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Texas Bass Outlook
Ready for another great year of Texas bass fishing? If so, you'd better make plans to fish at least a few of these hot lakes!
If you want to go bass fishing in Texas, you've got a problem: deciding where to go.
It's a good problem to have.
Most states have two or three bass-fishing hotspots. In Texas, 52 bodies of public water have produced largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more.
As David Campbell, manager of the Budweiser ShareLunker program for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is fond of saying, if you want to catch a big bass in Texas, just fish in water.
Think about that. No matter where you wet a line, something big enough to be scary might bite your bait.
And this spring and summer should be the best time in a long time for you to hook that bass of a lifetime. Most of Texas had ample -- or even too much -- rainfall for 2003 and 2004. A lot of reservoirs rose substantially for the first time in several years.
That'll help fishing this year in two ways: First, the rising waters increased habitat by flooding vegetation that had grown up on dry lake bottoms; second, the wet conditions should keep lake levels high into spring and summer, thus enabling anglers to get back into the shallow areas in which fish spawn. Drop a plastic lizard in front of a big female on her bed, and you'd better hang on.
The TPWD's Inland Fisheries Division splits the state into three regions for management purposes. The huge Region 1 sprawls from the top of the Panhandle across the Big Bend country, curves around the western part of the Hill Country and takes in all of South Texas. Region 2 runs down the middle of the state from the Red River to just north of San Antonio. The rest of the state -- all of East Texas from the Red River to the Gulf Coast and the Arkansas and Louisiana lines -- constitutes Region 3.
We'lle'll use those divisions to give you the run-down on the lakes that TPWD fisheries biologists are betting on to be this year's bass fishing hotspots.
REGION 1: WAY OUT WEST AND WAY DOWN SOUTH
And then it rained -- and rained -- and rained. By July 2004, Falcon covered 62,822 acres and Amistad swelled to 44,396 acres.
"I am very excited about both lakes and expect great things from them this year and for many years to come," said district biologist Jimmy Dean. "When the water increased, that created new habitat. In essence it created a new lake."
By July 2004 the TPWD had stocked 552,000 Florida bass and 42,000 northern bass into Amistad. "Most of the stocked fish are 1.5-inch fingerlings that should grow to legal, catchable size within one to two years," Dean noted. "However, we have also stocked hundreds of larger broodfish weighing 5 to 8 pounds each to help jump-start these fisheries."
Dean advises keying on hydrilla in deep water, rocky points and steep dropoffs along the shore. "Anglers should catch lots and lots of smaller fish," he said, "since we have two strong year-classes coming on; they should also be catching a lot of legal fish. Plus there are still a lot of 7- to 10-pound fish in the reservoir. The outlook is very promising."
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