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Texas Sportsman
Texas' 2009 Fishing Calendar
The Lone Star State is blessed with great fishing from one end to the other. To prove it, here's 12 months' worth of angling for our finest game fish and the top locations for catching them. (Feb 2009)

Texas' waters offer some of the most diversified angling opportunities to be found anywhere in the U.S. But that fact shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Whether an angler wants to fish a coldwater lake, the warm waters of a power-plant lake, or any number of streams or rivers featuring spectacular yet varying habitat -- it's all here.

Add to that our hundreds of miles of Gulf Coastline and you have an angling paradise with a myriad of year-round opportunities.

To prove it, here's 12 months' worth of the best of the best angling in the Lone Star State.

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Largemouths -- Falcon Reservoir

One of Texas' greatest largemouth bass lakes for decades, Falcon was "discovered" by professional tournament anglers only recently. Such relatively recent catches of bass as have been caught in tournaments alone have boosted Falcon's popularity and helped give it the recognition it deserves in Texas' trophy-bass picture.

Five-bass catches weighing 30 or more pounds are the norm at many tournament weigh-ins at this Texas-Mexico border lake. Bass of 10 to 12 pounds often hit the scales.

January's generally mild temperatures put fish in the pre-spawn mood. Some can be found still holding to rocky, deep structure along treelines near the main channel, while others are already prowling the shallows. Most veteran anglers at Falcon target fish that are between those two areas, staging along the brushlines in the creeks, or holding off the secondary points.

Many bass hold tight to the timber at this time of the year, making the lake a flipping-and-pitching angler's dream. Deep-diving crankbaits and double-bladed spinnerbaits also make a lot of catches when the fish are traveling submerged roadbeds or prowling the thickets of brush.

Blue Catfish -- Lake Texoma

Although many other Texas lakes offer some great fishing for blue cats, Texoma is by far the most popular one among anglers looking for trophy cats. Drifting with live shad often produces some spectacular blue cats on the Texas-Oklahoma border reservoir -- but February is juglining time for scores of anglers.

Texoma has produced the state's largest blue cat, a fish that weighed 121 1/4 pounds, along with numerous fish weighing from 35 to 65 pounds and more.

Texoma covers more than 74,000 surface-acres and has a maximum depth of 100 feet. During February, numerous groups of three to 15 anglers can be seen running large lines of jugs along the submerged banks of the Red River channel on the upper reaches of the lake. Their primary baits are cut or live gizzard shad, and many of the jugs are set in water ranging from 15 to 35 feet.

Texoma also is a great striped bass lake, so some jugliners go for the hard-pulling saltwater transplant during the lulls between checking and re-baiting their jugs.

Largemouths -- Amistad

Anglers who haven't visited Amistad since it was 30 to 40 feet low several years ago wouldn't recognize it today. Rejuvenated by recent years' heavy rains, Amistad has sprawling, deep draws and canyons full of submerged vegetation and large beds of hydrilla. The plentiful habitat offers anglers great action on everything from topwater lures and spinnerbaits along its banks, to Carolina rigs and drop-shotting deep hydrilla

Both the Devils River and Rio Grande arms of the lake are loaded with brushy flats, steep rocky cliffs, points with gravel and sand and a wide variety of other habitat for largemouth bass and other species. One of my favorite areas of the huge lake is the upper Rio Grande channel. Several narrow, winding canyons are found there, along with good spawning habitat along the main banks of the Rio Grande. When the spawn is over, the bass can frequently be found suspended above hydrilla whose growth has stopped at the edge of a deep dropoff.

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