SAN ANGELO, TX — The landscape of fishing in Texas is seeing some drastic changes in fish management. For many years the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has spent enormous amounts of time, energy and money in the production of black bass, arguably for some anglers way too much.
During spawning season, Wildlife Department trucks and personnel are sent to lakes across the state to bring sharlunker bass to hatcheries so they can be used to raise more of their particular specie.
Craig Bonds, who leads the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, shared some candid comments about new insight that might be brewing among those responsible for rearing fish for the overall angling public.
Lake Tawakoni, the proclaimed catfish capital of Texas, has been involved in a study trying to determine how best to manage the whiskered species.
The study has been exhausting and is not yet completed, but early results are showing that far more Texas than expected prefer cat fishing over other forms of angling.
Lake Palestine is another lake involved in the study involving catch ratios, angling hours spent on the lake and numbers of people participating.
Bonds points to Community fishing areas, such as the one in Santa Fe Park, where catfish are the featured attraction.
Information obtained from those going to Santa Fe Park is used in the development of a statewide management plan.
“We are all excited about the growing popularity of catfish angling and how we can use these resources to serve our diverse angling constituents, from novice urban anglers, trophy hunters to consumptive traditionalists.
We see catfish as a vehicle to connect more people with the outdoors and to continue to serve those already inclined to wet a hook,” said Bonds.
Bonds expects a continued battle with drought conditions across Texas and points out that catfish are more resilient to water changes than other species. Catfish will provide a critical resource for anglers, he believes.
Catfish are released several times per year into the Concho River and other lakes around San Angelo. The next stocking will take place in September in the Concho River downtown, according to the Inland Fisheries San Angelo District Facebook page.