Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Oct. 31 –Oklahoma dove season first split.

Through Nov. 5 - Texas archery deer season.

Through Nov. 12 – Texas North Zone dove hunting first split.

Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 23-31 – Oklahoma muzzleloader deer season.

Oct. 30-Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Oct. 31-Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Nov. 2 – Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, visit www.rrff.org .

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – Texas North Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – General whitetail season in Grayson and Collin Counties with the means and method of take restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Nov. 6-Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 13-28 - Texas North Zone duck season first split.

Nov. 13-28 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Nov. 13-Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Nov. 20-Dec. 5 – Oklahoma gun deer season.

Dec. 1-29 – Oklahoma dove season second split.

Dec. 4-Jan. 30 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Dec. 4-Jan. 30 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season second split.

Dec. 17 - Jan. 2 - Texas North Zone dove hunting second split.

Dec. 18-Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

Jan. 4 - Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, visit www.rrff.org .

Feb. 1 - Monthly meeting of the Red River Fly Fishers at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park. For information, visit www.rrff.org .

Feb. 5 – 2022 Red River Fly Fisher’s “Red River Rendezvous” at the Rec Hall at Eisenhower State Park.

Feb. 26-27 – 5th annual Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival at the Mesquite Convention Center. For information, visit https://txflyfishingfestival.org .

Notes

ODWC recently conducted its annual roadside surveys in August and another one is forthcoming in October. According to an ODWC news release, 2021 August roadside quail survey showed the statewide quail index down slightly from 2020, from 1.68 to 1.56. This is 70.11 percent below the 32-year average (Table 1) (Figure 2), and 49.37 percent below the 10-year average of 3.08. Several theories exist as to what has caused the decline, primarily habitat loss and weather. Stay tuned for more quail information as the season approaches...The Red River Fly Fishers have resumed their in-person meetings with the Oct. 5 meeting a few days ago. For details on upcoming meetings, visit the group's website at http://www.rrff.org ...South Dakota's annual pheasant season--which annually attracts non-residents from Texas and Oklahoma--opens up this weekend. To see a forecast on the upcoming season and some tips on how to hunt roosters in this drought year, visit Game and Fish Magazine at http://www.gameandfishmag.com for full details...

Hunting Reports

While most dove hunters have put away their shotguns for the year, there are some mourning doves moving in with the recent cool fronts moving into Texomaland …With the start of the first split of 2020 duck seasons still a few weeks off, area duck hunting honey holes should have bumped their levels up this week thanks to the heavy rainfall…With some of the coolest weather of the fall thus far coming up over the next several days, the pre-rut should be kicking into gear for area bowhunters. Don’t be surprised to see a big bruiser or two go down between now and Halloween…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 70 degrees; and the lake is 2.08 feet low although this week’s heavy rains should bump up the lake level in coming days. TPWD says that bass are good shallow during the early morning bite with bigger bass coming on topwater plugs and bigger stripers coming on pencil poppers. As the day deepens, look for boxfish (stripers under 20-inches) by using 2-ounce slabs on Assasin Jigs fished on ledges around the flats…On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC says that fishing this week has been good for stripers, particularly on Alabama-rigs, Flukes, live shad, Sassy Shad, and topwater lures fished below Denison Dam, on the main lake itself, and around points. Stripers are biting live shad very well right now according to ODWC and anglers are reportedly catching them near the islands and in the Platter Flats area… ODWC also notes that fall fishing is in full swing on Texoma and that sea gulls have moved in and are pinpointing the way to feeding fish…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of this year’s 51st Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 74 degrees; and the lake is 0.67 feet low. TPWD describes white bass fishing as good on the early morning topwater bite, with anglers then transitioning to deeper water later on in the day with slabs and jigging spoons on points, humps, and ridges. Largemouth bass are fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs fished near timber, rip rap, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around timber, bridge columns, and in brush piles… At Lake For, water is lightly stained; water temp is 77 degrees; and the lake is 1.92 feet low. TPWD says that fall fishing for largemouth bass is good and that anglers should try topwaters at first light on main lake points and secondary points with water depths of 1-3 feet deep. Top lures for this pattern are a KVD Sexy Dawg and Yellow Magics, especially in mid-cove areas to the backs of the coves. Another top bait is the Z-Man Chatterbait, along with Shakyhead worms, Xcite square bill crankbaits in shad and bream patterns, the latter in the timber in 1-3 depths. In mid-morning hours, Xcite raptor craws in 3-6 feet of water, especially near bream beds, is a good choice. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near brush piles, bridge pillars, and timber…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, water temp is near 70, river levels are near normal, and water is clear (at least before this week’s heavy rainfall). According to ODWC, as the put-and-take trout season approaches in a few weeks, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass remains good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished around brushy structure, stream channels, and rocks…On the Texas Gulf Coast, the best fall fishing for flounder hasn’t heated up yet, but at the Bolivar Peninsula, it really doesn’t matter according to TPWD. The agency says that fishing has been great this past week on the peninsula east of Galveston with many reports of bull redfish, flounder, redfish, and jackfish being reported by anglers. Most catches in that spot are coming with live finger mullet, fresh cut bait, or squid, so check local baitshops…Further down the coast at Port O'Connor, TPWD says that bull redfish are biting on sardines and live piggy perch fished by anglers near and along the jetty. The bull reds are coming to spawn, and TPWD says that their increased numbers have also pushed speckled trout into the bay system. The agency also notes that a few 5-20 pound tarpon are being caught using live croaker...

Tip of the Week

In a way of showing appreciation for the contributions of its constituents, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has partnered with onX Hunt to give hunters a discount for an outdoor tool that has helped many hunters across the Sooner State and beyond. As many know, onX Hunt offers digital mapping for all 50 states including detailed public and private boundaries, landowner names, hunting districts, curated layers, customizable map tools, and more. ODWC also notes that onX covers more than 985 million acres of public land, nearly 10,000 unique hunting units, and features 421 map overlays, many of them useful to Sooner State deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, quail hunters, turkey hunters, and more. To take advantage of this offer, go to the app store for your Smartphone, search for onX, and then use the code HUNTOK to get 20% off the annual price. Also, ODWC notes that new onX Elite Members will also receive free access to the Drury Outdoors DeerCast Elite app. For more information, visit www.wildlifedepartment.com.