Yamaha supports conservation at Texas’ most popular trophy bass fishery

Yamaha supports conservation at Texas’ most popular trophy bass fishery

By Craig Lamb

Yamaha Outboards is showing its support for fisheries conservation by partnering with the Lake Fork Sportsman Association and specifically with the organization’s release boat.

But this 24-foot release boat is different, performing other functions outside its design of transporting tournament-caught bass to be released throughout the lake. The LSFA partners with Texas Parks and Wildlife, which uses the boat for DNA collection samplings for its trophy bass management programs, among other uses.

Yamaha supports conservation at Texas’ most popular trophy bass fishery

Yamaha supports conservation at Texas’ most popular trophy bass fishery

Since 1999, the LFSA has partnered with state and local agencies, community organizations, and high schools on many projects to also include donating fishing tackle to high school fishing teams, hosting free fishing events to draw kids into the outdoors, placing artificial habitats into the lake to enhance recreational fishing, and planting native aquatic vegetation to improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

All it takes is looking at the numbers to understand why Lake Fork is undeniably the most consistently prolific trophy bass fishery in the state, if not the nation. Here are the facts. Thirty of the Top 50 biggest largemouth caught in the state of Texas came from Lake Fork. At the bottom of the list in 49th place is a 15.46-pound largemouth caught from Lake Fork. The first six entries, including the current state record weighing 18.18 pounds, and the next previous record weighing 17.67 pounds came from Lake Fork. Even more, mind-blowing is that 261 of the 486 total entries in the Toyota ShareLunker program came from Lake Fork.

Much of that success is attributed to the fisheries management policies in place with Texas Parks and Wildlife. The state agency considers LFSA a valued partner along with the lake’s professional guides and the Sabine River Authority.

“There are many reasons why Lake Fork still is what it is now, and part of that is due to our partnership with SRA,” said Jake Norman, district management supervisor overseeing fisheries management of the lake. “Lake Fork is their property, and they are constantly in support of us with any projects we want to consider to maintain the trophy potential of the lake.”

“Groups like the LFSA are important too because they are another user group with a high profile on the lake,” said Norman. “They are motivated and prove what organized groups of anglers can do to improve their fishery and community.”

How the LFSA came to be is an example. It was formed to provide an organized front to counter the call for the removal of the slot limit that protects the lake’s brood stock. The proactive group now includes partnerships with businesses to promote the lake while being a voice of the fishery along with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the SRA and tournament organizers.

The LFSA also established the Jesse Parker Memorial Scholarship, named after a long time Lake Fork fishing guide and businessman, to provide tuition money to high school seniors pursuing a career in outdoor fields like fisheries biology and wildlife management. To date, the LFSA has given more than $20,000 to these students.

LFSA has also worked with the state and Yantis High School in a project to establish buttonbush on the lake. Since 2013, the organization has purchased rootstock that has been grown out in greenhouses on the high school campus. LFSA has also constructed and deployed 60 PVC fish attractors around the lake to enhance crappie fishing. Members also assist biologists in stocking efforts, including a project that released 75,000 Florida largemouth fingerlings in protective habitat around the lake.

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