When I would catch bass out of my father-in-law’s farm pond, he always instructed me to tell others that I caught those fish in a bar ditch.
Well, now that I am an outdoor writer, my job is share such info. So here’s what I’ve heard about where the fish are biting or are expected to be biting this weekend.
The hybrid fishing is hot at Canton, and I’m not just referring to the 23-pound hybrid caught there last weekend.
John Stahl, northwest fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said hot spots for hybrids on Canton right now are the spilling basin and Thunder Road on the north shore.
In the spilling basin, try crappie jigs with a weighted cork and throw to the white water.
Along Thunder Road, on the north shoreline of the lake, fish for hybrids with road runners, purple 3-inch twist tails, night crawlers and cut shad. Throw as far as you can from the bank. Waders are recommended.
The paddlefishing has slowed down at Twin Bridges in northeastern Oklahoma but with recent water releases at Kaw, snagging for spoonbills below the dam is expected to be good real soon.
Jug lining for blue cats at Kaw also is good right now as the lake is full of 4- to 12-pound blues.
Crappie fishing is excellent at Eufaula and on Texoma, anglers are already starting to pick up some stripers on top water. The top water action usually heats up in early May.
As for the bass fishing, I hear the bar ditches are good.
The crappie fishing continues to be excellent at Lake Eufaula, arguably Oklahoma’s best lake for the tasty table fare.
Kevin Brown of Norman took a fishing trip to the Gentle Giant on Monday with guide Barry Morrow and reported the crappie were biting like mad in 4 to 10 feet of water. Brown, his father, and Morrow picked up 110 crappie and 54 sand bass in five hours of fishing.
The trio of anglers were dropping jigs around brush piles. Several of the slabs weighed right at 2 pounds, Brown said.
The crappie are biting best in mid-day.
I hate to brag, but I did predict that Canton Lake might be a hot spot for fishing for hybrids and sand bass this weekend.
Well, crappie guide Donnie Jinkens’interrupted my son’s third birthday party with a phone call on Sunday afternoon with a big fish story. A Canton angler had landed a hybrid that was just a few ounces shy of the state record, weighing more than 23 pounds.
“It’s a beautiful fish,” Jinkens said.
Donnie, who owns the Canton Motel and is the official lake record keeper on Canton Lake, is emailing me a photo, which will likely be in next Sunday’s Oklahoman on the Outdoors page. Stay tuned.
Two hot spots for fishing this weekend could be Canton Lake and Grand Lake.
Sand bass runs are over at many places in the state, but on Thursday anglers were reportedly hammering the white bass on the North Canadian River above Canton Lake, along with some 4- and 5-pound hybrids in the mix.
The sand bass fishing also has been good at Konawa and Sooner lakes as well.
In northeast Oklahoma, it’s not to late to snag paddlefish heading up the Neosho River from Grand Lake. The big females, who are usually the last to go on their spawning runs, are now moving up the rivers and state wildlife officials expect it will be a busy weekend if anglers can get boats on the water.
There is still flooding in the Grand River watershed. Check lake levels and the latest conditions before making a drive up there.
State wildlife officials have set up their fish cleaning station for paddlefish at Twin Bridges State Park. Anglers can catch and release paddlefish all day, but once they keep one, they must stop fishing.
And game wardens could be watching. The state Wildlife Department sends extra game wardens to locations where the fishing or hunting pressure is expected to be heavy, such as the paddlefish runs in northeast Oklahoma or the opening day of dove season on Hackberry Flat.
Last year’s flooding is producing some fantastic striper fishing on the Red River. Predictably, the year after a flood produces some great fishing as stripers from Lake Texoma spill over into the Red River and take up residence.
Molly French of Edmond recently emailed me a photo of the first fish she ever caught: a 23-pound striper she reeled in on the Red River while fishing with guide Steve Barnes of Pottsboro, Texas, on Easter weekend.
That’s not the biggest striper caught this year on the Red River. A bank fisherman landed a 37-pounder, Barnes said.
I just received a letter today from Nellie Martin of Oklahoma City, who went on a striper fishing trip last week with Red River Striper Guide Norman O’Neal of Denison, Texas. She booked the trip as a birthday present for a her husband and wasn’t disappointed.
“We had a blast,” Martin wrote. “Norman took us out early and gave us a day of fishing we won’t forget for a long time.”
O’Neal said the stripers were biting like mad on another trip last weekend and e-mailed some photos as proof.
“They were slamming 6 to 10 inch shad,” O’Neal said. “We made seven drifts, and each time caught at least two fish over 12-pounds and up to 17-pounds.”
Hopefully, I can get to the Red River soon for some fishing and a striper fishing video for the Web site.
Looking for something to do this weekend. If you like the Old West, check out the “Land Run” at the Oklahoma City Gun Club near Arcadia, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday. This cowboy action shooting event is a hoot. Guys and gals dress up like real cowboys and cowgirls and shoot Old West guns for the timed-event competition. The gun club will look like an old Western movie set. It’s quite a sight to behold. Ear plugs and safety glasses are suggested.
I lobbied unsuccessfully for it as our state quarter, so now I am pitching it as the new mascot for Oklahoma City’s NBA team. The flathead catfish.
The Oklahoma City Flatheads has a cool ring to it, and who wouldn’t buy a jersey with big ole’ catfish grinning at you. (i.e. Carolina Mudcats baseball cap. I have one and wear it all the time).
There is nothing more Okie than noodling for flatheads. My second choice, Oklahoma City Noodlers.
People think Oklahomans are a bunch of rednecks anyway, so why not capitalize on it?
Ed Godfrey, Outdoors Editor.
State wildlife officials are worried how much damage might be done to the Evening Hole and Lost Creek project as a result of flooding on the Lower Mountain Fork River.
Broken Bow Lake has reached its highest level ever, more than 26 feet above normal, and the flood gates have been opened for only the third time in history.
The water releases are flooding the Lower Mountain Fork River and popular trout fishing areas such as Spillway Creek, Evening Hole and Lost Creek, a new trout stream built by the state Wildlife Department in late 2006.
Beavers Bend State Park has been closed and more rain is forecast for the area. Paul Balkenbush, southeast fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said some structural damage to Lost Creek has already occurred, and what might happen with more rain is unknown.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Balkenbush said. “If we get the rain that is projected, however, it could be a big deal.”
Several people have asked Balkenbush what will happen to the trout in the river because of the flooding.
“I think trout will find their way,” he said. “They will get dispersed around a little bit, but they will find places to hang out until it calms down.”
But the big concern is the new Evening Hole and Lost Creek project. Trout anglers are keeping their fingers crossed that all of the work by the state Wildlife Department to improve Evening Hole and build Lost Creek will not be washed away.