CONTRARY TO YANKEE propaganda, there are seasons in texas.
In fact, with our weather, we can actually see the full spectrum of seasons in a single 24 hour period—even if we are just sitting still, in the same spot—and especially if we spend just a few of those hours on the road. We’ve all seen weather maps showing single digit temperatures in Amarillo at the same time it is in the high nineties in the Rio Grande Valley.
Although our entire state may not enjoy the wonder of a months-long canvas of landscapes painted with glorious fall foliage, there are forested pockets from the Piney Woods to the Hill Country that could make a credible stand-in for New England.
Sure, our summers can be brutal. But we’re built for that—and have air conditioning.
At the same time, while there are occasions when we slide around on sheets of ice trying to get to work (or to a deer camp, or—the hard core among us—to a boat ramp), fortunately those are isolated weather events, and not the permanent ice curtain that falls on northern regions around Halloween and can’t be expected to lift again until well after April Fool’s Day.
Real winter, for most of Texas, happens only when the cold gets bored with tormenting those poor souls who live on its home turf in the north, hijacks a passing front and breaks into Texas, to pester us only long enough for our prevailing Gulf weather to notice and chase it back to where it belongs.
There’s a reason the Texas economy benefits from an annual migration of Snow Birds, while there is no such thing as Sunburned Birds flocking to Michigan.
So yeah, we got seasons. We just don’t go overboard with them.
There are other kinds of seasons, of course—not associated with the weather. And here, too, we feel Texas clearly takes the advantage.
Fishing and hunting seasons in Texas are not the same as what most other states are accustomed to. Hunting has extremely generous seasons in Texas. Between youth, archery and late regional options, Texans can hunt whitetails from shortly after the last day of summer all the way to Valentine’s Day. With exotics and feral hogs, anyone who wants to hunt big game can hunt big game 365 days a year.
With a few minor exceptions, fishing here has no season. Up north, there are seasons for bass and other freshwater gamefish, such as in Wisconsin where more than a dozen different largemouth seasons exist in a state not much larger than East Texas. They do have ice fishing up there. Ice… Fishing. Pass.
On the saltwater side, yes, Texans are governed by the federal red snapper season. But remember, Texas state waters reach nine nautical miles into the Gulf, rather than the standard three miles that all the other coastal states are limited to.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t Natural Fishing Seasons. Coastal anglers know that the fall is prime fishing season for redfish and flounder (the latter of which do have a “restrictive” season, but that only governs bag limits and how flounder are taken, not access), and that speckled trout generally spawn in late spring. Meanwhile, fishing for these top tier saltwater species, thanks to the aforementioned weather conditions, tends to be excellent through most of the calendar.
Then, of course, this month sees the kickoff of fishing “season” for the most popular freshwater species. The big show, the largemouth bass spawn, is on now. At the same time, white bass are on their annual run, especially at lakes on prominent river systems. Crappie are also spawning. And Texoma and Possum Kingdom stripers are getting frisky right about now. While these “seasons” produce heavier weights and higher numbers, Texas freshwater action is virtually year-round.
We also have a rainbow trout season, thanks to annual put and take stockings that Texas Parks & Wildlife Department does in rivers, lakes and ponds all over the state. Colorado? Why bother?
So we do have fishing seasons, just not the kind of restrictive, officially enforced “blackouts” that residents of neighboring states have to put up with.
TEXAS FISH & GAME’S core mission is to celebrate the outdoor resources of Texas. The generous seasons here are just another example of how, at times, our job could not be easier.