|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-03-19                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
March 19, 2014
Colorado River Guadalupe Bass Is Multiple State, Potential World Records
Fish on display at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens
ATHENS--A 3.71-pound, 17-inch Guadalupe Bass caught from the Colorado River below Austin appears to qualify as a new state and world record in several categories.
Dr. Bryan Townsend of Austin was fly-fishing with guide Shea McClanahan on Saturday, February 1, when he landed the largest specimen of the state fish of Texas reported caught.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist Marcos De Jesus met the party at the river and assisted in transporting the fish to the Cabela's in Buda, where it was weighed on a certified scale.
DNA testing confirmed the fish is pure Guadalupe bass.
Townsend elected to donate the fish to TPWD for display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The fish can be seen in the dive tank in the theater.
"The Colorado River below Austin, from Longhorn Dam to La Grange, has been a special bass fishery for many years," said De Jesus. "Productive waters and excellent habitat have helped support a healthy black bass population composed of largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass. Recently, with reduced pulses due to drought, aquatic vegetation exploded all over this river segment. Flood events in October flushed a lot of it downstream, making it easier to fish."
De Jesus noted that many large Guadalupe and largemouth bass are caught by anglers every year from this stretch of river. Guadalupe bass in the two- to three-pound range are frequently reported and documented by fishing guides in their web pages. Reports of 50- to 100-fish trips are not uncommon.
"Spring and fall are good times to catch large numbers of fish," De Jesus said. "TPWD has been working with local governments and private landowners to develop public river access in this stretch to allow paddlers to enjoy this resource. There are a number of public access points available, including the Bastrop paddling trail."
For information on access points, visit tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/.
Townsend's fish qualifies as the new state and water body weight and water body and state fly-fishing records. It may qualify for International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records as well.
World records are established by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Texas records are available at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/.
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[ Note: This item is more than three 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: Shelly Plante, TPWD, (512) 389-4500 or shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov; Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ]
March 19, 2014
April 1 Registration Deadline for Annual Texas Birding Contest
AUSTIN - Whether you're a novice birder with a busy schedule or a "fool" for birding who enjoys a little friendly competition, the 18th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic is a must. Form a team and enter to compete by the April 1 deadline.
Enter one or several categories lasting from 24 hours of competition or for an entire week during this year's Birding Classic being held from April 15 through May 15. For the second year, participants choose from among 42 different categories that offer something for everyone, regardless of bird watching experience, age, ability, location, length of time available to bird and other variants.
Last year's Great Texas Birding Classic attracted more than 300 participants from El Paso and the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley and the Pineywoods of East Texas, who recorded 398 avian species during a host of regional and statewide daylong and weeklong tournaments. Fifty-six teams entered, attracted by the format flexibility and lower registration fees.
"Last year's participation was the highest in the past decade," says GTBC director Shelly Plante, TPWD's nature tourism manager. "The Classic is a perfect fit for naturalists, birders, communities, nature centers, bird clubs and school groups. Besides, it's a fun way to spend the day outside with family and friends."
Participating teams can choose from a variety of tournament categories, choosing to participate for a day or more and compete regionally or statewide, including:
--The Big Sit! This category is great for teams that have one or two "ringer" birders or if you have lots of people wanting to be on one team together.
--State Park Tournament, Big Sit! or Sunrise-to-Noon Tournament. Ideal for a team seeking a more laid-back day without too much traveling around and for teams composed of mixed ages, so kids, teens and adults can be on a team together.
--Regional Big Day. Perfect for those who want to test their skills against others in your part of the state, while birding for most or all of a 24-hour period. Categories are separated by age groups. Mentor a Roughwings (13 years and younger) or Gliders (age 14-18) or do your own adult tourney.
--Statewide Tournament. Take on birders throughout Texas for either the Statewide Big Day Tournament for 24 hours of birding or enter the Statewide Weeklong Tournament for six consecutive days of birding anywhere and everywhere in Texas.
To register online and learn the rules and tournament details, visit: www.BirdingClassic.org. All registration fees and sponsorship dollars go toward conservation grants benefiting birding, nature tourism, and habitat restoration and enhancement projects throughout Texas. Some winning teams even help select which projects will be funded.
Have questions? Talk to Birding Classic staff by calling (512) 389-4500.

[ Note: This item is more than three 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: Todd Robinson, (903) 786-2389, todd.robinson@tpwd.texas.gov ]
March 19, 2014
Lake Texoma Crappie Could Set Multiple Records
ATHENS--A black crappie caught March 13 from Lake Texoma could set a state record as well as two water-body records.
Johnny Summers, Jr., of Pottsboro caught the 2.93-pound, 16.88-inch fish in the Highport Marina Cove using a blue-and-silver Rat-L-Trap. The current weight record for Lake Texoma black crappie is 2.75 pounds, caught in 2008.
The fish was weighed and measured by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries staff before being released back into the lake.
The fish's length apparently qualifies it for two additional records, the Lake Texoma catch-and-release record and the state catch-and-release record.
All three records are pending receipt and acceptance of the applications by TPWD's Angler Recognition Program. The catch should also qualify Summers for a Big Fish Award.
To learn how to enter fish in TPWD's Angler Recognition Program, check current records and download application forms, visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/.
Contact the staff at the Lake Texoma fisheries station by phone at (903)786-2389, FAX (903) 786-9871 or e-mail bruce.hysmith@tpwd.texas.gov or john.moczygemba@tpwd.texas.gov.

[ Note: This item is more than three 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]
March 19, 2014
Two-ShareLunker Day Ends March Drought
ATHENS--After almost a month of no entries into the Toyota ShareLunker program, two fish were caught on the same day, March 18.
Ken Leonard of New Braunfels was fishing in Austin's Lady Bird Lake when he caught Toyota ShareLunker 556. The 13.0-pound fish took his three-inch River to Sea swim bait at 1 p.m. The fish was 25 inches long and 20.5 inches in girth.
The fish is the first ShareLunker from Lady Bird Lake. The previous heaviest fish reported from the lake weighed 12.13 pounds.
Toledo Bend produced its seventh all-time ShareLunker about 6 p.m. Lance Wakeland of Fenton, Missouri, was fishing in two feet of water when the 13.30-pound bass took his spinner bait. The fish was 24.5 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Prior to Leonard's catch, the last ShareLunker entry was February 21. While March is typically the peak month for catches of big bass, cold weather keeping water temperatures low apparently has slowed the movement of big bass into spawning areas. Wind and rain on weekends have probably kept many anglers off the water. Two catches on the same day could be an indication the pattern is changing.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
The number to call to report a ShareLunker catch is (903) 681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see www.tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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