Lake Texoma striper fishing is really going strong, with the water temperature rising the fish get more active.
I made the switch from artificial bait to live bait last week, as I do every year about this time and the success rate has been 100% on getting limits every trip. The down side is that bait is pretty tough to catch.
Floodgates were open most of the winter and my belief is that we lost a lot of baitfish that got flushed thru the flood gates and washed down river.
Hard to predict what the summer fishing will be like with the bait numbers down but with my many years of experience I would suggest getting after them in May and June. I would also suggest you leave your cast nets at home and just hire a Lake Texoma fishing guide and let them worry about how to catch the bait.
Spring fishing is heating up and many anglers are checking their tackle and planning their next Oklahoma fishing adventure. One popular destination, south central Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma, offers so many fishing and recreation opportunities it has been nicknamed the “playground of the southwest” and “striped bass capital of the world.”
“Lake Texoma has a phenomenal fishery; this is a great lake for striped and smallmouth bass, and it’s produced some record catfish,” said Billy Bob Walker, Oklahoma Game Warden for Marshall County. “Beyond fishing, this is just a really pretty area that offers a lot of boating and outdoor recreation opportunities.”
The lake spans the Oklahoma-Texas border with at least two-thirds of the reservoir located in Oklahoma. Management of the fishery is shared between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and TexasParks and Wildlife Department.
“A resident fishing license is all you need if you plan to just fish the Oklahoma side of the lake. The $12 Lake Texoma license can be added if you want to fish both sides of the lake, above the dam,” Walker said. The Lake Texoma license allows anglers to fish the entire lake without having to purchase a resident or nonresident license. A valid resident or non resident license is needed to fish below the dam.
“One really cool new thing is that you can buy and carry these licenses on your phone with our new license app.”
Licenses can be purchased through a license dealer, or by creating an account at wildlifedepartment.com. All sportsmen – especially lifetime license holders and returning customers – are urged to sign in to update their information and complete their account setup. The accompanying free mobile app from the Wildlife Department is available for both Apple or Android devices.
“The Wildlife Department works hard to make sure there are high quality fisheries across our state. Texoma is a just one example of that successful work here in southern Oklahoma.”
Lake Texoma Regulation Reminders Consult the Oklahoma Fishing Guide for other statewide and Texoma-specific regulations.
Measure fish as several length restrictions are in place for Lake Texoma. Among other length limits, all crappie have a 10-inch minimum length limit, no more than two striped bass may be 20-inches or longer, and no more than one blue catfish may be 30-inches or longer.
The statewide daily limit of five striped bass applies to the Red River below the dam. Within the first 1,000 feet of water below the dam anglers must attach their name and license number to their stringer, and may use only two rods.
Angling for alligator gar is suspended on Lake Texoma from May 1 – 31, between the Highway 377 “Willis” bridge upstream to the I-35 bridge. Otherwise the statewide daily limit is one alligator gar. Harvest must be reported to the Wildlife Department at 405-325-7288. This May 1 – 31 closure also includes the Haggerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
To help keep the invasive bighead and silver carp out of Lake Texoma and other Oklahoma lakes, shad collected as bait from the lower Red River below Lake Texoma may not be used in other waterbodies. Stop the spread of other aquatic nuisance species by properly cleaning, draining and drying your boat and other watercraft.
Striped Bass Capital of the World Highlights
The 88,000-acre lake (12th largest in the nation) was created I 1944 by impounding the Red River. This popular recreation area hosts more than 6 million visitors annually.
Striped bass were first stocked in Lake Texoma by the Wildlife Department in 1965. This popular fishery has developed into one of the most recreationally and economically important fisheries in the state.
Lake Texoma is one of only a handful of reservoirs in the United States that has a naturally reproducing striped bass population. Other lakes must routinely restock their fishery.
The $12 Lake Texoma fishing license was created in 1979 to allow anglers to fish the entire lake without purchasing both the Texas and Oklahoma fishing licenses.
Lake Texoma striper fishing has really come alive this week with the arrival of spring. Big striper are on a feed frenzy getting ready to make their annual spring spawning run up the Washita and Red rivers.
As the shallow waters warm fish move up out of the river channel to feed on shad. The fish are on the move so anglers need to be persistent and stay on the move looking for active fish.
My bait of choice for early spring is a 5″ swim bait on a 1oz jig head. Trolling is also effective this time of year and on days when my customers can’t cast well we troll. The last few days the big striper have been on a tear and we have been releasing many over 20″ fish on recent trips.
Remember limit on Lake Texoma striper is 10 fish per person but only 2 of those 10 can be 20 inches or longer. The good box fish will turn on as it warms up a little more but for now we will enjoy catching lots of big Texoma stripers.