Sunday, April 10, 2016

TPWD Makes Your Texas Fishing Experiences Better!

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department works to make almost every aspect of your Texas fishing experiences better! It keeps Texas waters clean (a large subject for another blog), offers fishing lessons for kids and adults, and provides fishing without a license in Texas State Parks! It hosts KidFish events for children at neighborhood ponds, and will even stock a town’s swimming pool with fish in order to provide children a fishing opportunity when local ponds are unavailable. One of the greatest things it does is keep Texas bodies of water stocked with healthy, quality fish! TPWD fish hatcheries produce millions of fingerlings each year for stocking purposes, work to produce quality largemouth bass fingerlings through its Largemouth Bass ShareLunker Program, and manage fish research programs. 

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Fish Stocking Truck  TPWD Copyright

The ShareLunker program began in 1986 as a way to improve Texas’ largemouth bass population by selectively breeding trophy fish. It is limited to largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Fish must be weighted on certified or legal-for-trade scales. Possession of the live fish must be transferred to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department representative within 12 hours after capture. Since the program’s inception, more than 400 largemouth bass have been donated from 55 public reservoirs and more than a dozen private lakes. As the program grew it became apparent that a new fish hatchery that was specifically tailored to the program was needed. Specifications called for the facility to be built within 50 miles of Lake Fork, because the majority of big fish are caught there. In 1998, the Edwin L. Cox, Jr., Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas was completed. Call (903) 681-0550. 24 hour pager: 1-888-784-0600.

Falcon Reservoir - Bryan Aubin's 14.4 Pound ShareLunker Bass   TPWD Copyright

Texas Fresh Water Fisheries:
The TPWD Freshwater fisheries produce fingerlings for use in stocking Texas’ reservoirs. Each year, the TPWD Freshwater Fisheries produce more than 7.5 million bass fingerlings, 1.2 million catfish fingerlings, 5.8 million striped bass and hybrid bass fingerlings, and 1 million other species of fish fingerlings. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is Athens, Texas houses one of the state’s five fish hatcheries. Its main focus is Largemouth Bass fingerlings. It produces 3 to 4 million Florida largemouth bass fingerlings annually, and produces over 70 million koi carp (goldfish) as food for the bass. The center’s Lunker Bunker produces the fingerlings from largemouth bass entered into the ShareLunker Program. The center also raises channel catfish fingerlings, and has holding tanks for rainbow trout fingerlings. The indoor and outdoor aquariums display species of native fish, waterfowl, alligators, and amphibians. The center offers tours, and hosts many fabulous events each year. It offers hunter education classes, fly fishing instruction for beginner and intermediate levels, and hosts the annual Texas State Fish Art Contest.  The A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos specializes in rearing fingerling sportfish for lake stocking. Tours are available. The Dundee State Fish Hatchery is located in Electra, Texas, just below the dam at Lake Diversion. This hatchery produces striped bass and hybrid striped bass fingerlings. Tours are available. The John D. Parker East Texas State Fish Hatchery, Texas’ newest hatchery, is located at Brookland, Texas. This hatchery produces largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, and forage fish fingerlings. Tours are available on Tuesdays and Fridays.  The Possum Kingdom Fish Hatchery is located in Graford, Texas, immediately below the Possum Kingdom Reservoir Dam. Tours are available on Tuesdays at 2pm, and Fridays at 10am. 

Dundee State Fish Hatchery    TPWD Copyright

Texas Salt Water Fisheries:
The CCA Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi produces juvenile red drum and spotted seatrout for release in Texas bays. The center offers tours, Kidfish events, many special events, and angler education to the public. Sea Center Texas is located in Lake Jackson. This center is a marine aquarium, fish hatchery and nature center. The visitor center has interpretive displays, a touch tank, and aquariums, and offers a variety of educational programs, including tours. Its marine hatchery can produce up to 15 million juvenile red drum and speckled trout each year for stocking Texas’ bays. The center’s wetlands offer incredible birding.

Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson       TPWD Copyright

Texas Research Fisheries:
The Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Center in Palacios, Texas studies genetic variability, and age, growth and reproductive characteristics of marine fish. The Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center in Mountain Home, Texas explores what is not yet known about fish. The Fish Health and Genetics Laboratory is located in San Marcos at the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery. 

Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Center  TPWD Copyright