Stocking plan helps Lake Bridgeport

Lake Bridgeport’s hybrid striped bass fishery once was plagued with an unusual problem: too many fish being stocked too often.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries Division biologist Bruce Hysmith said he began noticing a decline in gizzard shad numbers in 1997 — and a decline in the weights of hybrid striped bass, white bass and largemouth bass. Gizzard shad is a favorite food source for all game fish species.

Now, Bridgeport is showing positive results from a modified stocking plan Hysmith implemented n 1999, cutting the annual stocking rate of hybrids from 10 to five fish per acre.

A recent study of Bridgeport’s hybrid fishery confirmed the modified stocking plan is working well, Hysmith said. Of 137 hybrid stripers collected in gill nets over a three-night period last week, 97 (71 percent) were 18 inches or longer.

Also, Hysmith’s gill nets captured 107 sand bass of which 51 percent were 10 inches and longer.

The bottom line, Hysmith said, is that hybrid stripers and sand bass are offering lots of action for Bridgeport anglers and should continue to do so for years.

What worked at Lewisville?

When Kim Bain won the Women’s Bassmaster Tour season opener at Lewisville Lake on Saturday, one of her primary patterns was flipping to pockets of brush about half a mile from the launch site at Sneaky Pete’s.

“The rising water helped me there, and I was protected from the wind,” she said.

She worked Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver plastics, blue and black and watermelon red/black.

She also fished Tower Bay and Stewart Creek, and points with flooded brush in various spots around the lake.

And at Amistad?

Texan Todd Faircloth primarily used two techniques while winning the Bassmaster Elite Series Lone Star Shootout Friday through Sunday on Amistad Reservoir.

He fished a 6-inch Senko to fill out his limit and used a swim bait, as many other anglers in the field did, to entice his bigger bites. The largest bass of his Sunday limit, an 8-13 brute that earned Purolator Big Bass honors and $1,000, was boated on a swim bait.

Second place Clark Reehm primarily Carolina-rigged a big worm in red. He said the bigger bass came later in the day.

Boat ramp re-opens

At Lake Palestine, the Kickapoo Creek boat ramp has been re-opened after being closed two months.The ramp, on Farm Road 315 south of Chandler, was closed Feb. 7 because of an invasion of giant salvinia, a noxious weed that spreads rapidly and is capable of choking off shallow-water areas to boat access.

Anyone finding suspected giant salvinia in public water is asked to contact Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Rick Ott at 903-566-2161.

Removing feral animals

State parks officials are trying to find ways to remove feral, exotic species of animals from some parks, particularly aoudad sheep and wild burros at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Six public meetings are planned to seek the public’s comment on current management strategies for the removal of feral animals on state park lands. All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.

The meeting schedule is:

April 22: Government Canyon State Natural Area, 12861 Galm Road, San Antonio

April 23: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin

April 24: Richardson Civic Center, Heights Room, 411 Arapaho Road, Richardson

May 8: Location TBA, Houston

May 14: Southwest Command Center, 9011 Escobar Drive, El Paso

May 15: Location TBA, Presidio

Game wardens wanted

Up to 55 applicants will be accepted into the Texas Game Warden Academy class that begins Nov. 1.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is accepting applications through April 30 for the seven-month training program.

More than 400 people applied for 40 positions last year. Applicants must be 21 before October 2008 and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Bilingual wardens receive an extra stipend.

Information and application forms are available at online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/warden or by calling 877-229-2733.