Lake Fork Area Chamber of Commerce
Lake Fork, Texas

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Lake Fork Species


The ShareLunker program (formerly called Operation Share a Lone Star Lunker and sponsored by the Lone Star Brewing Company, Jungle Labs and Cajun Boats) was established in 1986 to promote catch-and-release of large fish and to selectively breed trophy largemouth bass. The first fish entered into the program was also a new state record, a 17.67-pounder caught from Lake Fork in  November. In 1993 the name of the program was changed to Share a Lunker, Inc., and it was merged with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas. Anheuser Busch became the official sponsor in 1996, and the name was changed to the Toyota ShareLunker Program when Toyota became the official sponsor in 2009. Since the program's inception, more than 400 largemouth bass have been donated from 55 public reservoirs and more than a dozen private lakes. Toyota supports the ShareLunker program by providing operating funds, prizes for anglers who enter fish into the program and the specially equipped truck used to pick up and return lunkers.

THE HOUSE THAT BIG BASS BUILT

As the program grew, it became obvious that the Tyler hatchery was inadequate, but there was no state money available to build a new hatchery, one tailored specifically to the needs of the program. It was decided to let cities bid to become the site and help raise the money for it. Specifications called for the facility to be built within 50 miles of Lake Fork, because the majority of big fish are caught there. The Athens community pledged more than $4 million to win the bidding for the site, and the balance of the cost came from federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration funds and donations. No state money was used for construction. The Edwin L. Cox, Jr., Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center was built around the ShareLunker program. The Visitor Center complex, including the Lunker Bunker, was completed in 1996, and the exterior hatchery ponds went into operation in 1998. More than 400 largemouth bass have been donated to the ShareLunker program since it began in 1986. Over half of those fish came from Lake Fork. Each weighed 13 pounds or more. Lake Fork was also home to the state record largemouth, an 18.18-pound fish caught in 1992.

Texas Top 50 Bass

LAKE FORK TROPHY BASS SURVEY

This voluntary survey, launched in March 2003, invites Lake Fork anglers to submit data on any bass that weighs at least 7 pounds or measures at least 24 inches. Fish that fall within the protected 16" to 24" slot limit must be released, but anglers are allowed to estimate the weight of these catches if a scale is not immediately available. In the past four years, anglers from 46 states and the District of Columbia have participated. TPWD appreciates the anglers' cooperation and the assistance of the Lake Fork Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Fork Sportsman's Association in implementing the survey.

TOTAL ENTRIES SINCE MARCH 2003

Of the fish that were weighed, 16% were 10 pounds or over. Of fish measured, 32.7% were over the 24-inch slot. This is accurate as of September 2009.

Weight Class (lb.) Number of Fish
7 4236
8 3026
9 1597
10 925
11 332
12 155
13 43
14 11
15 3
16 1
ALL 10329

When you catch your LUNKER,

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