, Port Arthur, Texas

June 7, 2014

Conservation changes big for Sabine areas

Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — When I first started covering the local outdoors scene back in 1992 when I was only 19 years old, things were much different for the conservation of our resources.

Sabine Lake had never been stocked with speckled trout, the Sabine River ecosystem had zero Florida bass stockings, the Tony Houseman State Park and Blue Elbow Wildlife Management Area was not a reality, flounder stockings were not even possible and there were no artificial reefs on Sabine Lake.

All of those things have come to pass and show that our region is definitely on the radar in the conservation community.

A big part of it is the people in the region.

There have been numerous people who have had a real interest in getting our area the attention it deserves like the late Tony Houseman, the namesake of the beautiful park/management area on the Sabine River in Orange.

Kenneth Pigg of Orange had a big role in working to get the state to stock Florida bass in the Sabine River and local chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association and the Saltwater Angler’s League of Texas had roles in catching broodstock for both the millions of trout stocked in the area as well the growing flounder stocking program.

And I don’t mind saying I had a big role in sounding the call for flounder conservation and worked hard toward doing grassroots work for the stocking program but Capt. Skip James also deserves credit. His flounder work helped inspire me in the early days and he was the first person that I am aware of to bring up the point that flounder were on a decline.

There are so many others who have had super positive roles in the conservation of our area.

Many involved with Ducks Unlimited on a local level have done much good as have the long-standing staffs of the J.D. Murphee Wildlife Management Area and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department staff on Pleasure Island respectively. All of those people care about the resources.

I also have to give the editors and publishers of this publication credit as they have been committed to keeping the only full outdoors page left in the region alive. Started by the late, great Ed Holder, I consider it an honor to carry the legacy and keep folks informed about the outdoors in our region and beyond. Newspapers have been a powerful voice for conservation and informed outdoors lovers can make wise decisions because they know what is going on.

The resources themselves have been extremely important in raising awareness.

It was difficult to get regional magazines to pay attention to Sabine until 1997 when the Gulf Coast Troutmasters tournament series came here and influential anglers from around the state came and caught huge stringers of trout. Then shortly thereafter the lake record was broken twice and Sabine become an official hot spot, not just an afterthought of driving over to Lake Calcasieu for Houston, Dallas and Austin area anglers.

As much as some locals might dislike the attention, the more people of influence who come here, the more chances of us getting what we need on the political front. We have had numerous millions of trout stocked here in the last decade and a half and it shows. Our trout fishery is phenomenal.

Having the Bassmaster Elite Series fish here was a recent game changer and I fully expect to see benefits coming from that for many years.

We live in a unique area and I hope everyone who read this columns realizes it took some great people to make it happen.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at and watch him Saturdays on on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)