|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-12-09                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Craig Bonds, East Texas Regional Fisheries Director, (903) 566-1615, ext. 202; Dr. Richard Ott, Fisheries Biologist, (903) 566-2161 ]
Dec. 9, 2010
Rainbow Trout Coming to Tyler's Nature Center
TYLER -- The East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation (ETWWF) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will host two special fishing events in January 2010. Two thousand rainbow trout will be stocked into The Nature Center pond to provide a free fishing opportunity for area youth and their adult fishing mentors. Event dates are January 8 and 15, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., rain or shine.
Adult mentors should bring all equipment and bait necessary for fishing (see recommended equipment below). A limited amount of fishing equipment (and bait) will be on hand for those who cannot bring their own on a first-come--first-served basis. Adult mentors do not need to be experienced anglers. TPWD staff will be on hand to assist.
"Anglers will have the choice of releasing their catch or keeping up to a limit of five fish per person to take home," said Craig Bonds, East Texas Regional Fisheries Director. "We also have fish-cleaning facilities courtesy of the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation, and we will offer fish-cleaning and cooking demonstrations. Fishing mentors and kids will be shown how to clean a fish and cook it using a variety of tasty methods."
If you are a mom, dad, neighbor, grandparent, big brother, big sister, etc., and know kids who want to go fishing, this is a chance to make some great memories and introduce a youngster to the wonderful sport of fishing. Adults who attend these events must bring at least one child and mentor them while fishing. So round up your little fishing buddy and bring them out to The Nature Center for a great time!
Recommended Equipment: A light-action rod and reel combination (one per child) with small fishing hooks, light line 12 lb. test or less, small bobbers, and small split shot. For bait, bring salmon eggs, whole kernel corn, marshmallows, small worms, or prepared trout bait (Berkley PowerBait Hatchery Formula Chews or similar). Small rooster-tail spinners work well, but we require that you use single hooks only on this bait type. If you intend to keep trout, please bring a stringer or small cooler.
Special Rules: Fishing will be allowed only on Saturday, January 8, and Saturday, January 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Youth must be supervised at all times by their adult mentors. Parking will be allowed in designated areas only. Only rainbow trout (five per day) and channel catfish (one per day) may be kept by youth anglers only. No fishing license is required for youth or their adult mentors. Free to all participants. Pre-registration is not required.
Sponsorship: These special events are made possible by the members of the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation and staff of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Other Activities: The Nature Center in Tyler has a series of outdoor hiking trails that may also be of interest to visitors. We invite you to explore these trails and also enjoy a day of fishing!
How to Get Here: From ESE Loop 323 in Tyler, go southeast on University Blvd. (Spur 248). Take a right turn on F.M. 848 (Bascom Rd.). Go 0.2 mile and turn right at The Nature Center gate. Please park in main parking area and walk to pond using the concrete trail near the kiosk.
Got Questions? Contact Mr. Craig Bonds, East Texas Regional Fisheries Director, (903) 566-1615, ext. 202, or Dr. Richard Ott, Fisheries Biologist, (903) 566-2161.

[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Dec. 9, 2010
Dallas Safari Club Tops $750K in 5 Years for Texas Projects
DALLAS -- Since 2006, Dallas Safari Club (DSC) has granted more than $750,000 in funding for wildlife and habitat conservation, youth and public education, and hunter advocacy programs within the state of Texas.
DSC passed the milestone, five-year figure in November.
The Texas total represents 36 percent of all DSC grants issued worldwide since 2006.
DSC-funded projects in Texas have included desert bighorn sheep restoration, several university research projects, firearm safety instruction, public lectures, introducing youths to traditional outdoor recreation and conservation, providing venison for needy families and more.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has received a number of DSC grants in recent years which helped fund the state's National Archery in the Schools Program, desert bighorn project, fisheries projects, life insurance for game wardens, Operation Game Thief, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo and symposiums.
Carter Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., said, "The generosity of Dallas Safari Club towards these important wildlife conservation and sporting programs has simply been unending. Over the years, DSC has been one of our closest and most longstanding partners. We appreciate all they do to foster a strong conservation ethic among Texas sportsmen and to promote our great outdoor traditions to new generations of hunters and anglers. Rest assured, we could not do our work at Texas Parks and Wildlife without them."
DSC grant recipients in Texas include:
--Armed Forces Foundation
--Big Brothers, Big Sisters
--City of Dallas, Trinity Strand Project
--Conservation Fund of Texas
--Dallas Ecological Foundation
--Dallas Museum of Nature and History
--Dallas Pistol Club
--Delta Waterfowl
--Hunters for the Hungry
--Park Cities Quail
--Dr. Randall Eaton
--Tarleton State University
--Texas A&M University
--Texas Bighorn Society
--Texas Conservation Alliance
--Texas Outdoor Partners
--Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
--Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation
--Texas State University
About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)
Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent nonprofit organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide.
"Dallas Safari Club has become an international force in conservation but we like to help with worthy projects here at home, too," said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. "The fact is, we're granting more money today than anytime in our history and we're positioned to do that because of the quality and growth of our main annual fundraiser--our convention and expo."
The DSC annual convention and expo will be Jan. 6-9, 2011, at the Dallas Convention Center.
The event will feature more than 1,171 booths, 740 exhibitors and 338,000 square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitors include outfitters and professional hunters from around the world, along with gun makers, optics and gear companies, artists, jewelers, clothiers, furriers and more.
The public is welcome to attend and a record crowd of some 32,000 attendees is expected. Daily admission is $20 per person.
For more information, visit www.biggame.org.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
Dec. 9, 2010
TPWD Assessing Eastern Turkey, Considering Hunting Closure in 15 Counties
AUSTIN - Since 1995 when Texas' first spring eastern turkey hunting season was opened in Red River County, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has maintained a conservative approach -- a 30-day season, mandatory check stations, one gobbler bag limit -- to give the birds ample opportunity to establish themselves in new haunts. As turkey numbers have increased and flocks expand into new areas, the agency has steadily increased hunting opportunity by opening a spring season in 43 East Texas counties.
In some areas, field observations indicate turkey populations continue to thrive and harvest data collected through mandatory check stations confirm ample hunting opportunity. But, in some counties, the telltale "gobble, gobble, gobble" of a big tom courting hens has gone silent and that has wildlife biologists concerned.
"We use the data collected from mandatory check stations as a trigger point in identifying areas of concern and in some of these counties, like Smith County, we haven't had any harvest in 12 years," said Jason Hardin, TPWD's turkey program leader. "That tells us there are very few birds out there and we need to protect them, and where possible, go back into those counties and use our new super stocking program."
Unlike earlier block stocking efforts to reintroduce turkeys into an area that relied on a few gobblers and hens to establish viable flocks of turkeys, the process for reintroduction has been refined through research to determine appropriate numbers and ratios of birds needed.
By closing hunting seasons we create an opportunity to stock birds, where habitat is available, and reduce the potential for loss of brood stock before the population is capable of sustaining harvest.
"Just because there has been low harvest in some counties doesn't necessarily mean those areas don't have any birds," said Hardin. "When we went out to our field biologists and landowners in some areas, they indicated there were still plenty of turkeys out there but they were protecting them and not hunting them. They said they didn't want us to take away that opportunity for harvest and we agreed."
In 15 East Texas counties, not only were birds not being harvested, they weren't being seen, either. Counties being considered for hunting season closure and further restocking consideration include: Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker.
"When populations in those counties can sustain hunting, we will reopen," Hardin added. "But, we were seeing more harvest 10 years ago in these counties and most have not had one turkey harvested in he last five seasons or longer."
TPWD is also considering a regulation change that would delay the spring Eastern turkey season in the remaining counties by two weeks. The delay, said Hardin, would give hens time to begin nesting prior to the season opening. "Once hens begin nesting they typically spend up to 23 hours a day on their nest. This makes them less available for accidental harvest. It also makes the gobblers go into a second peak in gobbling activity, which should provide excellent hunting."
To give the public an opportunity to weigh in on these considerations prior to any official proposed regulation change in 2012, TPWD is holding scoping meetings during the first week in January. Wildlife biologists will present turkey population trend and harvest findings from these counties and offer insight into the super stocking program. The meetings are set for 7 p.m. at the following locations:
Scoping Meetings
--Jan. 4, 2011 - Center, Shelby County Courthouse, 200 San Augustine St., community room, 2nd floor.
--Jan. 6, 2011 - Conroe, Montgomery County Memorial Library, 104 I-45 North.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
Dec. 9, 2010
Redevelopment Planned for Hurricane-Wrecked Sea Rim State Park
PORT ARTHUR - Design work is underway to redevelop Sea Rim State Park whose facilities were damaged first by Hurricane Rita, rebuilt and again destroyed in September 2008 by Hurricane Ike before the park could reopen.
The state park, which currently offers only limited facilities such as portable toilets and trash receptacles, is open for day use ($3) and primitive camping ($10). Park fees are collected through a self-pay system.
According to park superintendent Tracy Ferguson, there is both drive-on and pedestrian access to the beach. The ¾-mile Gambusia Boardwalk also has been restored, and for the first time in park history, seasonal equestrian use is being allowed from December through February.
"Even with limited facilities, it's great to see the park open again for public use," Ferguson says. "If you're looking for a primitive escape along the gulf, you'll find it on Sea Rim's secluded five-mile stretch of beach."
Though the park has limited services it is a great get away location with five miles of Gulf Coast Beach access.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has developed a two-phase master plan to redevelop the state park that the agency expects to begin implementing next summer. Construction of some of the facilities is expected to take a couple of years. The 81st Legislature provided $2 million for the recovery of Sea Rim State Park. So far, all storm debris and destroyed facilities have been removed and the park has been reopened on a limited basis.
All new park facilities, which will include a headquarters building and a residence for park personnel, will be designed to meet state building codes for hurricane resistance and conserve energy.
The park was named for a portion of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline where inland mud flats and tidal marshes meet the sea. The park encompasses more than 4,000 acres of marshlands and more than five miles of gulf shoreline. Highway 87 splits the park into the D. Roy Harrington Beach Unit and the Marshlands Unit.
Phase I construction sets forth the construction of a boardwalk to the beach, a maintenance building, park superintendent's residence, two public vault toilets, a limited potable water distribution system and a wastewater collection and treatment system, according to Gary Kosut, TPWD Infrastructure Division project manager for the Sea Rim redevelopment. He says once work begins, it is expected to require nine months to a year to complete.
In addition, the Texas Department of Transportation is slated to begin work at the park in 2012.
"The Texas Department of Transportation will reconstruct park roads and parking lots for day-use visitors," says Darrell Owens, the Infrastructure Division's TxDOT program manager. Roadway construction is scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2012."
The roadway system will include 15 pull-through RV camping sites with electric, water and wastewater hookups. An unpaved equestrian unloading area and trail to the beach also will be built.
Phase II of the redevelopment plan, which will provide for the completed build-out of the park as detailed in the Sea Rim State Park Redevelopment Master Plan, has not been funded. It calls for construction of a headquarters building, camping area restroom with showers, 10 tent platforms, a central water-wastewater facility, water distribution system, a dune walkover, wildlife-viewing blind, equestrian camping accessories and fish-cleaning shelter.
Sea Rim State Park, which opened to the public in 1977, has traditionally drawn thousands of outdoor lovers, who come to fish, sunbathe, paddle the marshlands, camp and observe the park's great diversity of birds and other wildlife. The park is located along the Greater Texas Coastal Birding Trail and serves as a rest stop for numerous species of migrating birds traversing the Central Flyway.
For more information about Sea Rim State Park, call park superintendent Tracy Ferguson at (409) 971-2559.

[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Robert Mauk, (940) 766-2383; robert.mauk@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Dec. 9, 2010
Area Crappie Populations Look Excellent
WICHITA FALLS -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) district fisheries office in Wichita Falls recently completed crappie surveys on Lakes Buffalo Creek, Lost Creek, Possum Kingdom, Wichita and Petrolia. "Overall, the news is good for anglers of these lakes," said TPWD's Robert Mauk.
Buffalo Creek. At Buffalo Creek, the crappie catch rate (number of crappie per net) was the second highest ever. The previous survey (2006) consisted of all young crappie below the legal size limit. (All five lakes are managed under the statewide 10-inch minimum length and 25-fish daily bag limit regulation for crappie.) "Those crappie have grown up and were up to 14 inches in the current survey," Mauk said. "A spring creel survey found the average size of harvested crappie was 13 inches with 16-inch crappie being caught."
Crappie growth at Buffalo Creek is well above average with fish averaging over 13 inches at age 3.
"Most anglers fish the dam, but we found crappie in the shallow stick-ups less than four feet in depth," Mauk said. "Last spring we placed brush piles along the dam and felled some trees into the water, and anglers did well fishing these areas."
Anglers should note that the city of Iowa Park will close the entrance gates after rains allowing the dirt roads time to dry before reopening the gates. The main entrance to the lake is on the west side of the lake off Burnett Road.
Lost Creek. "Lost Creek's crappie catch rate just keeps improving with every survey we complete, increasing over 50 percent from the last survey in 2006," Mauk said. "Crappie to 13 inches were sampled, and their body condition was good. They are often found associated with pondweed.
"Most of the crappie were sampled in the north mid-lake cove in three feet of water," Mauk continued. "The water was extremely clear at time of sampling with clarity in the 10-foot range. During the day, crappie will be deeper than the three feet we found them. I've received reports that anglers catch them in 21 feet of water during the summer, which is the same depth some of the better largemouth bass are caught from."
Possum Kingdom. Possum Kingdom had the second highest catch rate of white crappie documented at the reservoir and the highest catch rate for black crappie despite the golden alga last spring. The populations had a good mix of sub-legal and legal crappie.
"Body condition was considered excellent, especially for legal-sized crappie," Mauk said. "Crappie were sampled throughout the reservoir, but the majority of legal-sized crappie were caught in the upper portion of the reservoir near Rock Creek and mid-lake in Bee Creek."
White crappie are far more numerous than black crappie in Possum Kingdom. To properly identify the two species, count the number of dorsal spines. Black crappie have seven to eight spines, and white crappie have six spines. There are other differences besides the spines including patterns to their markings, but the coloration of the fish is not a way to tell the two species apart.
Lake Wichita. Lake Wichita has a good population of crappie right now though it is often overlooked by anglers. There is good shoreline access for crappie fishing, especially along the dam and at the old marina cove near the Wild Bird Rescue building. "Crappie abundance was quite high, and many were of legal size and in excellent condition," Mauk reported. "Crappie in Wichita exhibit fast growth, with most attaining legal size at age one. Minnows and jigs are the bait of choice for most crappie anglers at Wichita."
Petrolia. Petrolia is a smaller reservoir under the Community Fishing Lake category, which means that only rod and reel angling is allowed. No seining, cast nets, jug- or trotlines are allowed. This smaller reservoir lends itself well to the wade or tube angler. Much of the shoreline has cattails growing limiting shore angling to a few open areas.
"Crappie are quite numerous in the lake with many crappie up to 14 inches sampled," Mauk said. "These crappie are also extremely fat, some of the healthiest crappie I've seen. The lake also has big bluegill and redear sunfish. Most of the fish were sampled in the shallow south end of the lake."
If you have any questions, please call the TPWD Inland Fisheries office at (940) 766-2383 or e-mail robert.mauk@tpwd.texas.gov.