, the non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was created to increase participation in fishing and boating and focus attention on the need to protect the nation's aquatic resources.
Texas offers a wide variety of urban fishing opportunities. Fun fishing can be found on the various lakes and banks around some of Texas' metropolitan areas - Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Shore and bank fishing sites can be found on many small urban lakes, as well as the bays and the Gulf of Mexico. Some sites have public piers and handicap access, and are set up to accommodate large groups, such as the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson.
On the Net:
To learn more about Texas Urban Fishing: http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/gofishing/
For a listing of events taking place during National Fishing and Boating Week and throughout the year: http://www.takemefishing.org
Check the TPWD calendar of events: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/calendar/

[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
May 15, 2006
State Parks Advisory Committee to Discuss Park Needs, Costs
AUSTIN, Texas -- The recently appointed Texas State Parks Advisory Committee will hold its second meeting May 19 in Austin, where members will hear about university research documenting the economic value of state parks for local communities, plus a report on needs and cost projections to effectively staff and maintain Texas state parks.
The committee will meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 19, with a brief break at noon followed by a working lunch. The meeting will take place at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road in southeast Austin.
Also during this meeting, advisory committee Chairman John Montford will set out subcommittee assignments and charges. Montford is a former state senator and former chair of the Senate Finance Committee who established the state sporting goods sales tax as a state park funding source in the 1990s.
He and other parks advisory committee members were asked to serve by Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Joseph Fitzsimons.
Fitzsimons has asked the committee for recommendations on four topics, including exploring funding options for the state park system.
The committee is also charged with considering any existing units of the state park system that might be operated by more appropriate entities; the role of public-private partnerships in parks, including concessions, sponsorships and incentive based solutions; and options to accomplish goals for state and local parks in the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, the 10-year operating plan for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
At the May 19 meeting, advisory group subcommittee chair Andrew Sansom will provide a subcommittee report and lead a discussion of state park system funding needs, including how additional funding for state parks could best be spent. Sansom is former executive director of TPWD and currently leads the River Systems Institute at Texas State University in San Marcos.
The advisory committee includes former state legislators and leaders of state agencies and conservation and tourism organizations.
Three new members have been appointed who will join the committee for the first time May 19--David Woodcock, Texas A&M University architecture professor; Ann Hamilton of the Houston Endowment; and Michael Massey, City of Richardson parks and recreation director.
For more information, including a complete list of advisory committee members, see the TPWD Web site. *
* Correction, May 17, 2006: The original version of this news release incorrectly stated that live audio streams of the meeting would be provided. (Return to corrected item.)
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [AR]
May 15, 2006
Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Teams With TPWD To Promote Youth Fishing
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department angler education experts have teamed-up with the state's bass fishing experts to create what Trey Scott calls the perfect system for teaching youngsters to fish.
"The partnership is just a perfect marriage," Scott, Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation state youth director, said. "I see no end to the exposure for kids - the proper, well-rounded exposure."
A memorandum of understanding signed by representatives from both organizations acknowledges a shared goal of increasing youth participation in fishing and aquatic stewardship activities.
"The B.A.S.S. Federation Nation members are going to be working more closely with us to teach kids about not only fishing but about aquatic stewardship, about how to take care of the resource," said Ann Miller, TPWD aquatic education coordinator. "We have a program they can use, and we can use their volunteers."
"B.A.S.S. is composed of three units. The one everyone knows about is the angling component, and of course that's our main thrust," Scott said. "But we're realizing that without conservation and education, the stool does not stand. For years and years we've been making those efforts, but have not really made them known."
One program the Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation clubs will be promoting again this year is called "Casting Kids." Regional competitions testing youngsters' pitching, flipping and casting skills will lead to a state championship event.
Upcoming Casting Kids events include a competition on May 20 in Fort Worth at the Will Rogers Memorial Center at 3401 West Lancaster Ave. According to Scott, there will be two events held that day with two separate award ceremonies.
The first will be held from 10 a.m. until noon. The second will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Awards will be given immediately after each session. The contest is open to the public with no entry fees, and is the first level of a competition that features prizes worth more than $200,000.
Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation also is sponsoring a Future Anglers Sportsman's Tournament - an incentive program that will award cash prizes to individual B.A.S.S. clubs around the state. Clubs can earn points by sponsoring Jr. Bassmaster tournaments, hosting Casting Kid's events, and participating in angler education programs.
TPWD volunteer angler education instructors taught approximately 10,000 new anglers how to fish last year. The program is funded, in part, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Sportfish Restoration Act.
Officials from both TPWD and Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation said they see huge potential in the new partnership.
"We're still in the less-than-20 category because we're just starting out," said TPWD's Miller. "But there's a lot of interest in it, and I think we're going to see a lot of B.A.S.S. Federation members taking the instructor course. We've already had some step up and say they're willing to train instructors."
"I am so looking forward to this partnership," Scott added. "I'm just proud to be a part of it."
On the Net: