|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-04-29                                    |
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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: Dave Terre, Chief of Management and Research, TPWD Inland Fisheries, (512) 389-4855, dave.terre@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2014
Toyota Texas Bass Classic Brings Big Benefits to TPWD, Local Economy, Lake Fork Fishery
ATHENS--The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) world championship bass tournament will return to Lake Fork May 9--11, 2014.
Designed to showcase one of the best trophy bass lakes in the world and the fisheries management that developed it, the TTBC has raised over $1.75 million for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) fisheries programs. This year's tournament is expected to bring in an additional $250,000 in funding for the department's youth fishing and outreach programs.
The TTBC was conceived on Lake Fork during a fishing trip involving professional angler Kelly Jordan and then TPWD commissioners T. Dan Friedkin and Donato Ramos. The first two TTBC tournaments were held on Lake Fork in 2007 and 2008 before moving to Lake Conroe.
The TTBC is much more than just a fishing tournament. The partnership between TPWD and Toyota and the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is designed to support programs that encourage people, especially youth, to get outdoors and fish. An Outdoor Adventures Area will feature displays and outdoor activities that give attendees opportunities to experience fishing for catfish, archery, kayaking and more. Sampling is encouraged at the barbecue cook-off, and visitors can test-drive the latest ATVs and Toyota trucks. Country music concerts by top entertainers cap each day's events.
The TTBC also gives financially supports TPWD's Neighborhood Fishin' Program, which regularly stocks fish into 16 urban-area lakes that allow people to fish close to home. The newest Neighborhood Fishin' Lake is Woldert Pond in Tyler, just down the road from Lake Fork. Some 85,000 people a year fish in Neighborhood Fishin' ponds, and about half those are youth or people new to fishing.
Another program supported by the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is the Texas division of the State-Fish Art Contest. Students in grades K-12 submit drawings of fish and compete for scholarships. Artwork from that contest appears on Toyota Texas Bass Classic tickets. Research shows that students who take part in this contest are more likely to become interested in fishing. More than 1,100 youths entered the Texas division of the State-Fish Art Contest just ended, more than any other state.
The partnership between TTBC and TPWD exemplify TPWD's core messages. Everything is connected. Everyone does play a part. But when you have a big bass on the end of your line, life isn't just better outside, it's AWESOME! Nowhere in Texas is that more likely to happen than on Lake Fork, and the reasons are the partnership between TPWD and the Sabine River Authority (SRA), geography, and TPWD's management of the lake.
Lake Fork's outstanding bass fishery was made possible by a number of factors. Fork is located in a watershed that provides important nutrients to the lake, and TPWD and the SRA cooperated to build on that base. Much of the timber was left standing in the lake, and Florida largemouth bass were stocked into farm ponds in the reservoir basin prior to impoundment. Progressively restrictive harvest regulations have protected fish of breeding size. In recent years, TPWD has partnered with SRA and the Lake Fork Sportsman's Association to enhance fish habitat.
Lake Fork has produced 256 of the 557 entries into the Toyota ShareLunker program, an angler recognition and selective breeding program that uses angler-donated 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass to produce fingerlings for stocking into Texas public waters. Fork produced 33 of the 50 biggest bass ever caught in Texas, including the current state record of 18.18 pounds.
Conservation is at the heart of TPWD fisheries management, and the TTBC tournament format furthers that effort. Fish 16 to 24 inches long are weighed on the water and immediately released; anglers are allowed to bring one fish over 24 inches to the weigh-in. Fish brought to the weigh-in are cared for by TPWD biologists and returned to the lake.
The payoff for these efforts can be seen in the local economy. Lake Fork's economic impact on Wood County is estimated at more than $23 million annually, and the 2008 TTBC brought 30,000 people to the area and generated nearly $2 million for the local economy.
"None of this can happen without public support," said Dave Terre, TPWD's Inland Fisheries Chief of Management and Research. "By attending the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, you are also supporting TPWD programs such as Neighborhood Fishin' and the State-Fish Art Contest. In addition to helping make possible these programs that benefit your own family today, you will play a part in passing on the traditions of fishing and good management of our natural resources to future generations. They and we thank you."
Information on the 2014 TTBC is posted at www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com as it becomes available. Videos of previous tournaments can be viewed on YouTube.
On the Net:

[ 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: Stephanie Salinas, 512-389-5756 or stephanie.salinas@tpwd.texas.gov or Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533 or rob.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2014
Treat Mom to a Picnic this Mother's Day at a Texas State Park
AUSTIN--Plan a picnic and let mom relax at your favorite state park this Mother's Day, May 11.
Picnics offer a unique twist on traditional Mother's Day gifts, as well as quality time to bond through other park activities such as hiking, biking and birding.
State park picnic options range from outdoor tables and charcoal grills to full kitchens and group pavilions available by reservation. Some picnickers bring their own cookware such as Dutch ovens and gas stoves. Choose from a variety of scenic, and often well-shaded, areas near rivers, lakes and beaches. For help planning the best picnic for your mom, visit http://www.texasstateparks.org/picnic.
Texas State Parks, Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Beef Council and a community of food bloggers have shared 28 easy-to-make picnic recipes to help plan your picnic. The list includes recipes such as mango chicken salad lettuce wraps, mojo beef kabobs and creamy chicken chow mein salad. For these and other recipes visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/parks/things-to-do/picnic-recipes
For more inspiration, view the Texas Parks and Wildlife "Picnics and Outdoor Cooking" Pinterest board, featuring "Dutch Oven Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas," which won the 2013 TPWD Outdoor Cooking Contest.
See this video on how one Houston area family celebrated Mother's Day by heading outdoors.
To book a Texas-sized picnic for the whole family in a larger group pavilion, call (512) 389-8900 book online at http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/park_reservations/, or get more information at http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/parkinfo/facilities
Access news images, videos, regional content, social media posts, radio episodes, public service announcements and an Outdoor Activity of the Month topic calendar at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fk0iritqskftm4p/lUDnbU2S5Y?m
On the Net:
Video: http://youtu.be/5qbf5_UTsz8

[ 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: James Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 29, 2014
Cinco de Mayo Celebration May 3 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS--The Athens community will celebrate the joint heritage of Texas and Mexico with a day of dance, food and fishing at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center on Saturday, May 3.
The event will feature performances of traditional Mexican dances in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center beginning at 11:30 a.m. The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will present a hawks and owls show at 1:00 p.m. Athens area restaurants will compete in a salsa contest, which will be judged at 2:30 p.m. See a complete schedule below.
All Cinco de Mayo activities are included with regular admission to TFFC.
Highlights of the dance performances include appearances by Tyler Ballet Folklorico, Athens area elementary students and Las Tapatias, Athens' own folkloric dance group.
The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will do walk-around displays of birds including owls and hawks throughout the day. Visitors will be able to see the birds at close range and learn about their abilities and habits.
El San Luis Restaurant will serve food in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center.
Athens High School Key Club and National Honors Society students will be decorating the facility and volunteering during the event.
Sponsors of the event include Red Hat Rentals, Schneider Electric, FutureMatrix, Inc., First State Bank, Citizens National Bank, Aaron's Sales and Lease and Friends of TFFC.
Schedule of Events
--11:30am Tyler Ballet Folklorico adult dance performance
--12:00pm Dance performances by Athens ISD students and Las Tapatias
--12:30pm Tyler Ballet Folklorico children's dance performance
--1:00pm Blackland Raptor Center Hawks and Owls presentation
--1:30pm Athens ISD students dance performance
--2:00pm Tyler Ballet Folklorico regional dances performance
--2:30pm Salsa contest judging and Las Tapatias dance performance
For more information on the event contact James Booker at (903) 670-2266, james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov. Se habla espaƱol.
On the Net:

[ 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: Stevie Patnode, Marketing and Communications, (971) 246-2235 or stevie.patnode@octagon.com; Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director, (479) 715-6103 or lenny@toyotatexasbassclassic.com ]
April 29, 2014
Outdoor Adventures Area, Kid-friendly Activities and Off-road Test Tracks Highlight Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Fork
ATHENS--The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), the world championship of professional bass fishing, is bringing the best anglers along with some of the biggest bands in country music to Lake Fork. In addition, there will be a full lineup of family-friendly activities taking place on the grounds of the Sabine River Authority (SRA) just east of the Lake Fork Dam.
"We have great country music and a stellar field of anglers coming to Lake Fork. With all of the activities we have planned for fans and families, it's shaping up to be a great weekend at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic," said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur. "We encourage everyone to get their tickets early. This event is really about supporting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and it's a great way for the community to enjoy world-class entertainment and support a worthy cause."
Daily tickets are valid for admission to the festival grounds for angler weigh-ins, daily concerts, Bass Pro Shops Kids Zone and the outdoor adventure area and expo, among other activities. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the gate. To purchase tickets, visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com. Limited tickets are also available at local Toyota dealers, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Brookshire's.
Following are the highlights of the three-day event.
Take-Off: Come out to the SRA to see the top 50 pro anglers in the world each morning. Get angler autographs, see the latest gear and equipment, listen to angler interviews and cheer on your favorites as they take off to do battle with Lake Fork's giant bass (Take-Off parking and admission are free. Take-Off gates open at 6:00am).
Outdoor Adventures Area: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area features kid-friendly activities that highlight TPWD's youth fishing programs. Activities include archery, Operation Game Thief Wall of Shame, kids casting challenge and a host of other outdoor-themed educational and interactive exhibits.
Toyota Drive Center: Fans can try out brand new Toyota vehicles on an off-road test track. Enjoy hands-on driving experiences in the latest Toyota makes and models including the 2014 Tundra, Tacoma, Sequoia, 4Runner and FJ Cruiser.
Yamaha Test Track: Fans can test various Yamaha ATVs and side-by-sides on the 25,000 square foot test track that includes bumps, twists, log-filled roads and obstacles.
Outdoor Expo: Come early to visit the 80,000 square foot expo center featuring the latest in outdoor gear & products from Bass Pro Shops & Nitro Boats. Take in a seminar at the Berkley tank or see the latest line of Toyota vehicles. There is plenty to see and do in the Outdoor Expo!
Bass Pro Shops Kids Zone: The Outdoor Kids Zone will feature entertainment for all ages. Families can enjoy several activities including an inflatable obstacle course and Velcro wall, BB gun shooting range, kayak pool and mechanical bull riding.
Good Eats: Johnsonville Big Taste Grill, The world's largest touring grill, will be on site grilling up more than 750 brats at a time. Not your average backyard barbeque, the grill weighs more than 53,000 pounds and measures 65 feet long. An array of food trucks will be on hand to cater to all fan's savory needs. From Cajun meat pies to snow cones, ice cream and gourmet treats, TTBC has it covered!
Live Concerts with Pat Green, Little Big Town, Justin Moore and more: TTBC will bring a star-studded music lineup to Lake Fork each day following the tournament weigh-ins. Pat Green will kick off the weekend's concerts on Friday, May 9, followed by Little Big Town on Saturday, May 10. Closing the event Sunday, May 11, will be Justin Moore.
The TTBC tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Inland Fisheries Division. Toyota is the title sponsor for the event. Official sponsors of TTBC are ATX Wheels, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Geico, Leer Truck Caps, Republic Services, HOLT CAT, Shakespeare Ugly Stik, Tellespen, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire's, TLC Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, KMOO 99.9 and the Coca-Cola Company. Tickets are currently on sale. For more information visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.
On the Net:
Facebook.com/ToyotaTexasBassClassic: https://www.facebook.com/ToyotaTexasBassClassicTwitter @TxBassClassic: http://twitter.com/TxBassClassic