AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is hosting a TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area May 19-20 by Lake Travis at Jones Brothers Park in Jonestown. At this event visitors of all ages can try fishing, archery and other fun outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. completely free.
“The goal of the TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area is to introduce families to a variety of outdoor experiences and provide hands-on guidance from experts in a fun, safe setting,” said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research. “We want the Austin community to come experience all of the outdoor opportunities and programs available to them in the area and become more aware of our conservation efforts across the state.”
Fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens will be on hand to answer questions and provide demonstrations at a variety of outdoor booths, including:
- Fish Fundamentals Aquarium: Learn about native fish from a TPWD biologist and find out where fish are biting.
- Rivers and Streams/ Paddling Trails: Explore the living world of rivers and streams and see them on Texas’ 73 paddling trails.
- Texas State Fish Art: Paint your favorite fish and learn how you can enter the Texas State-Fish Art Contest.
- Toyota ShareLunker Trailer: Stop by the Toyota ShareLunker trailer to see how you can partner with TPWD to make BIGGER BETTER BASS in Texas.
- Making Fishing Better: Have a question about your favorite lake? Enjoy a meet and greet opportunity with Texas fisheries biologists in the “Making Fishing Better” area.
- Take the Challenge: Youth aged 6-17 can enter for a chance to win a camping package in TPWD’s free Outdoor Kid’s Challenge.
- Shoot an Arrow: Youth will learn self-confidence as they are taught archery basics.
- Want to be a Game Warden: Learn what it really takes to become a TPWD Game Warden.
- Start on a new Adventure: Plan your next vacation at the Texas State Parks’ Marketing booth.
- See Sea Life Treasures: Learn about and touch aquatic life from Texas’ coastal waterways.
- Catch a Catfish: Catch a Texas-size catfish in the Get Hooked on Fishing Area presented by Toyota and Shakespeare.
- Conservation Education is Cool: Hands-on conservation activities for everyone.
- Aquatic Invaders: Discover how invasive species impact aquatic environments, where they hide and how we can control their spread across Texas.
The TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area is being held in conjunction with Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament held May 17-20 at Lake Travis. The top 108 bass anglers in the world will be competing for a total prize purse of $1 million, including $100,000 for the winner, who also receives an automatic entry into the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, and proceeds from the tournament will benefit TPWD youth fishing and urban outreach programs.
“We are extremely grateful for the support that TBTF provides to our youth fishing outreach programs in the state,” Terre said. “While these funds impact fishing programs statewide, in the Austin area they are directly benefiting our community by supporting the stocking of fish year-round at our two Neighborhood Fishin’ ponds at Travis County East Metropolitan Park.”
TBTF and the previous version of the tournament have raised more than $2.75 million for TPWD programs since 2007. This includes the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, which brings fishing to families at 18 community park lakes in 11 urban areas, and the Texas Division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, which seeks to interest youth in grades K-12 in fishing.
The tournament will also give TPWD an opportunity to recognize notable achievements in Texas freshwater fishing and highlight the unique “catch, weigh and immediate release” weigh-in format pioneered in Texas to a nation-wide audience.
On May 19, TPWD will be honoring the six Toyota ShareLunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated 13 pound or larger largemouth bass to support TPWD’s selective breeding program in 2018. Part of this special ceremony will be an official announcement of the winner of the Legacy Class Prize Drawing for a $5,000 shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
After that ceremony TPWD will recognize the 2018 inductees into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame. Inductees include Shannon Tompkins, a reporter and columnist at the Houston Chronicle; and the Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association (LFSA), an organization that works to protect and promote Lake Fork’s natural resources.
“Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest is one of the most exciting events in bass fishing in Texas,” Terre said. “We can’t think of any better way to celebrate the achievements of the 2018 Toyota ShareLunker legacy class anglers and Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductees than by recognizing them in front of a nation-wide angling audience at this prestigious event.”
Other weekend activities at TBTF include various vendor booths with the latest fishing merchandise, seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, a kid’s fishing pond where children have a chance to catch catfish, the Toyota Casting Kids area where kids can test their skills and cast at various targets and a chance to meet Shakespeare expert anglers.
For a full schedule of events and to find more information about Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, visit Bassmaster.com.