|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-02-14                                    |
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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 ] [LH]
Feb. 14, 2011
Fly Fish Texas Takes Mystery Out of Fooling Fish with Feathers
ATHENS--Perhaps the best way to sum up the annual Fly Fish Texas event at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens is this: In one day the complete beginner can learn to tie a fly, cast that fly, and catch a fish with it.
Fly Fish Texas--to be held March 12, 2011--focuses on helping people master the set of skills required for fly-fishing. Instructors hold classes throughout the day on everything from fly-casting to fly-tying to knot tying. This is a hands-on event, and visitors are expected to participate.
Moreover, visitors can expect to get hooked. On fly-fishing.
And they will discover that it is a myth that fly-fishing is difficult to learn.
Fly-fishing experts volunteer their time and equipment so they can share their knowledge and love of fly-fishing. The event is led by Walter and Linda McClendon of Pineywoods Fly Fishers in Lufkin; they are assisted by members of fly-fishing clubs from all over the state.
True beginners can join one of the classes for which all supplies and equipment are provided. The Dallas Fly Fishers will offer morning and afternoon classes on choosing fly-fishing equipment, performing the basic four-part cast, identifying aquatic insects (what fish eat), freshwater ecology, useful fishing knots, safety, ethics and fly-tying. The classes are free, but pre-registration is required, because class size is limited. Those who complete the class will receive basic fly-fisher certification. To reserve a spot, call Craig Brooks at (903) 670-2222.
In addition to the beginner's classes, more advanced instruction will be offered on particular casting problems, how to set up tackle, fly selection and more. Seminars will give information on subjects ranging from how to fish specific bodies of water to tips and techniques for fishing for different species. Skilled fly-tiers will make flies all day long and teach anyone who wants to learn how to do it. Pre-registration is not required for these classes and seminars.
Food vendors will be present on-site to make it possible for visitors to spend all day immersed in fly-fishing. Also present will be vendors selling gear from fly rods to kayaks for the enthusiast who wants to get started right away. You can try out all kinds of equipment and even paddle the latest model kayak around one of TFFC's ponds.
One of the things that makes Fly Fish Texas so popular with beginners and experts alike is that the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has several ponds and streams stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish, and you can tie a fly, walk 50 steps and catch a fish with it.
The tourism campaign that labels Texas "A Whole Other Country" falls short when it comes to fly-fishing--Texas is like a whole bunch of other countries. Once you've mastered the basics of fly-fishing, a world of new experiences awaits. "One of the most fulfilling things you can do is catch a fish on a fly you have tied," says casting instructor Steve Hollensed. "Tying a fly produces a fish. Casting produces a fish. Fly-fishing removes a lot of the high-tech aids in catching fish. There is more of a direct connection between the fish and the angler."
When it comes to the outdoors, connection is a powerful word. The connection Hollensed speaks of is not tethered by the fly line but is instead the invisible bond formed when human and animal lives intersect, even if only long enough for a living, breathing water-dweller to be brought to hand, admired and returned to the depths. It is that connection to wild things and wild places we seek when we fish, rather than the fish itself.
Human connection to the outdoors involves conscious conservation as well as conscientious consumption, principles unique to our species. In that sense, fly-fishing may be one of the purest expressions of what it means to be human.
The 2011 Fly Fish Texas event takes place at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center March 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All activities are included with paid admission. For more information and directions and a complete schedule of activities, visit tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/visit/specialevents/flyfishtx/.
To view short videos about the event, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Freshwater-Fisheries-Center/128462433868391.

[ 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 ]
Feb. 14, 2011
Possum Kingdom Fishery Bounces Back
ATHENS--Possum Kingdom Reservoir appears to have largely recovered from the effects of an outbreak of golden alga that struck the lake in spring 2010, according to the latest fish surveys conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) fisheries biologists.
"Largemouth bass came through the golden alga outbreak fairly well," said biologist Robert Mauk. "The largemouth bass electrofishing catch rate was 53.5 fish per hour, which is slightly up from 49.0 per hour in the 2008 survey. Most bass were below the 16-inch legal size limit and were found throughout the reservoir. Stocking has not occurred since 2005, so the smaller bass were all naturally produced despite the occasional golden alga problems."
The majority of the legal bass, including four over 20 inches, were found on the main lake from Caddo Creek to the dam.
Mauk said there is an abundance of prey species in the reservoir, and the predator species such as largemouth bass appear to be taking advantage of it. "All bass were extremely fat, probably from feeding on the abundant gizzard shad population," Mauk said. "The gizzard shad catch rate of 306.5 per hour was above the historical average of 287.9 per hour, and most shad were four to five inches in length. Bluegill numbers were down compared to recent surveys while all other species of sunfish catch rates greatly increased."
The news for crappie anglers was good as well. Trap nets are used to survey crappie populations. "Possum Kingdom had the second-highest catch rate of white crappie at 5.7 fish per net and the highest catch rate for black crappie 0.6 at fish per net ever documented at the reservoir," Mauk said. "Both catch rates are well above the historical averages. The populations had a good mix of all sizes from three to 12 inches, and body condition was considered excellent, especially for those over 10 inches."
The majority of legal-sized crappie were caught in the upper reservoir near Rock Creek, mid-lake in Bee Creek and at the entrance to Bluff Creek.
Survey results on catfish were mixed, but Mauk says there are plenty of fish available. "Blue catfish abundance was slightly down from the previous survey but consisted of more legal-sized fish than in 2009," he said. "The channel catfish catch rate was also lower than the 2009 survey. This year was the first time since 2001 that flathead catfish were sampled. The catch rates for all three catfish species was above the reservoir's historical averages."
Some catfish over 25 inches were captured in Caddo Creek and around Costello Island in about 30 feet of water. The Brazos River-Rock Creek area also had nice catfish.
"The bad news of the gill-netting survey was the low numbers of striped bass sampled," Mauk said. "Their catch rate was the lowest we have seen. Apparently, last year's golden alga kill negatively impacted the striped bass population more than other surveyed species. A majority of those sampled were seven to 11 inches in length, so they were most likely stocked in 2010. We did sample two 26-inch fish, so there are big ones available. We also sampled hybrid striped bass in the reservoir which likely came from Lake Graham when it went over the spillway."
White bass numbers were down from the 2009 survey but were higher than they were in 2007. "Numbers are good, and anglers should enjoy catching them," Mauk said. "We found them throughout the reservoir before they started their spring spawning run."
TPWD Inland Fisheries management crews sample reservoirs regularly to help biologists make management and stocking decisions. Electrofishing and trap net surveys are conducted in fall, and gill netting surveys are done in January on Possum Kingdom. Electrofishing surveys examine populations of largemouth bass and prey species such as sunfish and shad. Trap net surveys look at the black and white crappie populations. Gill net surveys monitor the catfish, white and striped bass populations.
If you have any questions, please call the Wichita Falls Inland Fisheries office at (940) 766-2383 or send an e-mail to robert.mauk@tpwd.texas.gov .