June 04, 2010
ATHENS—Two former long-time employees of Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department (TPWD) will be inducted into the Texas Freshwater
Fishing Hall of Fame in Athens June 5.
Honorees will be the late Edward W. Bonn of Denison and Philip
Durocher of Austin.
Bonn was one of three fisheries biologists hired in 1946 by what
later became TPWD. As many new reservoirs were built to serve
Texas’ growing population, a sport fish able to utilize open-water
habitat was needed. Under Bonn’s leadership and direction,
experiments were carried out with striped bass, a marine species,
to develop ways to stock them into Texas lakes.
Bonn also worked to develop methods to cross striped bass with
native white bass to produce hybrid stripers. Both species now
furnish recreation and food for large numbers of anglers.
Bonn was also responsible for training many biologists and
technicians who came to work for TPWD as the department grew. “Ed
was always a very thorough and exacting biologist who was so
influential to me in my early training,” said retired fisheries
biologist Charles Inman. “He loved fishery management and
certainly helped make Texas fishing what it is today.”
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame will be Philip Durocher, who
served as the director of TPWD’s Inland Fisheries Division for 19
years and retired at the end of 2009.
Durocher went to work at TPWD as a research specialist in 1974 and
served as chief of research and management from 1984 until he
became Inland Fisheries division director in 1991.
Durocher’s most visible contribution was shifting the philosophy
of fisheries management from one of maximum sustained yield to one
of optimum sustained yield, especially regarding largemouth bass.
Maximum sustained yield emphasized harvest, and largemouth bass
were viewed primarily as a food fish. Durocher recognized that
adopting a system of selective harvest that allowed bigger fish to
live and reproduce would enhance the bass fishery and make
largemouth bass a sport fish, increasing the economic value of the
Under his leadership Texas adopted a statewide 14-inch minimum
size limit and five-fish daily bag limit for largemouth bass in
1985. From that point management practices were refined and
tailored to fit specific reservoirs. The result was a largemouth
bass fishery that is generally acknowledged to be the best in the
nation and a vital part of the Texas economy, generating some $2
billion in economic impact each year.
Durocher was also instrumental in attracting top fisheries
professionals from across the nation to manage all Texas fisheries
using a science-based approach. He recognized the need to
modernize the TPWD hatchery system and worked for the creation of
the Freshwater Fishing Stamp to replace one aging hatchery and
make improvements to the others.
Also under his leadership, a trophy bass fishery was created at
Lake Fork, the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program was established, a
partnership was forged with Toyota to create the Toyota Texas Bass
Classic, and a series of studies were carried out that proved the
economic value of fisheries in Texas.
Videos about the honorees can be viewed in the News section of
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s YouTube channel.
Two other individuals will be recognized at the awards banquet
with Honorable Mention plaques, professional angler Lonnie Stanley
of Huntington and the late Allen Crise of Glen Rose, a long-time
fly-fisher whose passion was teaching others the art of casting.