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Wildlife and Anglers

This weekend, June 6-7, marks Oklahoma's annual Free Fishing Days. And with last month's record rainfall, anglers will find plenty of water in the state's streams, rivers and reservoirs.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is urging everyone who is planning to be around the water this weekend to be mindful of safety around high water while enjoying the opportunity to catch some fish.
"Of course we want folks to come out and enjoy Free Fishing Days in Oklahoma. But the flooding in the past couple of weeks has really changed a lot of areas where people are used to fishing," said Ken Cunningham, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department.

Those who find a good place to wet their line this weekend might discover that the high water has improved overall fishing. Anglers could find good success for largemouth bass in flooded grassy areas, and catfish are likely to be found in flooded flats.

People will likely find good fishing conditions at local ponds and municipal lakes. The Department's Close to Home Fishing waters, situated in urban areas throughout Oklahoma, are good places to enjoy Free Fishing Days.

As of Thursday, many lakeside parks and boat ramps in central, southern and eastern parts of the state were completely or partially closed. Visitors are urged to check about closures with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before visiting major lakes.

Some photos shared to the Wildlife Department's Facebook page show people catching fish in flooded parking lots and picnic areas.

No one will need a state fishing license on June 6-7 during Free Fishing Days.
"This annual event gives people a chance to just 'test the waters' and see if they would enjoy the sport," Cunningham said. "We are confident they will."

People who just don't know where to start can turn to the "Where to Fish" map found in the Wildlife Department's "Oklahoma Fishing" regulations guide, available online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print where fishing and hunting licenses are sold.

Anglers may also sign up to receive the weekly Oklahoma Fishing Report. Compiled by Wildlife Department personnel and independent reporters, the report reveals inside information on the best places to go fishing, when the fish are biting and what baits they are hitting the most. Anglers can have the fishing report e-mailed to them by subscribing at wildlifedepartment.com/fishing/fishrpt.htm.

Participants in Free Fishing Days should note that city or local permit requirements may still apply to specific fishing areas June 6-7. Also, free fishing applies to all of Lake Texoma on June 6, but free fishing will only apply to the Oklahoma portion of the lake on June 7. Anglers must abide by all Texas fishing license and permit requirements when fishing the Texas portion of Lake Texoma on June 7.

Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to offer Free Fishing Days about 30 years ago and has since been followed by dozens of other states that have established similar days.

While Free Fishing Days allows people to fish without having a state fishing license, anglers still must abide by all other fishing regulations including daily bag limits and size restrictions.

Landowners who are interested in improving quail habitat will have three instructional opportunities coming up soon.

Quail Field Days are scheduled to be held April 16 at Sandy Sanders Wildlife Management Area headquarters; June 11 at Cross Timbers WMA headquarters; and June 12 at Spavinaw WMA headquarters.
Each of the sessions will run from 1 to 4 p.m., and admission is free.

The field days are sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and Quail Forever.

All three field days will include sessions on prescribed fire and pollinator habitat. In addition, a session on juniper thinning will be offered at Sandy Sanders, a session on native plant establishment will be offered at Cross Timbers, and a session on forest thinning will be offered at Spavinaw.

For driving directions to the WMAs, consult the Wildlife Management Areas page on the Wildlife Department's website at wildlifedepartment.com.

Thursday, 09 April 2015 07:56

Oklahoma Fishing Report for April 8

Fishing
Brett Mullen snagged a nice paddlefish this past weekend.

CENTRAL

Arcadia: April 7. White bass fair trolling crankbaits along the dam. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs along the dam and riprap. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut shad and punch bait along the dam. Largemouth bass good on swim baits and topwater lures at 2-6 ft. Report submitted by Mark Murray, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Draper: April 8. Elevation above normal, water 55 and stained. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs along riprap and brush structure. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait and punch bait in the main lake. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures at 2-6 ft. along shorelines. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Hefner: April 7. Elevation below normal, water 54-58. Crappie good on minnows and jigs in pinks and chartreuse at 10-15 ft. along riprap and the dam. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on grubs, jigs and gay blades at 3-15 ft. along the inlet and riprap. Walleye fair on jerk bait, grubs and lipless baits at 3-6 ft. along riprap. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait, punch bait and dough bait at 3-30 ft. along riprap and the inlet. Report submitted by Lucky Lure Tackle.

Overholser: April 6. Elevation below normal, water murky to muddy. Striped bass hybrids and white bass good on shrimp, crawfish, chicken liver and plastic jigs on bottom along windy shorelines, the main lake and docks. Blue and channel catfish fair on chicken liver and cut bait along shorelines and the main lake. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs along docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Vince Mesis, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Thunderbird: April 8. Elevation below normal, water 55 and stained. Crappie good on minnows and jigs along riprap and brush structure. White bass fair on crankbaits in the main lake. Saugeye slow on plastic baits and crankbaits around points. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait and punch bait along riprap. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits, plastic baits and crankbaits along shorelines and standing timber. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Wes Watkins: April 6. Elevation below normal. Crappie fair on minnows and tube jigs around brush structure. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits around points. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.

NORTHEAST

Bell Cow: April 4. Elevation below normal, water 62 and clear. Largemouth bass good on jigs, spinnerbaits, plastic baits and lizards along rocks and standing timber. Crappie good on minnows at 2-3 ft. along rocks. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.

Birch: April 6. Elevation below normal, water clear. Striped bass hybrids fair on jigs and lipless baits at 2-4 ft. along shorelines. Crappie slow on jigs at 3-6 ft. around brush structure and the dam. Report submitted by Cody Plunkett, game warden stationed in Osage County.

Carl Blackwell: April 6. Elevation below normal, water 67. Crappie good on jigs around brush structure, shorelines and docks. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on crankbaits and slabs in the main lake and below the dam. Report submitted by Emily Long, game warden stationed in Payne County.

Chandler: April 4. Elevation below normal, water 62 and clear. Crappie good on minnows along riprap. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits and lizards along coves. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.

Copan: April 5. Elevation normal, water 50s and clearing. White bass and crappie good on jigs along coves and creeks. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.

Ft. Gibson: April 7. Elevation rising, water 51 and stained. White bass excellent on plastic baits, grubs and spoons along the river channel, Chouteau Bend and north along the edges. Crappie excellent on minnows, tube jigs and jerk baits at 1-5 ft. along shorelines and brush structure. Largemouth bass excellent on spinnerbaits and crankbaits at 2-10 ft. along coves and shallows. Blue catfish good on cut bait and shad on bottom along the river channel and creek channels; catching shad up the river along banks. Report submitted by Rick Stafford of Wagoner.

Grand: April 6. Elevation above normal, water 58. Paddlefish excellent along the river channel. White bass good on Alabama rigs, small lures and jigs along creek channels and the river channel. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure and docks. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, jigs and rogues along coves and points. Report submitted by Kody Moore, game warden stationed in Delaware County.

Greenleaf: April 6. Elevation normal, water 54 and murky. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and bill baits along shorelines, creek channels and brush structure. Catfish good on fresh cut bait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 6-12 ft. around fishing docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.

Hudson: April 5. Elevation above normal, water 56. Paddlefish good at 10-18 ft. in the river channel and below the dam. White bass good on minnows and small lures at 6-10 ft. along channels, the river channel and coves. Largemouth bass good on plastic baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits at 5-10 ft. around brush structure, points and creek channels. Report submitted by Steve Loveland, game warden stationed in Rogers and Mayes counties.

Hulah: April 5. Elevation normal, water 50s and clear. Crappie and white bass good on grubs, tube jigs and jigs at 4-8 ft. around brush structure, coves and creeks. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.

Kaw: April 6. Elevation normal, water 57 and clear. Blue catfish good on cut shad at 15-20 ft.in the upper end. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 10 ft. Paddlefish slow. Report submitted by Larry Green, game warden stationed in Kay County.

Keystone: April 7. Elevation normal, water 61. Crappie slow on minnows along shorelines. White bass fair on small lures below the dam. Blue catfish fair on cut bait along channels. Report submitted by Karlin Bailey, game warden stationed in Creek County.

Lower Illinois: April 5. Elevation normal, water 45-50 and clear. Trout excellent on midges, worms, Power Bait and salmon eggs below the dam, along the river channel, Watts area and along head and backs of deep holes. Report submitted by Jeremy Bersche, game warden stationed in Sequoyah County.

McMurtry: April 6. Elevation normal, water 50s and semi-clear. Saugeye good on sunfish, crankbaits and worms at 10-20 ft. along channels and the main lake. Crappie good on minnows, jigs, worms and tube jigs at 6-12 ft. around docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Jared Avilez.

Oologah: April 5. Elevation above normal, water 60 and clear. White bass good on jigs and crankbaits at 4-8 ft. along the Verdigris River above the lake. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 8-12 ft. around brush structure. Largemouth bass fair on jerk baits at 4-8 ft. along rocks. Report submitted by Brek Henry, game warden stationed in Rogers County.

Skiatook: April 6. Elevation below normal, water clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 5-15 ft. around brush structure. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on in-line spinnerbaits and sassy shad at 5-15 ft. along creek channels. Report submitted by Paul Welch, game warden stationed in Osage County.

Sooner: March 6. Elevation normal, water murky. Striped bass hybrids, striped bass and white bass fair on sassy shad and shad in the discharge, the main lake and shallows. Blue catfish good on cut bait along channels. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.

Tenkiller: April 6. Elevation 1 1/2 ft. above normal, water 52-53 and clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic baits at 3-15 ft. along coves, the main lake and points. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 5-15 ft. around docks and brush and trolling deep running crankbaits at 5-15 ft. in the front of coves and gravel shorelines. Flathead, channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait and shad at 20-40 ft. along the river channel and flats. Sunfish fair on jigs and worms at 5-15 ft. around docks, the main lake and coves. Report submitted by Monte Brooks of Cookson.

Webbers Falls: April 6. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 54 and murky. Largemouth bass good on chartreuse spinnerbaits, bill baits and purple plastic worms along riprap, creek channels and brush structure. Catfish good on fresh cut bait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 8-13 ft. around bridges and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.

NORHTWEST

Canton: April 4. Elevation below normal, water clear. Walleye and white bass fair on crankbaits and jigs at 2-8 ft. along riprap. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.

Ft. Supply: April 6. Elevation below normal, water 65. White bass good on minnows and jigs along riprap and around points. Crappie fair on jigs in coves. Report submitted by Mike Baker, game warden stationed in Beaver County.

SOUTHEAST

Arbuckle: April 4. Elevation below normal, water 58-61 and clear to stained in the upper arms of the creeks. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, jerk baits, jigs and Alabama rigs at 6-15 ft. along brush structure, rocks, the main lake and laydowns. Crappie fair on minnows, jigs and small lures at 7-22 ft. along brush structure, the main lake and weed beds. White bass slow on lipless baits, jigs and flukes along coves and riprap. Report submitted by Jack Melton.

Broken Bow: April 4. Elevation above normal, water 62. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits at 5-10 ft. around brush structure, points and weed beds. White bass good on in-line spinnerbaits, grubs and sassy shad at 2-5 ft. along channels, rocks and the river channel. Walleye fair on rogues and sassy shad at 5-10 ft. along channels, rocks and the river channel. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

Eufaula: April 4. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 59 and stained to murky. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits and plastic baits along rocky areas. White bass good on small jigs and small spinnerbaits along feeder creeks with running water. Blue catfish good on shad along shallow flats. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 3-8 ft. around brush and rocky areas. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.

Hugo: April 5. Lake fishing has slowed due to north winds and rain. Blue catfish good on cut bait below the dam. Crappie fair to good on jigs at 12-15 ft. during water releases. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Choctaw and Bryan counties.

Konawa: April 6. Elevation normal, water 61 and clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, plastic baits and in-line spinnerbaits at 6-8 ft. around points, the discharge and riprap. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and cut bait at 8-10 ft. along creek channels, points and discharge. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on crankbaits, worms, spoons and sassy shad at 4-6 ft. along rocks, shallows and the discharge. Report submitted by Tyler Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.

Lower Mountain Fork: April 5. Elevation above normal, water 55. Trout good on midges and Power Bait along creek channels and the spillway. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

McGee Creek: April 5. Elevation 2 1/2 ft. below normal and dropping, water 54 and clear. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on Alabama rigs, plastic baits and rogues at 6-12 ft. around brush structure, rocks and points. White bass good on jigs and in-line spinnerbaits along shallows and upper ends of major channels. Channel catfish fair on cut bait and worms at 6-10 ft. along flats and standing timber. Report submitted by Larry Luman, game warden stationed in Atoka County.

Murray: April 7. Elevation below normal, water 59 and clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on plastic baits, spinnerbaits and jerk baits at 3-8 ft. along points, rocks and shallows. White bass fair on jigs, small lures, sassy shad and crankbaits at 5-12 ft. along creek channels and points. Crappie fair on jigs, small lures, tube jigs and minnows at 3-10 ft. around brush structure, rocks and standing timber. Report submitted by Jeremy Brothers, game warden stationed in Carter County.

Pine Creek: April 5. Elevation above normal, water 59. Largemouth bass good on Alabama rigs around brush structure and shorelines. Crappie good on jigs along shallows. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver along the river channel. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

Robert S. Kerr: April 5. Elevation normal, water 65 and murky. White bass fair on jigs along creek channels. Crappie excellent on minnows and small lures along creek channels and weed beds. Blue and channel catfish fair on shad and stinkbait along flats. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits around standing timber and creek channels. Report submitted by J. D. Stauffer, game warden stationed in Haskell County.

Sardis: April 5. Elevation normal, water 64. Largemouth and spotted bass good on plastic baits and tube jigs at 2-5 ft. along weed beds. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait at 10-15 ft. along channels. Crappie fair on live bait and tube jigs at 4-6 ft. around brush structure. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Latimer County.

Texoma: April 5. Elevation below normal, water 48 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic baits at 10-20 ft. along channels and brush structure. Striped and white bass good on cut bait, live shad and sassy shad at 10-25 ft. along the river channel and coves. Channel and blue catfish good on live bait, worms and stinkbait at 10-20 ft. along creek channels, coves and active cleaning stations. Crappie and sunfish good on minnows, tube jigs and small lures at 5-15 ft. around brush structure, docks and creek channels. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.

Wister: April 5. Elevation dropping, water 55 and murky. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerk baits at 2-5 ft. along channels, points and weed beds. Blue and channel catfish good on shad, punch bait and chicken liver at 5-10 ft. below the dam, along channels and flats. Crappie, sunfish and bluegill good on minnows, jigs and small lures at 4-6 ft. around standing timber, brush structure and below the dam. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in Le Flore County.

SOUTHWEST

Ellsworth: April 5. Elevation below normal, water murky. Blue and channel catfish slow on cut bait and punch bait along points and riprap. Crappie, saugeye and white bass slow on minnows and jigs around docks, brush structure and shorelines. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.

Foss: April 6. Elevation 19 1/2 ft. below normal with gates closed, water mid to high 50s and clear. Striped bass hybrids fair to good on live bait. Walleye fair on worms. Bass slow to fair on buzz baits. Catfish slow on Danny King stinkbait. Crappie fair on Bobby Garland jigs. Report submitted by Eric Puyear, B & K Bait House.

Lawtonka: April 5. Elevation normal, water clear. Crappie, white bass and saugeye slow on minnows and jigs around brush structure and the discharge. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.

Tom Steed: April 6. Elevation below normal, water 56. White bass, striped bass and Saugeye good on minnows and jigs at 4-8 ft. around points, rocks and the main lake. Blue catfish good on shad, cut bait, minnows and stinkbait on bottom along flats and around points. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs at 3-10 ft. around brush structure, shorelines and rocks. Report submitted by David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa County.

Waurika: April 5. Elevation below normal, water 55. Blue and channel catfish fair on stinkbait and shad on bottom in the main lake and along shorelines. Striped bass hybrids slow on crawfish along shorelines. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs at 8 ft. along shorelines and standing timber. Report submitted by Chris Stover, game warden stationed in Stephens County.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 14:29

Oklahoma Fishing Report for March 25

FishingMar25

John Sherrick (Pictured right) caught the new walleye/saugeye/sauger lake record at Lake Tenkiller on March 16, 2015. It weighed in at 6.7 pounds and was 25 inches long.

CENTRAL
 
Arcadia: March 23. Crappie fair to good on minnows and jigs in the enclosed dock; starting to move onto riprap to spawn. Bass fair to good on spinnerbaits and chatter baits at 3-5 ft. moving up to spawn. Channel and blue catfish fair on punch bait and cut shad near rocky points and near the drawdown on the dam. Report submitted by Mark Murray, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Draper: March 24. Elevation above normal, water 44 and stained. Crappie fair on minnows around brush structure. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Hefner: March 23. Elevation below normal, water 46-50 and clear. Crappie good on minnows, jigs and hair jigs in color combinations with chartreuse at 12-15 ft. along riprap and the dam. Walleye fair on jerk bait, sassy shad and grubs at 3-5 ft. along riprap and the dam; best in low light after dark. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on grubs, sassy shad and gay blades at 8-12 ft. along riprap and the dam. Channel and blue catfish good on punch bait and cut bait at 10-15 ft. along riprap and the dam. Report Submitted by Lucky Lure Tackle.

Overholser: March 24. Elevation below normal, water murky to muddy depending on the wind. Striped bass hybrids and white bass good on chicken liver, shrimp and jigs around docks, shorelines and riprap. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait and chicken liver in the main lake and along shorelines. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around docks and brush structure. The fishing depends on the weather. Striped bass hybrids and blue catfish are both being caught on long lines on bottom and blue catfish can be caught floating bait under balloons. Report submitted by Vince Mesis, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Thunderbird: March 24. Elevation below normal, water 44 and stained. Crappie fair on minnows around brush structure and aerator gates. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Wes Watkins: March 23. Elevation below normal, water clear. Crappie slow on minnows and tube jigs around standing timber. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits and spinnerbaits around brush structure and standing timber. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.
 
NORTHEAST
 
Bell Cow:  March 22. Elevation below normal, water 60 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits and green pumpkinseed lizards at 6-7 ft. along standing timber. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.

Birch: March 24. Elevation below normal, water 53 and clear. Crappie fair on jigs at 8-10 ft. along the dam. Striped bass hybrids fair on jigs and crankbaits at 6-8 ft. along shorelines. Report submitted by Cody Plunkett, game warden stationed in Osage County.

Carl Blackwell: March 23. Elevation below normal, water 62. White bass fair on slabs and crankbaits in the main lake and shorelines. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs in dark colors and pink around brush structure and the floating dock. Report submitted by Emily Long, game warden stationed in Payne County.
 
Chandler:  March 22. Elevation below normal, water 61 and clear. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs at 8 ft. around brush structure. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.
 
Ft. Gibson: March 23. Elevation above normal, water 50 and stained. White bass fair on small lures and sassy shad at 6-8 ft. along creek channels and on the bottom. Crappie fair on jigs and tube jigs at 10-15 ft. around brush structure and coves. Blue catfish fair on cut bait and shad at 15-20 ft. in the main lake and the river channel. Report submitted by Rick Stafford of Wagoner.

Grand: March 22. Elevation normal, water 50. Paddlefish good in the river channel. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around docks, brush structure and below the dam. Largemouth bass good on Alabama rigs and rogues around points and shorelines. Report submitted by Kody Moore, game warden stationed in Delaware County.

Greenleaf: March 23. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 51 and murky. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and bill baits in chartreuse colors along shorelines, creek channels and brush structure. Catfish good on fresh cut bait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs in red, green and yellow at 12-16 ft. around brush structure. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.

Hudson: March 22. Elevation normal, water 49. Paddlefish fair at 13-18 ft. along channels. White bass fair on crankbaits and small lures at 8-10 ft. along channels and the river channel. Report submitted by Steve Loveland, game warden stationed in Rogers and Mayes counties.
 
Kaw: March 23. Elevation normal, water 59 and clear. Crappie good on minnows and jigs in coves and marinas. Paddlefish slow below Kaw dam. Report submitted by Larry Green, game warden stationed in Kay County.

Keystone: March 24. Elevation below normal, water 56. Crappie excellent on minnows and tube jigs along shorelines. White bass good on jigs along shorelines. Blue catfish good on cut bait along channels. Report submitted by Karlin Bailey, game warden stationed in Creek County.

Lower Illinois: March 22. Elevation above normal, water 40-45 ft. and murky. Trout slow on small lures and Power Bait below the dam, coves and eddies. Releases from Tenkiller Lake have the current and water level up. This makes for tough fishing conditions for the trout unless eddies or current seams can be found. Report submitted by Jeremy Bersche, game warden stationed in Sequoyah County.
 
Oologah:  March 22. Elevation normal, water 50 and clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 10-15 ft. around brush structure. Blue catfish fair on shad and cut bait at 10-15 ft. along flats. White bass fair on jigs and crankbaits at 5-10 ft. along the river channel and Verdigris River above the lake. Report submitted by Brek Henry, game warden stationed in Rogers County.

Perry CCC:  March 23. Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on Power Bait along shorelines. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.

Skiatook:  March 23. Elevation below normal, water clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 15-25 ft. around brush structure. Report submitted by Paul Welch, game warden stationed in Osage County.

Sooner: March 23. Elevation normal, water murky. Striped bass hybrids slow on live shad in the main lake. Saugeye slow on deep diving crankbaits in coves. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.
 
Tenkiller: March 23. Elevation 2 ft. above normal, water 52 and stained. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, tube jigs and spinnerbaits at 3-20 ft. around brush structure, docks and coves; fish the sunny, shallow coves at midday. White bass slow on in-line spinnerbaits, spoons and tube jigs along the river channel, points and mouths of coves in the upper end. Crappie fair on minnows and tube jigs at 5-15 ft. in docks and trolling crankbaits near points in the main lake. Report submitted by Monte Brooks of Cookson.
 
Webbers Falls: March 23. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 51 and murky. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits and spinnerbaits along riprap, creek channels and brush structure. Catfish good on cut bait and sunfish on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs in black and silver at 12-18 ft. around brush structure under bridges. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
 
NORTHWEST
 
Canton: March 21. Elevation below normal, water 55 and clear. Walleye and white bass fair on crankbaits and jigs at 2-8 ft. along riprap. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.
 
Foss: March 23. Elevation 19 1/2 ft. below normal with gates closed, water mid 50s and clear. Striped bass hybrids fair on live bait from the bank and on lures in deep water. Walleye slow on worms. Catfish slow to fair on stinkbait. Crappie slow on light jigs around docks. Report submitted by Eric Puyear, B & K Bait House.
 
Ft. Supply: March 23. Elevation below normal, water 54. White bass and crappie slow on minnows and grubs in the main lake and along shorelines. Report submitted by Mike Baker, game warden stationed in Beaver County.
 
SOUTHEAST
 
Arbuckle: March 22. Elevation 9 ft. below normal, water 51-54 and clear to stained up creek arms. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits, worms, Alabama rigs and lipless baits at 4-10 ft. along coves, shallows, the main lake and flats close to deep water. White bass slow on Alabama rigs, lipless baits and grubs at 4-10 ft. along creek channels and backs of coves late evening. Crappie slow on jigs around brush structure. Report submitted by Jack Melton.

Broken Bow: March 22. Elevation normal, water 56. White bass good on in-line spinnerbaits, jigs and grubs at 5-10 ft. along channels, the river channel and creek channels. Largemouth bass good on Alabama rigs and crankbaits at 10 ft. around brush structure, shorelines and points. Channel and blue catfish good on chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and punch bait at 15-20 ft. along channels, at the river mouth and creek channels. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

Eufaula: March 22. Elevation normal, water 55-57 and stained. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits and crankbaits along rocky shallow areas. White bass good on small spinnerbaits and small jigs along feeder creeks and rivers. Blue catfish good on shad along shallow flats. Crappie fair at 4-10 ft. around brush piles and rocky areas. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.

Hugo: March 22. Elevation 2 ft. above normal, water 50. White bass fair on spinnerbaits and grubs along shoals on the northern part of the Kiamichi River. Catfish fair to good on trotlines baited with minnows and stinkbait. Blue catfish good to excellent on cut shad below the dam. Crappie fair to good on minnows at 6-10 ft. moving into shallows. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Choctaw and Bryan counties.
 
Konawa: March 24. Elevation normal, water 54 and clear. Largemouth bass good on crankbaits, plastic baits and jerk baits at 6-8 ft. in the discharge, along riprap and around points. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on minnows, jigs, slabs and cut bait at 8-10 ft. in the discharge, around points and creek channels. Channel catfish fair on cut bait, punch bait, stinkbait and worms at 8-10 ft. around points, the discharge and creek channels. Report submitted by Tyler Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.

Lower Mountain Fork: March 22. Elevation normal, water 50 and clear. Trout excellent on Power Bait, small lures, nymphs and salmon eggs along rocks, the spillway and creek channels. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
 
Lower Mountain Fork: March 19. Stocked 2,100 lbs., approximately 990 rainbow trout on March 19. Report submitted by April Drake, secretary at the Southeast Regional Office.
 
Murray: March 23. Elevation below normal, water 55 and clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on jerk baits, crankbaits and plastic baits at 5-15 ft. around rocks, points and weed beds. White bass fair on jigs, sassy shad, tube jigs and crankbaits at 5-20 ft. in the main lake, around points and creek channels. Crappie and sunfish fair on minnows, jigs, tube jigs and small lures at 4-12 ft. around points, brush structure and coves. Channel catfish fair on punch bait, worms, shrimp and shad at 5-20 ft. along creek channel, flats and coves. Report submitted by Jeremy Brothers, game warden stationed in Carter County.
 
Pine Creek: March 22. Elevation normal, water 58 and clear. Largemouth bass excellent on Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits along rocks, shallows and creek channels. Crappie excellent on jigs along shallows. White bass good on jigs, sassy shad and spinnerbaits along the river channel. Channel catfish good on worms along channels. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
 
Robert S. Kerr: March 22. Elevation normal, water 59 and muddy. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 1-10 ft. along creek channels and weed beds. White bass excellent on in-line spinnerbaits and jigs in white and chartreuse in creek channels. White bass are moving up the creeks to spawn. Trolling and bank fishing the Big Sans Bois Creek has been producing good stringers of white bass as long as there is good water flow. Blue and channel catfish good on live shad at 4 ft. along flats and the sand bar. Largemouth bass good on jigs and spinnerbaits at 1-6 ft. along shallows, rocks and creek channels. Report submitted by J. D. Stauffer, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
 
Sardis: March 22. Elevation normal, water 59. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait at 16 ft. along channels. White bass fair on grubs at 12 ft. along channels. Largemouth bass fair on in-line spinnerbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic baits at 6 ft. along weed beds. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Latimer County.
 
Texoma: March 22. Elevation below normal, water 48 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 10-20 ft. around brush structure, points and creek channels. Striped and white bass good on live shad, slabs and sassy shad at 10-30 ft. in the main lake and river channel. Channel and blue catfish good on stinkbait, worms and cut bait at 10-20 ft. in coves and creek channels. Crappie and sunfish good on tube jigs, minnows and small lures at 5-20 ft. along creek channels, docks and brush structure. Crappie and sunfish good on tube jigs, minnows and small lures at 5-20 ft. along creek channels, docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
 
Wister: March 22. Elevation rising, water 53. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on chartreuse/white crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 10-12 ft. along channels and points. Blue and channel catfish good on cut bait, shad and chicken liver at 8-10 ft. below the dam, channels and flats. Crappie, sunfish and bluegill good on minnows, blue/chartreuse and gold pearl tube jigs and jigs at 4-6 ft. below the dam, around standing timber and brush structure. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in Le Flore County.
 
SOUTHWEST
 
Ellsworth: March 22. Elevation below normal, water murky. Crappie and white bass slow on minnows and jigs around brush structure and docks. Blue and channel catfish slow on cut bait and punch bait along channels and around points. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
 
Lawtonka: March 22. Elevation normal, water clear. Crappie and white bass slow on minnows and jigs around docks and brush structure. Blue and channel catfish slow on cut bait and dough bait in the discharge and around points. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
 
Tom Steed: March 24. Elevation below average, water 52. White bass, striped bass hybrids and saugeye good on minnows at 5-8 ft. around rocks and points. Report submitted by David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa County.
 
Waurika: March 22. Elevation below normal, water 52. Blue catfish fair on cut bait on bottom in the main lake. Report submitted by Chris Stover, game warden stationed in Stephens County.

Aerial and ground surveys of lesser prairie-chickens began Sunday, March 15, and will run through May 7. The surveys are conducted to gather more accurate population numbers and to assist with project clearance for the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan administered by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

Personnel from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sutton Avian Research Center and Oklahoma City Zoo will conduct listening surveys from county roads in Cimarron, Texas, Beaver and Harper counties.

Aerial surveys by helicopter will be conducted in the same counties to locate additional groups of birds as they gather on breeding grounds. The aerial surveys will complement the listening surveys by identifying birds that cannot be seen or heard from the roadways.

This is the fourth year that these range-wide aerial surveys have been conducted in Oklahoma and across the lesser prairie-chicken's range.

The lesser prairie-chicken is a unique upland bird that has experienced sharp population declines. In 2014, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as a threatened species. The Wildlife Department is working to protect the bird while also supporting responsible development in the lesser prairie-chicken's habitat.
For more information about the lesser prairie-chicken and the conservation work being done to support it, go to wildlifedepartment.com.

PrairieChicken

Aerial and ground surveys are under way in four northwestern Oklahoma counties for the lesser prairie-chicken, an upland bird that was listed as a threatened species in 2014 by the federal government. (Kelly Adams/ODWC)

Thursday, 05 March 2015 11:55

This week's Fishing Report

FishReportMar3Fishing Report
 
CENTRAL
 
Arcadia: No report submitted.

Draper: March 2. Elevation above normal, water 39 and stained. Crappie slow on minnows around brush structure. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Hefner: March 3. Elevation below normal, water 39-43 and clear. Crappie fair on minnows and pink, chartreuse and orange jigs at 20-30 ft. along riprap and the dam. Walleye fair on grubs, plastic baits and drop shot small plastic worms at 10-20 ft. along riprap and the dam. Channel catfish and saugeye fair on cut bait at 30 ft. along riprap and the dam. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on grubs and sassy shad at 20-30 ft. along riprap and the dam. Report Submitted by Lucky Lure Tackle.

Ryan Wasser (right) caught the new lake record largemouth bass at Konawa Lake on February 7.

Overholser: March 3. Elevation normal, water murky to clear. Blue and channel catfish slow on cut bait along shorelines and riprap. Striped bass hybrids and white bass slow on cut bait and worms along shorelines and docks. All fishing slow due to winter weather. Report submitted by Vince Mesis, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Thunderbird: March 2. Elevation below normal, water 39 and stained. Crappie slow on minnows around brush structure. Report submitted by Chad Strang, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Wes Watkins: March 2. Elevation below normal. Largemouth bass slow on plastic baits around brush structure. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.
 
NORTHEAST
 
Bell Cow: No report submitted.

Birch: No report submitted.
 
Carl Blackwell: No report submitted.

Chandler: No report submitted.
 
Copan: March 2. Elevation below normal, water frozen. Blue catfish slow on cut bait in the main lake. Lake should begin to thaw this week as temperatures begin to rise. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.

Eucha: No report submitted.

Ft. Gibson: March 3. Elevation above normal, water 40 and clear. Paddlefish good in the river channel, rocky points and north to the main river. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Rick Stafford of Wagoner.

Grand: No report submitted.

Greenleaf: No report submitted.

Hudson: March 2. Elevation normal, water 38. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 12-17 ft. around brush structure, standing timber and coves. Report submitted by Steve Loveland, game warden stationed in Rogers and Mayes counties.

Hulah: March 2. Elevation below normal, water frozen. Blue catfish slow on cut bait in the main lake. The lake is currently frozen. There is open water in areas but access points remain covered in ice. Lake should begin to thaw this week as temperatures begin to rise. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.

Kaw: March 3. Elevation 2 ft. above normal, water 40 and clear. All fishing slow. Report submitted by Larry Green, game warden stationed in Kay County.

Keystone: March 3. Elevation below normal, water 41. Crappie good on chartreuse and red jigs around brush structure. Blue catfish good on cut bait along channels. Report submitted by Karlin Bailey, game warden stationed in Creek County.

Lower Illinois: March 1. Elevation normal, water 45 and clear. Trout good on in-line spinnerbaits, orange PowerBait and worms below the dam and in channels. Report submitted by Jeremy Bersche, game warden stationed in Sequoyah County.

McMurtry: No report submitted.

Oologah: No report submitted.

Perry CCC: March 3. Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on PowerBait and spinnerbaits along shorelines. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.

Skiatook: March 2. Elevation below normal, water clear. Crappie slow on minnows and jigs at 15-25 ft. around brush structure. Report submitted by Paul Welch, game warden stationed in Osage County.

Sooner: March 3. Elevation normal, water murky. Striped bass hybrids and saugeye slow on sassy shad, small lures and rattletraps in the discharge. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.

Spavinaw: No report submitted.
 
Tenkiller:No report submitted.
 
Webbers Falls: No report submitted.
 
NORTHWEST
 
Canton: February 28. Elevation below normal, water 40. Channel catfish fair on stinkbait and slabs at 6-10 ft. along channels. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.
 
Ft. Supply: March 1. Elevation below normal, water 36. White bass slow on spoons along riprap. Report submitted by Mark Reichenberger, game warden stationed in Woodward County.
 
SOUTHEAST
 
Arbuckle: February 28. Elevation below normal, water 44. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass slow on jigs at 30 ft. in the main lake; before the snow bass were being caught on wobble head jigs at 20-35 ft.  White bass and crappie very slow. The road into the ramp is not accessible due to snow. Report submitted by Jack Melton.

Blue River: No report submitted.
 
Broken Bow: Elevation normal, water 48. Walleye good on crankbaits, rogues and sassy shad at 10 ft. along channels, rocks and riprap. Smallmouth bass good on rogues and plastic baits at 10 ft. along riprap and the river channel. Channel and blue catfish good on worms, stinkbait and shrimp at 15-20 ft. along creek channels and the river channel. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
 
Eufaula: March 1. Elevation 3 1/2 ft. below normal, water clear. Crappie fair below docks with brush. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.

Hugo: March 1. Elevation slightly above normal. All fishing slow. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Choctaw and Bryan counties.

Konawa: March 3. Elevation normal, water 49 and clear. Largemouth bass on crankbaits, sassy shad and plastic baits at 6-8 ft. in the discharge, riprap and points. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on live shad, slabs, sassy shad and jigs at 8-10 ft. in the discharge, points and creek channels. Report submitted by Tyler Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
 
Lower Mountain Fork: March 1. Elevation normal, water 48 and clear. Trout good on midges in the creek channels, discharge and rocks. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

McGee Creek: March 1. Elevation 7 1/3 ft. below normal, water 47 and clear. Largemouth and spotted bass fair on Alabama rigs, jigs and crankbaits at 15-25 ft. around brush structure. Report submitted by Larry Luman, game warden stationed in Atoka County.
 
Murray: No report submitted.
 
Pine Creek: March 1. Elevation normal, water 48 and clear. Largemouth bass good on spoons and jigs in the main lake and the river channel. Channel catfish good on stinkbait. Crappie fair on minnows and spoons in the river channel. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.

Robber's Cave State Park: No report submitted.

Robert S. Kerr: March1. Elevation normal, water stained. Crappie slow on minnows at 8-10 ft. along the river channel and standing timber. Blue and channel catfish slow on live shad in the main lake and flats. Report submitted by J. D. Stauffer, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
 
Sardis: February 28. Water 50 and rising. Walleye slow on crankbaits at 20 ft. along channels and the main lake. Blue catfish slow on shad at 15 ft. along channels. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Latimer County.
 
Texoma: February 28. Elevation below normal, water 42 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair on crankbaits and plastic baits at 10-20 ft. around points and creek channels. Striped and white bass fair on live shad, sassy shad and slabs at 10-30 ft. along the river channel and the main lake. Channel and blue catfish fair on cut bait, stinkbait and live bait at 10-20 ft. along channels, riprap and the main lake. Crappie and sunfish fair on minnows and jigs at 5-15 ft. along docks, creek channels and riprap. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
 
Wister: March 1. Elevation normal, water 44. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair on jerk baits and plastic baits at 8-10 ft. along channels and points. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait and shad at 8-10 ft. along channels and flats. Crappie, bluegill and sunfish fair on jigs and tube jigs at 8-10 ft. around brush structure and standing timber. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in Le Flore County.
 
SOUTHWEST
 
Ellsworth: March 1. Elevation below normal, water murky. Crappie and white bass fair on minnows and jigs around brush structure, docks and boathouses at Ralph's Resort. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
 
Foss: March 2. Elevation 19 1/2 ft. below normal with gates closed, water low 50s and clear. Striped bass hybrids slow on slabs. Walleye slow on live bait. Crappie slow on small jigs. Catfish slow. Report submitted by Eric Puyear, B & K Bait House.
 
Ft. Cobb: March 3. Elevation below normal. Saugeye slow on in-line spinnerbaits, jigs and small lures along riprap, points and the main lake. Channel and blue catfish slow on dough bait in the main lake and around points. Striped bass hybrids and white bass slow on slabs, minnows and live shad in the main lake, points and coves. Report submitted by Sunset Cove Marina.
 
Lawtonka: March 1. Elevation normal, water clear. White bass fair on minnows and jigs off the dam. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
 
Tom Steed: March 3. Elevation below normal, water 38. Blue catfish, channel catfish and striped bass hybrids fair on cut bait, shad and worms on bottom along flats and points. Report submitted by David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa County.
 
Waurika: March 1. Elevation below normal, water 42. Blue catfish fair on shad on bottom in the main lake. Report submitted by Chris Stover, game warden stationed in Stephens County.

Oklahomans saw bobwhite quail numbers rebound in 2014 to numbers not observed in quite some time. New hunters were introduced to quail hunting, and seasoned hunters took part in a longstanding hunting tradition that had been disappointing in recent years. But with the quail season now over and a renewed interest in quail still high, now is the perfect time to consider implementing quail-friendly management practices to continue bringing back the bobwhite.

It's been said time and again that weather and habitat are the keys to bobwhite production. Although nearly all of us would enjoy being able to control the weather from time to time, it is, unfortunately, a variable that is out of our control. Habitat, on the other hand, is something that we manage for on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. As land managers, knowing what benefits quail and what is detrimental to quail can be the difference between having quail or not.

Sometimes simple measures can bring about great benefits for quail and other wildlife. In general, quail thrive in areas that have some type of disturbance adjacent to native grass, cropland and woody cover. But implementing some type of disturbance isn't the only management practice that can benefit quail. The table below includes a list of quail-friendly practices that land managers may want to consider implementing when managing property this year.

If you have questions about improving habitat for quail, call Scott Cox, senior upland game biologist, at (405) 301-9945 or Kyle Johnson, quail restoration biologist, at (405) 684-1929.

For more information about nesting structure as well as providing other habitat needs for quail in Oklahoma, check out the "Oklahoma Quail Habitat Guide" issue of "Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine (May/June 2013) as well as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website at wildlifedepartment.com.

 

Shooting-sports industry icon and benefactor Larry W. Potterfield outlined his passionate desire to promote competitive shooting among youths during a personal presentation at the February meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on Monday in Stillwater, and then he backed up his words with his money.
Potterfield, co-founder of online shooting and sporting goods retailer MidwayUSA Inc., donated $756,410 to support the Oklahoma Scholastic Shooting Sports Program, which currently involves about 1,500 students in 85 junior and senior high schools in the state.

WIldlifeCheck

[Richard Hatcher, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and Larry Potterfield, founder of MidwayUSA Inc., hold a symbolic check for more than $2.1 million, representing the total money donated over three years by MidwayUSA Foundation and the Potterfield family for the Oklahoma Scholastic Shooting Sports Program. This year's donation was $756,410.]

This donation is among the largest ever received by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. It represents the third consecutive year that the Potterfield family has given large sums in support of the OSSSP. This year's donation brings the Potterfields' total commitment to nearly $2.2 million.

"You guys are doing a great, great job of creating teams in Oklahoma. ... The work that you all do here is very, very key to the future," Potterfield said. "We very much appreciate the opportunity to work with you."
Commissioners watched a presentation by Dick Leeper, executive director of the MidwayUSA Foundation, which outlined the Potterfield family's support of shooting sports across the country. Through the foundation, Larry and Brenda Potterfield have personally given $96 million to support school-based shooting programs in 49 states.
Since its inception in 2013, OSSSP has been administered through the Wildlife Department's Information and Education Division. It allows Oklahoma junior and senior high school students to learn about and participate in competitive shotgunning. Money donated by the Potterfield family helps defray the costs associated with shooting and participation for the high school teams. In addition, high school teams are rewarded with additional money for participating in regional and statewide competitive events. Individual endowment accounts that are set up for each team through the MidwayUSA Foundation play an important part in the program.

Wildlife Department Director Richard Hatcher recognized Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife Department, for his efforts to establish OSSSP, and Damon Springer, OSSSP coordinator, for his work in organizing and operating the program. During a status report on OSSSP, Berg said, "Because of the Potterfield donation, we're actually about two or three years ahead of where we would have been as an agency if we didn't have their funds."
In other business related to shooting sports, the Commission accepted a $10,000 donation from Sam Munhollon of Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International, which will allow more school teams to participate in OSSSP. And Oklahoma State University professor and club adviser Nathan Walker gave a presentation on the OSU Shotgun Sports Club.

Also during Monday's meeting at OSU, the Commission:

Heard updates on upland game bird and aquatic research ongoing at OSU. Drs. Sam Fuhledorf, Dwayne Elmore and Craig Davis, endowed chairs in Natural Resource Ecology Management, spoke about research on the lesser and greater prairie chicken and northern bobwhite. Dr. Shannon Brewer spoke about projects under way in aquatics research involving the Wildlife Department through the Oklahoma Cooperative Research Unit.

Accepted a $4,000 donation from Sam Munhollon of Oklahoma Station Chapter Safari Club International. Robert Fleenor, chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department, received the donation. This is the first donation in a four-year commitment by OKSCI to fund the purchase of night-vision goggles for the Law Enforcement Division.
Approved permanent rule changes to Title 800 Chapter 10, Sport Fishing Rules. These rule changes were proposed in 2014 and underwent public hearing and public comment. Highlights include reducing the limit on flathead catfish to five per day; reducing the length limit for saugeye, sauger and walleye to 14 inches statewide (with some exceptions); prohibiting the possession of filleted fish while fishing; requiring anglers to keep separate stringers with name and fishing license number attached when fishing in tailwaters; establishing catch-and-release-only rules for tiger muskellunge at Lake Carl Etling and for largemouth bass at American Horse Lake and Doc Hollis Lake.
Approved permanent rule changes to Title 800 Chapter 25, Wildlife Rules. These rule changes were proposed in 2014 and underwent public hearing and public comment. Highlights include clarification of permitting, certification, reporting and procedures for the Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator permit; adjusting regulations on several smaller U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properties; standardizing seasons for Camp Gruber and Cherokee public hunting areas. Commissioners decided to table a rule-change proposal to eliminate the Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp Design Competition.

Approved a permanent rule change to Title 800 Chapter 30, Wildlife Department Lands Management. This rule change was proposed in 2014 and underwent public hearing and public comment. The rule prohibits the removal of live feral hogs from any Wildlife Management Area.

The Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Wildlife Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The next scheduled Commission meeting will be 9 a.m. March 2, 2015, at Wildlife Department headquarters, 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City.

Friday, 06 February 2015 10:32

Oklahoma Fishing Report for February 4, 2015

NORTHEAST

Ft. Gibson: January 29. Elevation normal, water 46 and clear. Blue, channel and flathead catfish fair on cut bait and hot dogs in the river channel and channel at 20-25 ft. Crappie fair on minnows and tube jigs in and around brush structure and docks at 22-26 ft. Report submitted by Rick Stafford of Wagoner.

Grand: February 2. Elevation normal, water 38. Largemouth bass fair on Alabama rig and rouges in and around main lake and points. Crappie good on minnows and jigs. Blue catfish good on cut bait in main lake and river channel. Paddlefish fair when snagging in main lake. Report submitted by Kody Moore, game warden stationed in Delaware County.

Keystone: February 3. Elevation below average, water 39. Crappie excellent on minnows and tube jigs around brush structure. Blue catfish good on cut bait along channels. Report submitted by Karlin Bailey, game warden stationed in Creek County.

McMurtry: February 2. Elevation below average, water 36 and semi-clear. Crappie fair on jigs and worms at 8 ft. to bottom around docks. The fishing has been slow; few crappie have been pulled but none of real size. Report submitted by Jared Avilez.

Tenkiller: February 3. Elevation below average, water 43 and clear and steady. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass slow on plastics and jigs at 15-25 ft. in and around brush structure, main lake and points. Crappie slow on minnows, jigs and plastics at 15-40 ft. in and around docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Monte Brooks of Cookson.

NORTHWEST

Canton: January 31. Elevation below average, water 44 and clear. Channel catfish fair on stinkbait and live bait in channels and main lake at 6-12 ft. Crappie fair on jigs in and around brush structure at 6-12 ft. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.

SOUTHEAST

Arbuckle: January 31. Elevation 10.5 ft. below normal, water 44 and clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass slow on jigs, tube jigs, hair jigs, wobble head jigs at 30-44 ft. along creek channels, flats and drop-offs. Lots of patience and watching the electronics. White bass, crappie and saugeye slow on jigs, slabs, spoons and Alabama rig at 50-63 ft. in and around creek channels, flats and main lake. Follow the gulls. Report submitted by Jack Melton.

Eufaula: February 1. Crappie fair on small minnows and jigs around boat docks with brush under them. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.

Robert S. Kerr: February 1. Elevation normal, water 43 and stained. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 5-8 ft. in creek channels. Crappie are biting better on warm calm days. Blue and channel catfish fair on cut bait and shad at less than 5 ft. along the flats and shallows. Catfish are being caught drift fishing on sunny afternoons in shallow flats off the main lake channels and in Big Sans Bois Creek. Largemouth bass good on rouges and jerk bait in and around main lake and points, suspending rouges/jerk baits, clown or shad- colored. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Pushmataha County.

Sardis: February 4. Elevation normal, water 50. Blue catfish fair on shad at 25 ft. in channels. Crappie slow on minnows in channels. Walleye slow on crankbaits around points. Carp slow on powerbait below the dam. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed in Latimer County.

Texoma: February 1. Elevation below average, water 48 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair on crankbaits, plastics and combination baits and big jigs at 10-20 ft. around brush structure and points. Striped and white bass fair on sassy shad, slabs and live bait at 10-30 ft. along river channel, main lake and above the U.S. Highway 70 bridge. Channel and blue catfish fair on live bait, stinkbait and worms at 10-20 ft. along creek channels, rip-rap and active cleaning stations. Crappie and sunfish fair on tube jigs, minnows and small lures at 5-10 ft. along docks, creek channels and brush structure. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.

Wister: February 3. Elevation normal, water 45. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair on plastics and worms at 10-20 ft. around points and rip-rap. Crappie, bluegill and sunfish fair on jigs and tube jigs at 10-15 ft. in and around brush structure and standing timber. Channel catfish fair on cut bait and shad at 4-8 ft. along channels and flats. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in Le Flore County.

SOUTHWEST

Tom Steed: February 3. Elevation below average, water 40. Blue and channel catfish slow on cut bait and shad in main lake along the bottom. Report submitted by David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa County.

Waurika: February 2. Elevation below average, water 40. Blue and channel catfish slow on stinkbait along shorelines. Report submitted by Chris Stover, game warden stationed in Stephens County.

Preliminary data from the Wildlife Department's online E-Check system show that hunters reported harvesting more than 98,500 deer in Oklahoma through Jan. 15, the last day of deer archery season. But it appears hunter success was much better in certain regions of the state than in others.

Erik Bartholomew, big-game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said E-Check data from early December suggested that the overall statewide deer harvest was running about 10 percent higher compared to the same time last year.

Deer gun season hunters checked 49,408 deer for the 2014 season, a 13 percent increase over the 2013 gun season. Bartholomew pointed out that the harvest number was a preliminary total from the online E-Check system and does not include any deer harvested during controlled hunts or by participants in the Deer Management Assistance Program.

In 2013-14, hunters harvested 88,009 deer in all seasons.

While overall deer harvest numbers this year seem to be higher statewide, reports from the field in western Oklahoma tell a different story.

Eddie Wilson, biologist at Cooper and Fort Supply Wildlife Management Areas, said the consensus of Wildlife Department biologists based in northwestern Oklahoma is that deer numbers were lower this year than in past years. And the main reason for the decline appears to have been the prolonged drought.

"I've had hunters who have come to Fort Supply and Cooper for years tell me they were staying home due to low numbers this year," Wilson said. As a result, hunter success appeared to be lower this year in those areas of the state, he said.

Alan Peoples, Wildlife Division chief for the Wildlife Department, said he hunts deer exclusively in northwestern Oklahoma. "My family, friends and contacts in the northwest agree this is the slowest year we have seen in many years.

"An area where in an average year we would see 25 to 30 deer in a morning, we saw maybe five or fewer. We saw more coyotes than deer, and that is unusual."

Wilson concurred that the coyote population in the northwest is healthy, but that trend has been apparent since the drought began. "High coyote numbers have been a point of conversation with hunters and landowners alike since 2011," he said.

Similar trends were observed in southwestern Oklahoma.

Rod Smith, Wildlife Division southwest region supervisor, said depressed deer numbers there are thought to be a result of poor reproduction in 2011 and 2012. "The drought and extreme summer conditions in those years greatly affected fawn survival," he said.

Smith said he expects this year's data to show a below-normal deer harvest in the southwestern region.
While drought persists, the deer population in southwestern Oklahoma will remain below what is considered normal. "But we fully expect deer populations to increase when adequate rainfall returns to the southwest for a few years," Smith said.

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