As forwarded by Dave Hayward with Swan Point Landing
As you and most folks who fish the Port Aransas/ Aransas Pass/ Rockport area know, a private company was granted a lease by the Texas General Land Office (GLO), and later a “Letter of Permission” from the Corps of Engineers (USACE) to construct a mile-and-a-half long barge fleeting facility in Lydia Ann Channel, directly across from the Lighthouse.
The project has displaced recreational use of that shoreline, created a hazard to navigation and poses a very real threat of devastating environmental and economic impact on a sensitive area in the event of a spill. Those of us who have boated and fished this water our whole lives know that the Lydia Ann Channel is the main tidal connection between the Redfish and Aransas Bay Systems and the Gulf. An incredible amount of water funnels through the channel. It serves as an important migratory route for baitfish, gamefish, shrimp and other wildlife. A swift incoming tide and stiff wind will push any spill, along with the inevitable runoff, from the facility into these bays within minutes, without possibility of control. It would destroy fishing in the Lighthouse Lakes, Redfish Bay, Aransas Bay and St. Jo.
As a result, concerned citizens and fishermen formed a non-profit “Friends of Lydia Ann Channel”, and filed a lawsuit against USACE in December 2015 challenging the improper granting of a ‘Letter of Permission’, without any environmental studies or public comment. The issuance of a Letter of Permission for a project of this scale, located in an environmentally sensitive area, inside the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, was wholly inappropriate. A Letter of Permission is an abbreviated permitting process which, by law, is reserved for situations where “the proposed work would be minor, would not have significant individual or cumulative impacts on environmental values, and should encounter no appreciable opposition”. The company and the government essentially took a short cut on the permitting process, and the result is the eyesore on one of our favorite pieces of water that threatens to ruin our fishery.
The Texas Observer recently published a pretty good piece on the issue: https://www.texasobserver.org/port-aransas-barge-lydia-ann-controversy/
PLEASE take a look at this important coastal workshop presented by FlatsWorthy next Saturday, Feb. 25th at the Bay Education Center 121 Seabreeze Dr., in Rockport; with teaching officials from the National Estuarine Research Reserve, the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and Sea Grant Texas at Texas A&M University scheduled to appear. The workshop is Free to all but attending folks must register ahead of time at https://goo.gl/forms/oAEUxNPIqe5ZLSTk1
The TFF sponsored 2017 Trout in the Classroom project got off to a flying start last week. Thanks to the kind donations from TFF through the club fund raising and also with three new schools acquiring the necessary equipment themselves, we are now up to TEN tanks in high schools across Houston! This is a doubling in size of the project in one year and all the new teachers signed on after hearing about the success of tanks in our classrooms through their school system. We now have tanks in the following schools:
- Katy HS – Ms Kathleen Brown (Aquatic Science)
- Katy HS – Coach Williams (Aquatic Science)
- Katy HS – Jennifer Greenland (Aquatic Science)
- Mayde Creek HS – Sharon Carswell (Aquatic Science)
- Morton Ranch HS – Leigh Anne Colonna (Aquatic Science)
- Seven Meadows HS – Carlton Colmenares (AP Environmental Science)
- Klein Collins HS – David Henderson (AP Environmental Science)
- Cypress Lakes HS – Eileen Gariepy (Aquatic Science)
- Westbury HS – Lauren Gustartis (World Geography)
- Deer Park HS – Kirby Schmidt (Aquatic Science)
As usual the rainbow trout eggs were supplied by Trout Unlimited and came from a hatchery in Washington state. Each school received approximately 100 eggs and some have already started to hatch. Over the next few months I will keep everyone updated with their progress. Meanwhile if you have any questions then feel free to get in touch with me.
Matt Blyth (8324444206)
I participated in a fish sampling this past Tuesday and was amazed at the quality of the fishery that exists at the WILLOW WATERHOLE. We collected a variety of species including some large mouth bass, check out this nice specimen being displayed by Alice Best, fishery biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Department. We also saw Sunfish, Shad, Tilapia, Carp and Armored Catfish.
The fish were in catchable numbers and size to justify a nice morning or afternoon’s effort.
Any one needing directions or tips on the fishing please feel free to call me . Mike Frankoff- 713-553-3003
Time to pre-register for Carp-a-thon 2016
There are some great prizes for participants in the tournament:
- A Sage “X” series fly rod of the winner’s choice
- Boga grip
- Junior Award – casting lesson and guided carp fishing trip.
Details and registration information are found on the Carp-a-thon page.
The Willow Water Hole (WWH) has moved forward with the development of an urban fishery and Texas Fly Fishers (TFF) has been an integral part of it. Of perhaps greatest importance is that Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW) has begun stocking the ponds. In late March TPW stocked the ponds with bluegill and put largemouth bass in on April 25th. There will be a third stocking, catfish, in the fall. This is a major step forward and constitutes the basis of the fishery for the future. Many thanks to Alice Best and Mark Webb of TPW for making this happen.
In addition, a city wide fishing tournament that targets invasive species primarily, grass carp, will be held September 17, 2016. This date coincides with the Harvest Moon Festival currently being held at the Willow Water Hole which includes music, food and other activities. While the event would allow for participants to fish anywhere in the Braes Bayou Watershed the tournament would be headquartered at the WWH and all associated events including the weigh-in and awards presentation will be located there. This is planned as a major conservation event with city wide and regional support from a variety of sources including Texas Parks and Wildlife, Wilderness Houston, Houston Parks Department, Texas Fly Fishers and the WWH.
The TFF sponsored 2016 Trout in the Classroom project continues to progress well with the trout growing on in all 5 tanks. After much discussion with the teachers involved and with TU we have decided on a release date on May 7th. I realize this clashes with the club auction and so I understand if no club members will be able to join us on the Guad that day, however it is the only weekend in all of May where at least one of the schools does not have prom and so its the best date for student attendance. If any club members are around the area we will be meeting in Sattler at noon for lunch and then releasing the fish into the river soon after. Call me on 832 444 4206 if you would like to be involved.
This year’s TFF sponsored Trout in the Classroom project continues to be a success. All the eggs have now hatched and the trout have progressed to the free swimming stage and are starting to develop their park marks. All five tanks are doing well, with only normal losses for this stage.
We will be looking to release the fish when they reach the 3″ stage, which should be around mid May. The release will occur on the trophy trout section of the Guadalupe and will be supported by Trout Unlimited. Any club members who are interested are welcome to attend and help out. I will post details on the website when we confirm the date.
The following is from an email sent by the CCA
House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan SHARE Act
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 242 – 161 in favor of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (H.R. 2406), known as the SHARE Act.
Coastal Conservation Association members were asked earlier this week to contact their Congressmen in support of the SHARE Act, and to prevent some key provisions on angling from being removed from the bill. Your efforts were successful – specific provisions approved with the Act that impact the recreational fishing community include:
- Ensuring that state and territorial fisheries agencies have a rightful say in fisheries management decisions in their own waters.
- Protecting traditional fishing equipment containing lead from unwarranted federal bans.
- Preventing unnecessary closures to fishing and hunting on public lands by implementing an “open until closed” management policy.
- Requiring federal land managers to support and facilitate access for fishing, hunting and recreational shooting on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
Thanks to your help, the SHARE Act passed intact, marking an important step to ensuring that America’s hunting and angling traditions remain a priority for the federal government.