How's the fishing? Our experts give the outlook for freshwater and saltwater angling in this exclusive, digital-only magazine extra.
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Photos in the March 2015 issue
This Month's Features
Want to camp but shaky on skills? There's a cure for that.
By Stephanie M. Salinas
For some people, camping seems as easy as tying your shoes. For those of us who didn’t grow up pounding tent stakes and cooking over a campfire … well, it can be more than a little intimidating.
My choices were to avoid camping for the rest of my life or to dive right in and give it a try. I gathered up my courage and decided I can do this! Then, I realized I hadn’t a clue where to begin.
As a member of the computer-savvy generation, I did what any of my friends would do: surf the Web. There I found a dizzying array of tents and other gear in all kinds of shapes, colors, sizes and brands. I was overwhelmed and immediately defeated.
Luckily, my job at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provided just the answer. The low-cost Texas Outdoor Family program, offered to all Texans by TPWD, not only teaches “newbies” like me how to camp, but equipment is provided.
Sign me up!
Water-hogging invasives beware: TPWD is out to get you.
By Larry D. Hodge
Carl Boatman points the nose of the airboatdirectly at the green wall confronting us on Toledo Bend Reservoir and revs the motor, raising a wall of mist behind us. I brace for impact as we slam into the wall — but we sail smoothly on. We’re riding on a 3-foot-thick floating carpet of water hyacinth and giant salvinia.
More than 9,000 acres of the north end of Texas’ largest reservoir lie smothered beneath a blanket of plants descended from those that were brought to Texas from South America in the not-too-distant past. The plants found their way, either on purpose or by accident, into the state’s prime fishing lakes.
Left unchecked, these alien invaders will suck the life out of Toledo Bend and the hundred or so other Texas lakes they already infest. They are not alone.
Alligator gar is the misunderstood "big daddy" of freshwater fish.
By Dyanne Fry Cortez
“We live in Germany. We want to come to Texas and fisch for gar!”
Ten years ago, that message landed in my email box at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters. It was my first hint that our biggest freshwater fish was starting to get some respect.
Four species of gar swim in Texas waters. The alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula, is the granddaddy of them all. It can grow longer than 8 feet and weigh more than 300 pounds. Tough, interlocking scales and a snout full of sharp teeth give it a prehistoric appearance. Scientists believe this species has survived largely unchanged since the days of the dinosaurs.