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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2019-05-24                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than two months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
May 24, 2019
Get Ready for Free Fishing Day in Texas June 1
AUSTIN - Texas offers a Free Fishing Day on the first Saturday in June every year to help kick off National Fishing and Boating Week. On this day anglers can fish on any public waterbody in the state without a fishing license.
To help celebrate Free Fishing Day, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and other organizations are hosting many free events around the state on Saturday, June 1, 2019, to provide fun, high quality fishing opportunities to anglers of all skill levels and all ages.
Here are 10 fun ways families can celebrate Free Fishing Day in Texas:
1. Try Saltwater Fishing from a Pier - Wheelchair accessible fishing piers are available for public use up and down the coast. Fishing piers are a great place for the whole family to try saltwater fishing without the need for boat. Public access sites can be found in each bay system here.
2. Kick Off Neighborhood Fishin' in Northern Houston: The Timberlane Utility District and TPWD have partnered to bring a new Neighborhood Fishin' program site to Spring-area residents. Anglers of all ages are invited to attend the official launch of Neighborhood Fishin' at Herman Little Park 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 1 to fish for channel catfish and enjoy the outdoors.
3. Compete in a catfishing tournament - The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens is celebrating Free Fishing Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1 with free admission, free food and drinks and free entry into a kid's catfish tournament with all tackle and bait provided. Anglers may fish as individuals or as teams with an adult assisting a child to win fun prizes. After fishing, visitors can explore a vast array of aquatic exhibits, watch a live fish-feeding dive show, and take a narrated tram tour through the outdoor hatchery facility.
4. Visit Sea Center Texas - Grab your fishing poles, bait, and lawn chairs for a free youth fishing event 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. June 1 at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson. Visitors can also explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a 20-foot touch pool that allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones.
5. Go Fishing in the City - TPWD's Neighborhood Fishin' lakes provide urban angling access for the entire family across the state. In all, 19 Neighborhood Fishin' lakes provide a great opportunity to catch channel catfish in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Bryan-College Station, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, San Angelo, Waco and Wichita Falls. Information on lake locations and how-to fishing videos can be found online at www.neighborhoodfishin.org.
6. Go Kayak Fishing on a Texas Paddling Trail: With more than 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, Texas offers unlimited possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types. Enjoy improved and maintained fishing and paddling access to rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, bayous, and bays on any of the 75 official Texas Paddling Trails available throughout the state.
7. Become an outdoorsman in the Big Country - Become an outdoorsman in the Big Country - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the City of Abilene, and various other organizations will provide outdoor education activities for kids and adults 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Abilene Outdoor Adventures 2019 event at Grover Nelson Park. Participants can enjoy fishing education and fishing (some loaner tackle and bait provided) for catfish at the Neighborhood Fishin' Program's Grover Nelson Park pond. Other activities include archery, air rifles, wildlife education, plant identification activities, backpacking and camping demonstrations, live music, food and more.
8. Explore a Texas State Park - Bonham State Park in Bonham is hosting a family fishing event 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 1. With paid admission to the park, visitors of all ages can enjoy fishing instruction, fish identification, fish printing and talking with a ranger. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be available.
9. Fish, Paddle and Camp at a TPWD Leased Access Site: The TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program leases private land to provide access to the public on nine Texas rivers. Anglers and paddlers may use these leased areas for fishing and launching kayaks, canoes or other non-motorized boats. Some even allow camping for an enjoyable overnight outdoor getaway. Find more information and directions to the leased public access sites here.
10. Attend a Fishing Rodeo - Lake Arrowhead State Park near Wichita Falls is celebrating Free Fishing Day by hosting the 25th Annual Mark Howell Memorial Fishing Rodeo 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 1. The event includes a Kid Fish and Adult Rough Fish contest. Fishing supplies such as poles and tackle will be available from the tackle loaner program while supplies last. Check the Texas State Park alerts page before you go to check for weather related closures.
Although June 1 is designated as Free Fishing Day in Texas, fishing is free year-round at every Texas State Park. Learn more about Free Fishing Day and National Fishing and Boating Week June 2-10 at www.TakeMeFishing.org.
Anglers should keep in mind that a fishing license is needed when fishing in federal waters for the private recreational angler red snapper season opening June 1.
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[ Note: This item is more than two months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
May 24, 2019
More Zebra Mussels Found in Texas Lakes; Boaters Urged to 'Clean, Drain, Dry' This Summer
Lakes Walter E. Long, Granger, Placid and Dunlap Added to Statewide List of Zebra Mussel Suspect and Positive Lakes
AUSTIN - With four Central Texas lakes receiving upgraded zebra mussel classifications this month, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is urging the thousands of boaters and paddlers expected to hit the water this summer to clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment to help avoid spreading invasive species to new locations.
"Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to boating season in Texas, and while we want everyone to have a great time we also want them to avoid giving free rides to invasive species when they travel to new lakes," said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Director. "The best way to help keep Texas lakes fun for everyone and prevent the spread of destructive invasive species is to clean, drain and dry your boats and equipment - every time."
As of May 2019, 18 Texas lakes are currently infested with invasive giant salvinia, and 15 Texas lakes are infested with an established, reproducing population of zebra mussels. The newest additions to the list of nine positive lakes where zebra mussels have been detected on more than one occasion include Lake Walter E. Long, Lake Granger and Lake Dunlap. The newest addition to the list of six suspect lakes where zebra mussels or their larvae have been found only once in recent history is Lake Placid.
"Most of the lakes that received upgraded classifications are downstream of infested reservoirs, so the likelihood that zebra mussel larvae would disperse and invade them was high," Van Zee said. "But boaters still need to be extremely diligent about cleaning, draining and drying, because only boats, barges, and other equipment can transport zebra mussels upstream or to new river basins."
Invasive species can harm the recreational experience at lakes and damage aquatic ecosystems. While zebra mussels and giant salvinia remain some of the biggest threats to Texas lakes, other highly-invasive species can also be spread or introduced by in-state and out-of-state lake users, including water hyacinth and quagga mussels.
In Texas, transporting prohibited invasive species is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation. Boaters are required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles -including bait buckets - before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water in order to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species. Additionally, boaters should remove all plant material from boats, trailers and tow vehicles and place it in a trash receptacle before leaving the lake.
Those using kayaks, stand up paddleboards, wet suits and any other equipment that comes into contact with the water should also take care to clean, drain and dry their gear, as microscopic zebra mussel larvae can survive on wet surfaces for up to three weeks.
While day-use boaters and paddlers can spread invasive species in just one trip, boats that have been stored on a lake that has zebra mussels pose the highest risk of spreading them to new lakes. Zebra mussels colonize hulls, propellers, water systems, and other parts of boats, including some spots where they are difficult to detect. TPWD has created a new website geared toward providing marinas and boat owners with guidance on decontamination and inspection procedures that must be performed before moving boats that have been stored in the water with zebra mussels to a new location.
TPWD and partners continually monitor for invasive species in Texas lakes, but anyone who finds them in lakes where they haven't been found before or who spots them on boats, trailers or equipment that is being moved is encouraged to help prevent new introductions by reporting the sighting to TPWD immediately at (512) 389-4848 or by emailing photos and location information to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.
To learn more about giant salvinia, zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas, visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/StopInvasives.
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