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SUBJECT: # 10213: Lake Fork, TX slot survey

Submitted by Gerry, BFHP from VIRGINIA on 9/5/1999 3:57:00 PM

There is quite a bit of controversy going on about the TPW's intentions to allow slot waiver tournaments on Lake Fork.

I don't claim to be an expert on slot fishing or Lake Fork. I know that I have fished Lake Fork and it is IMHO the finest largemouth bass fishing experience in the world.

I just want to get a handle on how our readers feel.


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  1. 9/5/1999 4:14:00 PM Chuck Wilhelm from TEXAS says Thanks!
    Gerry,

    This is a great idea!

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together.


  2. 9/5/1999 6:14:00 PM Stewart (208.152.106.116) from TEXAS says Completing survey
    Have tried to complete survey, however, each time I have tried to submit a message appears and indicates there is no such interface. Appreciate the effort, but not being able to vote makes this survey moot. Will try again later.
  3. 9/24/1999 8:53:00 AM Paul (205.165.188.137) from TEXAS says See Dallas-Morning News article
    There was a pretty good article a couple of weeks ago in the Dallas Morning News that basically said that the force behind the proposed slot limit change was local tournament sponsors and a few local merchants. The idea is that slot fish would increase the overall stringer weight and make for more "exciting" tournaments. You can make up your own mind on the outcome of this.
  4. 10/5/1999 3:14:00 PM Virginia Pierce (204.194.96.2) from TEXAS says Fork Waivers
    Sorry folks, but I disagree. I lived on Fork for two years back in the '80's and I can remember when all the merchants on the lake moaned and groaned over the slot limit, then when it increased, you'd think they were all going to loose their businesses. Well, the people in that part of the world depend on tourism and Fork is one of the greatest lakes in this country and it should be shared and not held captive for just the recreational fishermen/women! Tournaments don't kill a fishery, people do! I can remember how the lake used to be before Waterdogs too, and it was a whole lot different. Look at what has happened to Fayette County and Houston County when waterdogs became the norm .... Fork is being managed for trophy fish, no doubt, and TPWD is doing an excellent job of keeping the lake level constant, which is not the case with other Corps. lakes or electricity generating lakes. Fork is a fantastic fishery, and it is going to take it a long time to get back on its feet, especially since that virus was determined to be what affected the fish kill there this summer. Folks, wake up and smell the roses, if this lake goes through in the next year what has happened over at Sam Rayburn, it's going to be some very tough times ahead. The merchants there on the lake have to make money to stay in business. By letting tournaments come in with waivers, this will perhaps let the lake continue to survive until it can get back up to what it once was! The one thing that would absolutely help the lake is if the use of waterdogs were prohibited. Of all the recreational fishermen/women I know who fish that lake, all of them practice catch and release. So what's the beef? Are you afraid tournaments will bring more people into the area to spend more money? Are you afraid they are going to fish it out? Waivers will only let more people come first hand and experience the thrill of a lifetime of maybe being able to catch the lunker of thier dreams, and no where in this Great State can that be more of a fact than on Lake Fork. The lake is in for some pretty bad times until this virus issue gets cleared up. Just take a look at the Skeeter owners tournament results held their last weekend and tell me that the fishery is in great shape.... It used to be if you went into a marina with an 8# fish, they would laugh at you and not even weigh the fish, cause that was a baby! And, that's the truth! The more people who get to fish Fork, the better off the lake will be and the more protection it will have in order to continue to be managed for trophy fish! God Bless TP&WD for having enough foresight to take care of at least one lake in Texas without selling out the water quality to big business! Fork is undergoing what Toledo Bend went through back in the 80's and its simply going to take it a while to come back around, but it can be achieved and it needs help from the public too!

    Big tournaments on Fork aren't going to hurt anything, except maybe the local's private usage of the lake!

    Virginia Pierce


  5. 10/5/1999 3:45:00 PM Smoking Joe (216.180.23.133) from ALABAMA says Fork
    I was there with my two sons, last November. With all the controversy, we are going to Bienville this year. If the T's take it over, we won't be going back.

    For Virginia; I think everyone would agree that you could have all the tournaments that you want, that are "People" free! Just MHO-----Smoking Joe


  6. 12/24/1999 2:51:00 PM Mr Bill (205.188.195.33) from TEXAS says Slot Limits???
    I run an E. Texas Tournament circuit (Anglers Quest) and I cannot see ANY reason to allow slot T's on any lake that has a slot limit or alter any regulations that have led to such a successful Bass fishery such as Lake Fork, or any of the others. I would love to have one of my Tournaments on Fork, but dont because of the slot limits. I am definately in agreeance with Ledhed and Roger in their thoughts on this subject, Sorry Virginia. Mr Bill
  7. 5/9/2000 4:45:00 PM Ross from TEXAS says Special Fork Non-Resident Liscense
    Yes, all of these out-of-staters bring big money $$$ to Texas. But, who needs them! I think TPWD ought to let these folks pay to fix the lake. How about a special high-dollar non-resident liscense. If you don't like it, don't come down here! I won't miss any of you a bit.
  8. 3/21/2000 4:12:00 PM robertr (12.14.171.11) from TEXAS says totally confused
    can someone please explain to me how in virginia's views "The more people who get to fish Fork, the better off the lake will be and the more protection it will have in order to continue... to be managed for trophy fish! The more people who get to fish Fork, the better off the lake will be" since when did more people fishing help out an "injured" lake. what i take she means is that tournament waivers will help the merchants survive, not the fish!!!! come on, are you (virgina) that focused on short term gains to not realize that if you start letting 250 boats at a time bring in 5 or 10 fish at a time that you're not going to have a bigger fish kill!!!! if a business fails from lack of customers, so be it. don't destroy a lake and it's fine fishery for money!!!!
  9. 5/4/2000 9:29:00 AM Austin (152.163.204.81) from TEXAS says Lake Fork Merchants
    Bottomline seems to be the business owners don't care @ what expense it may be to our beloved Fork Bass, they want they're money.I own a chain of Motels in southern New Jersey along the beach.From April -August they generate $80 per night.After that tourism slows to the point you either close up for 7 months or lease @ $400 a month.I have another chain in Fl.From Nov.-Mar.brings in $80 a night. May -Oct. considerably less.Point is Jan.-May is gonna draw the most revenue @ Lake Fork.After that maybe you should be working on your food plots nearby to attract bow hunters ,duck whatever.Learn how to be more diversified.Stop taking an inch an stretching it a yard.Your gonna break the band.Lake Cooper 1hr. to the north will be the next Fork @ this rate.
  10. 12/20/2003 11:04:00 AM Crank (206.72.14.208) from IOWA says Don't mess with success.
    It's not like there's a shortage of water to fish tournaments on in Texas. Even tournament fishermen like to find places to get away from tournament pressure. If tpw leaves the slot alone, the area merchants will continue to get my money.
  11. 10/7/1999 10:52:00 PM LedHed (38.27.175.132) from TEXAS says To: Virginia Pierce...
    That was a lot of words, just to say what one or two remarks you buried in your dialogue revealed...

    "By letting tournaments come in with waivers, this will perhaps let the lake continue to survive until it can get back up to what it once was!"

    All the while stating that the lake was already weakened by the LMB virus. Are you just daffy??? Do you comprehend the contradictive nature of those two statements???

    Get a grip madam. Lake Fork merchants make a living, and have for quite some time under the existing regulations... if they can't then it's time to move on. RUINING THE LAKE FOR THEIR SHORT TERM FINANCIAL GAINS IS NOT RIGHT!! If my business doesn't do well in the market I've chosen, I don't destroy that market for a last few cents of profit... I accept the circumstances, or I move on (and have backed up that philosophy with action). THAT, my dear lady, is responsible business.

    You have a very short sighted and destructive view of proper business behavior, and the world, IMO!


  12. 10/7/1999 11:00:00 PM LedHed (38.27.175.132) from TEXAS says One more thing...
    It WON'T take Fork a long time to get back, IF people like you will quite screwing with it. Please explain to all of us how allowing even more pressure on the lake, in the form of 250 boat, no slot, tournaments will BENEFIT the lake???? I'm just astounded that someone would make your statements with a straight face....
  13. 10/9/1999 10:17:00 AM LedHed (38.27.175.68) from TEXAS says You there Virginia??
    zzz
  14. 10/9/1999 3:59:00 PM Roger Crisp (171.209.20.4) from ILLINOIS says In response to Virginia Pierce re: Lake Fork waivers
    Your conclusions, with regard to the fishery in Lake Fork, mixes apples with oranges, and subsequently obviates the facts.

    First you mention the fact that the area merchants "...moaned and groaned over the slot limit, then when it was increased...," somehow attempting to make the case that the imposition of slot limits equate, insofar as their affect on these merchants, with the granting of waivers of those same slots for tournaments on this lake. The slot limits were imposed in order to enhance this fishery and create, over time, an opportunity to catch double-digit fish that exists today, in very few places in North America. The same merchants (if they are still in business) who 'moaned and groaned,' about their "projected" loss of short-term income, because of those slots, are now reaping the benefits of a long range management plan which has overwhelmingly succeeded in establishing and maintaining a one-of-a-kind quality fishery. The same merchants who argue today, that the revenue generated from the slot limit waivered tournaments will be worth the cost in mortality to fish do so again, willing to sacrifice the long-term best interest of this fishery, for a few more dollars in immediate revenue. Perhaps these merchants, 10 years from now, will be on the same page as those of the '80's are today, as a result of the imposition of slots. Perhaps these merchants will be able, in the future, to look back on the exclusion of slot limit tournaments as the long-term protection of the resource that slot limits have irrevocably turned out to be. Whether or not they do is of little consequence; there has never been a shortage of those who would sell out the best-long term business interest of a resource for a short-term 'quick' profit, at the expense of the majority.

    Your next point is that the area merchants depend on tourism, stating that Lake Fork is somehow "...held captive for just recreational fisherman/women." The money that these "tourists" spend is just as green as those spent by both tournament and local fisherman. Though no empirical data can be quoted, most merchants in the area would probably have to concede that the bulk of their revenue does not come from local or tournament sources. (The term 'local' and its definition clearly being the delineating factor; for purposes of argument, anyone who spends the night with one of the many merchants at, or near lakeside because of the distance to their home, should be considered "non-local," or tourists.) Whether or not you agree as to the merchant's sources of revenue, you cannot possibly make the case that Lake Fork is being 'held hostage,' by anyone. Tournament fisherman regularly fish this lake, and tournaments (which adhere to the slot and one-fish limit) are held on it. "Sharing" Lake Fork is not at issue; managing it as a trophy fishery is. Your point as to the TPWD doing an excellent job of exactly that is well taken.

    Also your point about the use of live bait (waterdogs, etc.) is irrefutable. Without question, the increasing use of live bait on Lake Fork has had a measurably negative impact on the fish population, especially on trophy fish. You'll get no argument here as to the need to eliminate the use of live bait, especially by so-called 'guides,' who couldn't survive without it, and who by using this as their go-to method of 'lunker fishing,' sanction it for the general public. (After all, if a tourist fishes with or sees a guide who depends on live bait to satisfy his/her customers, doesn't this necessarily open the door for all who are far less familiar with the lake, and its 'lunker' inhabitants?)

    Your next point asks if those in opposition to waivers are afraid that these "...tournaments will bring more people into the area to spend more money?" "Are you afraid they are going to fish it out?" Opposition to tournament waivers has nothing to do with the amount of money, or where it's spent on the lake (except possibly when it's spent subsidizing merchants who sell live bait). Opposition to tournament waivers has nothing to do with a "fear" that these tournament competitors will 'fish this [or any] lake out.' Opposition to tournament waivers has to do primarily and fundamentally with the mortality suffered by Lake Forks' irreplaceable resource, as will undeniably be a direct result of these tournaments. As to this mortality; there is absolutely no viable, reasonable argument that can obviate the fact that whenever there are any kind of fishing tournaments anywhere, mortality to the resource, both immediate and delayed, is a direct and irrefutable result. To think otherwise is ludicrous, and necessitates discounting every available resource and study which has concluded exactly the opposite. There is absolutely no question about the fact that tournaments on Lake Fork will negatively impact this fishery, as a whole. The only question is 'how badly,' and what price are those who subsidize its resource, and its merchants, willing to pay?

    Your statement that "Waivers will only let more people come first hand and experience the thrill of a lifetime of maybe being able to catch the lunker of their dreams..." implies that without these waivers people won't avail themselves this opportunity. Assuredly, tournament waivers have nothing whatsoever to so with whether people come to Lake Fork and try their hand at finding, catching, and attempting to land one of its 'bruiser' largemouth. If anything, the exact opposite is true. Tournament fisherman are necessarily attempting to catch a live-well full, not a single trophy fish. And that live-well full will undoubtedly be fish from this lake, in the slot (determined to be the most prolific breeders), who will subsequently suffer an overwhelming degree of mortality, that will quickly and undeniably negatively impact the fishery as a whole. A price that you are obviously willing to sanction, as a means of keeping merchants in the area viable. Your fear that the virus experienced this past summer and its impact on the fishery and subsequently Lake Fork's merchants is viable. But to advocate that the "solution" is to allow tournaments which will further negatively impact the fishery is not. Though these tournaments may keep some in business through the tough times ahead, arguably these "tough times" will be indefinitely prolonged if the resource isn't managed with the best long-term interest of the fish as the top priority.

    Your final statement in this post, "Big tournaments on Fork aren't going to hurt anything, except maybe the local's private usage of the lake!" exemplifies the tone of your attitude toward the entire situation. Every available piece of research on the subject proves beyond any doubt that you are wrong. The only real question is how much so.

    Roger Crisp


  15. 10/12/1999 11:57:00 PM Barbara (204.0.160.49) from TEXAS says Slot waivers
    Some people seem to keep missing the point! We welcome anyone to come fish Lake Fork, and we are happy to say that we have had great success with tournaments here in the past and hope to continue in the future. But, in the past these tournaments have obeyed the state regulations, just like you and I. Why on earth should a special interest group get special regulations that we don't get? These regulations are put on Lake Fork to protect a group of bass that have made this lake a trophy lake that is unmatched anywhere!!! The people that need to be making these regs should be the biologists not the politions! TPWD has been caught between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to go.
  16. 10/15/1999 3:00:00 PM Paul (206.166.107.252) from Illinois says Good for Business??
    The slot limit is primarilary responsible for creating a super trophy bass population and Lake Fork Merchants have been one of the beneficiaries of Lake Forks big reputation. If the trophy bass fish population are left unprotected and they die off, the Lake Fork Merchants are going to end up losers too, Therefore its hard to believe that lake area merchants would do anything stupid to harm the trophy bass population. Also, why would the Texas authorities get involved with anything that might harm the trophy bass population on this lake? The fact is fisherman, especially from other states, will select other lakes for their fishing vacation destinations if the Lake Fork trophy bass polulation dies off.


  17. 9/5/1999 10:38:00 PM Joe (207.136.57.169) from TEXAS says Thanks Gerry!
    So far, statistically small sampling but looks like TPW should pay more attention to the public!

    Joe


  18. 9/6/1999 6:53:00 AM Curious (207.136.48.183) from TEXAS says how'd you do that

  19. 9/6/1999 9:00:00 AM Backlash (205.188.197.171) from SOUTH CAROLINA says Curious

  20. 9/6/1999 9:02:00 AM Jim B. (168.191.176.211) from TEXAS says Will TP@W Pay Attention?
    I sure hope that they pay attention to the public. Leave the slot regulation alone. If something is not broken, it doesn't need fixing.
  21. 9/6/1999 11:02:00 AM Loomis Lodge and Lake Fork Guide from ALABAMA says Just let the truth be told?

  22. 9/15/1999 8:35:00 AM Hamby's Protector Beaching Bumper from OKLAHOMA says Slot Waver
    Gerry I hope you plan on sending the results copy to ever one involved in this debaucle. I cant for the life of me figure how this ever got to this point. The fish & wildlife people in Tx are to be commended on the job they have done in the past. I just have no idea how they could see any purpose in what has been proposed except to line the pockets of so few & hurt so many. www.hambys.com
  23. 9/17/1999 8:24:00 AM fid (209.240.200.37) from DELAWARE says Lake Fork
    If it ain;t broke don't fix it..
  24. 9/18/1999 9:41:00 PM Uncle Don (205.152.228.80) from LOUISIANA says What up wit tpw ?
    Gerry, Who"m" is putting pressure on the TPW to relax the slot limit? Bass clubbers? General public? There has to be some politics involved here somewhere! Fork is a VERY GOOD Bass trophy lake....Keep it that-a-way!

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