If you think that you have waited too long to get in on the spring fishing action, then think again. This is one of those crazy years in Oklahoma in which everything is late. In fact some of the spawning action is nearly a month behind schedule.
I spoke to anglers this week that are reportedly still catching sand bass and crappie, full of eggs that have not even move into the shallows. Even at some of our most southern lakes, like Waurkia, fishing action is just now beginning to heat up.
According to this week’s fishing report, crappie are being caught around docks and structure but not that shallow yet. Action should heat up around rip-rap at Waurkia soon. Hybrids and sandies are still in the creeks and the report list the fishing as fair. Of course rain would help, and if we get some next week, that could change things. The water should finally begin to warm up, as it is currently around 60.
Don’t forget about hybrids and sand bass at Waurika. Fishing for these species are reported as good, and I’ve seen some photos of great stringers of hybrids posted by anglers.
Another hot spot that I have heard of lately has been Tom Steed, where the rocky shores and points are producing good stringers of sandies. Crappie has yet to get hot at Steed, but it shouldn’t be much longer as water temps are nearing 60 degrees.
Ellsworth and Lawtonka, two city of Lawton lakes, are both a little behind the others, with water temps still in the mid-50s. Like the other area lakes, sand bass can be caught around shorelines and creeks, but crappie are still a little deeper, and have not moved into the shallows yet.
Fort Cobb is still a little slow, but I did see some anglers catching crappie on brush piles and along the rip rap this past week. A little more warm weather and the water should be into the 60s, really triggering the spawn. Lake levels are 4-feet below normal, so we need rain to really get things turned on.
Catfish are hungry this time of year as well, with most of the previously mentioned lakes reporting fair to good catfishing.
Smaller bodies of water, such as farm ponds, should be further ahead of the lakes, and we usually see some nice largemouth bass taken from these watersheds in May.
But it doesn’t matter where the fish are biting if you don’t get out and give it a try. Grab a kid and go fishing.
Controlled hunt deadline May 22
Don’t miss your chance at being drawn for a once-in-a-lifetime bull elk hunt, or one of many other available hunts for deer, antelope and turkey. New options also are available for those who can’t make their hunt or who want to secure preference points. Apply through May 22.
The controlled hunts program not only offers elk and antelope hunts, but also some highly sought-after buck hunts, and a range of other quality deer and turkey hunting opportunities through randomized drawings that only cost sportsmen $5 to enter. Opportunities offered through the program include hunts on Department or other government-owned or managed lands where unrestricted hunting would pose safety concerns or where overharvest might occur.
The online application process takes just a few minutes and must be completed through the Wildlife Department’s website at wildlifedepartment.com. Applicants have until May 22 to submit their applications.
Controlled Hunt applications are submitted through a hunter’s personal account at GoOutdoorsOklahoma.com, the Wildlife Department’s online licensing and customer service site. During the application process, hunters will be asked whether they want to add PointGuard or a Preference Point Only option. These options were added last year.
Squirrel season opener in sight
May 15 marks the opening day of one of Oklahoma’s most available but most forgotten game animals — squirrels.
“Sportsmen who don’t spend any time hunting squirrels are missing out on a hobby they might really enjoy, not to mention a lot more time in the woods,” said Lance Meek, hunter education coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The squirrel season, which runs nearly 10 months straight (May 15-Feb 28), is a popular part of Oklahoma’s hunting heritage and still is recognized by many today as a great recreational activity. And though fewer squirrel hunters may take to the woods now, the opportunities to harvest game and sharpen outdoor skills through squirrel hunting are still plentiful in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is home to two subspecies of squirrel, the gray squirrel, which inhabits the far eastern portion the state, and the fox squirrel, which is found statewide in suitable habitats.
“Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce a youngster to the sport of hunting because of the availability and likelihood of seeing game,” said Meek. “It’s also a great way to teach people to hunt and how to keep the sport of hunting safe. Squirrels are smaller animals, but they are a challenge to hunt. Someone who learns to hunt squirrels will also acquire many of the skills needed for hunting deer or turkey as well. Also, you have a generous bag limit of 10 squirrels per day.”
Sportsmen can attract squirrels to them using calls as well as find them in the woods by searching for food and habitat sign, such as areas containing hardwoods and mast-producing trees. About any tract of oaks, hickory or pecan trees can be productive. Another option is to hunt them with a dog that is bred and trained to locate squirrels.
“If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to hunt squirrels, or if you miss the great taste of the once-popular tablefare or even if you want to take your kid hunting, then you should really try to get out this year and hunt squirrels,” Meek said. “You’re sure to have a lot of fun.”
To hunt squirrels in Oklahoma, hunters need a resident or non-resident hunting license, unless exemp. Resident hunters younger than age 16 can hunt squirrels without a license. For a complete list of squirrel hunting regulations consult the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide” or log on to the Department’s Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.
SW Fishing Report
Altus-Lugert – 24ft. below normal, water 60 and stained. No fishing activity reported.
Ellsworth – 3ft. below normal, water 53 and murky. White bass good on crankbaits, small lures, spinnerbaits around main lake, rocks, shorelines. Crappie fair on jigs, minnows around brush structure, docks, rocks. Catfish fair on chicken liver, punch bait, shad around main lake, points.
Fort Cobb – 4ft. below normal, water 58 and stained. Catfish fair on cut bait, hot dogs around main lake.
Lawtonka – 3ft. below normal, water 54 and clear. Crappie fair on jigs, minnows around docks, rocks. White bass fair on crankbaits, small lures, spinnerbaits around points, rocks, shorelines.
Tom Steed – 6ft. below normal, water 59 and murky. Crappie fair on jigs, minnows around brush structure, coves, rocks. Catfish good on punch bait, stinkbait around flats. White bass good on jigs, minnows around points, rocks.
Waurika – 3ft. below normal, water 62 and murky. White bass and hybrids good on flukes, in-line spinnerbaits, plastic baits, sassy shad around main lake, shorelines. Crappie fair on jigs, minnows around brush structure, points, riprap. Catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait around main lake.