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10 Family Fishing Ideas for Spring Break in Texas

AUSTIN – Many Texans opt outside to reconnect with nature after a long winter, but spring break adventures aren’t limited to swimming, camping and hiking. Fishing also offers a great way for families to experience the diverse aquatic life and scenic places that Texas has to offer.

Here are 10 ideas to help families to make memories fishing this spring break:

  1. Learn the basics at a fishing class: More than a dozen Texas State Parks and other locations around the state are offering beginner fishing classes throughout March to help anglers learn the fundamentals of fishing and give them an opportunity to catch a fish. Fishing poles and bait are available for families to borrow for the day at many locations, and no fishing license is needed to fish in a state park. Find a full list of events, details and maps and directions in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Fishing Events Calendar online.
  1. Go kayak fishing on the Texas coast: The newest coastal paddling trail, the Seadrift Paddling Trail, features 20 miles of freshwater and saltwater paddling from the Guadalupe River to San Antonio Bay. Anglers can find prime red drum and spotted seatrout fishing opportunities along this scenic float, along with wildlife watching opportunities for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and a variety of shorebirds and migratory birds. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in nearby Victoria. Eight other coastal paddling trails can be found on the Texas Paddling Trails website.
  1. Catch your first fish at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center: The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, located about an hour drive from Tyler and Dallas and less than two hours from Fort Worth and Waco, offers several stocked fishing ponds, ample fishing loaner equipment, a full production hatchery and a vast array of aquatic exhibits to explore. After catching catfish and rainbow trout in the fishing ponds, spring breakers can see other interesting creatures like paddlefish and American alligators, watch a live fish-feeding dive show, and take a narrated tram tour through the outdoor hatchery facility.
  1. Experience the spring white bass run: White bass provide anglers of all experience levels with exciting action during their annual spring spawning migration up river and stream tributaries. The best time for white bass fishing is usually in March, but with the recent cold snap anglers should look for areas where the water temperature has reached at least 54 degrees, or where the redbuds or dogwoods are blooming. In East Texas, anglers can try Chandler River Park on the Neches River or the Grand Bluff Boat Ramp on the Sabine River for white bass fishing access. Central Texas locations can be found in the TPWD publication White Bass Fishing In Central Texas.
  1. Visit marine life at Sea Center Texas: At Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, visitors can explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a youth fishing pond. A 20-foot touch pool allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones. On April 6, families can attend the free Kids Reel Big Fish Event to learn how to catch and release fish and get a free fishing pole (limited to the first 100 kids).
  1. Fish for rainbow trout in East Texas: In Texas, cold-water loving rainbow trout can’t survive past the winter. Spring breakers can harvest the last of the year’s stocked rainbow trout for free 8 a.m. to 12 p.m March 11-14 at the Tyler Nature Center in East Texas. TPWD Inland Fisheries staff will have loaner equipment, tackle and bait on hand to help families catch and clean up to five rainbow trout each at the free event. No fishing license is needed to participate. After spending the morning on the water fishing, anglers are encouraged to put on their hiking shoes and explore the nearby scenic outdoor hiking trails.
  1. Catch and cook a crappie: Crappie are a delicious and popular sport fish that are easiest to catch in the spring when they move to shallow water in preparation to spawn. At Granger Lake, north of Austin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates four parks that provide campgrounds, restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramps, and opportunities for shoreline fishing on this reservoir. Other popular crappie lakes include Lake Fork, Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
  1. Target the state fish of Texas: Guadalupe bass, the state fish of Texas, can be found in the rocky, spring-fed rivers of the Texas Hill country. Anglers can find public fishing access, kayak and canoe launches and other amenities on several of the rivers that Guadalupe bass call home, including three sites on the Colorado River, two sites on the Brazos River, and four sites on the Llano River. A list of all of the public fishing access sites, along with details and directions, can be found on the TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program website.
  1. Tour a Texas state fish hatchery: Anglers and future fisheries biologists can see first-hand where millions of fish are raised each year for stocking into the public waters of Texas at five inland fish hatcheries located across the state and three saltwater fish hatcheries on the Texas coast. Many of the hatcheries welcome the public to come and visit their educational and informative facilities through scheduled tours or by appointment. Learn more on the Texas State Fish Hatcheries website.
  1. Catch a big bass in West Texas: In Texas, March is considered one of the best months to catch a whopper bass. With recent rainfall, many West Texas lakes have higher water levels and are producing “lunker” bass for anglers, including Oak Creek Reservoir, O.H. Ivie Lake, Twin Buttes Reservoir and Lake Amistad, to name a few. Pick a fishing spot in the TPWD Angler’s Guide to West Texas online, and find detailed fishing regulations, angling opportunities, cover & structure, and tips & tactics for it in the Texas Freshwater Lakes list.

For anglers over 17 years old, a valid fishing license with a freshwater or saltwater endorsement is required to take fish, mussels, clams, crayfish or other aquatic life in the public waters of Texas. A fishing license is not required if fishing from the bank in a state park or in waters completely enclosed by a state park.

More information on current fishing regulations, limits and license requirements can be found online in the TPWD Outdoor Annual, or get the mobile app free for iOS and Android here.

Public Fishing, Paddling Access Expands on the Llano River

AUSTIN –The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is expanding public fishing and paddling opportunities on the Llano River with four public access sites opening just in time for winter trout stocking this month.

“The Llano River is a short drive away from major urban areas like San Antonio and Austin, but in the past recreation on it has been limited by a lack of public access points,” said John Botros, TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program Coordinator. “These new sites greatly expand the public’s options for safe, legal and high-quality bank fishing and paddling access on the river. Seasonal rainbow trout stocking this month makes it the perfect time to explore this scenic Hill Country river with family and friends.”

The four Llano River public access sites secured by the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program can be found at:

South Llano at County Road 150: A kayak/canoe launch and a quarter-mile of bank fishing access on the South Llano River upstream of Junction at the County Road 150 bridge crossing.

Main stem Llano at Pete’s Pecan Patch: A kayak/canoe launch, 800 feet of bank fishing access and day-use picnicking areas surrounded by a historic pecan orchard near Junction at 325 Kimble County Road 3121.

Main stem Llano at Castell Crossing: A kayak/canoe launch point and 950 feet of bank fishing access on the main stem of the Llano River at Castell Crossing on FM 2768.

Main stem Llano at HR Seventh Heaven: A kayak/canoe launch and parking for vehicles and trailers near the City of Llano at County Road 103 (Schneider Slab Rd).

Although all of the sites are now open for public access, historic flooding on the Llano River in October 2018 impacted some amenities at the sites including signage and kiosks. Anglers and paddlers hoping to utilize these sites should keep in mind that they are mostly in a natural state, meaning no staff, restrooms, running water or other features they would expect from a park. A map, area descriptions and special conditions on public use for each site can be found on the TPWD website.

To provide seasonal fishing opportunities for anglers and paddlers while the weather is still cool, TPWD will be stocking rainbow trout in the Llano River in late January in the reach downstream of Castell in Llano, at South Llano River State Park in Junction, and at the James Crossing in Mason at Highway 2389. Dates and directions to each stocking site can be found online in the TPWD rainbow trout stocking schedule.

Although rainbow trout make for great winter fishing, year-round the Llano River is home to many popular sport fish including largemouth bass and the Texas state fish – the Guadalupe bass. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release of sport fish in this river, especially after recent flooding which may have displaced some of the native fish populations.

As part of the river access agreements with cooperating landowners, TPWD biologists will be conducting scientific surveys in the river this spring to monitor fish populations and streambank vegetation, and to identify opportunities for invasive species treatment and habitat restoration. Survey data will be used to ensure that increased public use does not have a negative impact on natural resources.

The River Access and Conservational Areas Program is funded through donations to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Sport Fish Restoration Recreational Boating Access Grant Program, and by sales of the Texas Rivers Conservation License Plate.

For pictures of the Llano River RACA sites, visit the TPWD Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmudrj9S.

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Saulsbury Donates $100,000 to TPWF to Repair Pool at Balmorhea State Park

ODESSA, TEXAS– Dec. 06, 2018 – Saulsbury has announced a donation of $100,000 to the Texas Park and Wildlife Foundation’s Balmorhea State Park fund to repair the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park. The pool was closed earlier this year following the collapse of part of the pool’s wall.

In August, Apache Corporation established a challenge grant for the fund and will be matching Saulsbury’s donation as Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation works to raise $2 million to repair the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

“Saulsbury is proud to help contribute to the fund to repair of one of West Texas’ most beloved pools” said Bubba Saulsbury, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Saulsbury. “As an Odessa-based company, many of our employees have spent time at the iconic pool in West Texas over the years. Through our support, we look forward to seeing the community enjoy the park for many generations to come.”

As part of their core values, Saulsbury is committed to supporting the communities in which its employees live and work. Throughout its 51-year history, Saulsbury has provided support to the community through in-kind donations, volunteer services and monetary support.

John J. Christmann IV, Chief Executive Officer and President of Apache Corporation commented, “We are thankful to Saulsbury for their generous support of our matching challenge grant in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Their donation and our subsequent dollar-for-dollar match is significant in helping us reach our fundraising goal to fully fund the repair of the Balmorhea pool, an iconic West Texas destination.”

The pool at Balmorhea State Park was closed in early 2018 following a structural collapse of a wall caused by years of erosion from the flow of water from the springs. The repairs to the pool at Balmorhea State Park are ongoing. The pool is expected to re-open in early 2019.

“Generations of Texans have enjoyed the cool, clear waters at Balmorhea, and we’re immensely grateful for Saulsbury’s donation to match Apache’s challenge grant,” said Anne Brown, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “We hope everyone who has ever dipped a toe in this Texas treasure will consider making a donation to help.”

Online donations may be made, or a donation may be mailed to:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

2914 Swiss Ave.

Dallas, Texas 75204

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About Saulsbury Industries

Saulsbury Industries is a full-service Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC), and Maintenance contractor that provides engineering, general construction, electrical & instrumentation, and maintenance services to heavy industrial markets nationwide. Headquartered in Odessa, Texas, the company’s national office footprint includes, Dallas; Houston; Port Arthur; Henderson; Abilene, TX; Greenville, SC; Baton Rouge, LA; Farmington, NM; and Denver, CO. www.saulsbury.com

About Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation raises private funds to advance Texas’ proud outdoor traditions and conserve our state’s wildlife, habitat, recreational areas, and natural resources. Since 1991, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has raised more than $170 million in private philanthropy to ensure that all Texans, today and in the future, can enjoy the wild things and wild places of Texas.

About Apache Corporation

Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Apache posts announcements, operational updates, investor information and copies of all press releases on its website, www.apachecorp.com, and on its Media and Investor Center mobile application, which is available for free download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

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Benton Parrott Takes Tops at 2018 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship

Grand Isle, Louisiana (October 24, 2018): Three-time IFA Kayak Tour Champion and Team USA member Benton Parrott has added another win to his already impressive competitive track record, taking tops at the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship held October 19-20 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. This most recent win makes it Benton’s fourth IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship win.

The Navarre, Florida-based angler narrowly edged out competitor Aaron Clay’s two-day, four-fish score of 120.125 inches of redfish and speckled trout with 120.375 inches, taking home a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 boat and PowerPole Micro Anchor valued at $4,450 retail combined, and $420 cash in the Anglers’ Advantage program.

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While Parrott had planned to pre-fish the day before the event, fierce winds kept him and others off the water. Nonetheless, Friday, October 19th, saw competitors launch to compete in Day One of the 2018 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship, although fishing conditions were described as terrible.

“It was a grind to catch decent trout on Day One given how the wind had stirred up and dirtied the water,” says Parrott.

Still, Parrott persisted. “On Day One I started in the marshes by working points, flats, and reefs. The key was jumping spots, hitting seven different areas and working baits through the three main areas of the water column. I threw topwaters; Rapala Ripstops to work the midrange; and also bounced bottom with soft plastics. But after jumping seven spots, I only had a 16 ¼-inch trout. I decided to drive the half hour down to Grand Isle where I launched out into the Pass and was able to land a 43-inch redfish working depths anywhere from 20 to 60 feet of water. With three hours left in the tournament I pulled out of the Pass and went back to the marsh to try to upgrade my trout, which I did with a 17-incher.”

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Continue reading Benton Parrott Takes Tops at 2018 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship

TPWF and Apache Corporation Partner to Raise $2 million for Balmorhea State Park Pool Repairs

TPWF and Apache Corporation Partner to Raise $2 million for Balmorhea State Park Pool Repairs

Apache Corporation announces $1 million challenge grant

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) has established a fund to raise $2 million for pool repairs at Balmorhea State Park. Apache Corporation is providing a challenge grant and will match gifts up to $1 million.

The iconic spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas has been closed since early May after part of the structure collapsed during the pool’s annual cleaning. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) announced in a press release last week that repairs to the historic pool are set to begin.

The labor-intensive job will repair the damage to the concrete apron used to stabilize the diving board along the east headwall. TPWD reports that months of thorough evaluation, including extensive geotechnical examination, found that the structural failure was due to years of undermining erosion behind the wall caused by the flow of water from the springs.

“Apache is proud to partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to support one of Texas’s most treasured destinations. This public-private partnership will ensure this unique natural treasure remains an iconic part of our community for many years to come,” said Apache Chief Executive Officer and President John J. Christmann IV.

Raising private funds for this project will allow available state funding to be used for other critical repair needs across the state park system. State park facilities throughout the state have been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and devastating floods in recent years.

“We are incredibly thankful to Apache for their spirit of generosity in stepping forward with this major challenge grant to help repair Balmorhea State Park and its much beloved spring-fed swimming hole,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith. “This west Texas oasis is one of Texas’ great treasures, and its closure this summer was a source of deep disappointment to the Department and thousands of families who otherwise would have enjoyed basking in its magical, refreshing waters. With this challenge grant and the generosity of other Texans, we can now embark upon the essential repairs to the pool without having to divert resources away from other critical repair and maintenance projects across the State Park system.”

The Civilian Conservation Corps structure was built in the mid-1930s and is the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. More than 15 million gallons of water flow through the pool each day, gushing from the San Solomon Springs. The 1.3-acre pool is up to 25 feet deep, holds 3.5 million gallons of water and the water temperature stays at 72 to 76 degrees year-round.

“Generations of Texans have enjoyed the cool, clear waters at Balmorhea, and we’re deeply grateful for Apache’s challenge grant to help us meet the fundraising goal of $2 million,” said Anne Brown, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “We’ve heard from many individuals and companies that are interested in helping, and we hope everyone who has ever dipped a toe in this Texas treasure will consider making a donation to help.”

Online donations may be made, or a donation may be mailed to:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

2914 Swiss Ave.

Dallas, Texas 75204

 

 

 

 

OLD TOWN: Radical New Topwater™ Kayak Series

Old Town® Unveils Radical New Topwater™ Fishing Kayak Series at ICAST 2018

Old Town provides kayak anglers with large fishing kayak performance in a compact, nimble format

Old Town, Maine (July 10, 2018) – Old Town is proud to unveil its all-new Topwater™ Series, which offers great Old Town performance in a compact, nimble format. A marriage of stability and performance, the Topwater—with the all-new ultra-stable DoubleU™ hull—quietly glides through any water condition while providing a stable, comfortable stand-up fishing platform. Equipped with thoughtful onboard tackle and rod management and a revolutionary universal transducer mount, even the most discriminating anglers will be impressed by the overall fishability of the new Topwater Series: paddle versions Topwater 106 and Topwater 120; and a pedal-driven model, the Topwater PDL.

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Topwater PDL (Color: Photic)

“The growth and popularity of kayak fishing has brought many new companies into the marketplace but unfortunately we have seen a glut of poorly-made and engineered boats in the sub $1000 category,” says David Hadden, Brand Director, Johnson Outdoors Watercraft. “Our goal with the Topwater™ Series was to engineer a boat that gave a great on the water fishing experience, which would allow anglers to catch more fish and be more comfortable. We also wanted it to outperform other kayaks when not on the water and made it smaller in size and weight for easy transportation and storage. Too many of today’s stable fishing kayaks need a trailer to transport to your local boat launch. The small size and reduced weight of all models in the Topwater Series make car-topping realistic and negate the need for a kayak trailer.” Continue reading OLD TOWN: Radical New Topwater™ Kayak Series

Aimpoint Announces The ACRO Series

Malmö, Sweden – June 2018 – Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in red dot sighting technology, is proud to introduce their new line of red dot sights, the Aimpoint® ACRO™ (Advanced Compact Reflex Optic) Series. The unique small sight design of the Aimpoint® ACRO series electronic red-dot sight was developed for use on pistols and other weapon platforms.

For many years, end users have requested a small enclosed red dot sight to fit on handguns. Utilizing Aimpoint’s advanced sight technology, Aimpoint is proud to launch the first of its kind to the market. The Acro P-1, offers an enclosed system that is much more durable than those with open systems. It is also the only sight in its size category fully tested for shock, vibration, temperature span and other environmental stress.

The Acro P-1 optic can perform under tough conditions while adding negligible size and weight to the equipment. Tested with a minimum of 20,000 rounds on a .40 cal pistol slide, this small optic has proven itself in its size category as the leader in ruggedness and reliability.

Designed for direct integration onto pistol slides, the Aimpoint Acro P-1 sight can also be used as a backup sight for magnifying scopes, personal defense weapons, and on any system where a small red dot is applicable.

The Acro P-1 sight is a 1X (non-magnifying) parallax-free optic that features a 3.5 minute of angle (MOA) red dot for fast target acquisition. It is fully submersible to 25 meters and allows continuous operation for over 1 year on a single CR1225 battery. Dot intensity is adjusted with side push buttons.

“The development of the Acro P-1 sight sets a new standard for compact pistol mounted reflex optics,” said Aimpoint AB President Lennart Ljungfelt. “The commitment we make to our customers is to develop the highest performing red-dot sights available. The Acro P-1 optic fulfills that commitment by providing the lightest and most rugged enclosed red-dot sight in its size category on the market.”

About Aimpoint

All Aimpoint products are manufactured in Sweden, and Aimpoint AB is headquartered in Malmö, Sweden. For more information on Aimpoint or other Aimpoint products, please visit our webpage at www.aimpoint.com

Sold-Out Women’s Firearm Training Conference Begins Thursday

Sold-Out Women’s Firearm Training Conference Begins Thursday

AUSTIN TX – A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League (AG & AG) is welcoming 350 participants, 100 instructors and staff, and more than 50 vendors to its 6th Annual National Training Conference, which begins Thursday in Burnet, Texas. The Presenting Sponsor of the event is CZ-USA Firearms. This marks the second year of the partnership between these two respected brands in offering this annual training conference.

The 6th Annual National Conference Presented by CZ-USA will take place from April 19-22, 2018, at Reveille Peak Ranch. Attendees will rotate through six to eight 3-hour training sessions on a wide range of topics. Sporting Clays Champion and Guinness World Record Holder Dave Miller of CZ-USA will be teaching sessions throughout the weekend as part of the all-star lineup of professional instructors. Continue reading Sold-Out Women’s Firearm Training Conference Begins Thursday

Enhancing Marine Habitat

BCT @ccabct and @cca_texas have a strong partnership. Bay Flats Lodge @bay_flats_lodge is extremely excited to be involved in raising funds to restore and enhance marine habitat. Together, these three groups are enhancing marine life from Matagorda Bay to Rockport that will be appreciated and enjoyed by the local community for many generations to come.