Ableson, Prye win big trout contest on Sabine and Calcasieu lakes

Trey Prye used a floating Fat Boy lure to catch this 7.13-pound trout while fish

Cold fronts continue to make trout fishing extremely tough to figure out on Sabine Lake. However, a few anglers willing to grind it out are finding heavy trout on both Sabine and Calcasieu. During the Dailey’s Hunt N Fish big trout contest held on both Sabine and Calcasieu lakes last Sunday, March 23, the heaviest trout came from Louisiana. That’s where anglers Cut Ableson and Trey Prye caught the heaviest trout of the contest weighing 7.13 pounds. The heaviest three-trout weigh in came from Bruce Baugh and Brian Ko, weighing 14.78 pounds. 

Dailey’s reports that 32 anglers fished this tourney.

Both Ableson and Prye fish on Sabine and Calcasieu quite a bit. They pre-fished on Calcasieu Friday and Saturday and caught solid trout both days.

“We were on decent fish, but only had seven total for both days,” says Ableson. “But all were 5-pound-plus trout. After getting pre-fish reports from Sabine, we made the decision to stay with our pre-fish bite. The front pushed through about one and half hours earlier than forecasted. We decided to hero or zero, but we’ll take big fish any day.”

Their go-to lure was a floating Fat Boy in chartreuse with pearl sides. That’s a lure without a rattle, and it was perfect for fishing in near calm conditions. Ableson says they were wading in knee-deep water.

Two 13-pound-plus bass caught on same day

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, Mo., was fishing in 2 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 Feb. 21,” said Larry Hodge with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “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 Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program. The 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 at (888) 784-0600.

Search continues for wildlife affected by spill

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel are continuing to look for wildlife affected following the Saturday oil spill in the Houston ship channel.

As of Sunday, March 23, three birds were taken to a private wildlife rehabilitation service field station for rehabilitation, and three birds were found dead. More oiled birds are expected to be found.

Monday, teams of state and federal biologists were checking eastern Galveston Island, Pelican Island and the Bolivar Peninsula looking for other affected wildlife.

According to TPWD personnel on the scene, Bolivar Flats is currently a potential hotspot, since it is a significant refuge for birds. Expectations are that oiled birds will fly there and with decreasing temperatures, more impact on birds is expected. High tides could inundate more habitat.

Gather the kids and go birding as the spring migration begins

From the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the mountains of Big Bend, each region of the state offers a unique birding experience with more than 630 bird species statewide. More than a dozen Texas State Parks have been designated as having the “best birding blinds” that offer prime perches for viewing and photographing our feathered friends. Some parks that made the list include Abilene, Blanco, Brazos, Devils Sinkhole, Falcon, Fort Parker, Franklin Mountains, Goliad, Lake Mineral Wells, Palo Duro Canyon, Pedernales Falls and San Angelo.

Here’s where you can go to see a variety of birds in East and Southeast Texas:

Caddo Lake State Park – A spring and summer chorus of Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers along the maze of tree-lined canals characterizes this birding spot. Mature floodplain woodlands and cypress-lined waterways with thickets provide food and shelter for typical Northeast Texas birds. A silent canoe ride through the maze of Piney Woods canals will reveal wood ducks in abundance, along with a variety of other waterfowl, herons and egrets.

Sea Rim State Park – This is a great place to see a wide variety of bird species on the Gulf Coast. Visitors can also enjoy wildlife-viewing and bird watching on the Gambusia Boardwalk trail, which extends into the marsh.