Though it is not a sought after vacation destination if you want a quiet escape for fishing then Oklahoma fits the bill. If you live in one of the neighboring states, or are passing through, you may be surprised by the quality of fishing available in Oklahoma. The panhandle state is home to bass, catfish, paddlefish, walleye, and more.
Bass fishing in Oklahoma is great! Lake Konawa, a huge manmade lake, is one of the best lakes in the state for both plentiful amounts of bass and quality sized bass, especially largemouth. You can also find white bass if you look, such as in Lynn Lane Reservoir, or striped bass in the Illinois River. Hugo Lake is great for bass, as well as crappie, panfish and catfish, which are found in most of Oklahoma’s fishable waters.
Walleye are appreciated in Oklahoma. The state’s longest running tournament is not for bass, but for walleye! Canton Lake has an annual Walleye Rodeo, though other species are included in the festivities. Broken Bow Reservoir and Lake Hudson are other known habitats of walleye.
For a more unique fishing experience Oklahoma has some interesting offerings. Paddlefish are limited to one a day statewide on certain days, but that is more than enough for these fifty plus pound whoppers! Even if not taken from the water, paddlefish are a great catch and release experience. Grand Lake and the Grand River are known for many species including the paddlefish. Lake Hudson, a noteworthy lake for trophy bass, is also a prime paddlefish lake.
If you do not want paddlefish, but want to angle for a big one, then try the monstrously large alligator gar. You can find them in the southeastern part of the state, such as Lake Texoma. The Oklahoma state record of alligator gar caught from the Red River was a rod breaking hundred and ninety-two pounds!
Eleven million hatchery raised fish are stocked annually in Oklahoma’s waterways. Various stocked species are diverse, ranging from bass, to bluegill, catfish, sauger, walleye, even to trout. The Illinois River is the most often stocked in the state; It is replenished with trout on a weekly basis, as long as conditions are favorable.
Catfish are widely distributed in Oklahoma’s rivers and many of its lakes, with some impressively large ones available. The state record catfish was just shy of a hundred pounds, caught from Lake Texoma. Lake Acadia is excellent for many catfish species, all in trophy sizes, such as blue, channel, and flathead. For catching catfish while boating Waurika Lake is a solid bet.
Trout are popular in Oklahoma’s rivers and streams. The state has a stocking program for trout, which is good since there are not many lakes with wild trout populations. For wild trout fishing Oklahoma has some great streams and rivers, like Mountain Fork River, the site of the state record brown trout. An additional trout license is required. Some lakes and other waterways have specific licensure needed or regulations to follow.
Residents may choose to buy an annual fishing license or two day license. Persons age sixteen or older need licenses, and anyone under eighteen may buy a youth license. Lifetime recreational licenses (much cheaper for seniors). Disabled fishermen may choose a five year license.
Residents are declared as residents if they have lived in Oklahoma for at least sixty days and have a valid state driver’s license. Non-residents can elect to purchase annual or five day licenses. However, you can always wait for Oklahoma’s free fishing weekend!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.