ATHENS — The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is hosting the first statewide virtual 5K “Spring Spawning Run” to celebrate the fish spawning season and recognize the importance of state fish hatchery efforts to enhance the fisheries resources and fishing opportunities for more than two million anglers in Texas. This year’s 5k run will take place virtually the entire month of May, which means participants can show their support from anywhere in the state at their own pace.
“This is a fun and healthy opportunity to get outdoors and show your support for Texas’ fisheries resources during the important spring spawning season,” said Tom Lang, Director of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. “I know that I plan to work in my 5K with my family as we hike to some of our favorite fishing spots.”
Participants can run, walk, or bike their 5k anytime during the month and at the end of May will receive a commemorative Spring Spawning Run T-Shirt, Bib and Sticker. Registration is $30 per person and is currently open and available until May 15. Registration and donations can be made on the event website. All proceeds will go to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center to benefit the educational programing, exhibits, and other efforts at TFFC.
“Participating in the spawning run also helps to support the efforts at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center to connect all Texans to fishing and the state’s freshwater fisheries resources,” Lang said.
For visitors to TFFC, all or part of the 5k can be completed on the Wetlands Trail. The wetland trail winds by fishing ponds, a pitcher plant bog, alongside a forested stream and through woodland and wildflower areas before ending at a duck blind and fishing pond. The blind is over a pond where big bass and sunfish swim and Canada geese raise their young each spring.
The TFFC is located in Athens and includes a working fish hatchery, numerous aquariums focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwaters, and is home to the Toyota ShareLunker program, which invites anglers to donate thirteen-pound-plus-sized largemouth bass for research and breeding purposes. The TFFC also houses the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame which honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas. The Texas Game Warden museum, where visitors can learn about the history and current TPWD game warden operations, is also located at the TFFC. In addition, the TFFC also facilitates the annual Fish Art Contest in Texas which is part of a conservation education program designed to spark the imaginations of students while providing valuable lessons about fish and the importance of conserving Texas’ aquatic resources.
Current operating hours at the TFFC are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Guests are encouraged to wear masks, maintain appropriate social distances from others outside their party, and use hand sanitizer and wash their hands regularly.