This has nothing to do with Oklahoma fishing, but it was such a nice photo and nice fish I thought I would share it.
Texas has something it calls the Sharelunker program. Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or heavier largemouth bass in Texas waters between Oct. 1 and April 30 can enter it into the Sharelunker program.
The fish are used in a selective breeding program aimed at increasing the size and number of big bass in Texas.
The fish above was caught at Lake Conroe, near Houston, by Renee Linderoth of Conroe. She caught the fish weighing 13.8 pounds on a Hula Grub in 2 feet of water.
Lake Conroe is fourth on the Texas list of most Sharelunkers with 16. You can probably guess No. 1. It’s Lake Fork, with 240 entries, far ahead of second place Alan Henry (25) and Sam Rayburn (23).
Here is a few fishing tidbits from around the state.
I’ve heard the crappie fishing has been good at Arcadia and Eufaula lately, while on Lake Texoma the smallmouth bass have been biting as a couple of recent bass tournaments have been won there on smallmouth.
Up on Grand Lake, the paddlefish should be running soon. The state Wildlife Department already has its fish cleaning station in operation and as of Tuesday had cleaned 30 fish for anglers.
Guides have been busy on the weekend but there has not been much snagging for spoonbills during the week. That will change when the spoonbills start spawning runs.
Keep an eye on the weather. The next heavy rain in northeastern Oklahoma could spur a big paddlefish run.
The spoonbilling really gets hot after warm spring rains, but not all of the paddlefish make their spawing runs at the same time, so the fishing is usually good through March and sometimes even into April.
Trout fishing continues through the end of March on most of the state’s winter areas. The annual Watonga Trout Derby at Lake Watonga in Roman Nose State Park will be March 6-8.
One hundred rainbow trout will be tagged for cash and prizes, and one angler could win a pick-up valued for at least $20,000. There also will be cash prizes in senior and junior divisions for the heaviest stringer of trout and heaviest single fish.
Cost of entering the tournament is $20 for the senior division (ages 16 and older) and $10 in the junior division. For more information, call the Watonga Chamber of Commerce at (580) 623-5452.
At the Dolese Youth Park Pond in Oklahoma City, officials have made their last stocking of rainbow trout but anglers may still fish for trout even though Saturday is officially the last day of Dolese’s trout season.
On Sunday, anglers can start using three rod and reels per person to try and get all the remaining trout caught before it becomes to warm for the fish to survive.
An Oklahoman didn’t win the Bassmaster Classic again. The dry spell is now 18 years.
That’s the last time an Okie won the country’s biggest fishing tournament. Ken Cook, who has announced this year will be his last on the Bassmaster Elite Series, did it in 1991.
But I am always trying to come up with bragging rights for Oklahoma so how about this for spin doctoring? If the Bassmaster Classic had been a two-man team tournament, Oklahoma would have won it.
No other state had two fishermen finish as high in the Bassmaster Classic as Oklahoma. Edwin Evers of Talala finished fifth. Kenyon Hill of Norman finished seventh.
Texas had two anglers finish sixth and 10th. Arkansas had two fishermen finish fourth and 11th.
Some day an Oklahoman will win the Bassmaster Classic again. Evers, in the photo above, seems to be the most likely guy to do it. He is a consistent qualifier to the Classic and this year was his best finish.
In the meantime, let’s claim the team title.
The deer scored 160 1/8 and was estimated to be 8-years-old. Walters took the trophy with a .270 rifle at 145 yards.
“It is amazing what great herd management, careful culling and a strong protein diet does for the horns of south Texas whitetail deer,” Walters said. “I learned a lot about herd management and maintenance that I hope to use at our Cimarron River Deer Ranch north of Coyle.”
Marsha Bentley of Newcastle passed along a note and photo from her recent Valentine’s Day experience on Fort Cobb Lake.
Her husband took her fishing on Valentine’s Day and her prize was a 30-pound flathead catfish on a rod and reel.
“He told me I was going to catch something but I never expected this,” she said. “It took me a while to get in the boat but I managed. His friends are pretty jealous. He’s pretty proud of me and this was the best Valentine’s Day present ever.”
Why couldn’t I have met a woman who would have been happy with a catfish for Valentine’s Day? Oops, I hope my wife doesn’t read this!
The other night I was bored so I Googled myself. My wife said I should never do that alone. She thinks she’s funny.
But I found out there are some people reading my outdoors columns. I discovered my stories all over this thing they call the Internet.
But the one that caught my eye was a column I did last summer about my top 10 fishing songs. I clicked on the link and there was my name and story, posted on a North Carolina Web site devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, since the theme song made No. 5 on my list.
My column, linked on the same screen as photos and stories about Andy, Barney, Opie and Aunt Bee. I think it is the pinnacle of my journalism career.
To borrow a quote from Ernest T. Bass in episode 133 when Mrs. Crump hands him a diploma for learning: “I’m proud.”
The only thing that could top it would be if they bring back Hee Haw and give a cornfield salute to my home town of Stigler.
Only a few days remain in the quail season and Weatherford hunter Earl Stephenson dropped a line and a phtoto to report that he and hunting partner Kendall Johnson had a successful season in Custer County.
“We limited out on half of our dozen hunts and came close on most other days,” Stephenson said. “The dry and often windy conditions hindered dog work but did not stop the fun. The most consistent factor in finding birds was the presence of a milo field nearby.
“Plenty of birds remain for a good crop next year. We’re hoping for farmers to plant milo again!”
The last day of quail season is Feb. 15.
Got this email from Philip Maguire about the story on big blue catfish in the state.
“I enjoyed your piece about the huge catfish. I am an avid fisherman and generally practice catch and release. It seems a terrible shame to allow these great fish to die. They certainly aren’t any good to eat. Couldn’t they be weighed, measured, photographed and put back in the water like we do with largemouth bass?”
Yes, they can. Big blues are not easily replaced. It takes a long time for catfish to reach 90 pounds. I know of at least two catfish guides who insist that their clients release big fish. Of course, their livelihood depends on it.
However, if anglers are legally entitled to a big fish, it’s difficult to criticize someone for keeping one. But here’s hoping more anglers will choose to practice catch and release.
Congratulations to Don Wallace, former host of the Wallace Wildlife Show that aired for 23 years on Oklahoma City television.
Wallace, 78, has been inducted to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisc. Wallace was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Legendary Communicator.
“I didn’t think I would ever make it,” Wallace said. “I am thrilled beyond words. I look back and wonder what I did to deserve this wonderful accolade. I was just doing what I liked to do and what I wanted to do and it worked out for everybody. It was the hardest job I ever loved.”
Wallace retired in 1989. His show is included as part of the current exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center called ”Field, Forest and Stream. The History of Oklahomans and the Outdoors.”
“I would film, edit, produce, sell, host, syndicate, bill, collect,” Wallace said of the show. “I did everything.”
Wallace received news of the induction this past weekend in Port Isabella, Texas, where he is spending the winter fishing on the Gulf Coast.
“The fishing has been better than normal this year,” he said. “The temperatures have been warm. The fishing is good for speckled trout, redfish and sheepshead.”
Wish I was there.