By Craig Nyhus
Many Texas anglers want to make the trip down the Devil’s River with a canoe, whether for a few days or a week or more.
With improved access and launching areas, more and more are making the trip, prompting fisheries personnel to suggest catch-and-release only areas along the river for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
“Smallmouth bass are on the increase in the river,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s director of information and regulations Ken Kurzawski. “The overall size of the largemouth bass is down slightly.”
Kurzawski said the department has been talking to riverside landowners and outfitters on the river about the increased traffic and fishing pressure on the river.
“The pressure has increased over the last 10 to 15 years,” he said. “In 2013, we began requiring access permits from any TPWD property. In the first year, we had 780 permits. This year, we expect at least 1,300.”
The proposal made to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 1 would designate an area of the river as catch-and-release only for the two species.
“What we are proposing in January (of 2017) is to institute catch-and-release for largemouth and smallmouth bass on the Devils from Baker’s Crossing to Big Satan Creek, a distance of 38 miles,” he said. “This is where the river becomes wider and more lake-like, it is the downstream boundary of the State Natural Area.”
If the commission agrees, the formal proposal would be made at the January, 2017 commission meeting, and then opened for public comment to potentially take effect on Sept. 1, 2017.