Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Through Jan. 30 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Through Jan. 30 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season second split.

Through Jan. 31 – Oklahoma pheasant season.

Through Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

Through Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Through Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting 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 .

Jan. 7 - Second TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Jan. 8 - 15th annual City of Denison Howard Caylor Trout Derby at Waterloo Lake Park Pond. For information, call (903) 465-2720 (extension 2034) or visit the city of Denison's website at http://www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec .

Jan. 30 - Third TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.


On this New Year’s Eve and the final day of 2021, allow the Herald Democrat Outdoors staff to wish you, your family, and your friends a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year!... With the 2022 Toyota ShareLunker Season kicking off tomorrow, TPWD reminds bass anglers that during the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), those who catch a 13+ pound bass can loan it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. Such fortunate anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1, 2022..ODWC reports that all of Oklahoma’s 114 Game Wardens were recently equipped with body-worn cameras to document their law enforcement activities. “Body-worn cameras have been under consideration at ODWC for several years,” said Col. Nathan Erdman, chief of law enforcement for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, in an agency news release. “After seeing them in action, it is clear that the body cameras are a very effective tool.” ODWC says that the cameras are fully functioning smartphones using a software application from Visual Labs, a California software company. The device can also function as a digital camera, an audio recorder and a personnel locator according to the news release…

Hunting Reports

It’s the final weekend of deer hunting in Grayson County and the remainder of the Texas North Zone. With the powerful arctic cold front scheduled to roll through in the next 24-hours, expect one last flurry of whitetail activity to greet bowhunters sitting around food sources as the weather turns cold…Need some extra motivation to bundle up and sit out the cold, windy conditions? Some of the biggest deer in Grayson County history came during the final hours of the season, including two 200+ non-typicals and one in the 180s…In the post rut and mild weather conditions of recent days, deer hunting action has slowed down considerably in the local woods, but bowhunter Debbie Moses used her Mathews bow to take an ancient 8-point wall hanger with great width just a few days ago. The buck came after several exciting hunts and close calls…Duck hunting should also pick up in the next few days thanks to the strong north wind getting ready to blow in the southern Great Plains and temperatures falling into the teens with the passage of the most recent cold front…There are good numbers of ducks north of Texomaland and some of those birds should push south in the next few days. Former Fannin County resident Braeden Ingold, now a resident of Wichita, Kansas, got a quick and easy mixed bag of divers and gadwalls in Kansas earlier in the week and reported that ducks “…were everywhere in the first hour of light.” Expect a good push of those Central Flyway ducks to the south with this quick shot of cold air and the beginning of the New Year…Dakota Stowers and the guides at North Texas Outfitters are putting out-of-state clients on good limit shoots of ducks this week between Christmas and New Years as they hunt small lakes and stock tanks in the Waurika, Okla. area. Most shoots have included a mixed bag of mallards, gadwalls, wigeon, divers, and some Canada geese…Pheasant season comes to an end this weekend in the Texas Panhandle, but continues in northwestern Oklahoma through Jan. 31…This weekend also marks the conclusion of the second split of the Texas North Zone dove season. While few hunters are chasing mourning doves right now, the next couple of days offer the final chance to bag the main ingredient for dove poppers on the grill until next September…The general deer season in South Texas continues until Jan. 16, while the archery deer season in Oklahoma continues through Jan. 15…

Fishing Reports

 At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 1.05-feet low. Heading into the New Year’s Day holiday weekend, Adventure Texoma Outdoors guide John Blasingame tells TPWD that striper fishing is about the same, remaining excellent for most anglers. The Texoma guide says that striped bass are good in the main lake on Alabama-rigs, with the larger fish also biting on swimbaits fished around structure. The dead stick bite is also producing in this final week of 2021… On the Oklahoma side of the two-state reservoir, ODWC reports that

striped bass are good at Texoma on Flukes, live shad, soft plastic baits, Sassy Shad, live shad, and slabs fished along creek channels, in the two river channels, around points and out in the main lake. Stripers are still biting live shad very well according to the agency and dead sticking has been catching them pretty well. ODWC says lots of stripers are being caught right now as the wintertime action heats up. Meanwhile, it’s trophy catfish season at Texoma and ODWC says that the 89,000-acre reservoir’s blue, channel, and flathead catfish are fair on cut bait, dough bait, hot dogs, live shad, punch bait, cut shad, stink bait, and sunfish fished along creek channels, around docks, over main lake points, and in the two river channels. Blue cats are being caught on juglines by those using live shad and sunfish. Texoma’s crappie bite is slow on hair jigs, plastic jigs, minnows, nymphs, plastic baits, small lures, and tube jigs…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic back in June, water is lightly stained; water temp is 57 degrees; and the lake is 0.75 feet low. As has been the case in recent months, there is no report from TPWD this week on largemouth bass at Ray Bob. Meanwhile, TPWD reports that white bass are moving quickly in 20-28-feet of water on main lake points, with the sand bass biting on 1-oz. silver and chartreuse slabs. The agency says that the better luck is coming on smaller slabs because the smaller size lure is most similar to what the sand bass are feeding on. Ray Robert’s crappie bite is good on main lake brush piles lying in 20-30 feet of water with most success coming on minnows. Expect to find bigger slabs in the Buck Creek area, particularly in the standing timber around 20 feet with your bait suspended in the 10-12 foot range…At McGee Creek Reservoir near Atoka, ODWC says that the lake elevation is below normal and the water temp is 55 degrees. Largemouth and spotted bass are fair -n Alabama rigs and crankbaits fished around points, rocks, and in the main lake…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 62-64 degrees; and the lake is 5.74 feet low due to a drawdown to work on the dam. In reference to that last point, TPWD warns that the popular trophy bass lake is down about four feet and is fairly dangerous to navigate right now, so anglers need to be extremely cautious on the water. For those able to get out, guides Jason Hoffman and Marc Mitchell note that the bite for largemouth bass is good on ViperXP jigs fished around creek channels and drop-offs on big wood sitting in 5-10 feet of water. Chatterbaits are still picking up a few bass on windy banks and points in 3-5 feet of water. Suspending jerkbaits continue to be fair around points and creeks in 5-8 feet of water. Finally, the guides point out that with the drawdown, there are limited ramps open right now due to the lake level. Until the bass start their migratory trips towards shallow water to spawn around the end of next month, the fishing pattern remains steady…Fork’s crappie bite is also good, particularly around the 154 Bridge according to guide Jack Wiggins. He says that limits are coming quickly in the creek channels in that area because the fish are stacking up deep in 38-60 feet of water, while suspending around 15-25 foot depths on top of the submerged timber. Wiggins says that most angling success for Fork crappie is coming on minnows… At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC reports that the river elevation is below normal, water temp is 51 degrees, and the stream is running clear. The agency says that rainbow trout are excellent on caddis flies, nymphs, and midges for fly anglers. For conventional anglers, try in-line spinnerbaits, PowerBait, and small spoons fished along stream channel braids and in-stream rocks making a current break...As wintertime fishing sets in on the Texas Gulf Coast, one bright spot this past week is down at Rockport. According to Damian Hubbs of Mathis Bait Co., redfish are good in 2-4 feet of water, particularly in sand pockets on gold spoons and cut bait. He tells TPWD that speckled trout are good in 2-4 feet of water on Bass Assassins and topwaters early in the day. Black drum are good on dead shrimp fished near drains on an outgoing tide. Flounder are also good on Gulp products fished on the edge of channels. Finally, sheepshead are good on live shrimp fished near structure…

Tip of the Week

As the city of Denison gets ready to celebrate the city's Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2022, D-Town is getting ready to host the 15th annual Howard Caylor Trout Derby next weekend. This upcoming event will take place from 9-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 at Waterloo Lake Park Pond according to Andrew Means of the city’s Parks and Rec Department. Look for more details in next week’s Herald Democrat Outdoors, but in the meantime, call (903) 465-2720 (extension 2034) during business hours; or visit the city of Denison website at www.cityofdenison.com/parksrec .