This is a big weekend for outdoorsmen in Oklahoma.
On Friday, several hunting seasons open, most notably the statewide archery deer season. The state’s second bow season for black bears also opens Friday in Le Flore, Latimer, Pushmataha and McCurtain counties.
Rabbit season opens statewide Friday along with the fall archery season for wild turkeys.
If you are into festivals and trade shows, the annual Deer Festival and Outdoor Show will be Friday and Saturday in Antlers at the city’s fairgrounds. Check out what to find at the festival at www.deerfestival.com.
In Bixby, the first annual Great American Waterfowl Expo will be Friday through Sunday at the SpiritBank Event Center. The expo is the first trade show in the state just for waterfowling.
Proceeds of the expo benefit Outdoor Dreams, a non-profit organization in Owasso. For more information on the expo, visit www.outdoordreams.org.
Lake Fork Bounty Bonanza
In Texas, the third annual Lake Fork Bounty Bonanza also opens Friday. The big bass lake in east Texas is a favorite lake for many Oklahoma bass anglers.
The Lake Fork Bounty Bonanza is open through April $30. Entry fee is $25. Prizes are offered for largest bass over the slot limit each month, the first 9.99 pound bass caught and each largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds.
In addition, there is a $10,000 cash prize for any angler entered in the bonanza who catches a largemouth bass from Lake Fork that exceeds the 50th largest bass ever caught in Texas.
For a bass that beats Texas 10th biggest, the cash prize is $25,000.
If you beat the Texas state record, the prize is $50,000. A world record is worth $200,000.
For more information, visit www.lakeforkbountybonanza.com.
Passing along this beautiful photo recently taken at Wheeler Peak, N.M., the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161 feet. The photo was taken by Donny Carter of Stratford on the eastern side of Bobcat Pass.
Donny Carter often sends photos from the Lower Mountain Fork and Blue rivers where he spends much of his time, but he just returned from a nine-day trout fishing trip in South Fork, Colo.
Donny reports catching lots of trout but nothing big. However, “the aspens were just beginning to turn and they were just beautiful,” he said.
Trout fishing in Oklahoma
Speaking of the Lower Mountain Fork River, a state wildlife official is going to give an update on trout fishing improvements on the Lower Mountain Fork and the Illinois rivers Tuesday night at Camp DaKaNi, located on E. Hefner Road in Oklahoma City.
Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, will be addressing a joint meeting of the the Prairie Fly Fishers Club and the local Trout Unlimited chapter.
Most of the restoration work is complete on the Lower Mountain Fork River after last year’s devastating flood.
Boxrucker thinks Lost Creek is even better than before and said the flood actually carved out more and deeper holes along Spillway Creek which should make the fishing there even better.
However, the trout enhancement project on the Illinois River has been stalled due to the Wildlife Department losing its top stream biologists.
Paul Balkenbush and James Vincent have taken jobs with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Boxrucker said the Wildlife Department now plans to hire an outside firm to perform the work. No date has been set on when that work might begin.
Snow skiing in Colorado
Speaking of Colorado, the snow skiing season is not far away and the Colorado Ski Country USA Colorado Gems Card is now available.
The card, which costs just $10, offers major discounts (in some cases even free lift tickets) at nine Gems ski areas: Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort, Loveland Ski Area, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn Resort, Ski Cooper, SolVista Basin, and Sunlight Mountain Resort.
The Gems Card can be ordered from www.ShopColoradoSki.com. The cards are available until all are sold.
Speaking of another cool photo, Jennifer Rudolph from the Colorado Ski Country USA passed along this photo taken todayon(Monday) of a moose at Arapahoe Basin. The moose was at the base of the resort. Arapahoe Basin is located on the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, a 96-mile drive west of Denver.
OKC Gun Club’s sight in days this weekend
The Oklahoma City Gun Club will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 18-19) so hunters can sight in their firearms for the upcoming seasons.
The Benchrest range will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. The cost is $5 per gun. Members of the gun club will be at the range to assist shooters.
The Oklahoma City Gun Club is located three miles north of Arcadia on Anderson Road. Shooters are asked to bring eye and ear protection.
For more information, call Whitie Blanshan at 737-2236.
Drawing for duck blinds Saturday
Saturday also is the day for duck blind drawings across the state on several lakes in Oklahoma.
Hunters can register and draw for permits to construct permanent seasonal blinds on Fort. Gibson, Eufaula, Webbers Falls, Waurika, W.D. Mayo, Fort Supply and Canton lakes.
Registration and drawings for duck blinds at Fort Gibson, Eufaula and Webbers Falls will take place at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s field office in Porter.
Registration for Fort Gibson will take place at 7 a.m., with the drawing at 8 a.m. For blinds at Eufaula, registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the drawing at 10:30 a.m.
Registration will begin at noon for Webbers Falls with the drawing at 1 p.m.
The drawing for Waurika blinds will be held at 9 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers office located at the Waurika Lake Dam.
For W.D. Mayo Lake, the drawings will be held at 10 a.m. at Spiro at the city council chambers..
The drawing for duck blinds at Fort Supply will be at 10 a.m. at the Wildlife Department’s northwest region field office in Woodward.
Duck blind permits for Canton Lake will be issued from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Overlook Café on the south end of Canton Lake dam. Permits will be issued for Canton Lake on a first-come, first-served basis
Applicants for permanent blind permits must be at least age 16 and possess all valid hunting licenses, signed stamps and permits as required for hunting waterfowl during the waterfowl season, unless exempt.
Additionally, hunters need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit. Applicants must be present at the drawings to be eligible.
Waterfowl hunting blinds constructed on Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs are classified in two categories: temporary blinds (constructed for only one hunt and removed at the end of the hunt) and permanent blinds (constructed for seasonal use). No permit is required for temporary blinds.
Campground hosts needed
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur is accepting applications for volunteer campground host positions this winter.
Positions are available at the Buckhorn and Rock Creek campgrounds. A RV campsite with full hook-ups is provided.
For information, call Lauren Gurniewicz at (580) 622-7282 or email Lauren_Gurniewicz@nps.gov
More camping news
Oklahoma state parks will have a new online reservation system for campsites, but there will be a fee for using it. Here is a link to the story by The Oklahoman’s Capitol reporter, Julie Bisbee. http://newsok.com/fee-added-to-reserve-oklahoma-state-park-campsite/article/3495474
An Oklahoma City woman caught a Texas state and body of water record earlier this month when she landed an 8 pound, 8 ounce Ocean triggerfish from the Gulf of Mexico.
Mary Rose and her husband, James, were on a three-day, two-night tuna fishing trip with Underwater Expeditions of Freeport, Texas, when she caught the record not once, but twice.
The ship the Roses were on had an air conditioned and heated lounge, theater room and sleeping bunks, James reported.
The first day included a short stop to fish for live bait then 13 hours of traveling far out into the Gulf of Mexico.
“That first night the Blackfin tuna fishing was great,” James Rose stated in an e-mail. “Mary and I caught 13 up to 26 pounds.”
On the second day, the crew anchored the boat in 700 feat of water to fish for groupers and Amberjacks.
“I was fishing next to Mary when she got a good bite,” James wrote. “After a fight, she landed a fish that looked like a giant perch. I knew something special had happened when the crew all started gathering around and one man said ‘I think this will be a new state record.’ About five minutes later, Mary caught 2 more triggerfish.”
That evening’s catch also included Almoco Jacks, a moray eel, a barracuda and several more tuna.
“We spent the last day smoothly heading for port on the heels of Tropical Storm Hermini,” James wrote. “At port, the largest triggerfish were weighed and Mary not only beat the previous state record for Ocean triggerfish, but beat it twice with an 8-pound, 6-ounce (fish) and 8-pound, 8-ounce giant.
“She has received her certificate from Texas Parks & Wildlife for not only a new state record but also a certificate for the new water body record.”
For more information on fishing in the Gulf, visit www.underwaterexpeditions.com.
Here is a news release from the FLW about the final event of the Okie Division’s FLW Bass Fishing League.
The league is headed to Grand Lake September 18-19 for the final stop in the Okie Division for a two day super tournament. As many as 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $11,000 and $4,500, respectively.
“This is just a tough time of year to fish Grand Lake,” said FLW Tour pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who has five wins and eight top-10 finishes on Grand. “The fish are going to be in transition so guys will be catching them shallow, deep and anywhere in between. I would stay shallow; you might catch one or two big ones deep, but you won’t get five.
“The key is going to be covering a lot of water while trying to keep yourself around fish all day. I would use BOOYAH spinnerbaits or Yum baits.
Christie went on to say that the lake is in great shape, it’s stable and clear and if the weather holds anglers should be able to fish the entire lake. If it rains, which is predicted, conditions could change, water levels will rise, and anglers will be forced to stay in the lower end of the lake.
Takeoff and weigh-in will be at Grove City Ramp located at 1007 North 16th Street West in Grove. Takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. while weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
The Grand Lake BFL tournament is being hosted by the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, offering bigger prizes to those who qualify for regional championships and those who make it to one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American presented by Chevy. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the American Fishing Series or even the FLW Tour.
Forget the TV, get outside
From the “duh” file, the Outdoor Foundation in Washington D.C. on Wedneday released a report on why more young people don’t spend time outdoors.
Technology (video games, the Internet, etc.) was a primary reason, along with lack of time, lack of transportation and poor parental influence, which frankly can explain the other three.
Expense, dirt and discomfort (When I was kid, getting dirty was the main reason for going outside) and actual danger of outdoor adventures (Again, this would have been a selling point when I was young) were other reasons cited by the youth surveyed.
“Lack of parental push for outdoor activities is a top barrier,” according to the report. “Parents are busy with work or some may find that putting their kids in front of the TV is easier than going outside.”
Kids still go outside today. They just take technology with them.
Next time I’m in Rocky Mountain National Park and my daughter is texting, I’m dropping her cell phone down the mountainside.
Making the fishing better at Thunderbird
Well, here are some people who do take their kids outside.
Members of the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters and OKC Junior Bassmasters clubs are helping make fishing better at Lake Thunderbird.
Club members recently built 180 “spider blocks” and placed them in the lake in nine different locations.
The effort was part of a habitat enhancement project of the Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Federation Nation funded by a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
The Federation purchased more than 200,000 feet of polyethylene pipe, 3,000 concrete blocks and several tons of cement mix, distributing the materials to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation offices around the state.
Local bass clubs, FFA Chapters and other volunteers were then recruited to build and deploy the blocks.
The state Wildlife Department provided personnel and pontoon barges to assist with placing the blocks in public waters at locations marked with “Fishing Area ” buoys.
The plastic pipe is non-polluting, will last many more years than traditional brush or tree limbs, is less prone to snag lures and hooks, and attracts many species of fish.
For more information about the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters or OKC Junior Bassmasters, visit www.northokcbassmasters.com
Teal, goose season to open
Two hunting seasons open Saturday (Sept. 11): the resident Canada goose season and the September teal season.
The daily bag limit on resident Canada geese has been increased to eight this season.
Teal season remains open statewide through Sept 26. The last day resident Canada geese can be hunted is Sept. 20.
While vacationing this summer on Vancouver Island, Norman’s Diane Abernathy placed second in the Ucluelet Salmon Derby.
Abernathy landed a Chinook salmon that weighed 49 pounds, 4 ounces, only six ounces shy of winning the tournament.
Abernathy and her husband were fishing with guide Ken Myers of FishMyster.
They have fished for salmon with Myers on three previous visits to Ucluelet, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, but this was the first year for a derby.
Participants in the derby paid $10 for each fishing day. The Abernathys were trolling in the Pacific Ocean about eight miles off the coast at a depth of 65 feet, she said.
Abernathy hooked the big salmon on Aug. 28 on a blue and yellow Wonder Spoon. It took her about 10 to 12 minutes to land the fish.
“I was getting a lot of coaching,” she said. “My husband was screaming at me and the guide was screaming at me.”
A 30-pound Chinook salmon is considered “bragging level” in Ucluelet, Abernathy said
The Abernathys had booked two fishing days with Myers, but the first day of fishing had to be canceled because of the weather.
“He worked in an afternoon on a day we were not even scheduled to go when we got that big fish,” Abernathy said.
Abernathy won $2,000. First place paid $7,000.
“It was a ball,” she said. “We really had fun. It’s an awesome place.”
Only a few days are left to view this year’s Prix de West art exhibit at the National Cowboys and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
The Prix de West is the best Western art show in the country. A record 346 Western paintings and sculptures by some of the finest contemporary Western artist in the country are on display.
Labor Day is the last chance to see the exhibit.
In addition to the cowboy, Native American and Western life scenes, the Prix de West exhibit includes outstanding pieces that wildlife enthusiasts and outdoorsmen will enjoy.
In the collection are numerous wildlife paintings, desert and mountain landscapes along with art of fly fishing scenes and hunting dogs.
Prix de West is the biggest fund raiser for the museum each year. During the opening weekend in June, more than $3.3 million of art was sold.