AUSTIN (KXAN) – Lake Austin is one of the top bass-fishing lakes in the state, producing largemouth bass that weigh 13 pounds or more. These fish are also known as Toyota ShareLunkers. A weigh and holding station located next to the boat ramp under the Loop 360 bridge was unveiled to the public Tuesday so anglers can more easily determine whether or not they’ve caught a Toyota ShareLunker.
The weigh and holding station is now open to the public 24/7. The process is simple, if an angler catches a largemouth bass during the ShareLunker season that feels like it weighs 13 pounds or more, they can grab the official scale, call the number, and use the net enclosure to hold the fish until the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department arrive for pick up. ShareLunker season runs from Oct. 1 through April 30 each year.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program encourages anglers who have caught a largemouth bass weighing at least 13 pounds to lend or donate the fish to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for spawning purposes.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to protect these big fish as well as the anglers who catch them, and the key to keeping these fish alive after capturing them is to reduce the amount of stress the fish are subjected to.
“The less handling of the fish and the sooner we can find out if it is 13 pounds or not, the better,” says Juan Martinez, the ShareLunker program manager. “We can either release the fish back to the lake or put it into the container where the fish is going to be swimming freely. It takes about three hours on average, including the time it takes to get here from San Marcos and weighing the fish, so it’s going to better utilize our man hours. If the person comes from San Marcos at any point now, it’s going to be pretty much guaranteed that it’s at least 13 pounds due to the scale.”
ShareLunker catches can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the season, by calling (903) 681-0550. If poor cellphone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600. That number is also monitored 24/7 during the season.