The Red River paid off big Monday for Jim Tinsley of Dodson, La.
Tinsley landed this 41 pound, 2 ounce striper while fishing with Red River Striper Guide Norman O’Neal of Denison, Texas.
“After a long day, battling wind gusts of over 50 mph, we finally set anchor on top of some really good fish,” O’Neal said. “His first fish was a 15-pound striper and then this monster slammed his rod.
“At the same time, another fish on the opposite side of the boat buried a rod, and never slowed down, but eventually came unhooked. Not being able to break the anchor free, Jim had a 25 minute battle on his hands in heavy current!
“We seen the fish three times and it was almost in the net, but it would spool the rod every time it seen the boat. Finally, after an exhausting fight, the monster was in the boat.
“This is the biggest striper that has ever been landed by a customer of mine.”
Tinsley released the fish back to the river after weighing it.
The state record striped bass is 47 pounds, 8 ounces, caught on the Lower Illinois River in 1996.
The antelope archery season will start more than two weeks later this year.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to change the bow hunting season for antelope to Oct. 1-13. The 2010 season was Sept. 13-26.
State wildlife official requested the later season dates so hunters who win the once-in-a-lifetime” antelope gun hunts through the controlled hunts program would get the first crack at the prairie goats.
Oklahoma has a huntable population of pronghorn antelope in the Panhandle counties of Cimarron and Texas.
Gun hunts are only available through the controlled hunts program (a random drawing for hunts through the Wildlife Department).
Most of the antelope hunting iin Oklahoma is on private land. Hunters winning a controlled gun hunt still must obtain landowner permission. Most landowners sell trespass permits for the hunts.
Two years ago, the state Wildlife Department opened a two-week archery season in mid-September for all antelope hunters who bought a license.
Last year, 257 antelope were taken by Oklahoma hunters in both the archery season and special gun hunts.
State wildlife officials say that represents less than 10 percent of the estimated population of antelope in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Hunters can apply now through May 15 for the antelope gun hunts and other 2011-12 controlled hunts online at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
State wildlife commissioners voted Monday to extend the three-year moratorium banning the commercial harvest of turtles from Oklahoma’s public waters for another two years.
The moratorium is only in place on public waters in Oklahoma. Turtles still can be collected and sold from private lakes and ponds in Oklahoma.
Before the moratorium passed three years ago, turtles in Oklahoma could be commercially harvested from all lakes and ponds.
Turtles that are commericially harvested are most often sold as pets or overseas to Asian markets, where they are a highly sought after food delicacy.
An Oklahoma turtle buyer told state wildlife officials that most of the turtles collected in Oklahoma are from private ponds and then used as brood stock. The hatch is then sold to China.
Three years ago, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission issued the moratorium when national environmental groups petitioned the state to stop allowing the commercial harvest of turtles, contending the turtle population is being driven to extinction.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, in conjunction with Oklahoma State University and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, since has been researching the state’s turtle population.
But researchers wanted another two years to complete their findings before making any recommendations.
However, preliminary findings presented to the commission on Monday showed a significant decline in the current turtle population in eastern Oklahoma when compared to a population survey done in the same areas in the ‘90s by Oklahoma State University.
Many states already have banned the commercial harvesting of turtles.
The state Wildlife Department issues permits to turtle trappers and turtle buyers.
Before the moratorium, trappers were allowed to take as many turtles as they could from Oklahoma’s public waters, with the exception of three protected species: alligator snapping turtle, northern map turtle and western chicken turtle.
The three species most collected in Oklahoma by commercial turtle trappers are soft shells, common snapping turtles and red-eared sliders.
Paddlefish have started their spawnng runs around Grand Lake. On Wednesday, the fish cleaning station at Twin Bridges State Park had 100 spoonbills checked in.
State wildlife officials man the station and will clean for free the spoonbills caught by anglers and return the meat, in exchange for keeping the roe from female paddlefish to process into caviar.
The Wildlife Department sells the caviar to a wholesaler and the money raised goes back into paddlefish management and research.
The best spoonbill action is still yet to come. The spoonbill action should be good for the next couple of weeks.
Walleye are also spawning along the dam at Canton Lake. On Friday night, Hunter McDonald of Weatherford caught a 9 1/2-pound walleye on Canton Lake that will be the new lake record once its certified by the Wildlife Department.
The fish measured 29 1/2-inches and its girth was 17 1/2-inches.
Crappie should be biting well with the warm days. Crappie were getting read to spawn in several places before cold spell last week sent them back into deeper water.
Look for crappie to be spawning on the banks in the next few days. The annual sand bass runs have been thwarted by the drought as many creeks where they spawn have little water.
The next good rain should spur the sand bass up the streams and the fishing should be frantic.