Plans are in the works to establish a Toyota ShareLunker holding station along the shores of Texas' newest bass lake, Lake Naconiche.
Located northeast of Nacogdoches, the 692-acre reservoir opened for fishing in Sept. 2012. It has already produced several fish in excess of 10 pounds, including a lake record 12.54 pounder last April. Fisheries biologists consider the new lake a good candidate to produce multiple fish in excess of 13 pounds, quite possibly a new state record.
"Everything that can possibly be done to enhance the trophy bass potential at Lake Naconiche has been done," said Todd Driscoll, the TPWD fisheries biologist who rides shotgun over the fishery. "We've stocked the lake with Florida-stain fingerlings, advanced growth offspring from ShareLunkers and even some retired brood fish from our hatcheries. With those things working in its favor, plus the inherent conditions the lake has as far habitat and forage base, you might say Lake Naconiche has the odds stacked in its favor."
The holding station will be portable in nature, according to Juan Martinez, who coordinates pick-ups for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's hatchery program. Martinez said the department will provide lake manager Bill Plunkett with a roomy cage constructed with PVC frame and fabric netting for holding fish, along with a certified scale for weighing purposes. The holding cage can be submerged off the loading dock, which will eliminate the need for keeping a big fish confined in a small livewell for several hours until TPWD is able reach the lake.
Martinez said a sign will be placed near the boat ramp with instructions for anglers who catch a potential ShareLunker to follow in order to have holding cage deployed. The biologist said the first step is to contact the ShareLunker program's 24-hour hotline, 903-681-0550.
"At that point we'll get in touch with the lake manager, who weigh the fish on certified scales to make sure it weighs 13 pounds or more," he said. "If it is (a 13 pounder), he will set up the cage to hold the fish until we there."
Martinez said he is hopeful that funding will eventually be available to build some sort of permanent structure on site with an aerated vat for holding fish. "This should work pretty well in the meantime," he said. "It will definitely be better than holding a big fish in a livewell."
The biologist expects the portable holding station to be available for use by early March.
Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.