Breaking News
More () »


Texas is taking its popular Sharelunker program to the next level

QUITMAN, Texas — Texas calls itself the big bass capital of the world and a new project looks to keep it that way. 

The Lone Star Bass initiative sounds a bit Jurassic Park as it selectively uses genetics to create bigger, better bass across the state.

By now, you've probably heard of the Toyota Sharelunker program. That's a 35-year old program in Texas with the goal of producing some of the biggest bass in the world. Sharelunker status starts at eight pounds but the cream of the crop are the Legacy class Sharelunkers are 13 pounds or heavier.

Typically the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's (TPWD) Inland Fisheries division stocks Sharelunker offspring into Texas waterways. But recently, TPWD biologists have kept some of the male and female Sharelunker offspring to try something new. They've paired some of the male bass with female bass to create this new breed of bass called Lone Star Bass. Essentially, Lone Star Bass are the grandkids or great-grandkids of the 13 pound legacy Sharelunkers. 

And this spring the stocking of Lone Star bass has begun. We watched technicians and biologists stock more than 300,000 fingerlings into Lake Fork. “Lonestar Bass are actually Florida Bass but they have ShareLunker Genetics, says the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Jordan Harris. "We’ve made our Broodclass out of that, so all the fish being stocked around Texas, all the Florida bass are actually Sharelunker off-spring from one of our hatcheries” 

One of those hatcheries is here in East Texas at the Texas Freshwaters Fisheries Center (TFFC). After Sharelunkers are spawned, the are grown until they become fingerlings. Fingerlings are kept in some of the TFFC ponds until they are big enough to be stocked into one of 53 waterbodies across the state of Texas. 

 “These are the direct descendants from females that are on the Sharelunker program, legacy class sharelunkers that are 13 pounds or bigger and test out to be pure Florida bass," said Owens.   

Texas wants to convert all of its Florida strain largemouth bass broodfish to offspring of Legacy lunkers. That means the stockings this spring are the start of a long-term goal to stock more than six million selectively bred lone star bass into Texas lakes and stream every year. 

 “They are Florida strain, Jordan Harris says, but they’re hopped up with bigger better Texas genetics”

Will every fingerling grow to be a legacy class lunker, 13 pounds or larger? That depends on the lake where they are stocked, their food supply and the habitat where they grow. 

We won't know whether the program is truly successful for another eight to 12 years. 

RELATED: HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: 2022 ShareLunker season one for the record books

RELATED: HOOKED ON EAST TEXAS: Crappie fishing on Lake O' the Pines

Before You Leave, Check This Out