Where to find and catch more fish

Where to find and catch more fish

Catching a bunch of fish in 100-degree heat can be borderline impossible — but it can be done. Some of the best fishing right now is on East Galveston Bay and on Calcasieu Lake for trout and reds. Crappie fishing on Sam Rayburn is excellent, and catfishing on Toledo Bend is very good at night.

Fishing on Sabine Lake has been slow overall. Your best bet is to fish the jetties with live mullet for reds, or live shrimp for trout. The short rigs have been fair for trout on jigs. The rigs farther out are holding ling, small snapper and bull reds.

On East Galveston Bay, the best catches of trout are over reefs located on the middle and lower areas of the bay. Right now, live bait rules. Croaker soakers are doing best along the edges of shell reefs, but live shrimp are best at the mouths of cuts feeding into the bay on falling tides.

Wade fishing at first light is good along the south shoreline. Guide Jim West says he’s setting up for his first wade wherever he can find good numbers of mullet. He’s been starting out with topwater lures, but as the sun heats things up, it’s all plastics in just about any color you choose.

Over on Calcasieu Lake guide Kirk Stansel reports that they are racking up the best catches of trout that they have seen in over three years.

“Not only are we catching quick limits of trout early in the day, but they are very solid trout in the 17- to 20-inch size,” says Stansel. “We have heard of lots of good catches of trout on the north end of the lake, but most all of our boats have stayed on the south end where the water is clear and the action is steady.”

Crappie fishing on Sam Rayburn has been very good over brush piles on live minnows. Best depths have been around 14 to 21 feet deep. The only problem is the heat. If the wind isn’t blowing, it gets to be pretty hot real fast on most mornings.

On Toledo Bend, catfishing is good for a mix of blues and channels. Most are on trotlines baited with small chunks of bream. Jug lines are good in the creeks and coves with small live bluegills.

Boating deaths up to 19 on Texas lakes and rivers

Texas game wardens are investigating a fatal boat wreck that occurred recently on Lake Conroe near Atkins Creek. The collision involved two vessels and resulted in the death of Jason Clark, 39, of Magnolia, and injured two others.

One female adult was hospitalized with serious injuries, and a female juvenile suffered minor injuries. All three of the victims were wearing personal flotation devices.

Additional details regarding the incident are being withheld pending an investigation by TPWD’s statewide forensics reconstruction and mapping team. That group of game wardens specializes in boat accident reconstruction.

So far this year there have been 19 boating-related fatalities on Texas rivers and lakes.

Drinking and boating can lead to jail time

Recently game wardens patrolling a lake observed a boat pass by with a person standing up on the bow “surfing.” Upon seeing the warden boat, the subject sat down and several other occupants appeared to be hiding items in several compartments. A stop was made. In all, there were 10 people on the boat ranging in age from 15-18 years old. A strong odor of alcohol was apparent, along with evidence of alcoholic beverage consumption. The boat and occupants were escorted ashore where field sobriety tests were administered on the boat operator, who was later identified as being 16 years old with a blood alcohol level of 0.196. Due to the level of intoxication of the teenagers, their demeanor, and several attempts by a few to leave the scene or incite violence and interfere with the investigation, the wardens called for assistance from other law enforcement agencies. Multiple cases were filed and are pending.

A Montgomery County game warden responded to a reported boat accident on Lake Conroe where a personal watercraft operator had hit a wave, was ejected from his jet ski and could not pull himself back on. When the warden was asking the operator about the accident, he believed alcohol could be involved. After a complete investigation, the boater was arrested for boating while intoxicated.

Federal duck stamps for 2017-18 are now on sale

The new 2017-18 federal duck stamp is on sale now. The stamps, which cost $25, are valid from July 1 through June 30, 2018. Purchased by millions of waterfowl hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and collectors every year, duck stamps help raise money to purchase and protect wetlands for ducks, geese and other wildlife species.

The artwork for the 2017-18 stamp was created by James Hautman, an artist from Chaska, Minnesota. His painting of Canada geese is the artist’s fifth win in the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. His previous works were featured on the 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2011 stamps.

The duck stamp, also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, dates back to 1934. Since then, the program has raised more than $950 million to help acquire and protect more than 5.7 million acres of habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a duck stamp while hunting. A duck stamp also provides free admission to national wildlife refuges that are open to the public. Duck stamps are sold at post offices nationwide and at many NWRs and sporting goods stores. Electronic versions of the duck stamp can also be purchased online at www.fws.gov/duckstamps.