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...................................end of banner...............................................................Oklahoma Wildlife Department Reports

 
Click here for February 2012 Gill Netting and Crappie Brush Planting report
Click here for February 2011 Gill Netting and Crappie Brush Planting report
Click here for February 2010 Gill Netting report
Click here for 2009 STRIPED BASS UPDATE – LAKE TEXOMA
Click here for Management Topics 2008
Click here for August, 2008 Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results
Click here for March, 2008 Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results
Click here for August 16, 2007 Lake Texoma DO Report
Click here for February, 2007 Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2007
Click here for March 10th, 2006 history report
Click here for Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2006
Click here for
Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2005 Length/Weight
Click here for
Lake Turn Over 2002 & 2004
Click here for Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2005
Click here for Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2004
Click here for Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2003
Click here for Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2002
Click here for Gill Net Survey for 2002
Click here for Gill Net Survey for 2001
Click here for instructions on "fizzing" fish caught in deep water
Click here for Who to contact if you think you have a record fish that needs to be certified


The winter 2012 gillnetting data is back from Lake Texoma and the future
looks bright for striped bass.  Combined sampling from both Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife and Texas Parks and Wildlife reveal that both

the overall catch rate and the percentage over 20-inches have improved.
Total catch rate exceeded numbers from the past two years and are at or
slightly above our management goal.  The percentage of fish 20-inches
and larger is nearly 27%, again exceeding normal conditions.  Anglers
can expect to encounter numerous 21 to 24-inch striped bass which will
continue to grow during the coming year.  This same cohort of fish was
dominant during last winter sampling but was just under the 20-inch mark. 
Current sampling also illustrates a dominant year class of fish which were
spawned in 2010 representing the first mode in the length-frequency chart. 
These fish will be fun to catch this year but are also a great sign for
future years.  Quality box fish 15 to 19-inches will also be available for
harvest. 

With the expected high percentage of larger fish, anglers should exercise
caution during the coming summer season to minimize hooking mortality of
released fish.  Once a limit of big fish is harvested, it is a good practice
to find a school of smaller fish rather than staying on a school of big
fish and releasing stressed fish into hot water.  I realize this is difficult
to do but will help reduce summer mortality.  Also, be diligent in measuring
your fish so not to exceed your limit of 20-inch plus fish.

Fishing is good and the future is bright.  Enjoy the great fishery
we are blessed to have at Lake Texoma.

Matt Mauck
Southcentral Region Fisheries Supervisor






February 2011 Gill Netting report

Geezer Guys – As you are likely aware, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC)
and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) collect annual winter
gillnetting data from Lake Texoma to monitor trend data over time. 

Attached are several graphs which display average catch rate, percentage
of catch 20-inches and greater and size distribution of striped bass as
indicated by recent 2011 survey data.  As the graphs illustrate there
appears to have been a thinning of the striped bass population following
the threadfin winter kill of 2010 and the subsequent hot summer water
conditions. 

The lack of available threadfin last spring and summer was evident by the
skinny and, at times, emaciated striped bass anglers were catching. 
Summer stress induced by hot water is difficult on striped bass as they
become uncomfortable trying to balance the desire for cooler water and
sufficient oxygen availability.  Unfortunately, summer stratification
nearly separates these two necessities as described in former ODWC updates. 
Larger striped bass are more vulnerable to summer induced mortality than
smaller individuals.  As indicated by the graphs, both total numbers and %
of stripers 20-inches and greater are currently reduced in comparison to
previous years.

 The good news……..Threadfin shad made a tremendous recovery during summer of
2010 and by fall were extremely plentiful again within the lake. Striped
bass have been foraging very heavily and, as web posted pictures illustrate,
are extremely healthy at this point.  Although very cold winter conditions
were present again in winter 2011, it doesn’t appear to have negatively
influence the threadfin population.  Both guide and resource agency
observations indicate bait is thick and predators are very robust. 

While larger striped bass numbers are currently reduced the size
distribution graph illustrates a dominant size group between 15 and 19 inches. 
These fish will be great box fish this year and many will hit the 20-inch
mark later in the summer.  This phenomenon of reduced striped bass numbers
and size structure following severe threadfin shortages has occurred several
times in Lake Texoma history.   Fortunately, both species have proven
resilient and have continued to provide us first-class angling opportunities. 
We anticipate fishing will improve in the coming warming spring months.

 In other news, ODWC fisheries staff has been working to replenish marked brushpiles
within the lake.  These are good places to target crappie throughout the year. 
Several pictures are attached illustrating this process.  Numerous very large
trees were utilized thanks to the cooperation with the Corps of Engineers and
the Bobcat and volunteers they provided.  A map indicating the location of these
fish attractors is available on the ODWC data viewer
(http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wmas2.htm).  Make sure to select the fish
attractor box in the right margin to display the locations.  An example print
screen image is attached for reference.  Once on the lake, many of these brush
piles are marked with a white fishing buoy. 

Enjoy your fishing in 2011 and beautiful Lake Texoma. 
Matt Mauck
Southcentral Region Supervisor - Fisheries Division
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
2021 Caddo Hwy
Caddo, OK 74729
P = (580) 924-4087
F = (580) 924-9132
mmauck@simplynet.net














February 2010 Gill Netting report

Geezer Guys –

Personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) completed annual striped bass gill netting surveys in February 2010 at Lake Texoma. Figures illustrating long term trend data and size structure are attached.

Relative density of striped bass as indicated by gill net catch rates appear slightly lower than in recent years (Figure 1) but remains within the range of historic fluctuation. Condition factors were slightly lower as numerous fish displayed sub-optimal weights for their respective lengths. Size structure, however, remains good with nearly 25% of collected fish measuring 20-inches or greater. Fishing should remain good during the 2010 fishing season with numerous quality sized and box fish available for angling opportunities (Figure 2).

As we all observed, the winter of 2010 has been usually cold and prolonged. Water temperature dipped to approximately 40 degrees and remained that way for several weeks. Many on this site have speculated significant mortality within the threadfin shad population as a result of this harsh environment. Reduced shad numbers may be responsible for the continued presence of thin fish. Several recent angler reports and our own sampling have indicated that portions of the threadfin population have over wintered and will be available as broodstock. Staff from ODWC and TPWD have been and will continue to monitor the shad population in the coming weeks. If we feel subsequent brood fish stocking is warranted, ODWC and TPWD staff will act accordingly. We urge anglers to avoid moving fish between waterbodies as numerous aquatic threats are present and easy transported (i.e. zebra mussels and golden algae).

Fortunately, the elevated water levels during early 2010 and extremely cold water temperatures were not favorable for golden alga bloom formation. Cell counts remained very low throughout the lake including Lebanon Pool.

The first confirmed zebra mussel was found in Lake Texoma during spring of 2009. Shortly thereafter, numerous specimens were located in other areas of the lake and have since become numerously distributed lake wide. Boaters and anglers should exercise extreme caution when moving boats and equipment from one waterbody to the next. The following precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of transporting aquatic nuisance species (ANS): • Drain the bilge water, live wells and bait tanks/buckets before leaving a waterbody• Inspect your boat and trailer immediately upon leaving the water • Scrape off any zebra mussels or aquatic vegetation found and don’t return to the water • If possible, dry the boat and trailer for at least a week before entering another waterbody. • Power wash boat, trailer, bait tanks, and accessories that contact the water with hot water (at least 140 degrees F).

Good luck fishing,

Matt Mauck (Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation)







2009 STRIPED BASS UPDATE – LAKE TEXOMA

Personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (OCWC)
and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) completed annual gill netting
surveys in February 2009 at Lake Texoma. Overall numbers of striped bass
and those over 20-inches have slightly increased since 2008 and are within
the normal range of fluctuation. Approximately 24% of our catch was 20-inches
or larger. The length frequency chart attached clearly illustrates three age
classes followed by older cohorts of fish. Current growth rates are very
comparable to previous age and growth studies (Age-1 = 7.7”, Age-2 = 13.7”,
Age-3 = 18.6”, Age-4 = 21.3”, Age-5 = 23.2”, Age-6 = 26.2”, Age-7 = 29.5”).
In general, it takes 3.5 years for a striped bass to reach 20 inches. A
length-weight relationship chart is also attached. This chart can help you
approximate the weight of a fish you catch if a scale is unavailable. The
trend line is based on fish collected in winter months when body condition is
often good. Fish caught in summer months are generally lighter on average.
Using this relationship, an average 20-inch striper would weight 3.4 pounds.







This data indicates we should have a tremendous year of fishing ahead of us.
Anglers can expect good numbers of quality box fish (16 to 20-inches) as well
as sufficient numbers over 20-inches.


Boaters and anglers are asked to do their part in preventing the spread of
aquatic nuisance organisms to and from Lake Texoma. Golden algae has
threatened the lake for several years and was present in numerous areas of
the lake during the 2008-2009 winter season. Fortunately, toxic conditions
were present only in Lebanon Pool and didn’t produce a visible fish kill.
Zebra mussels have recently been discovered in the lake as well. It is
important to avoid moving bait and water between lakes due to the possibility
of moving these organisms or their larva. The following precautions should
be taken to help slow the spread of these organisms:

• Drain the bilge water, live wells and bait tanks/buckets before leaving a
waterbody

• Inspect your boat and trailer immediately upon leaving the water

• Scrape off any zebra mussels or aquatic vegetation found and don’t return
to the water

• If possible, dry the boat and trailer for at least a week before entering
another waterbody.

• Power wash boat, trailer, bait tanks, and accessories that contact the
water with hot water (at least 140 degrees F).

We appreciate the continued support from the “geezer guys” and all you do
to protect this important fishery. As an update, the electrofishing boat
recently purchased did an outstanding job this spring sampling McGee Creek,
Arbuckle Lake and several smaller waterbodies. The equipment this group has
assisted in purchasing (Blue Wave, electrofishing boat, fish tanks,
microscope camera) greatly aids regional management tasks.

See below if you missed this before, shows the equipment we "The Geezer
Guys" have made possible for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife to purchase in the last couple of years.


OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE: MANAGEMENT TOPICS 2008

Several individuals from this forum have asked the Wildlife Department
to post periodic updates on management topics of interest. Earlier this
year, we provided graphs illustrating temperature and oxygen profiles
during summer months in various locations of Lake Texoma. Hopefully this
information was not only interesting to you but useful as well. Recently,
we have been asked to describe various fish sampling methods we commonly
use and provide applicable photographs. Please understand that volumes of
research have been published on each of these topics and the following
narrative simply scratches the surface.

Electrofishing

In simple terms, electrofishing utilizes an electric current to
temporarily stun fish making them vulnerable to capture. Several booms
extend off the front of the boat delivering controlled current produced
from an on board generator. A specialized unit allows specific amperage
and wave form adjustments to be made. This allows us to maximize our
efficiency while not injuring the fish. In some cases specific fish
species can be targeted using these adjustments.

The effective electrical range greatly depends on water parameters and
species of fish. As a general rule, this field is about 10-15 feet wide
and allows us to take fish up to 8 feet deep. As you can infer, this
method is most effective in shallow water. Because most target fish (bass
and sunfish) are found in shallow water during spring months, we tend to
focus our efforts accordingly.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, very few fish are seriously
injured using this method. Full recover is generally noted within seconds
to minutes after being netted. During this time collected fish are
identified by species, assessed by size, quantity and condition, and
immediately returned unharmed into the lake. Photographs follow.


Electrofishing: In pursuit of blue catfish at Lake Texoma


Electrofishing: Largemouth bass collected at Arbuckle Lake


Geezer Guys donated electrofishing boat and motor

Gill Netting

Unlike electrofishing where you take the gear to the fish, gill
netting is a passive technique that requires the fish come to it.
Obviously this gear type will be most effective for fish that spend a good
part of the day moving. Data on striped bass, white bass, shad, catfish,
and walleye are commonly gathered with this tool. Gill nets are vertical
walls of monofilament netting containing holes of variable sizes. Fish
become entangled in this net as they try to pass. Variable sized holes
allow us to collect fish of all sizes providing information on both prey
and predator species of numerous year classes. This gear has the
potential to be lethal; therefore, we opt to use this technique during
cool water seasons when fish don’t stress as easily. Photographs follow.


Setting gillnet on Murray Lake (Geezer funded Blue Wave and motor)


Young-of-the-year striped bass collected during routine sampling


Collecting shad data using a surface set gillnet

Trap Netting

Trap nets are also passive gear requiring fish to trap themselves.
The trap consists of a series of funnels which leads fish further into the
“belly of the trap”. Working like a giant minnow trap, fish have a hard
time escaping and are held captive until the gear is retrieved. A long
vertical lead helps funnel passing fish towards the trap allowing a larger
volume of water to be sampled. Fish traveling shallow to mid-depth waters
are particularly vulnerable to this gear. This is one of our best methods
to obtain crappie data. Walleye and saugeye can also be collected in
spring months as they attempt to spawn. Photographs follow.


Running a trap net and checking contents


Crappie collected in a trap net at Jean Neustadt


Collecting biological data from a white crappie at Ardmore City Lake

Seining

This technique requires little explanation as many of us have used
them. While you have probably used a seine to collect bait, we
occasionally use them to evaluate spawning success. For instance, during
June we travel to numerous sites in both the Washita and Red River arms of
Lake Texoma to collect young-of-the-year (YOY) striped bass. This has
helped us better understand striper recruitment from both of these
systems. Photographs follow.


Using a large bag seine to determine spawning success


Sorting juvenile fish collected in a bag seine

Age and Growth Studies

Collecting information on fish age is important for developing
management regulations. Understanding how quickly fish grow and the
relative numbers ofjuvenile and mature fish in a population is required to
help answer questions about how fishing affects the population. By
knowing what size and age a particular species reaches sexual maturity, we
can adjust regulations so that sufficient numbers of fish can reproduce
before being exposed to sustained fishing pressure. By knowing the
average size and variation within age groups, comparisons can be made
within and between lakes. For example, crappie in some lakes can reach 10
inches by age-2 but only 6.5 inches in others.

Otoliths are hard, calcium carbonate structures located directly
behind the brain of bony fish. When a fish grows slowly in the winter, a
darker denser ring forms on the otolith. A clearer ring is formed in the
warmer months when a fish grows faster. These growth rings are called
annuli, and are similar to the rings found in trees. Other hard parts of a
fish such as the scales and spines can be used to age, but have been shown
to be far less reliable than otoliths. Otoliths can be very small in young
crappie and bass or as large as half your thumb in freshwater drum.


Otolith examination: Age-4 crappie


Striped bass otoliths: Upper age-1, lower age-0

Creel Surveys

Some of you may have been contacted on the water, at a boat ramp, or
even over the telephone by a wildlife official attempting to gather
information on your trip. Creel surveys are designed to sample the
recreation fishery. General questions that determine hours fished,
species pursued, fish caught and harvested produce helpful statistics.
For example, creel surveys a period of time can help realize the benefit
or outcome of a regulation. Other examples would allow the comparison of
the time it takes to catch a target fish or perhaps a fish of a given
size. Furthermore, economic benefits of a fishery can be realized by
asking specific questions on demographics and dollars spent on trips.
Human dimensions are an important component of fisheries management.
Creel surveys help us better understand this connection and our clientele.

Hopefully, this brief taste of fisheries management techniques has
been interesting to you. Donations from groups like this have greatly
helped our organization obtain pieces of equipment that are instrumental
in our work. The Blue Wave and Oquawka boats are prime examples of how
the Geezer Guys have contributed locally. Many thanks for all your work
and continued support of Lake Texoma, surrounding resources and the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Matt Mauck
Southcentral Region - Fisheries Supervisor
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation


Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Report as of August, 2008

Ron,

I thought you and "geezer fans" might be interested in the following
update. I have attached several graphs to illustrate current
Temperature/Dissolved Oxygen trends. Feel free to post this on your web site
as you see fit.

Southcentral Region fisheries personnel have been monitoring water quality
parameters over the past couple months in Lake Texoma (see attached graphs).
Water temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) readings were taken from surface to
bottom in 1 meter intervals at four locations; the Roosevelt Bridge, Railroad
Bridge (Frisco), Two Rivers, and near the Denison Dam. The attached site map
shows the general location of each profile. High water temperatures and low
dissolved oxygen levels typically "squeeze" stripers during summer months. As
you may recall, conditions this time last year were much more stressful on our
fish. Historically, preferred habitat declines throughout the summer until the
lake destratifies (mixing of water layers) in late-September. I believe the
archives within this website document similar seasonal trends and further
explain the stratification and lake turnover processes.

Each attached graphs illustrates the current conditions at a given area within
the reservoir. In general, and as illustrated in the combined graph, the depth
of the thermocline (area of rapid temperature change) increases as you move
down lake. Generally, fish will limit themselves to this depth or higher in
the water column. Below the thermocline, oxygen levels deteriorate. For
example, oxygen levels are adequate at the Roosevelt Bridge to about 30 feet.
Similar oxygen levels can be found as deep as 55 feet near the dam. Therefore,
the lower lake currently offers the widest range of suitable habitat for
stripers and other fish to inhabit.

I hope this information has been useful to you. We at ODWC appreciate all the
"geezer" support in managing the Lake Texoma fishery.

Matt Mauck
Southcentral Region Supervisor - Fisheries Division
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
2021 Caddo Hwy
Caddo, OK 74729
mmauck@simplynet.net










Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Report as of March, 2008

Information from the February 2008 gill netting survey conducted by
fisheries personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and
the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department from 30 sampling locations from the
upper Washita River Arm to the dam, to the upper Red River Arm on Lake Texoma
was completed and analyzed. I am attaching two graphs that show long-term
trends in striped bass population levels and also size structure of 596 fish
collected during the survey.

Our data indicates that overall abundance of striped bass continues to be
very good with total numbers slightly lower than levels observed in 2007, but
still ranking 7th in the past 16 year trend. Abundance of 20 inch and larger
stripers increased slightly compared to 2007 levels.

The 2007/2008 population size structure and abundance graph indicates that
good numbers of (11-13 inch) stripers from the 2006 year class were
collected; In 2007 there were excellent numbers of 16 – 18 inch fish. These
fish have now grown into the 19 – 21 inch class and should provide excellent
angling for stripers greater than 20 inches.

What does this mean? We should have another good fishing season ahead of us
in 2008 barring unforeseen problems such as the flood of 2007. We should
have a good summer of fishing with high numbers of 11 – 15 inch fish
available for catching, with 20 inch fish still representing (two out of
every ten fish caught). There should be an increased number of 19 – 22 inch
stripers for anglers to catch in 2008. Anglers should also have ample
opportunity to catch numerous quality 4 – 10 lb. fish and some trophy fish as
well to photograph and release or put on the wall of the den.

Again I would encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect
this tremendous resource and return the fish in good condition where they can
survive and fight again. Thanks again for the great support the “Six Old
Geezers” family have provided our Department through the years. The new
electrofishing boat you helped purchase will be rigged out this summer and be
ready for survey work.

Good luck to everyone and let me know if you need anything.

David Routledge (ODWC Fisheries Technician)




Oklahoma Wildlife Department Report as of August, 2007

Striped bass surveys conducted in February 2007 indicated that the
striper population was very healthy with a wide range of different size fish
and I was very optimistic about the tremendous fishing opportunities that we
would expect this summer. Well who would have expected the rain and high
water that occurred. In 1990 the lake crested approx. two months earlier
(first week of May) vs. the second week of July of this year with discharging
of water through the flood gates until Sept. Boating access to the lake
coupled with poor water quality has really slowed down fishing opportunities
and angling success.

Southcentral Region fisheries personnel monitored water quality
parameters at three locations (see graphs below) on August 16, 2007. Water
temperatures and dissolved oxygen readings were taken from surface to bottom
at three sites; the Dam area; Railroad bridge; and Roosevelt bridge. Overall
water quality compatible for striped bass was generally poor. High water
temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels are "squeezing" the fish in the
upper 30ft. or less portions of the water column in the lower main pool of
the lake and less than 20 ft depths as you move up the lake. These conditions
are very stressful to fish some species more than others. Large stripers
prefer a thermal refuge during the summer months and will quit regular
feeding when they are uncomfortable or are stressed from these
conditions. Body condition declines and some fish become so poor that they
die and "thinning" of the population occurs. Small stripers seem to keep on
feeding in higher water temperatures and remain healthy in the hot summer
months. The poor water quality being observed this summer is the direct
result of warmer water inflows and the decomposition of flooded vegetation
that removes the oxygen out of the water. Poor water conditions is expected
until the late September when the lake water cools and remixes from top to
bottom. I hope the following graphs and explanations will help explain
what is occurring and as a result why the fish are not real happy at this
time. We at ODWC appreciate all your efforts in promoting the fishery of
Lake Texoma and the assistance and support the Geezer family have made to
this noble cause.

Paul Mauck.

Denison Dam:

This area of the lake currently has the best water quality for fish
survival. Water temperatures varied from 86°F at the surface to 73 °F at the
bottom (100 feet). Oxygen levels ranged from 7.5 ppm at the surface to 0.08
ppm at the bottom (100 feet). Oxygen levels were adequate for fish survival
down to 35 feet, then dropped to nearly 0 ppm at 40 feet. Oxygen levels
should improve throughout the entire water column in late September as the
lake destratifies.



Frisco Bridge:

As you go up the lake toward Roosevelt bridge the water quality declines.
At the Frisco Bridge profile site, water temperatures varied from 89°F at the
surface to 72°F at the bottom (84 feet). Oxygen levels ranged from 8.5 ppm
to 0.07 ppm at the bottom. Oxygen levels were adequate for fish survival to
only 15 feet (compared to 35 feet at the dam), then dropped to 1.3 ppm at 20
feet. At 45 feet oxygen levels drop to nearly 0 ppm. The narrow window of
adequate water quality for fish survival can be attributed to the unusual
weather we experienced this summer. The lake had a tremendous inflow of warm
water in June and July and lake levels increased to nearly 22 feet above
normal pool. Large areas of vegetation have been flooded for an extended
period of time and as the vegetation decomposes, oxygen is being depleted in
the lake. Fish will be stressed in this area of the lake due to the warm
water and poor oxygen levels below 15 feet. Fishing conditions should improve
in late September as oxygen increases in the water column when the lake
destratifies.



Roosevelt Bridge:

Continuing up the lake toward Roosevelt Bridge, the water quality
declines even more. At the Roosevelt Bridge profile site, water temperatures
ranged from 90°F at the surface to 74°F at the bottom (80 feet). Oxygen
levels were 10 ppm at the surface and increase to 11.5 ppm at 12 feet, then
dropped drastically to levels below fish survival at 15 feet. At 30 feet,
oxygen levels were close to 0 ppm.


Oklahoma Wildlife Department Report as of March, 2007



Information from the February 2007 gill netting survey conducted by
fisheries personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department from 30 sampling locations from
the upper Washita River Arm to the dam, to the upper Red River Arm on Lake
Texoma was completed and analyzed. I am attaching a couple of graphs that
show long term trends in striped bass population levels and also size
structure of 674 fish collected during the survey.

Our data indicates that overall abundance of striped bass continues to be
very good with total numbers slightly lower than levels observed in 2006 but
still ranking fourth in the past 15 year trends. Abundance of 20 inch and
larger stripers were very similar to 2006 levels.

The 2006/2007 population size structure and abundance graph indicates
that good numbers of small fish (7-10 inch) from the 2006 year class were
collected; fewer 11-13 inch fish will be caught this fishing season following
poor reproductive success in 2005; excellent numbers of 16-19 inch fish and
good numbers of 20 inch and larger fish will be available to catch.

What does this mean? We should have another great fishing season ahead of
us in 2007 barring unforeseen problems. We should have a "Code Red" summer
with some of the highest numbers of healthy 15-19 inch fish available for
catching, with 20 inch fish representing (two out of every ten fish caught).
Code Red refers to a fish locator that turns solid red as fish are schooled
up in a feeding frenzy below the boat. Anglers should also have ample
opportunity to catch numerous quality 4-10 lb fish and some trophy fish as
well to photograph and release or put on the wall of the den.

Again I would encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to
protect this tremendous resource and return the fish in good condition where
they can survive and fight again. Thanks again for the great support the "six
old geezers family" have provided through the years. The new Blue Wave boat
rig is being used and provides ample, space, safety and power to work the
lake on good days and bad. Attached is a picture of Randy Currie and David
Routledge taken during our gill netting survey last month.

Good luck and Great Fishing, Paul Mauck






Oklahoma Wildlife Department Report as of March 10, 2006


Here are some of the key projects that fisheries personnel with the ODWC
have been involved in for the past 30+ years as I recall. I know that I have
really enjoyed working a career on one of if not the greatest fishing lakes in
the country. There are still some major concerns that could have a negative
effect on the fishery; the Red River Chloride Control Project; the new
reallocation of 300,000 ac/ft of water from hydropower to municipal use and the
presence of golden alga. We all need to work together to enhance and protect
these aquatic resources we have grown accustomed to on a daily basis.
Here are some of the key projects that fisheries personnel with the ODWC
have been involved in for the past 30+ years as I recall.

Stocked a total of 1,565,721 striped bass from 1965-1984

Conducted follow-up Striped bass Research Project till 1981 to gather life
history information and interaction with native fish species

Conducted annual fish survey information to keep abreast with changes in the
various fish populations making modifications to creel & size limits and
restocking of threadfin shad adults following winter kills.

Assisted TPWD personnel with a cooperative creel survey for 12 years (1987-
1998) to gather catch and harvest data for various sport fishes; ie, in 1988 it
was estimated that 970,812 striped bass weighing 2.8 million pounds were
harvested from the lake.

Assisted TPWD personnel with a striped bass delayed mortality study to
gather information on releasing striped bass caught by various fishing
techniques and by season of the year.

Assisted funding research studies by OU, OSU and TxAM to follow striped
bass reproduction and recruitment; water pumping effects on stripers; removal
of salinity on lake productivity; economic impacts of the Texoma fishery; ie;
$25-30 million per year; and Angler Opinion Study in 1998.

Conducted a striped bass telemetry study to follow daily and seasonal
movement activities.

Conducted research activities to study flow rates of the Red and Washita
Rivers to correlate striped bass reproductive success by river system.

Conducted research on blue catfish population to follow catch rates, size
structure and growth; ie, it takes approx. 12 years for a blue catfish to attain
10 lbs but only an additional 3 years to reach a size of 40 lbs.

Stocked 1, 266,631 reservoir strain smallmouth bass from 1981 to 2006.

Stocked 1,682,769 Florida strain largemouth bass from 1981 to 2006.

Stocked adult threadfin shad from warm power plant lakes following severe
winters that winter killed threadfin shad forage fish.

Habitat enhancement efforts include; planting water willow in selected
coves; willow stake beds; spawning benches for smallmouth bass; tire modules and
rows.

Maintain 38 fish attractors in coves on the Oklahoma portion which are
refurbished every other year with new brush.

Charter member on the Lake Texoma Advisory Committee through which the
current Water Level Manipulation Plan was developed.

Worked with TPWD personnel collecting water quality and fish mortality data
following the infusion of Golden alga from 2004-2006.

Certified numerous Oklahoma and National records on various fish species
from smallmouth bass, blue catfish, alligator gar.

Many hours and millions of angler dollars have been expended however, Lake
Texoma at 60+ years of age is still one of the best in the country.
Thank you for this site where we can share information and for your many hours
to keep it going.
Paul Mauck
Southcentral Region Fish Supervisor


Steps to Reduce Striped Bass Hooking Mortality From Fish Caught
in Deep Water

Fish as shallow as possible: If fish are in 60 feet water try catching
them at 30 feet rather than at a depth of 50 feet, this helps reduce the
bends.

When bait fishing, use circle-type hooks, designed for hooking fish in
the mouth: One that has been successful is the Mustad "Croker Hook" size
1/0 to 2/0.

Release fish along side of boat to reduce handling stress. Be sure to
wet hands and towels before grabbing the fish. Boga grips are good tools
for holding fish while removing hooks.

Cut line and gently release deep hooked fish.

When a limit of big fish (2 fish 20" or longer in length) are caught,
move and find a school of smaller box fish rather than staying and
releasing fish tat want to float. Try to leave space in your limit for a
fish or two that can't be revived.

As a last resort, fizz floating striped bass by using a #18 -1 1/2 " or
2" hypodermic needle. See diagram and explanation. Hold fish in water
along side of boat and let air bubble out till bubbles stop and fish swims
away.

Prepared by Paul Mauck

Fizzing Striped Bass

Striped bass, like most fishes, adjust their buoyancy so they can
maintain their vertical position in the water without actively swimming.
Stripers adjust their buoyancy by the gas bladder. The gas bladder in fish
operates like a buoyancy-compensating device used by a SCUBA diver. As
depth increases, pressure increases and the gas compresses (occupies less
volume).

To maintain neutral buoyancy, the fish adds gas to the gas bladder.
When the fish ascends, pressure decreases, the volume of gas in the bladder
expands, and buoyancy increases.

Stripers can remove gas from the bladder with the gas gland, but this
is a relatively slow process. Therefore, a striper quickly displaced from
deep water to shallow water is helplessly buoyant and suffers "the bends".

Behavioral symptoms of stripers with buoyancy problems include fish
that remain at the surface after release and fish that lie on their side or
assume a "head-down" posture. These fish can be depressurized by using an
18-gauge needle at 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length.

Insert the hypodermic needle under a scale, through the skin, and into
the body cavity to puncture the gas bladder. The location of insertion is
important, because sticking a vital organ, such as the closely located
kidney, can kill the fish. To locate the point of insertion, insert the
needle where the tip of the pectoral fin touches the 2nd stripe below the
lateral line (see diagram).

Click on picture to see larger picture




Information proved by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,
Southcentral Region.

By the way, Texoma Tackle has copies of the above, and needles (free) for
any of you who wish to stop by and pick them up.


Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2005



Ron;

I have attached two graphs that help compare current and past striped
bass population trends that were collected in gillnet sampling conducted
in February 2005 by the Okla. Dept. of Wildl. Cons. and Tx Parks & Wildl.
Dept. fisheries personnel. Gillnetting data just summarized indicate that
overall abundance of striped bass is very good and numbers of fish over 20
inches in length are the highest observed in over a decade. As you analyze
or look at the graph of striper catch rates from 1993-2005 you can clearly
see these levels. The decrease in abundance of fish in 2002 is a result of
the winter kill of threadfin shad in 2001/2002. The 2004 and 2005
population size structure and abundance graph indicates that many of the
fish that will be caught this year will be 18-21 inches in size. Abundance
of small box fish 12-15 inches have decreased from 2004 to 2005 due to a
weak 2003 spawn and year class, so fewer fish of this size will be caught
this season. We should see progressively more fish from 20-30 inches in
length (4-10 lbers) creeled. Numerous catches of trophy size fish from 10-
18 lbs are being reported and fish up to 25 lbs have been recently caught.
Another positive observance is that no fish mortality attributed to golden
alga occurred thus far in 2005.

What does this mean? We should continue to have outstanding striped
bass fishing this year. Fewer small box fish, good numbers of healthy 17-
20" fish to catch and eat, record numbers of 4-10 lbers to pull the drag and
numerous trophy fish to catch, photo and release or to put on the wall.
Our data predicts that one out of every three fish creeled will be 20" or
longer. This means that more fish will need to be released after being
caught so let's all be very careful in our efforts to return the fish with
the best chance live and fight again.

Good luck and Great Fishing

Paul Mauck






Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2004



Ron:

I have attached a couple of graphs that help compare current and
past striped bass population trends as viewed from gill net sampling
conducted in February by the Okla. Dept. of Wildl. Cons. and Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department fisheries personnel. The good news is that striped bass
abundance and population structure is very good and 2004 should be a banner
year. A 12% increase in striped bass numbers was observed over levels found
in 2003. Stripers 20 inches and larger comprised 25 % of the total striped
bass population. Numbers of yearling fish of the 2003 year class were
somewhat below previous years due to low lake levels during the spawning
season. Good numbers of two and three year old fish were observed(12-20"
fish). As you look at the graph we also can see good recruitment of fish in
the 21-24" size (4-6 lbs in weight) and more numbers of larger trophy fish
up to 15 lbs. Numerous reports of recent angler catches of 10 lb and larger
fish have been noted and several 20 + lb fish being caught.

Minimal mortality of sportfish were observed during the past golden
alga outbreak and numbers of shad remain high as reflected by robust body
condition of all fish. No fish mortality has been observed and noted for
several weeks.

What does this mean? We can continue to look forward to an
outstanding year of striper fishing. Lots of good box fish to catch and eat
and plenty of 4-7 pounders to pull the drag and some 15 lb plus line
busters to put on the wall.

Good luck and Great Fishing

Paul Mauck






Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2003



March 25, 2003

To: Ron Ludwig

From: Paul Mauck, Southcentral Region Fisheries Supervisor
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Topic: Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2003

Enclosed are a couple of length/frequency graphs from our February 2003
gillnetting data that was collected by the Okla. Dept. of Wildl. Cons.
and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries personnel. There is
good news for all striper anglers. Data indicates that the striper
population has really rebounded following the last two optimal years
which have been good for threadfin and gizzard shad production and growth.
In 2003 we observed a 12% increase in the overall striper population with
approximately a 28% increase in numbers of fish over 20 inches above the
previous 10 year average. Yearling fish were 8-9 inches in length; two year
old fish were most abundant with a major size mode of 12-15 inches and
another good mode of fish between 17-20 inches representing primarily three
year old fish. As you look at the graph you can see the big increase of
fish numbers in the 20-24 inch size from 2002 to 2003. All fish were in
excellent condition with 20 inch fish weighing 3.6 lbs and 25 inch fish
weighing 7 lbs and 32 inch fish exceeding 15 lbs.

What does this mean? We can look forward to an outstanding year of
striper fishing.

Lots of good box fish to catch and eat and plenty of fighting fish from
4-6 lbs. I have been getting some good reports of some nice catches of
10 lb plus fish being caught on shadraps, long A Bombers; deep diving Redfins
and 4 inch sassy shad.

You had better make up a bunch of those "Prune Picker slabs" cause you
will be getting the calls this summer.

Good Luck and Great Fishing

Paul Mauck






Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2006


Ron;

Information from the February 2006 gill netting survey conducted by
fisheries personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. From 30 sampling locations from
the upper Washita River arm to the dam, to the Red River arm to Briar Creek
on Lake Texoma was completed and analyzed.

I am attaching a couple of graphs that show long term trends in the
striped bass population levels and also size structure of 758 fish
collected during the survey. Our data indicates that overall abundance
of striped bass continues to be very good with total numbers being second
highest in the last 14 years and comparable to levels observed in 2001
prior to the winter kill of threadfin shad and subsequent decline of 20"
and larger fish in 2002. Abundance of 20" and larger stripers were also
very good even though a small decline in catch rates were observed this
past year.

The 2005/2006 population size structure and abundance graph indicates
that numerous 11-13"; 15-18" and 20-23" size fish are available for
catching. Few numbers of small fish (7-8") were observed due to poor
spawning conditions especially low stream flows on both the Red and Washita
Rivers in 2005. This should not have a big negative effect this year, since
the 2004 year class was very strong. We should continue to see numerous
3-10 lb fish being caught as well as better numbers of trophy size fish.
I have not heard of many 20 lb plus fish being caught this winter but
there should be more opportunities to catch a wall hanger in the next few
weeks and the months to follow.

What does this mean? We can expect to have an outstanding striper
season in 2006 barring some unforeseen problem. Numerous small box fish,
good numbers of healthy 15-18" fish to catch and eat; great numbers of
4-10 pounders to pull the drag and numerous trophy fish to catch,
photograph and release, or put on the wall of the den. Our data suggests
that one out of four or two out of every eight stripers creeled will be
20" or longer.

Again I would encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to
protect this tremendous resource and return the fish in good condition
where they can survive and fight again. Thanks again for the great support
you all have provided through the years. The new outboard is being put to
good use.

Good Luck and Great Fishing
Paul Mauck






Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results Length vs Weight for 2005



Ron;

Here is a graph plotting the lengths and weights of 669 striped bass
collected in February 2005 from the ODWC/TxPWD gillnetting survey on Lake
Texoma.This information should be useful in determining the approximate
weights of fish caught from Texoma. Weights of fish after spawning may be
somewhat less due to spawning stress and activities. Hope this information
will be useful to anglers visiting the lake.

Good fishing;
Paul Mauck
Southcentral Fisheries Supv.

click on picture full screen size picture.




Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results for 2002



March 5th, 2002

Paul Mauck sent me this report to post:

Topic: Lake Texoma Striped Bass Survey Results "Update"

Enclosed is a graph and data from our (ODWC/TXPWD) February
2002 gill net survey that was recently completed. After looking and
comparing gill net data it appears that the overall abundance of
stripers or C/f (catch per hour of gillnetting) declined from 1.26
in 2001 to 0.91 in 2002 (approx. 24%) however remained above the 10
year mean of 0.82. The most notable change observed was the decline in
fish over 20 inches (C/f of 0.36 in 2001 vs. 0.09 in 2002) with the
previous 10 year mean C/f of 0.18. We sampled more fish over 20 inches
in 2001 than anytime in the previous ten years. Many of those fish
were from the very abundant 1997 year class. With the severe
winter-kill of threadfin shad in mid-Feb. 2001 and the lack of
substantial forage we have observed a thinning of fish in the 20-25
inch size group. Numerous anglers noted skinny fish in shallow
water during late July-September. The population has now adjusted
back to near carrying capacity as was observed in 1982.

The comparative length frequency graph (2001/2002) tells the story.
We should have a very good year for striper fishing especially for
fish 14-18 inches in length with fewer catch and release of bigger
fish. Condition of most all fish were exceptional with 18 inch fish
weighing 3 lbs. And a 32 inch fish weighing in excess of 15 lbs.
Gizzard and threadfin shad numbers were good and should over winter
much better than in 2001 providing the much needed food to sustain
high numbers of predators.

click on picture full screen size picture.




Who to contact if you think you have a record fish that needs to be certified



On the message board, there was a question as who to
contact if you thought you had a record fish that needed
to be certified.

December 19th, 2008

I received the following E-mail from Matt Mauck, (Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation). He gave me the following information to post:
During office hours, please call 580-924-4087.
After hours & weekends:

Below you will find contact information for myself and
Cliff Sager who will generally address STATE RECORD catches.

The group should also remember that individual lake records
are now being taken for select waterbodies including Lake
Texoma. The web link below describes this program, pilot
lakes, minimum weights, and current records. Texoma Tackle
(Kingston) is the official Lake Texoma Record Fish Keeper.
They can weigh, photograph and certify LAKE records but not
State records. This program is relatively new and empty
records are still available. Former state records from Texoma
have been grandfathered in.
Lake Records Link:
Lake Records Link

Matt Mauck
Southcentral Region Fisheries Supervisor
Office: 580-924-4087
Cell: 580-920-3586

Cliff Sager
Southcentral Region Fisheries Biologist
Office: 580-924-4087


Gill Net Survey, 2001



The below report is from the year 2001, I have left the report from 2000 avaiable on
this page for your comparison to current year.



Biologist with the ODWC and TPWD report that this years gill
net catch rates were the highest since 1987 and the catch rates
for 20-inch and bigger fish was well above any observed since 1985.
South Central Region Fisheries personnel with the ODWC headed by
Biologist Paul Mauck and TPWD staff headed by Biologist Bruce Hysmith
each set out 15 gill nets over a two-week period during February.
Nets were located throughout the Red and Washita River arms of the
lake. Anglers visiting this large bi-state lake this year should
experience some great striper fishing. Reports of anglers catching
fish upwards of 20 pounds are becoming more common. Recent rains
causing high and turbid water in the lake have slowed fishing success
however as the water warms and clears angler success should increase
dramitacally. Surveys indicate that gizzard shad numbers are
retatively good while threadfin shad numbers are below normal for this
time of year. ODWC and TPWD fisheries personnel will be making efforts
in the near future to collect threadfin shad brood stock from other
sources and stocking into the lake to assist the current threadfin
population provide additional forage.

Paul Mauck, Fisheries Biologist
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Length / Fequency Distributions - Striped Bass
  Inches    Frequency  
71
822
923
102
1117
12187
1335
1440
1552
1660
1727
1827
1973
2036
2143
2232
2348
246
258
267
272
283
313
333



Gill Net Survey, 2002


The below reports are from the year 2000.

Lake Texoma Age and Growth Data
1998 - 1999
  Age     Mean Length  
(inches)
  Range in Length  
(inches)
  Range in Weight  
(pounds)
1 11.2 8.3 - 15.8 0.3 - 1.9
2 15.8 11.4 - 20 0.5 - 3.8
3 19.4 16.1 - 23.3 2.1 - 5.6
4 23.1 19.9 - 29.0 3.4 - 10.3
5 28.9 25.0 - 30.0 5.6 - 10.5
6 30.;9 29.1 - 32.0 10.3 - 11.9
7 32.7 30.2 - 35.1 10.5 - 18.0
8 32.5 31.0 - 33.4 12.1 - 18.0
Striped bass were found to grow at different rates as
observed by aging otoliths of various size fish.

The following chart is taken from the number of
Striped Bass taken by gill net studies preformed in February
of 2000 on Lake Texoma. Note that 3 year old fish range
in length from 16 to 23 inches (1997/98 hatch). The below
chart show the total number of fish in this range caught
came to 289 fish, out of the total of 567 caught. This
high percentage of total fish in this range shows why this
was a good year of "quality" fish caught by fishermen on
Lake Texoma. This report was provided by the Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation, Southcentral Region
Fisheries Personnel and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Fisheries Personnel.

Length / Fequency Distributions - Striped Bass
  Inches    Frequency  
71
823
932
1020
1111
129
1340
14107
1549
1627
1754
1859
1947
2036
2112
2212
239
245
257
266
301



LAKE TURNOVER


(This report is from 2004)

I had asked Paul Mauck, Southcentral Region Fish
Supervisor, to give us a report on the "lake turnover".
The following reports are provided by the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,
Southcentral Region Fisheries Personnel.

Southcentral Region Fisheries personnel took water profiles (oxygen and
temperatures) at one meter increments at two locations ( in front of the
dam and just south of the railroad bridge) today, September 16, 2004. The
lake is currently stratified (has not turned over) but appears to be close.
Oxygen levels suitable for survival of fish (levels of 2 or greater) were
better near the dam. In fisherman terms (shad could live to approx. 70 ft.
deep at the dam but only to approx. 40 ft. near the RR bridge. Water temp.
varied from 76 F at the surface to 74 degrees F at 90 ft. at the dam vs. 78
F at the surface to 75 degrees F at 75 ft. at the RR bridge (see attached
water temp./dissolved oxygen profiles). When the water temperatures
equalizes from top to bottom the waters will mix and the lake will be
destratified. Then fish can live at whatever depths they desire. This
normally occurs near the end of September of each year. Usually it
coincides with the arrival of the sea gulls (give or take a week of
Sept. 21. according to my observations).

Hope this info. helps answer some questions. Better fishing is not far off.

Paul Mauck
Fisheries Biologist
Okla. Dept. Wildl. Cons.

Click on picture to see larger picture



(This report is from 2002)

I had asked Paul Mauck, Southcentral Region Fish
Supervisor, to give us a report on the "lake turnover".
The following reports are provided by the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,
Southcentral Region Fisheries Personnel.I wish to thank Paul for the following reply.

Your questions regarding how and when the water in Lake Texoma
"turns over" is often asked by many people and is not understood
by many folks. A lot of people believe that during the summer time
when their drinking water ( if it comes from a lake or river) begins
to taste and smell "lakey" for lack of a better term, that the
lake is turning over when, in fact it is probably related to algal
blooms and a general decline in water quality.

In most southern climates where lakes do not freeze over for an
extended time only a fall overturn is experienced each year.

Typically Lake Texoma stratifies in late spring (late May or early
June) at which time the warmer upper water layer does not mix with the
lower cooler water level. During this time the oxygen below 40 or 50
feet is used up. Often anglers using juglines or trotlines set in
deeper water will find dead fish on their lines during this time.

Anglers that are fishing for striped bass usually will observe fish
concentrations in the thermocline ( the area of water just above the anoxic
zone ), usually around 35 - 45 feet deep. Texoma usually stays stratified
until the last week of September, when the fall weather change begins.
As the temperature of the upper layer of water cools and approaches
the temperature of the lower layer, accompanied by strong wind action,
the entire lake begins to circulate and the lake "turns over".


Water, that has remained trapped in the lake depths all summer, again
comes in contact with the surface layers where free and dissolved carbon
dioxide has an opportunity to escape and the dissolved oxygen supply is
replinished.

Following the renewal of oxygen in the lower levels fish can again
inhabit the entire lake from top to bottom.

Another simple way to know if the lake has destratified, is to visit
the area of the Red River below the dam. If there is no sulfide smell
from the lake water discharge, then the lake has probably turned over.

Note: The lake oxygen level was checked on September 26th, and the
lake had turned over as of that date.

The following two charts show the tempature and oxygen contents at
various levels taken on September 26, 2002 and August 7, 2002.

click on picture full screen size picture.




Click on banner above to go to the Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation's web site.


Click on banner above to go to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Site