Monday Morning Lessons Learned

| April 20, 2020

It’s another Monday Morning, but it’s a lot different from last Monday, which was a lot different from the one before that. A day is a week long, and it seems like it was a month ago that the Governor of Texas shut down the State park system seemingly on a whim.

Today, seemingly on another whim, more than 80 parks under the TPWD banner are once again open for business. My suspicion is the original closure was based on two particular things: 1) the uptick in park admissions just before shutdown, and, 2) the fact that Texas parks see a HUGE influx of people Easter weekend in particular.

Now that the Texas COVID-19 curve is flattening out, and the outcry of sports who support Governor Abbot have made their displeasure known; the parks will open today to crowds of people who will keep their distances, and weather permitting – PACK the PARKS for the duration. “Full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes!

My own personal opinion is that people at the TPWD boat ramps are a good sample of what to expect at TPWD Parks. Everyone is doing a dance that keeps distance, and at the same time allows everyone to launch and load their boats while still keeping their distances. There were as many people as I have EVER seen at the Ray Roberts ramps, and there was total cooperation – no shouting, high courtesy levels and a huge helping of patience. None of those characteristics are typical of any crowd I have EVER seen at any Ray Roberts TPWD boat ramps (the city mice just don’t get it).

The most important thing I have learned in the last two weeks? I learned that, “He who hesitates is lost.” Not working, gas at $1.13, and a wide open schedule? The only star out of alignment is the fickle Texas weather, and even that is star is moving into a harmonic convergence. That same weather star has left a wide streak of water behind though – Ray RobertsLewisville and other North Texas lakes are high. And we do have severe weather threats for the first part of this week, but they seem to be tightly regionalized at this moment. East Texas has taken it (the rain) pretty directly as well, but we definitely are headed that way this week.

Lake Texoma crappie spring
Lake Texoma crappie “by-catch.”

Since last Monday, I did get on  Lake Texoma. The water is running red as they draw down the lake – making it necessary to run some distance from the USACE boat ramp at HWY. 377 – roughly 55-miles from my door. As we headed down, we realized there is a world of difference between the Texoma habitat this year, and what it was in May of 2019. In 2019 the water was several feet higher and up into the trees in many Oklahoma coves, and that is were we found striper cornering shad – in coves in trees. Those were strange days indeed. Saturday, it was more typical with watching electronics, looking for hints from birds, and finally finding a huge helping of small sand bass, small striper and a lunker crappie thrown in for good measure. The spot was a curve in the river bottom, and pulling conventional lures back up out of that. The “bigguns” are just not in the mix – yet.

Lake Ray Roberts is still a flooded mess as of mid-week last week. Water is in the trees and weeds, and the USACE is drawing it down so quickly that it is bound to generate some confused fish … temperatures are also still relatively low for the burst in carp activity. So those of you wondering? Relax. Your time is coming. You can still have all kinds of fun on a skiff – being prepared with a fly rod, and prospecting with spinning gear while you wait and watch.

So in the interest of not hesitating, I will talk to you later – certainly a YouTube video out this week sometime, and who knows what else we will do now that the stars are in near complete alignment.

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Culture on the Skids, Fishing Reports, Life Observed, North Texas, On The Road, Prospecting Conventional Gear, Science and Environmental

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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