Tag: chain pickerel

Magnificent Monday Morning

| February 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

texas fly fishing chain pickerel daingerfield #flyfishing #fishing

A week ago here in North Texas … schools were canceling their days, frozen mist was in the air, and cars were flying off the road by the time I headed back to Denton Monday night – mayhem. By Wednesday, the weather broke, headed east, and made history.

What a difference! Today, on President’s Day, we’re looking at 75-degrees, and while the water is still hypothermic, unique fly fishing opportunities are there for the taking, and the driving.

fly fishing for chain pickerel
Typical chain pickerel caught on fly at Daingerfield State Park in East Texas.


It’s a safe bet that after the weather breaks, the State parks will be crowded with people gone stir crazy. But when the weekend is what you’re dealt, then you load up at the crack of dawn, and take the chance to see how the chain pickerel are doing at Daingerfield.

The weather and calendar had certainly aligned; warm air, cold water and clear skies make for some of the best days of fly fishing for the strange looking chain on the fringes of the small spring fed lake surrounded by beautiful pines.

It has been awhile since I fished Daingerfield, long enough that I had obviously forgotten that there was a major forest fire that swept through the park in October of 2011. In fact, the last time we fly fished Daingerfield State Park was in 2012 to take Immanuel Salas out on the Diablo, when he caught the lake record largemouth bass on fly. (Gosh, two years ago seems like yesterday.)

When the rain is in short supply, recovery from fires takes that much longer, and the damage looks as fresh as if it had happened six months ago.

Chain pickerel look a lot like miniature muskie; duck billed fish with teeth that belong in a horror film, attached to a long camo green body that is very muskie-like. They seem to be just slightly more evolved than a gar, which makes them catchable on fly, and an exciting pursuit on Daingerfield. Don’t let me forget to mention how much they stink as well. The clear water of that lake often gives you the opportunity to see them come out and take your fly – especially if you are able to stand on your kayak.

Read More – I think you’ll enjoy it!– Continue Reading

Fly Fishing For Chain Pickerel at Daingerfield State Park

| January 30, 2012 | 2 Comments


Daingerfield is a lake I visited about four years ago, and was one of the first places I attempted to do a video “podcast” of fly fishing adventures. For those of you who have seen the original, you may want to take one last look because it’s so bad, I am seriously thinking about deleting it. Chalk it up to on the fly learning, or whatever you want … the free information certainly has gotten better, more honed, over the years don’t you think?

Anyway, if you are unable to view the video (and there’s no reason that should be a problem), feel free to ask questions – login and comment – and I will do my best to answer them. Suffice it to say, things are not the way they were three years ago at Daingerfield. Even with the park closed for a year (it reopened last July), something seems to be slightly off on the lake.

Daingerfield waterbody record for largemouth bass caught by guest Immanuel Salas
Largemouth bass record on fly rod for Daingerfield State Park outside Daingerfield, Texas.

We have had a mild winter, and spring will be coming soon(er), so perhaps that has something to do with the complete lack of bait fish right now. The water looks like it has been low for awhile, and the grass that used to be submerged around the edges is high and dry – dried to a crisp. That is the grass that chain pickerel used to use for their cover and ambush tactics. There’s hardly any of that left at all. Although the largemouth bass that Immanuel Salas caught is a lake record on fly rod, and a real pig, the pickerel caught were emaciated. I have a couple of theories on that, but to give you an idea; Mr.Salas caught one chain pickerel that was about two inches greater than the current fly rod record (stands at 14″), but the fish actually weighed substantially less than the current record (less than a pound).

The most effective fly we used was, again, the Seaducer in white and red – the typical Seaducer. I tried several flies, and that is the one that generated the most action.

Enjoy the video, and ask questions – if you have any. I will only reply to questions posted in the comments. No personal e mails, or questions via the “Contact” form will be answered.

Clear Water at Daingerfield State Park

Daingerfield Fly Fishing Update Due Today

| January 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Good Monday to everyone! I had the privilege of guiding a friend of mine at Lake Daingerfield yesterday, and although it was a thin day, it did produce a few fish. I am working on an complete post on Daingerfield, and what you can expect if you go there to fly fish for the beautiful, aggressive, chain pickerel, or are looking for something more practical like deep green, healthy largemouth bass.

I will try and get that out to you by the end of today, but with temperatures in the mid-70’s today, don’t be surprised if it takes awhile.

Check it Out – Daingerfield State Park Reopened

| July 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

I have fished Daingerfield a couple of times, and when you arrive – in the late fall or early winter – it does have a “wow effect” on you when you first see it. Then, kayak-up, and go out and catch one of the craziest freshwater fish Texas has to offer – the chain pickerel. Here is an early Texas Fly Caster story on fly fishing for Daingerfield’s chain pickerel. Keep in mind I made a mistake on the location on that early podcast. Daingerfield is not conducive to bank fishing, and has rules against high powered boats.

Renovated Scenic Park Open Again to Visitors; Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Set for Autumn

DAINGERFIELD, TX—After almost an entire calendar year of closure for repairs and renovations to facilities and campgrounds, Daingerfield State Park is once again set to host visitors at its Pineywood and lake setting, beginning Friday, June 24.

During the last 11-plus months, Texas Parks and Wildlife invested more than $5 million in capital improvements and repairs to the 500-acre park located in far Northeast Texas. The money, which was appropriated in previous bienniums, has been used to upgrade campgrounds to include full hookup sites with water, electricity and sewer connections; three new restroom complexes; a new wastewater system and major overhauls to historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, which were constructed more than 70 years ago.

Buildings such as the large Bass Lodge overnight group facility that accommodates 15 people has new furnishings, new furniture, new appliances and central climate control; the boathouse near the ramp of the park’s centerpiece 80-acre lake has been renovated and features a new dock with canoe and paddleboat rentals. And the large pavilion-combination building has been remodeled with restrooms, a group meeting room and a State Park Store with convenience and souvenir items.

“There will be a ‘wow-affect,’ for sure,” said park superintendent John Thomas. “When people come here, they’ll notice some real changes. We have been able to add facilities and upgrades that people have been requesting for a long time. We went from old restrooms—some of which weren’t even usable—to state of the art. And it will be nice to offer folks the convenience of a State Park Store. And for campers, we now have 40 full hookup sites instead of just 10.”

The park will initially open for day use and camping on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Friday, and reservations can be made beginning July 1 at the state park reservation center in Austin. To date, all of Daingerfield’s campgrounds and cabins are already booked full for July 1-4, evidence that reopening the park is a popular notion among outdoor enthusiasts.

An official grand opening and ribbon cutting of the park is being tentatively set for sometime in the fall.

“The park has a great partnership with the city of Daingerfield and surrounding communities to support its operations. And in turn, the park contributes a lot of money to our regional economy. Having this park open again is a big deal for this part of Texas,” Thomas said.

For more information, contact Daingerfield State Park at (903) 645-2921, or visit the Web site at www.texasstateparks.org. To book state park reservations in advance of your trip, contact the customer service center at (512) 389-8900.

TPWD Announces Upgrades to Daingerfield State Park

| May 13, 2010 | 0 Comments

I visited Daingerfield during the winter chain pickerel season awhile back, and was impressed with the park, how well established it is, and of course the chain pickerel. That video can be seen on an older post at “Daingerfield – The Missing Link Chain Pickerel“.

The press release from TPWD details the upgrades coming to that park and if you hit the link in the story, you can see the PDF file with information on several park upgrades. Unfortunately, Daingerfield will be closed during the winter and reopening in the spring. Winter is the time for chain pickerel at Daingerfield, so they will get a deserved rest, and you can bet they will be extremely aggressive early spring (as if they weren’t aggressive enough already).

Historic Daingerfield State Park Takes Hiatus with Eye to the Future
DAINGERFIELD — The now famous Civilian Conservation Corps came to this beautiful northeast Texas forest land in the 1930s to construct Daingerfield State Park. The hard-working New Deal crews built cabins, park buildings, roads and infrastructure. They also created 80-acre Lake Daingerfield at the heart of the park.

“The lake is the number one feature of this park,” says Daingerfield Park Superintendent John Thomas. “It was hand-dug by the CCC boys.”

This summer, 72 years after the park opened, it will close — on July 5 — but only for a few months. When it reopens in early spring 2011, visitors will discover a better park.

Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, Texas Parks and Wildlife is revitalizing three of the original CCC buildings. There will also be new restrooms, with showers, in all three park camp loops. All these facilities will be accessible to more people than ever, being built or restructured in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Another improvement, one next spring’s guests probably will not notice is a completely new wastewater system. The park’s aging and unreliable septic system is being replaced by a modern vacuum system connected to the Daingerfield municipal system.

The more than $5 million in improvements at Daingerfield are part of a long list of major Texas State Parks rejuvenation projects underway this year, all aimed at keeping the parks fun, safe and customer friendly. Texas State Parks general obligation bonds have been sold to fund more than $44 million in repairs and renovations to park cabins, bathrooms, electrical and water systems, and other state park infrastructure. Along with fixing up more than 40 state parks, the bonds provide an additional $25 million to dry berth the Battleship Texas.

The three CCC buildings are each in need of major work to make them fully operational and as appealing as when they were constructed.

“We are working with the Texas Historic Commission, as we do with all of our historic projects,” says project manager Maureen Barcinski. “We have a historic architect who is working closely with the THC to ensure the rehabilitation is done correctly and the historic assets are protected.”

“The Bass Lodge (Group Building) is frequently rented for family reunions or by Scout and church groups, and will be undergoing significant rehabilitation work on both the exterior and interior” says Barcinski. “It has a kitchen, five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a nice living room with a fireplace. Scheduled work includes rehabilitating the floors, walls and ceilings, repairing historic light fixtures, as well as upgrading the finishes in both bathrooms and modifying one bathroom to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards. The kitchen will also be renovated to meet ADA standards and a new accessible entry will be added. The scheduled exterior work includes replacing the roof, repairing damaged walls and trim, replacing aluminum windows with wood windows, and removing the window units and installing a central air system. It will be a very nice facility.”

The large concession building once functioned as a bathhouse, a concession area and a restroom. Currently, only the restroom portion is used, as the other areas are in need of repair. The scheduled work at this building will include converting the Bathhouse area to a group function area, renovating and reopening the concession area, providing central air to these areas and renovating the restrooms.

“Our park store will be relocated there and a section will be turned into a group dining hall, with kitchen facilities groups can use for special events” Thomas says. “We will have restrooms upgraded to ADA acceptability.”

Also being renovated is the boathouse, which will be converted to a park interpretive center. “We have an interpreter on staff and we’ll be able to have all kinds of educational opportunities,” says Thomas. “There will also be a display highlighting the CCC in the park.”

The park boasts three camping loops with 58 sites. Each loop gets a much-needed new restroom facility, bigger and more modern, with showers and ADA-compliant access.

The new restrooms will be tied into the park’s new wastewater system, a major part of this overhaul and one that lets park personnel get back to park work.

“We are doing something quite innovative,” says project manager David Frank. “We are installing a vacuum sewer system as opposed to a conventional low pressure system. We are excited about it being beneficial to the park and a way to bring that into other parks. The system structure will allow service to continue in the event of a power outage. And we are eliminating the septic systems.”

TPWD worked with the city council in Daingerfield on the project.

“They were willing to partner with us and cooperate to do this wastewater project,” says Tim Anderson, program manager for the North Texas region state park repair projects.

Daingerfield State Park is in northeast Texas, 3 miles from Daingerfield, on US 259, and 136 miles from Dallas. Its 507 acres feature mixed hardwoods and loblolly pines. It offers swimming, hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. Last year it attracted 66,000 visitors.

“March through Thanksgiving is our peak time,” says Thomas. “In spring we have a lot of dogwoods and all the flowering of the plants. Our summer months are May-July and a lot of day-use visitors are drawn to our swim beach and boat rental operation. It slows some in the August heat, but really picks up in October and November, when the leaves are changing.”

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