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. 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.

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. 19 – Red River Valley Ducks Unlimited Dinner at the Gainesville Civic Center.

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

Feb. 27 - Fourth TPWD trout stocking at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond.

Feb. 27 - TPWD trout stocking at Sherman’s Pebblebrook Community Park Pond.


Interested in learning more about the potential record Grayson County typical buck arrowed by Texas DPS state trooper Tarif Alkhatib last month? Then visit https://www.northamericanwhitetail.com/editorial/texas-trooper-stops-giant-bow-buck/455536 …After being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archery Trade Association’s ATA Show returns this weekend in Louisville, Ky. For a Jan. 7-9 run at the Kentucky Exposition Center. For full coverage, visit Petersen’s Bowhunting at www.bowhuntingmag.com or Bowhunter at www.bowhunter.com…Ducks Unlimited winter and spring banquet season is set to begin next month in Texomaland with the Red River Valley DU Dinner at the Gainesville Civic Center on Saturday, Feb. 19. There’s no word yet on the Texoma DU Couples Event and Cajun Dinner, but that event typically happens in late February or early March…

Hunting Reports

After closing day last Sunday, deer season is over for another year in North Texas and Grayson County. While local success seemed to fall off quickly after mid-December, there were set good bow bucks taken in November and early December…No word just yet on when—or if—the petition and recommendation to try and bring a rifle season to Grayson County will move forward with TPWD. That information should be coming shortly, so stay tuned…The archery deer season in Oklahoma continues through January 15, 2022…Fair duck hunting has been reported after the recent cold weather, with a few shoots bringing a mix of mallards, gadwalls, wigeon, and divers…The general deer season in South Texas continues until Jan. 16…Quail season continues for another few weeks in both Texas and Oklahoma. Some success is being reported in recent days, but the hunting is only fair in most cases…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 1.06 feet low. Guide John Blasingame of Texoma Adventure Outdoors tells TPWD that Texoma’s striper fishing is good with swimbaits and Alabama-rigs right now, with both loading up the cooler. On windy days, try drifting with A-rigs and on calm days, use swimbaits over structure and under working birds. Meanwhile, Trey Franklin of Tight Lines Guide Service tells TPWD that catfish are good, ranging from smaller sized whiskerfish all the way up to 30- to 60-pounders for those using gizzard shad. Start the day off in deep water, then transitioning to main lake flats off the river channel later in the day…At Lake Ray Roberts, water is lightly stained; water temp is 57 degrees; and the lake is 0.73 feet low. As has been the case for a few months now, there is no report from TPWD on how the largemouth bass are biting at Ray Bob. The agency says that white bass are moving quickly in 20-28 feet of water on main lake points, biting on one-ounce silver and chartreuse slabs, with better luck coming on smaller slabs. Crappie are good on main lake brush piles in 20-30 feet of water on minnows, with the bigger fish coming in the Buck Creek area in the standing timber at around 20 foot depths with anglers using bait that is suspended in the 10-12 foot range...At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 6.05 feet low. Jack Wiggins of Jack Wiggins Guide Service tells TPWD that the for the wintertime crappie bite, he is still waiting for the water to cool down to the seasonal norm in the 40s. If that happens, the crappie should stay deep for another month or so before moving into spawning areas. For now, Fork’s big wintertime crappie are good suspended in 52-60 feet of water in the main lake and in 15-35 foot depths in the trees. Wiggins says that smaller crappie are grouped up with a few bites on jigs, but the minnow bite is strong. The deeper bois d'arc trees are holding larger fish right now. The water level is low because of repair work on the dam, so the guide urges that anglers exercise caution when navigating around. He says to stay in the main lake around buoys and do not venture into the arms because the lake is down so much and is dangerous right now…Meanwhile, Fork bass guides Jason Hoffman and Marc Mitchell tell TPWD that largemouth bass are good on ViperXP jigs worked around creek channels and drop-offs on big wood 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 decent around points and creeks in 5-8 feet of water…At Lake O' the Pines, water is lightly stained; water temp is 57 degrees; and the lake is 0.46 feet low. The wintertime crappie bite is good at the dam for anglers drifting with minnows. Crappie are fair in standing timber in 25-30 feet of water for those using jigs. The crappie are still small by the 155 bridge…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the river elevation is below normal, water temp is 42 degrees, and the river is running clear. ODWC reports that rainbow trout are excellent on in-line spinnerbaits, PowerBait, and small spoons fished along stream channels and rocks. All colors of garlic scented PowerBait have been producing good numbers of fish in recent days. ODWC also notes that metallic Super Dupers with a slow-medium rate of retrieve have been very productive lately. Fly fishermen have given good reports of trout biting zebra midges, pheasant tailed nymphs, and a wide variety of bead headed nymphs fished under a small indicator that is fished in the current seams behind current breaks…At McGree Creek Reservoir near Atoka, the lake elevation is below normal and the water temp is 56 degrees. ODWC reports that largemouth bass and spotted bass are good on Alabama-rigs, crankbaits and swimbaits fished along the flats, in the main lake and over points...On the Upper Texas Gulf Coast at Bolivar Peninsula, Capt. Raymon Wheatley of Tail Spotter Guide Service tells TPWD that the Bolivar Jetty is still holding speckled trout and slot sized redfish on popping corks and live shrimp. For oversized reds, look in the channel of the north jetty on the bottom with cut mullet. Also look for good trout early on soft plastics or popping corks at Hanna's Reef...On the Middle Texas Gulf Coast at Port Aransas, Capt. Doug Stanford of Pirates of the Bay Fishing Charters tells TPWD that the redfish have been biting really well at the jetties in Port Aransas on live shrimp that is freelined on the rocks. Lots of nice trout up to 28-inches are also showing up on shrimp. Lots of tarpon were caught on the North Jetty this past week and at the Fina Docks in Port Aransas, some oversized and slot redfish, sheepshead and a few snook are all biting on shrimp...On the Lower Texas Gulf Coast at Port Isabel, Capt. Lou Austin tells TPWD that before the recent arctic cold front slowed things down, the redfish action was outstanding with a 40-inch bull redfish being landed. The speckled trout action was pretty good too with a 25-inch gator sized trout being caught on live shrimp under a popping cork near the Gas Well Flats. Expect the redfish, trout, and black drum to be moving in the deeper water at the southern end of the Lower Laguna Madre until the water warms up...

Tip of the Week 

Looking for a limit of wintertime crappie for the dinner table? Once you find some slabs bunched up, use a two rod setup—one with a jig and the other with a minnow—to dial in exactly what the crappie want to eat that particular day. When one bait clearly succeeds more than the other, you’ve figured out the day’s angling equation and are well on your way to some great January eating!