Lakecaster Online

Editors Notepad
By Ed Snyder

Special Lake Sam Rayburn bass fishery meeting concerned lake area business and private concerns for March 16, 1999, at Ramada Inn, Jasper, TX, the Director for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept., Phil Durocher, stated to an "over" capacity crowd of concerned anglers and citizens, that there is absolutely "nothing" wrong with Lake Sam Rayburn.

"First of all,, "Texas Parks & Wildlife has made "NO" proposals for changes on Lake Sam Rayburn, announced Phil Durocher, as he began to dispell the rumors which had been spreading like wildfire around the lake area. "As you know, Mr Durocher continued, "Lake Sam Rayburn has suffered a major bass loss this past year, and there has been a lot of different opinions as to what needs to be done to make it better in the future. "We're pretty proud" of what we've been able to accomplish here in Texas, he stated, "and we feel that we've got some pretty good fishing here, as our motto is, "the bigger the fish, the better the fishing".

"We're proud of Lake Sam Rayburn, just as you are, as Sam Rayburn's 114,000 acres makes it the biggest Reservoir that we have within the state of Texas, that is "Nationally" recognized as one of the finest bass fisheries there is, as there is not any better in the world. "As you all know, Phil Durocher continued, "tournament fishing is a big part of our business here in the state, and we all recognize that. "In these past few years, Sam Rayburn has been producing a lot of big bass, which is good, as you know what big bass can do for your business area. "Sam Rayburn presently has a 14" minimum, 5 bass daily bag limit, which was put on in 1986. "We've been stocking Florida strain Bass in Rayburn every year, since 1994, "and you must understand, Phil stressed, "we don't stock Florida bass in this lake, or any other lake to make your numbers high, "as Lake Sam Rayburn has about all of the bass that it can handle, as a lot of reproduction goes on here. "We stock Florida Bass to get the Florida gene in-planted here, advised Mr Durocher, as he further explained that, "In order to get a Big Bass fishery, you've got to have three things, "first, you've got to have bass that "Get Big", and Florida Bass get bigger than Native bass. "Second, you have to have habitat and you've got to have food, and we've got plenty of both in Rayburn. "Thirdly, they've got to live long enough, which doesn't happen on most lakes, but does happen here.

"We've done a lot of research on this lake, Phil informed, as, over the years, we've studied the exploitation rates, and "we know" that Rayburn is one of our best bass lakes. "Presently, Phil continued to enlighten, "Rayburn has more bass in the 8", 12", & 14" sizes than it has ever had in the past, "so, there's good production on Rayburn, "but I want you to know that as soon as the bass get to 14" they start to disappear, "which is typical on all lakes", because as soon as the bass reach the legal size limit, they began to be taken by anglers, and it really doesn't matter wether the size limit is 14", 16", or 20", "because as soon as they reach the legal "keeper" size, anglers began to take them. "Well, you say, "there are a lot of people who practice catch & release, "and there is", but there are "also" a lot of people who don't practice catch & release, and that's ok, as you've got to understand what happens to your big fish. "There are two things which cause the big bass to die off. "#1-natural mortality, the bass is an animal and will die, as we lose bass every year because of age, predation, and hooking mortality, and we've lost a lot of big bass from Rayburn this year because of the extreme heat conditions of last Summer, and "we have no control over natural mortality "#2-exploitation-or-harvesting, thats people taking bass out of the lake, and "we do have some controls on that option. "And we feel that the main reason for what's happening to Rayburn's bass fishery is "harvesting", and there's nothing wrong with that, as you have to have harvesting in order to maintain a healthy fishery. "As an example, explained Mr Durocher, "say that you've got a hundred fish, and they're all two years old, and "we know, that if you want to get a bass to 7 or 8 lbs, that rascal has got to live at least 8 to 9 years, and in order to reach 9 to 10 lbs, they've got to live at least 10 years. "OK, say that your 100 bass manage to live to the 14" size limit, they're going to have a mortality rate of being harvested that first year, at maybe 50%, which may be on the low side. "So, now you've got only 50 bass left from the original 100. "Then another 50% is harvested by year four, "so now we have only 25 bass left, "then by year five, 12 are left, "now, you can see what's beginning to happen here, as by the time you get to the year 10, there isn't any left.

"Thats why, Phil Durocher explained, "when you go out on a lake and see a lot of little ones, and only a few big ones, as that is the mortality rate causing this to happen. "Its not magic here folks, Mr Durocher stressed, "as its "only" the way it happens. "Now, if you were to compound that number to a more actual count for a lake the size of Rayburn, then we've now got "hundreds of thousands" of bass that are going through the same natural process. "There is just "too" many bass for anglers to catch, so Rayburn will have a higher mortality rate than most. "And thats why Rayburn has lost a good portion of its Big Bass population.

Mr Durocher went on to explain that "if" the Rayburn Business concerns wanted to have an improved bass fishery, that it really wouldn't change anything by increasing the size limits, or incorporating a slot limit, "but, recommended that the business concerns on the lake area have an economic impact study done that would show the financial support that the lakes fishery provides for its business concerns. "A study done for the state of Texas revealed that the sportfishing industry provides a $2 Billion dollar a year income for the Lonestar State, which makes it one of Texas' most important industries of priority concerns, as it brings in the "new money" that helps to keep the State Treasury healthy with the funds necessary for the "up-keep" of its "incredible" sportfishing attractions.

The Jasper Chamber of Commerce recommended that "NO" changes be made for Lake Sam Rayburn's bass fishery and that a committee is now looking into the prospects of doing a "lakewide" economic impact study for the importance of the bass fishing industry.

(Editors-note; this should help to alleviate any immediate concerns that the bass fishery will undergo any limit or size changes in the near future, as Phil Durocher stated that "if" any changes were to be incorporated, it wouldn't be until the year 2000 that it even would come up again for review, "and by then, Phil added with a smile, "Rayburn's bass fishery should be back to what it was just a short 2 years ago. "But even so, with recent reports that anglers were having good fishing trips, catching as many as 30 to 50 bass per day, its hard to understand why anyone would want to change "anything".)

Texas Share-a-lunker Update (13 lbs or better) (1-888-784-0600)
With lunker bass season now within the apex of its Prime-Time, the following Bass catches have been donated and recovered by TP & W.

(Up-dated Feb, 23, 1999) (Lunker update reports 1-888-784-0600)

  • 1 - (11/24/98) - Bob Lastinger, of Yantis TX- Lake Fork - (13.41 lbs)
  • 2 - (1/15/99) - Curtis Newman, of League City TX - Lake Conroe - (13.56 lbs)
  • 3 - (1/27/99) - Randy Speight, of Cumby TX.- Lake Fork - (13.24 lbs)
  • 4 - (1/28/99) - Toby Edwards, of Oralnd CA.- Lake Fork - (14.02 lbs)
  • 5 - (2/6/99) - Bill Wedelich, of Conroe TX.- Lake Conroe - (13.81 lbs)
  • 6 - (2/28/99) - Flo O'Brain, of Ft. Worth, TX. -Lake Fork - (16.63 lbs) - Largest bass caught by a woman angler in Texas.
  • 7 - (3/4/99) - Jason Walker, of (N/A) - Lake Nacogdoches- (13.64 lbs)-
  • 8 - (3/5/99) - Robert Monroe, of Fairfax, S.D. - Lake Fork - (13.31 lbs)
  • 9 - (3/7/99) - Darrell Proffit, of Jasper, TX. - Richland Chambers Reservoir - (13.89 lbs)
  • 10 - (3/17/99) - Derek Wedding, of Kilgore, TX. -Lake Fork - (13.22 lbs)
  • 11 - (3/20/99) - David Burns, of Liberal, KS. - Baylor Lake - (13.31 lbs)

Louisiana Lunker Bass Update - (13 lbs or better) - (1-800-442-2511)

As of this print there haven't been any entries in the 1999 lunker program.
Lake Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program- (10 lbs or better)-(318-256-4114)

  • 1 - (3/1/99)- Bob McKeithen - (12 lbs-7 ozs)
  • 2 - (3/6/99) - Dennis Atwood - (10 lbs-3 ozs)
  • 3 -( 3/17/99) - Frank Glover - (11 Lbs-2 ozs)

With Toledo Bend Lake now producing recent record catches for the tournament anglers, with a first day LOBI weigh-in of over 5,000 lbs, and a first day TOBI weigh-in of over 4,000 lbs, its beginning to become obvious that the next "Mega-Bass" fishery for our southern states area will soon have the name of Lake Toledo Bend "stamped" on its promotional brochures as the #1 sportfishery in the nation. Those people who've maintained a good, strong restocking program for Toledo's waters these past few years, have earned our accolades and respect for what they have done, as well as they continue to do, as Toledo Bend's Bass fishery is about to "make a statement".

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