Blues and Rainbows Highlight Winter Fishing
It maybe cold outside, but there is still some hot fishing action to be found across the state.
“Winter time fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors,” said Barry Bolton, assistant fisheries chief for the Department. “And fishing for several for several different species can be quite productive this time of year.”
According to Bolton, wintertime is prime time for catching trophy size blue catfish. Whether you enjoy fishing with a rod and reel from the bank or setting juglines from a boat, there is a variety of locations to try your luck.
“There are many lakes and rivers to catch blue catfish, but the Arkansas River in northeast Oklahoma, Lake Texoma in the south central part of the state, and Lake Ellsworth near Lawton offer anglers an excellent chance to hook a monster catfish” he said.
Oklahoma’s six winter-only trout areas managed by the Department also offer top notch cool season fishing.
"Oklahoma is blessed with a diversity of winter trout fishing opportunities, with six winter-only trout areas and two year-round trout fisheries on the lower Illinois and lower Mountain Fork rivers," Bolton said. "These winter trout fisheries provide additional opportunities for anglers to enjoy fishing all winter long."
Stretching from the panhandle to southeast Oklahoma, these fisheries provide trout fishing in areas where warm water temperatures are not suitable for trout during the summer. They are stocked regularly from (Nov. 1 to March 31) with catchable size rainbow trout and are very popular with anglers all over the state, said Bolton.
Savvy anglers can find up to date trout stocking schedules posted on the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com.
However, Bolton noted, anglers need to be aware that trout stockings are subject to change without notice due to circumstances beyond the Department’s control.
Once logged on the “Fishing” page within the Department's Web site, choose “Trout Areas” then "Stocking Schedule" for the complete schedule.
In addition to a fishing license, trout anglers must also purchase a trout license, which costs $7.75.
Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean you have to shiver your way through your next fishing trip. Enclosed docks can be found on many lakes and reservoirs around the state and are excellent location to catch a stringer full of crappie.
“Fishing in an enclosed dock, out of the wind and the elements, is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family,” said Bolton.
According to Bolton, crappie are the main quarry at the docks, most of which include brushpiles to provide cover and to attract the fish. Crappie are a favorite winter fish all across Oklahoma. They form loose schools and often when you find a fish, others are often close by. Crappie can be caught year-round and its sweet meat makes great table fare.
A list of enclosed fishing docks can be found on page 32 of the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” or by logging on to the Department’s Website at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/encloseddocks.htm
Before heading out on a winter fishing trip anglers should remember to purchase a new annual fishing license and review the regulations by picking up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide” at license vendors statewide.
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