|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-02-29                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven 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: Michael Baird, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist, (254) 666-5190 or michael.baird@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 29, 2012
Fishing for New Lake Records at Pat Cleburne Lake
ATHENS--While drought and reports of low lake levels have kept many anglers at home instead of on the water, recent rains have refilled many lakes, and the fishing is fine. Pat Cleburne Lake near the town of the same name is a case in point.
Many Pat Cleburne anglers, especially catfish anglers, claim the lake to be their favorite "honey hole" due to the lake's relatively low visitation. These claims are easy to justify based on water body records. Rod and reel records for the lake include 11.0-pound largemouth bass, 1.3-pound white bass, and 1.0-pound white crappie. Jug line records boast a 30.1-pound blue catfish and 52.0-pound flathead catfish, while the bowfishing record for common carp is 7.0 pounds.
Anyone can enjoy fishing Pat Cleburne and have a great opportunity to seek out new record fish, since existing records are limited. For example, there are no rod and reel records for channel, blue and flathead catfish, black crappie or spotted bass. Additionally, there are no records for freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, river carpsucker, common and grass carp, spotted and longnose gar, bullhead catfishes or panfishes. This means there are plenty of new water body record fish swimming freely around the lake! Other record categories, such as fly-fishing and junior angler, are also wide open for Pat Cleburne anglers.
Pat Cleburne is a 1,558-acre reservoir supplied by the Nolan River. Although maximum depth is nearly 40 feet just out from the dam, the upper end consists of mostly shallow water. Fish habitat consists of rocky shoreline near the dam, small timber laydowns, private docks, overhanging brush, and emergent shoreline vegetation in the form of water willow, bulrush, and cattail. Like most central Texas lakes, Pat Cleburne suffered from extreme low water levels in 2011; however, the lake is currently full again.
Information about all Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fish record categories, including how to apply for each, can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/. The link also contains a list of certified scale locations throughout the state, photo galleries of junior and adult anglers with their catches, and a mobile record search which can be set to the home screen of certain smartphones and used like an app, allowing anglers to look up current records for any given water body in the state.
So the next time you're wondering where to fish, consider Pat Cleburne Lake, and keep the current water body records in mind. If you think you have a record fish, please contact the Inland Fisheries Management office in Waco at (254) 666-5190, Academy Sports of Waco at (254) 399-2410, or consult the above-mentioned link to find a certified scale near you. Don't forget to take pictures of your catch; you might just be the next record holder!
And who was Pat Cleburne? According to the Handbook of Texas, he was a major general in the Confederate Army who was killed in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, in November 1864.

[ Note: This item is more than seven 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. 29, 2012
Spring Breaking at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS, Texas--Families looking for a place to have an inexpensive, rewarding family vacation during spring break (and dreading $4 a gallon gas) need look no farther than the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens.
Located just 75 miles southeast of Dallas, 100 miles east of Waco and 125 miles north of Bryan/College Station, TFFC is a one-tank round trip for 4 or 5 million of you.
TFFC offers free fishing with paid admission for channel catfish and rainbow trout with no license, bait, tackle or experience required, and from March 10 until the end of rainbow trout season in late April, visitors can harvest trout for free. Daily limit is five trout per person. Anyone wishing to harvest trout should bring an ice chest and ice.
Visitors will also want to check out the center's 300,000 gallons of aquaria featuring native Texas fish, including black bullhead catfish, grass pickerel, lake chubsucker, freshwater drum and white bass, along with sunfish, gar and crappie. There are also some truly monster fish on display, including largemouth bass weighing more than 15 pounds and alligator gar weighing 200 or so.
Because there is so much to do and see at TFFC, you'll want to spend the whole day there, so a food vendor will be on site during Fly Fish Texas March 10 and also Tuesday through Saturday, March 13--17. Visitors are also welcome to picnic in the areas provided, and Athens, where the hamburger was invented (yes, really!) has plenty of restaurants.
Weekdays at 11:00 a.m., Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. a diver hand-feeds the fish in a 26,000-gallon aquarium with a viewing auditorium while discussing their biology and behavior. Visitors can ask questions of the diver through a live underwater link.
After the dive show, visitors can take a tram tour of the hatchery where TFFC annually raises two to three million largemouth bass for stocking into public waters, channel catfish, smallmouth bass and koi carp (fish have to eat, too).
Families with youngsters needing to work off some energy will want to disembark the tram at the far end of the hatchery and walk back along the ADA-compliant Wetlands Trail. This 0.8-mile trail features interpretive exhibits on the flora and fauna (that's the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees), a working bee-hive with see-through walls, a wildflower area and scads of turtles in the ponds.
If you should happen to visit during a spring shower, there's plenty to be seen inside the Visitor Center. All the aquaria can be viewed from a covered walkway, and indoor exhibits include a fishing museum, a freshwater fishing hall of fame, displays showing how fish are spawned and raised and a well-stocked gift shop.
All this is yours for the price of admission: $5.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors, and $3.50 for children ages 4 to 12. For more information, call (903) 676-2277 or visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.
On the Net:
Information on Athens dining, lodging and attractions: http://www.athenstx.org/