Bass fishing is a way of life in East Texas. Whether it’s taking the kids out to a farm pond on Saturday or fishing on one of our many world class bass fisheries, East Texas loves its bass fishing.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department realized this fact early on and has made it the department’s mission to provide Texas with some of the best lakes in the world to catch bass.
The TP&WD has been studying and selectively breeding largemouth to produce the next level of bass.
Several programs are responsible for growing these bass, but perhaps the best known is the Sharelunker Program.
Anglers catching a bass 13 pounds or larger can loan the bass to the TP&WD for study and spawning purposes and afterwards release the fish back into the lake it was caught.
The desire to catch a giant bass is popular among thousands of Texas bass anglers. The size of bass in East Texas has continually grown over the past 30-40 years.
In the early 70’s a 6-pounder was widely considered a certified “Trophy.” Florida bass made their debut in East Texas in the mid 1970’s and the world changed.
Lakes Murvaul and Monticello started delivering 7’s and 8’s on a regular basis. By the early 1980’s Lakes all over Texas were being stocked and managed for bigger bass and the minimum length limit went from 12 Inches to 14 inches.
The daily bag limit decreased from 10 fish to five and all the while the “Mecca” also known as Lake Fork was filling. Soon 9’s and 10’s coming in from the new lake and then in 1986 the bass fishing world changed again. A new state record bass was landed at Fork and bass fishing was on fire.
The results from this past years Sharelunker class are final and the TP&W shared the final data.
There were four 13-pound plus fish entered this year and one of the bass was successfully spawned twice. This year the hatchery produced more than 28,000 fingerlings to benefit Texas public waters. There is another portion of the fry that are retained at the hatchery to add to their brood stock base.
Lakes receiving the infusion of this years spawn are Alan Henry, Nacogdoches and OH Ivie. Other East Texas lakes receiving a boost up stocking were Lake Gilmer, Murvaul, Kurth and Lake Tyler. Bois D’Arc Lake also received stockings in the ponds that the lake will cover as it fills. This 16,000 acre lake in Fannin County should be another spectacular fishery.
The Sharelunker program has its own website and lots of information. The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is the home of the program and visitors can see these giant bass on display along with other native species.