TYLER, Texas — We are entering year two of Hooked On East Texas.
Hooked On East Texas is a project meant to highlight and protect one of the greatest natural resources of East Texas. Our lakes and our fisheries.
One of the first stories we did this year was about a study underway on Lake Fork designed to track fish habits and movement. Research lead by Inland Fisheries Division Tyler District Supervisor, Jake Norman.
“The whole purpose of this study is trying to get some information out to the anglers about what fish in a heavily pressure water body like Lake Fork do throughout the year”, Norman told Hooked On East Texas.
His study on Lake Fork wrapped up in 2022 with some interesting findings. Norman described the findings to us when we tagged along on one of his research outings.
“I think another interesting component is how little most of these fish move whether they’re shallow or deep fish, we’ve seen some of these fish stay within a 200-yard radius within the entire year.” Norman told Hooked On East Texas.
This year, we also explored “Blotchy Bass Syndrome. It’s mystifying anglers and scientists. Dr. Cynthia Fox Holt is the biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife who is gathering data to get learn more about why black spots are showing up bass.
"We want to make sure that it isn’t going to negatively impact the fisheries, Dr. Fox-Holt said, "because this is our job because we want to make sure people have healthy, quality fisheries to fish for generations.”
Speaking of generations, centuries ago, mammoth, prehistoric paddlefish thrived in Caddo Lake. But habitat change saw paddlefish disappear. Now there is an effort to bring back this fish that is older than dinosaurs.
Paddlefish are welcome on Caddo Lake but not welcome is an invasive species known as Giant Salvinia. Biologists showed us this growing problem.
TPWD biologist Tim Bister explained why the nuisance plant is so troublesome. "If you don’t have sunlight getting into the water. Plants aren't getting oxygen, then you have lower oxygen levels underneath the thick mats. Fish don’t like it. It just creates a real problem".
Algae blooms are also a problem. Especially during the second hottest summer in East Texas. The city of Lufkin learned that first-hand.
Lufkin Parks boss Rudy Flores said, “Our research so far has told us that the algae bloom really does produce with extreme heat”. The algae will likely die off in the winter and the city of Lufkin hopes it doesn't come back next spring.
We also highlighted an effort underway at the University of Texas at Tyler to put a sort of smartwatch on fish to measure water quality. But it wasn’t always science.
We celebrated some big catches. This was a banner year for Texas’s famed Sharelunker program, entering its 37th year.
“So, what we’re trying to do is target these trophy sized bass and continue to produce these in large quantities for more anglers to catch throughout the state of Texas", said former Sharelunker director Kyle Brookshear in an interview during the Sharelunker season last spring.
We also celebrated Harold Hosack, the 80-year-old retired theoretical physicist. We found him fishing at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Athens, but his work was out of this world.
“There was a program called Galileo", Hosack told us, "Galileo went to Jupiter and the group that I ran, we built the imager, there was only on imager in that system, and we built that system”.
We also found young anglers who already sound like pros. For instance, Austin Johnson, only 11, but can give pro tips. “Anything top water should work since coming out of spring season", Johnson urged, "But usually if want spawning season, use a sexy shad crank bait and that’ll get you set”.
We took you inside Skeeter boats in Kilgore and Crème Lures in Tyler. Both well-known names in the world of fishing and along the way caught fish, a lot of fish.
We look forward to bringing you more stories in 2023.
If you have an idea for a story or want to brag about your big catch, email me at BAnthony@CBS19.tv