Technical Guidance for Landowners

October 22nd, 2018

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This is Passport to Texas

Subdivisions seemingly sprout from fields overnight, pushing wildlife to the fringes. People have to live somewhere, but so does wildlife—and wildlife was here first.

As more than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, it’s vital that landowners play an active role in conserving habitat for creatures great and small.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has dozens of biologists across the state that work with landowners to help them manage their properties for wildlife.

When thoughtfully managed, acres of “undeveloped” land support a wide variety of plant and animal communities, providing habitat for wildlife in tandem with opportunity for both consumptive and non-consumptive recreation.

Through the Private Lands and Habitat Program, landowners receive technical guidance to help them develop a wildlife management plan specific to their location and their goals; the service is free.

Find contact information for Technical Guidance Biologists or Private Lands Biologists near you on the TPW website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Genetics and Smart Bass

October 19th, 2018
Probbly not the smartest bass in the lake.

Probably not the smartest bass in the lake.

This is Passport to Texas

Researchers discovered that catching a bass may have more to do with the genetics of the fish than the skill of the angler.
A genetics experiment conducted on largemouth bass at Heart of the Hills Research Center in Kerrville, had researchers attempting something unusual. They wanted to find out if genetics, passed down through generations, played a role in whether a fish would take a baited hook.

For the experiment, researchers placed 110 bass in a large pond. Each time they caught a fish, they marked it, and then returned to the pond.

At the end of four weeks, ten percent of the bass had been caught three or four times…while 20 percent had never been hooked. These two groups were then placed in separate ponds and allowed to breed amongst themselves. In the end, the offspring of fish that were easily caught… were much more easily caught… than were the offspring of fish that had been hard to catch.

The differences became more noticeable with each successive generation, thus proving that the likelihood of a fish being caught on rod and reel is in fact an inheritable trait.

Now you have something fascinating to tell people at the next gathering you attend.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration

October 18th, 2018

Sport Fish Restoration Program helps make fishing better for all.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler or boater, you will be interested to know that every time you purchase fishing tackle or motor boat fuel, you contribute to a trust fund that helps support quality sport fishing and boating access in Texas.

It’s the Dingell-Johnson Act. Also called the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act; it is a national program.

It began as an excise tax on rods, reels, creels, and fishing lures; the tax money was used to help fund US efforts during World War II. In 1950 it was redirected, thanks to the efforts of Congressman John Dingell of Michigan and Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado.

Texas receives a 5% maximum apportionment of all of these federal taxes, and it is matched on a 3 to 1 basis with the sale of state fishing licenses.

In Texas, a little over one-third of the funds support fisheries management. One-fifth, hatchery operations; followed by boating access, aquatic education, habitat protection, sport fishery research and public outreach.

These funds help make fishing and boating better in Texas for everyone—from urban neighborhood fishin’ lakes to…well…this show.

Sport fishing is good for the Texas economy as anglers and boaters spend billions of dollars annually for goods and services. Besides, they get to go fishing. I call that win-win.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Fishing Builds Confidence

October 17th, 2018

Colt Anderson and his fishing partner Jonathan Gray.

This is Passport to Texas

Size, strength and speed…important attributes for most high school athletes; unless, of course, the sport is fishing.

You don’t have to be the biggest kid, or tallest kid, or the most athletic kid to be a bass fisherman. It’s all about your knowledge.

Several years ago Colt Anderson was half of a high school fishing duo; Jonathan Gray was his teammate.

It’s kind of like playing golf a little bit, where you have different tools and you have to adapt to the conditions. You can never become perfect at fishing, and that’s a cool thing because you can always improve.

Another factor that makes competitive high school fishing a great sport is that young women can also participate – like Marinna Collins and Mia Sartor were the only female team at tournaments in which they participated.

It’s hard being the only girl team out there. We’re going to represent. This is my first year, so I am a little scared, but, you just have to relax. Chill. Just go with it.

Fishing is a terrific way to introduce young people to the outdoors.

Ooh. I think that’s the furthest I’ve cast yet. [giggles] That felt good. It’s really cool being in this club because you get to meet a lot of different people. And, we’re all like one big family – and that’s really good to have friends you can be really close with.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Caddo Lake Paddling Trail

October 16th, 2018
Paddling on Caddo Lake

Paddling on Caddo Lake

This is Passport to Texas

Gliding along the paddling trails on Caddo Lake in East Texas is at once intimate and humbling: mist dancing on the water; banks flanked by giant, moss-covered bald cypress; the chorus of birds; habitat teaming with diverse and abundant wildlife. It’s a special place.

It’s beyond words to describe how wonderful this place is.

Vanessa Adams worked as a resource specialist with parks and wildlife.

The paddling trails here on Caddo Lake will get you back into some habitat that is just not everywhere, it’s unique. It gets you into a place that you may have never seen before.

Marshall, Texas resident, and Caddo Lake paddling enthusiast, Sandra Phillips, says she feels close to the earth when she’s on this enigmatic lake.

You can’t find this well really anywhere else. All the network of canals and the swampyness of it.

Caddo Lake is different every season; Adams says paddlers need to return often to experience the full effect.

You gotta get out on the boat, you gotta get in the swamp and you really gotta sit down and you gotta sit and listen.

Find more information about Caddo Lake and discover other unique Texas paddling trails on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.