Local freshwater bank access an issue

By Chester Moore Jr.
The News outdoors columnist

Where can I fish from the bank in Southeast Texas?
That is a commonly asked question. In fact, it is probably one of the top five questions I have been asked in the last 18 years of doing this column. People like to fish no matter their income and for many a boat does not fit in the budget.
An increasingly common variant of the question is where can I catch freshwater fish from the bank?
If you factor in Sea Rim, McFaddin Beach, the surf from High Island to Bolivar, Pleasure Island and the shorelines of the Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area in Bridge City there are many places to catch reds, specks, flounder and other saltwater dwellers from the bank.
Ponder the same question regarding bass, catfish and crappie and you have an entirely different issue.
Where exactly can you catch freshwater fish from the bank on publically accessible ground?
There are various boat launches and ramps in the Taylors, Cow and Adams Bayou areas. There is the Bluebird’s Fish Camp in Orange and the City of Orange Boat Ramp. You have a few areas along public roadways but other than that, there are few legitimate places to seek freshwater fish here if you are land bound.
I am seeking out locations so if you have any please email to chester@kingdomzoo.com. I always try to give the best information possible to people who read this column and seek outdoors access and on this one, I have a feeling you can help.
Bank fishing access related to catfish is something the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is getting involved with heavily.
In fact, they have a draft catfish management plan now available for public review and comment.
The document details the department’s overall plans for expanding and enhancing the state’s second-most popular fishery. It may be viewed at http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/media/catfish_plan_draft.pdf
“We invite the public to give us feedback on the goals outlined in the plan,” said John Tibbs, a TPWD fisheries biologist who is one of the plan’s authors. “Our vision is to improve catfishing for all anglers in Texas, and we are open to ideas on how to best accomplish that.”
Tibbs said the plan was developed in response to changing population demographics, findings of TPWD fisheries studies and the needs of Texas’ catfish anglers.
“Research shows that there is a need for greater fishing opportunities in urban areas close to where people live,” he said. “We are also seeing more anglers interested in trophy catfishing, but at the same time many people want to catch fish to eat or just for recreation. The new plan is designed to meet all those needs.”
Interested persons may complete an on-line survey accessed from a link embedded within the plan to express their opinions on what they feel are the most important fisheries management strategies in the plan. The draft plan will be available for public comment until midnight July 26.
The final plan is due to be published in the fall of 2015.
We will be including an increasing number of articles on bank fishing and catfish in the coming months. Public interest on this issue is at an all time high and it ties directly to people who want to go out and enjoy a simple, fun fishing trip and maybe bring home something for the frying pan.
That I can appreciate.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at chester@kingdomzoo.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outodors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

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