Because of the wettest winter and spring in years, east Texas lakes are at last back to their normal levels in most areas. "Full Pond", as state hydrologists say.  That means the fishing is better than it's been in years, and the State Parks and Wildlife Department is busy restocking the public lakes and waterways with all kinds of fish, including catfish. BIG catfish.

Officials recently released more than three dozen monster size blue catfish weighing 40 to 90 pounds into Lake Livingston, and they say there's no reason for concern about what the fish might to the fish populations or the ecosystems in the lake or downstream in the Trinity River.

Trinity County wildlife biologist Chris Gregory says “If it could affect the fish population, they would not be released. We can’t just run out there and turn fish loose and not know what’s going to happen"

The state is doing this because Lake Livingston and other lakes and rivers all over Texas are top fishing destinations for millions of anglers who come from all over the country to fish the freshwater reservoirs and rivers filled with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and catfish, and because of the superb red drum and spotted sea trout fishery along the coast.

Recreational fishing is a giant industry in Texas.  It generates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for the state and for local entities, and pumps nearly five billion dollars into the state's economy, all of it paid by people who love to fish.