Features

Several of the lakes in our state of Texas have been introduced to both striped and hybrid striped bass. These fish do grow to large sizes and offer some really good action for anglers. Lake Livingston and Toledo Bend are great places for taking both species. Sam Rayburn has some hybrids remaining, but none have been introduced since a malfunction at the hatchery. Hybrids are not usually able to reproduce and are available through put-and-take efforts. According to Ronald G. Habron of Southern Region Aquaculture Center, striper can actually spawn.

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As the local saltwater areas become warmer, some super fun outdoor activity picks up. We are fortunate to be in an area where the blue crabs are plentiful. Historically, the pursuit of these tasty crustaceans has been a family adventure. Cold weather means cold water, and the crabs don’t move around much. With the type of winter that has just passed the water was chilled for quite a time. That trend has been changing and with the warmer water comes some really fine times to head out to the areas where the crab action is.

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The water temperature on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend has finally topped the 70-degree mark, according to guide Bill Fondren, and with that warming water temperature, crappie are beginning their transition from shallow to deep water.

“They started moving out of the shallows last week,” said Fondren, who runs guided crappie fishing trips on both lakes. “On Sam Rayburn, we’re catching them on the upper end of the lake around brush in about 8 to 11 feet of water. But on Toledo Bend, the most consistent action is over grass in 8 to 10 feet of water.”

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Outdoors folks seem to continually face natural obstacles that give them plenty of excuses for slow fishing days. Sometimes it is too cold, and at other times it is too hot. Then comes the too windy days and then the thunderstorms. All of these things do make conditions uncomfortable for the anglers. At least it does for most folks. There are others, however, who seem to score well no matter what nature seems to put in front of them. I’ve long believed in the old saying that 10 percent of the fishermen will catch 90 percent of the fish.

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Master Gardener Market Day is just around the corner! We all wait for it, so get there early on Saturday, April 16. They will feature plants that are adapted for our area. Many of the plants are in the EarthKind program, which means that they require little special care. Lots of vendors will be there who will offer a range of interesting products, even homemade cookies, links and drinks. In tandem, as always, is the Master Gardener Flea Market. Peek through for trash and treasures just waiting for you to take them home.

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