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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-04-05                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
April 5, 2010
Toyota ShareLunker 500 to Get Close Look by TPWD
ATHENS -- Whoever catches Toyota ShareLunker 500 will have to answer a few more questions than usual for someone entering a 13-pound-plus bass into the popular Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) program.
"Because the angler who legally catches and enters ShareLunker 500 into the program will receive $500 a pound from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, we will X-ray the fish and require the person to take a polygraph test to confirm that the fish meets all the qualifications," said Allen Forshage. Forshage is director of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, where the ShareLunker program is headquartered.
The ShareLunker program rules require that an angler turn a ShareLunker entry in to TPWD within 12 hours after the fish is caught. "This is to give the fish the best chance of surviving the stress of being caught," said Forshage. "The sooner we get the fish under the care of the trained biologists here at TFFC the better chance it will have of spawning and being returned to the lake alive. The welfare of the fish always comes first in the ShareLunker program."
ShareLunker program manager David Campbell will personally pick up ShareLunker 500 and perform the first inspection to be sure the fish is capable of surviving. The fish will not officially become ShareLunker 500 until the X-rays and polygraph test confirms the fish was legally caught and entered.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Wendy Womack, TPWD, (512) 389-8598 or wendy.womack@tpwd.texas.gov ]
April 5, 2010
Guadalupe River State Park to Open New Center for Kids April 24
Children's Discovery Center Opening Highlights Earth Day Celebration
SPRING BRANCH -- A strolling spider expert in safari gear, guided nature walks, crayfish displays, bird-banding and a live reptile show-and-tell are just some of the activities planned for Guadalupe River State Park's Earth Day celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 24. The special day also marks the grand opening of the Children's Discovery Center.
The Children's Discovery Center, designed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Interpretive Services Department, occupies a hexagonal building not far from the Guadalupe River. The center encourages youngsters to look at the popular Texas Hill Country park's remarkable natural resources through the eyes of a scientist. Children enter the building by crawling through the trunk of a "cypress tree" to discover what awaits them outdoors in the almost 2,000-acre state park when they really pay attention to nature.
A number of hands-on exhibits on such topics as water ecology, interesting critters and strange night sounds invite children and adults alike to "take another look at the park through the eyes of a scientist to see what you've been missing." The colorful murals and interactive exhibits with such titles as "What's Under the Water?" support and enhance outdoor educational activities and align with national initiatives to reconnect urban children with the outdoor world.
Nine concrete markers containing a different animal track have been placed in various spots in the park's Day Use Area near the river to help visitors identify animals that left them. The answers can be found by looking inside a book located just outside the discovery center.
"As interpretive planners," says TPWD's Wendy Womack, "we determined there was a need at Guadalupe River State Park to make children more comfortable with the outdoors by providing a building that would give them the tools to better see and understand the natural world."
She says the discovery center is composed of three parts: interactive exhibits, a circular desk with activity boxes containing natural items such as animal shells and fossils, and backpacks containing simple tools such as magnifying glasses that can be checked out for park exploration.
During the Earth Day celebration, youngsters will be able to visit 20 different learning stations staffed by TPWD biologists and archeologists, park volunteers and experts from such organizations as the Austin Gem and Mineral Society and Texas Natural Science Center. Kids who visit the discovery center get a free bug box with a magnifier lid. Members of the Native Plant Society of Texas will be talking about plants and seed planting, and will hand out wildflower seeds. The state park's friends group will be serving free hot dogs.
Two-hour guided walks of the adjacent Honey Creek State Natural Area will be given at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. In addition, throughout the day, Spider Joe will be strolling through the park, shaking spiders out of trees and answering questions about his arachnid buddies.
Texas Parks and Wildlife believes that places like Guadalupe River State Park's Children's Discovery Center help connect Texas' increasingly urban population with the natural world and serve to put outdoor experience into context to help youngsters understand how nature works. The new center is one way the state park is enhancing its interpretive programming that reaches tens of thousands of visitors annually, but has a difficult time serving the influx of visitors during warm-weather months. The new center will augment the park's interpretive programs by leading families to engage in unstructured outdoor nature investigation.
The park entry fee for persons 13 years of age or older is $7; children 12 and younger are free. After entrance to the park, all Earth Day activities and a hot dog lunch are free. For more information about the Earth Day events at Guadalupe River State Park, call (512) 389-8598 or visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Web site.
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On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/guadalupe_river/
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[ Note: This item is more than four years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ] [LH]
April 5, 2010
Three-Lunker Weekend Puts Race to Toyota ShareLunker 500 in High Gear
Only three fish to go to reach the 500 mark
ATHENS -- Three more Toyota ShareLunkers have been added to the season's tally, and spawning of the big bass is about to begin at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
The Race to 500 count reached 497 late Sunday with the entry of a fish from Lake Amistad. On Saturday O.H. Ivie Reservoir produced its fifth and sixth Toyota ShareLunkers of the season.
Steve Hand of Snyder kicked off the big weekend about 9:50 a.m. April 3 when he caught Toyota ShareLunker 495, a 13.22-pound largemouth, on O.H. Ivie. He was fishing in 10 feet of water using a Zoom six-inch lizard.
At three o'clock that afternoon Mark Worthington of Abilene landed Toyota ShareLunker 496. That fish bit a seven-inch red shad Senko in 10 feet of water on O.H. Ivie.
Both fish were weighed and held for pickup by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) ShareLunker program manager David Campbell at Concho Park Marina, an official ShareLunker weigh and holding station.
"It was an awesome feeling," Steve Hand said. "I never felt the bite. I just moved the worm a little bit, and she nudged it. I felt the weight and set the hook, and the fight was on."
Hand is an old hand at fishing Ivie. "I fish Ivie probably 15 to 20 times a year," he said. "I think everybody who fishes O.H. Ivie realizes that the fishing this year way exceeds anything in the past except the first two or three years when the lake was new. The last two or three years the lake has produced a lot of good fish. I think a lot of that is because of what you all [Texas Parks and Wildlife Department] do-spawning fish out, bringing them back, putting them back in the lake. And the bass fishermen all appreciate it. Without [TPWD], we wouldn't have the fish we have."
Mark Worthington's day ended up a lot more interesting than it started. "I didn't have a whole lot of luck until the last cast of the day," he said. "We were fishing off the north island with a seven-inch red shad Senko. I tossed it in a tree, and I guess she was sitting in the top of the tree. She put up a real good fight. She swam out to deep water instead of staying in the tree and pulled drag several times. Then I had trouble getting her to fit in the net she was so big."
Worthington agreed with Hand that the fishing on O.H. Ivie is a bass angler's dream. "The fishing has always been good here," he said. "It's probably one of the best eight- to 10-pound lakes in the state. We fish Falcon and some of the other lakes, but I really like Ivie."
At about 7:30 p.m. April 4, Joseph Burgi of Del Rio was fishing in 20 feet of water at Marker 7 on Lake Amistad when he caught a 13.37-pounder on a pumpkinseed Berkley Power Worm. Burgi took his fish to Anglers Lodge, an official ShareLunker weigh and holding station, where it was picked up by TPWD staff from A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos. David Campbell picked the fish up there and arrived in Athens shortly before noon April 5.
Burgi's fish is the third this season from Amistad. Lake Fork has also produced three fish this season.
The three big bass arrived at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens just as hatchery staff began pairing female ShareLunkers with males in preparation for spawning. A video of that process is at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
ShareLunker offspring are stocked into lakes that produced entries into the ShareLunker program during the current season. So far this season 26 fish have come from 13 public lakes and two private ones, all of which will be receiving lunker offspring, assuming the big bass cooperate.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. In addition, if a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the year, that person receives a lifetime fishing license.
The angler who catches Toyota ShareLunker 500 will receive $500 a pound-a minimum of $6,500-for the catch. In addition, G. Loomis and Shimano will award the angler a rod and reel package worth $650.
Because of the value of the prize package, ShareLunker 500 will be X-rayed, and the angler will be required to take a polygraph test to prove that the fish was legally caught and entered according to program rules, which require that fish be turned over to TPWD within 12 hours of being caught.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass and a recap of last year's season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
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