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Crab trap cleanup just around the corner

Hoping to add to the mountain of almost 26,000 derelict crab traps hauled from Texas bays since 2002, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are gearing up for the 9th Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program, running this year from Feb. 19-28.

According to the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) during this 10-day period, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing with crab traps, and any traps left in the bay will be presumed abandoned and considered litter under state law, allowing volunteers to legally remove any crab traps they find.

Before the 77th Legislature authorized the abandoned crab trap removal program, only the trap’s owner or a Texas game warden could legally remove a crab trap. State game wardens pick up more than 2,500 traps annually, yet there are many more still in the water to foul shrimpers’ nets, snag fishermen’s lines, ghost fish and create an unsightly view of Texas shores.

CCA reported volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the numerous wire mesh traps that have been lost or abandoned since last year’s cleanup.

To facilitate volunteer trap removal efforts this year, TPWD will provide trap drop-off sites at several locations along the coast Saturday, Feb. 20, from 8 a.m. to noon, weather permitting. Additionally, at most sites, dumpsters marked with banners will be available to receive traps for the duration of the closure. Site locations will be announced in February.

For more information on the local cleanup, call Jerry Mambretti at 409-983-1104.

Now onto the report…

North Sabine—The Entergy Outfall continues to produce lots of reds, drum and sheepshead on shrimp although most are small. Very few reports of trout but there should be some fish around the islands. Fish slow sinkers like Corkys and the Brown lures.

South Sabine—The Louisiana shoreline is fair for reds on Gulp shrimp and various soft plastics. Once again, very few reports from the main lake.

Sabine Pass—Bull drum and redfish are good at the jetties on crab. Sheepshead are fair to good at the jetties on shrimp. Very few reports of trout.

Sabine River—Largemouth bass have been fair to good on the south end of Adams Bayou on crankbaits. Very few reports.

Calcasieu (Big Lake )—Very few reports.

Sam Rayburn—The Skeeter Bass Champs tour produced lots of bass over the weekend the bigger fish caught on Rat-L-Traps in red and other crawfish patterns and on Gambler Flap Daddys. Very few reports of crappie or catfish.

Toledo Bend—Holly Park Marina reports as the weather warmed and the water warmed the bass started biting shallow on spinner baits. Fishing should slow down over the weekend due to the coming front. Crappie are slow to fair on shiners fished around the Chicken Coop area.

Hunting—State waterfowl managers report the coast was the hotspot for ducks in Texas. However, a wet winter scattered ducks along the prairies and marshes. The excess water was good for ducks, but made it harder for hunters to pattern ponds.

Gadwalls, wigeons, pintails and teal were the most prevalent species taken on the prairie. Coastal hunters in Port O’Connor and Rockport saw steady flight of redheads and pintails throughout. Goose season ended Jan. 24 and most hunters are happy to put the 2009-10 campaign to bed.

Some seasoned hunters have said this was the toughest goose hunting they can remember, probably due to a low juvenile count estimated at less than three percent. The Light Goose Conservation Order began Jan.25. Participation was light.



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TOLEDO BEND: Normal Pool Level: 172.0 Current Pool Level: 168.75 Was 169.40

RAYBURN LAKE: Normal Pool Level:164 Current Pool Level: 162.33 Was: 162.59

B.A. STEINHAGEN: Normal Pool Level: 85 Current Pool Level: 81.66 Was: 81.73



Chester Moore, Jr. is The News Outdoors Editor