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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2017-11-02                                    |
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Nov. 2, 2017
Inland Fisheries Staff Considering Simplified Largemouth Bass Regulations Across the State
AUSTIN - After nearly a year of reviewing special largemouth bass regulations in place across the state, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department inland fisheries management staff are considering changes to simplify regulations at 18 public lakes.
Inland Fisheries staff previewed the potential changes to bass regulations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at their meeting held yesterday in Lufkin.
"Largemouth bass are one of the first species we started managing in the state, and we've done a great job managing our bass fisheries through time," said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research. "Our process has been to use different kinds of regulations for bass to accomplish specific management goals. With these potential changes, we still hope to attain the same management goals, but we are trying to reduce the number and kinds of special regulations with the goal of making them less complicated, more easily understood and enforceable."
Twelve of the 18 lakes affected by the potential changes would revert to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit, which governs nearly 80 percent of water bodies in the state. The other six lakes affected would see changes to more appropriate special regulations.
Lakes being considered to revert to the statewide limit include Granbury, Possum Kingdom, Ratcliff, Bryan, Cooper, Old Mount Pleasant City, Bridgeport, Burke-Crenshaw, Georgetown, Madisonville, San Augustine and Sweetwater.
A change from the 14-24 inch slot length limit to a 16-24 inch slot is being considered for Fayette County Reservoir, Gibbons Creek Reservoir and Lake Monticello. Under the potential changes, Grapevine Lake would change to no minimum length limit with a bag limit of 5 fish of which only two can be less than 18 inches. Purtis Creek State Park Lake and Lake Raven would change from catch and release only to a five-fish daily bag and a 16-inch maximum length limit. The 16-24 slot and 16-inch maximum limits include provisions for anglers to possess bass 24 inches or longer for possible submission to the Toyota ShareLunker program.
Terre said before considering any changes, district fisheries biologists were tasked to look carefully at the special regulations and determine if they met the current largemouth bass goals and objectives at each reservoir. In some cases, such as those lakes with 14-18 inch slot length limits and the 16- and 18-inch minimum length limits, biologists found the regulations had little or mixed results on the bass population when compared to the statewide limit. Reservoirs having a 14-24 inch slot length limit or catch and release only were moved to other successful regulation types to reduce regulation complexity without compromising fishery management goals.
If the changes being considered are approved, the number of reservoirs 500 acres and larger with special largemouth bass regulations would decrease from 30 to 21. Terre said biologists will continue to look at the remaining reservoirs with special regulations with the intent of further simplifying the rules at those lakes, too.
"Our goal is for anglers to see less variation of the largemouth bass rules when they visit Texas lakes," Terre said. "But we are doing this without sacrificing our standards of making the bass fishing great. We hold that high and true for our fisheries."
Additionally, inland fisheries staff are considering changing existing special regulations on lakes Bellwood and Davey Crockett, to a 16-inch maximum length limit. Terre said these changes are being considered to improve or maintain the existing bass populations in these reservoirs.
In January, inland fisheries staff will present these possible changes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. If the Commission approves, the proposed changes will be published in the Texas Register, which begins the process of official public comment. Prior to that, anglers wishing to comment on the potential changes can direct those to Dave Terre (dave.terre@tpwd.texas.gov; 512-389-4855).
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[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Nov. 2, 2017
Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Coming to Lake Travis
Elite Fishing Tournament Heading to Austin in 2018
AUSTIN - Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF) benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is coming to Austin May 17-20, 2018. The $1 million fishing tournament will feature some the best anglers in the world competing on Lake Travis - one of central Texas' hottest bass fishing lakes - for the chance to win $100,000 and an automatic entry to the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods.
"We are proud that for the first time in 50 years B.A.S.S will be holding a professional fishing tournament on Lake Travis," said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research. "This is an exciting opportunity to showcase this excellent fishery and we are thankful for all the benefits this event provides to TPWD."
"With 110 of the best bass anglers on the planet converging on Lake Travis, the millions of fishing fans who watch our live coverage of the event or read about it later will appreciate why this lake is considered the 'crown jewel' of the Colorado," said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO.
Proceeds benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's youth fishing and urban outreach programs, which have received $2.75 million from TBTF and the previous version of the popular tournament, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, since 2007. These programs include the Neighborhood Fishin' Program, which brings fishing to families at 18 community park lakes in 11 urban areas, and the Texas Division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, which seeks to interest youth in grades K-12 in fishing.
"The Neighborhood Fishin' program supports about 100,000 anglers per year, and about 50 percent of those are youth or other people new to fishing," Terre said. "That's very significant. If you think about this event and what it supports, it's really creating 50,000 new anglers per year and bringing the great outdoors to young people in major urban areas, including Austin."
TBTF also features the conservation-minded catch-weigh- and immediate release format, which maximizes the survival of tournament-caught fish. The format uses on-boat judges for weighing all fish in the boat, but it allows for one large fish over a designated size per angler to be brought in each day for public viewing and subsequent return to the lake.
"This exciting format allows spectators to see the giant bass that Texas' is famous for, but also places an extra measure of care for our bass because most are released right after they are caught," Terre said. "Leaders of the tournament are announced at the end of each day as they cross the stage with some of their biggest fish. It's exciting to hear them tell their stories after their day of fishing and maybe get to meet them in person."
Only Bassmaster Elite Series anglers will be able to compete in Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, which is one of the qualifying events for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. The angler catching the heaviest bass of the event wins a new Toyota Tundra while the winner of the event receives a $100,000 first-place prize and an automatic berth in the Classic.
While anglers go head to head on the lake, families and fans will be able to enjoy outdoor activities, seminars, and shopping at the TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area and the Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo. All these activities, including a daily weigh-in and opportunities to interact with professional anglers, will occur at Jones Brothers Park in Jonestown.
TBTF will be covered in real time in Bassmaster LIVE programming on Bassmaster.com and WatchESPN and in a special episode of The Bassmasters television program to be aired on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
For more information, visit Bassmaster online.
Gulf States Toyota sponsors Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest. Other sponsors of the event include:
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Yamaha, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Nitro Boats, Mercury, Minn Kota, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Shimano, Advance Auto Parts, Livingston Lures, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels
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