Lake Amistad Bass Fishing Guide
This is what we are fishing for. Sharelunkers are largemouth bass over 13 pounds. There have been several caught in Lake Amistad.
April 21, 2010 in Amistad San Pedro Canyon area, 14 feet of water 13.87 pounds, length 27 inches, girth 20.13 inches Bait/Lure: 10" Berkley Power Worm Day of Week: Wed Moon Phase: 1Q Type: Pure Florida bass
April 4, 2010 in Amistad 20 feet of water at Marker 7 13.37 pounds, length 26.75 inches, girth 20.5 inches Bait/Lure: Berkley Power Worm Day of Week: Sun Moon Phase: 3Q-2 Type: Florida/northern cross Status: Died 4/20/2010
February 27, 2010 in Amistad 28 feet of water at 52 degrees 13.02 pounds, length 27.5 inches, girth 19 inches Bait/Lure: Boudreaux bait Day of Week: Sat Moon Phase: F-1
February 21, 2010 in Amistad 30' of water in Evans Creek 13.5 pounds, length 25.75 inches, girth 20.5 inches Bait/Lure: Amistad Tackle Flutter Spoon Day of Week: Sun Moon Phase: 1Q Type: Florida/northern cross.
March 9, 2008 in Amistad 15' of water across from 454 spur ramp 13.39 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 20 inches Bait/Lure: Perch swim bait Day of Week: Sun Moon Phase: N+2 Type: Florida/northern cross
Caught by Rick Turner of Tyler, TX
March 23, 2007 in Amistad 22' of water 14.5 pounds Bait/Lure: 3/4-oz football head brown jig with a green pumpkin crayfish trailer Day of Week: Fri Moon Phase: FQ-2 Type: Pure Florida bass
April 19, 2006 in Amistad 10' of water 13.58 pounds, length 27.25 inches, girth 20.25 inches Day of Week: Wed Moon Phase: LQ-2 Type: Pure Florida bass
March 28, 2006 in Amistad San Pedro Canyon, off brush, 5' of water 13.18 pounds, length 26.5 inches, girth 20.75 inches Bait/Lure: wacky-rigged Senko worm Day of Week: Tue Moon Phase: N-1
February 28, 2006 in Amistad Castle Canyon area 13.1 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 21 inches Bait/Lure: Smallie Beaver creature bait Day of Week: Tue Moon Phase: N Type: Pure Florida bass
February 24, 2000 in Amistad 4' of water 13.05 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 19 inches Bait/Lure: brush hog Day of Week: Mon Moon Phase: LQ-3
Caught by Lendall Pervatt of Del Rio, TX
March 3, 1990 in Amistad 15.25 pounds, length 26.25 inches, girth 20.75 inches Day of Week: Sat Moon Phase: FQ-1
December 28, 2005 in Amistad 15' of water at confluence of Devil's River and Rio Grande 15.68 pounds, length 28.3 inches, girth 21.75 inches Bait/Lure: Norman DD22 Day of Week: Wed Moon Phase: N-2 Type: Florida/northern cross
If your fish meets the requirements listed below, call our toll-free, 24-hour pager at 1-888-784-0600 (October 1-April 30 only) or (903) 681-0550.
At the end of spawning season, the ShareLunker will be returned to the angler for live release, or the angler may donate it permanently to the program. Either way, the angler receives a fiberglass replica of the catch made by Lake Fork Taxidermy, ShareLunker clothing, and recognition at an annual awards banquet held at TFFC. In addition, the Texas resident catching the largest entry of the season is awarded a lifetime fishing license.
Land the fish as quickly as possible. Playing a fish to exhaustion diminishes its chance of survival.
If possible, refrain from using a dip net that has a mesh larger than ¼ inch and /or is not a smooth mesh. When using a net, always make sure it is wet before it touches the fish.
Avoid excessive handling or dropping of the fish while removing the hook. The fish will benefit from remaining in water (boat livewell or a large cooler filled with water) while the hook is removed with needlenosed pliers. Hold the fish vertically by the lower lip while it is in the water so that the total weight of the fish doesn’t rest on the lower jaw.
Take the fish to a marina or closest certified scales as soon as possible. Transport the fish in a properly aerated livewell or a large cooler equipped with an aerator.
Before removing the fish from the transport container, have the certified scales ready for weighing. Try to arrange to hold the fish in the marina’s minnow vat after it is weighed.
To reduce stress when removing the fish from the transport container for weighing, move the fish as close as possible to the scales and holding vat before removal. If everything is ready before the fish is removed from the transport container, weighing time can be less than one minute.
It is best to sedate the fish in the transport container before weighing or taking pictures. Marinas and bait shops can supply the recommended chemicals. Wet your hands before handling the fish. Lift the fish from the water vertically by clamping your thumb on the bottom lip. To raise the fish into a horizontal position, support the fish’s weight by placing your off-hand under the fish just behind the anal fin. This method should also be used if the fish is not sedated. Don’t roll back the lip in an effort to paralyze the fish. This can damage the lower jaw and hinder or prevent the fish from feeding after being released. The fish should not be out of the water longer than 30 seconds. Persons taking pictures should have their cameras ready before the fish is removed from the holding container. Holding the fish out of the water two to three minutes, or holding it in a plastic bag without proper aeration, causes stress that can damage the eyes or cause a bacterial and/or fungal infection. Such damage could cause mortality even several weeks later. Note that stress is increased by extremes in temperatures and/or windy weather conditions.
Ideal water temperature for holding fish is 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water temperature should not be changed more than five or six degrees per hour. If water is aerated and treated with bacterial/fungal retardant, low water temperature may not be crucial.
Call Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as soon as possible with your name, where the fish is located, a telephone number where you can be reached and when and where you caught the fish. Be sure to include your area code when leaving a message on the pager. Every attempt will be made to collect the fish within 12 hours, sooner if possible.
To request pickup of a ShareLunker (largemouth bass 13 pounds or over, legally caught in Texas waters between October 1 and April 30), call (903) 681-0550 or page 1 (888) 784-0600 and leave a number, including area code.
TPWD employees will travel anywhere in the state to retrieve a big bass. The goal is to provide the fish with expert care within 12 hours of being caught.
Texas is a big state, however, and we occasionally have more than one lunker waiting to be picked up. To keep those big bass healthy, TPWD is working with local fishing businesses and tackle shops to provide temporary holding stations for anglers who wish to donate fish to the program.
A list of holding stations is provided below. Stations are needed at other lakes, especially those located far from Athens. Any business interested in becoming an official ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station should contact Juan Martinez at (903) 670-2285.
8969 W. US 90
Del Rio, Texas
201 Recreation Road #8
Calliham, Texas 78007
Stow-A-Way Marina & RV
13988 Calvary Road
Willis, Texas 77318
Lake Fork Marina
275 County Road 1558
Alba, TX 75410
Minnow Bucket Marina
3035 W State Highway 154
Quitman, TX 75783
Concho Park Marina
24282 CR 4763
Millersview, TX, 76862
Elm Creek Marina
457 Recreation Road 10
Voss, TX 76888
Huntsville State Park
Jackson Hill Park
1705 FM 2851
Broaddus, Texas 75929
The roots of the ShareLunker program can be traced to the drought of the 1950s. That 10-year dry spell brought home to Texans the fact that the state’s burgeoning population had outgrown its water supply. A few reservoirs had been built previously, but the 1960s and 1970s witnessed the completion of many more. Texas had only one natural lake — Caddo — and the native species of Texas bass, the northern, was adapted to live in streams.
Fish adapted to live in large lakes were needed to take advantage of the new reservoirs, and in 1971 TPWD brought the first Florida strain largemouth bass to Texas. They were housed at the Tyler Fish Hatchery (now closed), and the first Florida strain bass were stocked into Texas waters the following year.
Over the next several years bass from Florida, California and Cuba were brought to Texas to improve the genetics of the Texas bass population. The Cuban fish were obtained by sheer daring. Joe Bob Wells, a Levelland resident who fished in Cuba frequently, flew to Cuba in December 1984 and brought bass back to Texas via Mexico, since travel between the United States and Cuba was prohibited.
As the Florida strain genes worked their way into the bass population, fish grew bigger. In 1980 a 14.1-pound bass broke the state record of 13.5 pounds that had stood for 43 years. The record increased again and again, to the current 18.18-pound fish caught in 1992. Interest in bass fishing burgeoned along with the size of the fish.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program (formerly called Operation Share a Lone Star Lunker and sponsored by the Lone Star Brewing Company, Jungle Labs and Cajun Boats) was established in 1986 to promote catch-and-release of large fish and to selectively breed trophy largemouth bass. The first fish entered into the program was also a new state record, a 17.67-pounder caught from Lake Fork in November.
In 1993 the name of the program was changed to Share a Lunker, Inc., and it was merged with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas. Anheuser Busch was the official sponsor from 1996 to 2008, providing prizes for anglers and a specially equipped truck used to pick up and return lunkers. During that time the program was known as the Budweiser ShareLunker Program. The name was changed to the Toyota ShareLunker Program in 2009 when Toyota became the new sponsor.
Since the program’s inception, more than 400 largemouth bass have been donated from 55 public reservoirs and more than a dozen private lakes.
As the program grew, it became obvious that the Tyler hatchery was inadequate, but there was no state money available to build a new hatchery, one tailored specifically to the needs of the program. It was decided to let cities bid to become the site and help raise the money for it.
Specifications called for the facility to be built within 50 miles of Lake Fork, because the majority of big fish are caught there. The Athens community pledged more than $4 million to win the bidding for the site, and the balance of the cost came from federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration funds and donations. No state money was used for construction.
The Edwin L. Cox, Jr., Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center was built around the ShareLunker program. The Visitor Center complex, including the Lunker Bunker, was completed in 1996, and the exterior hatchery ponds went into operation in 1998.
The ShareLunker program has been instrumental in illustrating the importance of catch and release fishing in the development of trophy largemouth bass fisheries. Data collected by the program shows that it takes 8 to 10 years for a bass to grow to 13-pound size. Slot limits that protect large fish have been proven effective in increasing the quality of fishing. Science-based fisheries management has been shown to be the best method for managing Texas public waters.
Bass fishing has enjoyed an increase in popularity in Texas that parallels the increase in the number and quality of fish in Texas reservoirs. Communities near popular bass fishing lakes reap a significant economic boost from anglers.
Even the fish have benefited from the ShareLunker program. When the program began, little was known about the procedures needed to care for big bass. Early in the program, many entries died while at TPWD facilities. Over time better care has increased survival to the point that nearly all fish entered into the program survive to be used for spawning or are returned to the wild. Even more importantly, proper fish handling techniques have been publicized as part of the program, so that anglers are now able to take better care of any fish they catch.
In the course of caring for more than 500 largemouth bass weighing over 13 pounds, the ShareLunker Program has:
improved knowledge of proper handling and care of big fish
developed and communicated to anglers recommendations for handling fish in ways that improve survival
established weigh and holding stations at major reservoirs around the state to improve the survival of big fish by providing the proper environment for them until pickup by trained TPWD personnel
generated nationwide interest in Texas bass fishing and increased tourism, as evidenced by 82 ShareLunkers having been caught by residents of 22 states other than Texas
documented the number of lakes producing 13-pound or larger bass from one in 1980 to 62 by 2011
created awareness of the value of catch-and-release fishing
developed a selective breeding program that produces broodfish used throughout the TPWD hatchery system, helping spread ShareLunker-derived genetics to all public waters stocked with Florida largemouth bass by TPWD
generated free publicity for bass fishing in Texas worth millions of dollars by providing the basis for thousands of newspaper, magazine, television, radio and electronic media stories
provided funding to develop cutting-edge genetic fingerprinting techniques that makes it possible for TPWD to identify ShareLunkers and their offspring stocked into public waters. These techniques also make possible:
genetic identification using a minimally invasive fin clip;
positive identification of ShareLunker offspring and confirmation of previously caught ShareLunkers should implanted tags be unreadable;
more accurate identification of intergrades (crosses between Florida and northern largemouths) and easier determination of parentage and relatedness among ShareLunkers, including identification of sisters submitted to the ShareLunker program;
genetic analysis of scale samples archived from ShareLunkers submitted to the program before the DNA fingerprinting techniques were available;
the search for genetic markers associated with ShareLunkers and for gender determination. Samples are being analyzed in an attempt to determine if there is a specific gene that influences growth differences.
Using genetic fingerprinting techniques developed in the last five years, TPWD has begun studies in selected public reservoirs using tagged ShareLunker offspring (referred to as Operation World Record or OWR fish) to determine the growth rate of OWR fish compared to other largemouth bas in those reservoirs. Results so far show OWR fish grow bigger faster.
These accomplishments have all been made using program sponsor dollars and without additional staff over and above those required for normal operation.
To ask questions about or discuss the ShareLunker program, call or write:
Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
5550 F.M. 2495
Athens, Texas 75752
(903) 676-BASS (2277)
ShareLunker program manager: Juan Martinez
To donate a 13-pound or larger bass to the ShareLunker program:
Call our toll-free, 24-hour pager at 1-888-784-0600 (October 1-April 30 only) or (903)681-0550.