The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame based in Athens has announced its 2015 class.
The class includes the angler who caught the first entry into Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ground-breaking big bass angler program and a group responsible for a year-round Texas rainbow trout fishery.
The ceremony will take place in June in Athens.
Fishing guide Mark Stevenson of Alba caught the first-ever entry into the TPWD’s ShareLunker program back in 1986.
The 17.67-pound largemouth bass known as Ethel was the state record at the time. Ethel gained international fame during her subsequent residence at the Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield (Mo.) Bass Pro Shops now has more than 60 stores.
Ethel’s presence fueled growing nationwide interest in bass fishing, resulting in an economic impact of billions of dollars.
Two-thirds of Texas’s 1.7 million anglers are primarily bass fishers.
Sales from fishing licenses and taxes on fishing-related items generate millions of dollars for conservation efforts.
The Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited club, the largest chapter in the nation with more than 5,000 members, will also be inducted. Read more in the mid-week Bowie News.
Acclaimed Texas bass fisherman Mark Stevenson, shown here in this photo dated from the 1980s, will be enshrined in the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Athens this June. Stevenson gained worldwide fame when he caught the first fish, Ethel, as part of Texas’ ShareLunker program. (Courtesy photo by Mark Stevenson/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)