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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 01-24-2007, 12:56 PM
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Default Pickeral Time in Texas

With most of the lakes in East Texas full, or near full, of cold water the next few weeks should be a great time to pursue Chain Pickerel on a fly rod. Chain Pickerel, also called "Pike" or "Jackfish", are native to the Sabine, Sulphur and Red River systems of East Texas, South Arkansas and North Louisiana. Their range extends across the South and north to New England and the Great Lakes. The Texas State record of 4.75 pounds was caught at Pat Mayse Lake near Paris, the world record of 9.37 pounds was caught in Georgia. Because they are most active in cooler water and spawn during the Winter, December, January, February and March are the peak time to fish for them. Pickerel prefer shade, weedlines and heavy cover. Morning, evening and cloudy days are usually best. Pickerel mainly feed on small minnows, so small, slender flashy streamers are a good choice. I like traditional bucktails, like Mickey Finns and Black Nosed Dace, Clousers and small Deceivers. Bend back patterns or patterns with weed guards are useful when fishing in heavy aquatic vegetation. At times dark, bulky patterns like Wooly Buggers or Marabou Muddlers will get the most action. In low light conditions small poppers will draw explosive strikes. Pickerel share the same dental work as their cousins the Northern Pike and Muskellunge, so heavy leaders and frequent tippet replacement are the rule. I normally fish 3X tippet and replace the tippet section after every strike. I have experimented with wire leaders, but I think this hurts the chances of catching the occasional bass or crappie while chasing Pickerel. This winter I have been using the new Super Strong AR leaders from Orvis and it is definitely more abrasion resistant than standard leader and tippet material (it is also more tooth resistant for both Pickerel and fly fishermen, so be sure to bring your clippers). Good places to pursue Pickerel on a fly rod in Texas are Lake o' the Pines, Daingerfield State Park Lake, Caddo Lake and Hawkins. They are occasionally caught at Pat Mayse, Cypress Springs, Bob Sandlin, Gilmer, Wright Patman and other lakes on their native watersheds. Cross Lake, Lake Bistineau and the East side of Caddo all have good reputations for Pickerel in Louisiana. These lakes are best fished from a boat, kayak, pontoon boat or float tube. Boats and canoes are available for rent at Daingerfield State Park and Caddo Lake. Always take extra care and wear a PFD at all times when fishing from a boat when the lakes are cold. A fishing buddy counts as a safety device this time of year. If you don't wish to pursue Pickerel on you own, I offer guide trips for them on Daingerfield State Park Lake, Lake Hawkins and Caddo Lake from mid-December through the end of February. We also will catch them most of the year while bass and bream fishing on Caddo Lake. Because Pickerel get my vote as "Texas' Least Appreciated Gamefish" I am offering a two for one special on Pickerel trips from now through the end of February at Lake Hawkins and Daingerfield State Park. Two anglers can fish at the one person rate of $160 for a half day, $250 for a full day. Price includes rods, tackle, flies, lunch on full day trips, soft drinks and snacks. Customer is responsible for fishing license. There is no discount on one angler trips and the rate does not apply to Caddo Lake. We fish Daingerfield from my drift boat and it usually provides the best numbers with a little smaller average size. We fish Hawkins from my bass boat and it usually offers better average size and a few more bass (which I guess qualify as trash fish in this instance). Don’t forget that February is usually the time for great trout fishing on the Mountain Fork River when the March Brown Mayflies start to emerge. Let me know if you have any questions,Rob Woodruff WGSFLYFISH@aol.com check out the website at www.flyfishingfork.com
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Old 01-24-2007, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Pickeral Time in Texas

That sounds like fun. I have never heard of them before. There must be some french name for them that people called them where I grew up.


Update: I just Googled it. I think if I had came accross one of them in La. I would have trumped it up as a weird looking gar fish.*L*
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Pickeral Time in Texas

Up here in Maine we fish for them all the time..... but I prefer Yellow Maribou streamers and Sneaky Petes.
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