Written by Cody Craig
Here is a call to informed anglers: Identify what you catch! There is a growing trend amongst the fly-fishing community to bring to hand as many different species of fish as a possible, all on the fly. Not everyone wants to take it to this extreme, BUT getting an accurate ID of every fish you catch can give you a better understanding of the ecosystem you are operating in and ultimately help you catch more fish.
Gordy and Sons, a primo Houston based outfitter, stuffed a big wad of cash where their mouth is and funded BTT's first year of groundbreaking tarpon research in Texas. In a move that could pay major dividends down the road, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is expanding the scope of acoustic tagging research, already underway in Florida, by working with anglers in Texas to learn more about these fish. Tarpon are a bit of a mystery in terms of migration routes, spawning behavior and even diet. Targeted conservation is not possible without a baseline understanding of habitat utilization and seasonal migration. Read on for a brief history of tarpon in Texas, and a conversation with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust's Dr. Adams in which we discuss tarpon tagging research in Texas.
Photograph by The National Audubon Society
Today we caught up with Texas Parks and Wildlife's John McLaughlin, West Texas Quail Program Leader and stalwart of the Texas Small Game Program. Topics discussed include quail in Texas, public hunting opportunities and how private land owners can make a little cash money by participating in the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program, or GRIP.
Yucca shreds the landscape, and the stalks of century plants reach skyward, as far as the eye can see, across prime mule deer and desert bighorn sheep habitat. Steep mountain ridges extend deep into the eastern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest of North America's deserts, to create a very unique ecotone.
Chris Fowler gazes across Decker Lake, bracing for a fierce battle over the imperiled fishery. Photo cred: Chris Fowler
Walter E Long Lake faces sweeping changes, leading to questions surrounding management of a vital resource as well as the fate of an outstanding Texas fishery...
I know I'm late. My wife and I just had daughter number two, and let's just say the days are short and the nights long. Anyhow, Exxon recently announced plans to invest heavily in the US over the next five years. Mostly along the gulf coast. After the recent Trump tax reform (which I think were mostly good) I found this news oddly reassuring.
The one piece of the Trump tax deal that I was not so hot on was opening up 2,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for exploration and potential drilling. I even went so far as to shoot Ted Cruz and a few other politicians a letter voicing my opposition to that specific snippet of the bill. Cruz' response was logical but probably missing the point altogether. Yes, I get it. The portion they are opening is less than one percent of the total acreage encompassed by the refuge. But that likely does not factor in sections of the ecosystem that will be fragmented by roads OR the additional acreage that will inevitably be opened up in the event that oil or natural gas is discovered. Anyhow...
My next point. Who actually wants to drill in this region? There is no infrastructure there yet, the cost to export the resource would be expensive and there is a surplus of easily attainable oil/natural gas in the lower 48. Time will flesh this out, but for the time being, it looks like Exxon Mobil has definitively demonstrated what seems obvious to me. Kudos to Exxon.
We don't always recognize how much we have until it's gone. The American model of conservation is unique and was born of immigrant people who had witnessed the systematic destruction of most wilderness areas in continental Europe. With all of our modern luxuries, it is easy for people to get wrapped up in what is easy or convenient.. but let's not let this one come crashing down. Not on our watch...
I am a passionate outdoorsman with over 25 years of hunting and fishing experience across the state of TX.