The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Since 1998, we have closely covered the return of black bears to Texas on these pages and this week we have some interesting news on that front from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD).
Though historically it has been very rare for bears to be sighted south or east of Val Verde County, so far in 2012 there have been a dozen such sightings.
“This is likely a result of a growing number of bears in Mexico dispersing and searching for food after severe droughts and wildfires,” said TPWD biologist Jonah Evans of Alpine, the department’s bear coordinator.
“Whether these sightings signify a permanent recolonization of Central and South Texas remains to be seen.”
TPWD noted while black bears are native to all of Texas, in the early 1900’s, heavy hunting and trapping completely eliminated them from the state. Currently, the only established breeding populations are in the Big Bend area of West Texas.
“Black bears are generally not a risk to humans,” Evans said.
“But they can become a nuisance if they gain a taste for human food, pet food, or trash. We’ve recently received several reports of bears tipping over and damaging deer feeders and a few raiding trash cans along the border.”
Evans says the department’s goal is for people and bears to coexist peacefully.
“By eliminating food rewards, we eliminate most of the problems,” he said.
“Many communities in bear country have effectively adapted to live with bears, but it takes everyone working together and doing their part.”
The most effective strategy is for residents along the border to secure their trash, bird feeders, and pet food, so bears do not become habituated to easy meals, Evans notes.
“This cannot be overstated,” he said.
“The saying ’A fed bear is a dead bear’ is absolutely true. If a bear becomes habituated and food-conditioned, there is little we can do to save it. It will likely have to be destroyed.”
TPWD is asking people to report all bear sightings. If you see a bear, please report it to Jonah Evans at (432) 837-2051 x228.
Now onto the report…
North Sabine---Trout and reds are fair under the birds on plastics, Gulp and live bait on the main lake. Flounder are fair on the outside points along the Louisiana shoreline on live bait.
South Sabine---Flounder remain fair along the Louisiana shoreline and around the causeway. Trout and reds are fair under the birds on a variety of plastics. Black drum are starting to show in good numbers with some big fish caught around the Walter Umphrey Pier.
Sabine Pass---Flounder are around points and drop-offs all the way down to the jetties on live bait and jigs tipped with shrimp. Very few reports of red and trout.
Lake Calcasieu (Big Lake)---Hackberry Rod and Gun reports fair to good action for trout and reds on live bait and plastics fished under the birds throughout the system. Flounder fishing is fair to good in the channel south of the lake.
Sam Rayburn---Texas Parks & Wildlife Department officials report largemouths are good on chartreuse soft plastic worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and Rat–L–Traps in 20 to 30 feet of water. White bass are good on minnows and Li'l Fishies. Crappie are fair on minnows and pink tube jigs. Bream are fair on worms. Catfish are good on stinkbait, shrimp, and liver.
Toledo Bend---Texas Parks & Wildlife Department officials report largemouths are good on chartreuse soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and Rat–L–Traps. Striped bass are good on chartreuse striper jigs. White bass are good on slabs and silver spoons. Crappie are good on minnows over brush piles. Bream are fair on worms. Channel and blue catfish are good on minnows, shrimp, and stinkbait. Yellow catfish are slow.
TOLEDO BEND: Normal Pool Level: 172.0 Current Pool Level: 167.58 Was 167.67
RAYBURN LAKE: Normal Pool Level: 164 Current Pool Level: 159.75 Was: 159.91
B.A. STEIN HAGEN: Normal Pool Level: 85 Current Pool Level: 81.72 Was: 81.53