PORT ARTHUR — To say it is surreal to be referring to the year 2014 is an understatement. It seems like yesterday, the world was obsessed with Y2K paranoia. Here we are 14 years later and going into what should be an interesting outdoors year.
There are five key outdoors issues you should might want to pay attention to heading into the New Year. They are as follows.
Flounder Regulation Changes: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is scoping potential regulation changes for flounder. We will have a deeper analysis on this issue next week but for now we do know potentially adding an additional month to the current fall run (November) closure is being looked at.
Trout Regulation Changes: Speckled trout regulation changes are also being examined. As with the flounder issue, there has been no official proposal forwarded but some options have been thrown out including a five trout limit. They will get the public’s ideas at a hearing to be held at the Port Arthur Public Library on both the trout and flounder issues 6 p.m. Jan. 9.
National Forest/Refuge Shutdowns: There is a possibility we could face another government shutdown or major budget cuts in certain departments like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. If you remember, the local refuges and national forests were shut down several weeks last October.
We have debt ceilings to deal with and all kinds of other issues and while there is nothing definite set in stone be on the lookout. There are some spooky economic indicators in the market now that could have a snowball effect in government agencies.
Big Trout: Trout regulations might be in discussion but the fact is Sabine is currently the hottest ecosystem on the Texas coast and we should see more of the same in 2014. If you are serious about catching super-sized trout the next four months are the prime time to do it and there are some monsters out there.