The hunting seasons are winding down and now is perfect time to plan a trout fishing trip.
In addition to Oklahoma’s two year-round trout fisheries on the Lower Illinois and Lower Mountain Fork Rivers, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks rainbow trout in the winter in six places: Blue River, Lake Pawhuska, Lake Watonga, Robbers Cave, Quartz Mountain and Lake Carl Etling.
The best of these winter trout areas, in my opinion, is Blue River. It’s a beautiful stream (above photo is fly fisherman Jamie Webster of Pauls Valley at the Blue River) near Tishomingo that is worth a day trip if you haven’t been there. Scotty’s One Stop shop near the Blue River entrance can supply you with trout fishing gear and info.
Lake Pawhuska and Lake Watonga are the next best of the state’s winter areas. Quartz Mountain and Robbers Cave are not worth the drive just for the trout fishing, but they are beautiful places and if you are going there anyway, pack a fishing rod.
The state stocks most of the winter areas every two weeks and you can see the schedule on www.wildlifedepartment.com.
In Oklahoma City, trout anglers will want to check out Dolese Pond near NW 50 and Meridian this weekend. The city stocked rainbows on Thursday and while stocking day is a popular day to go fishing, I’ve been told by seasoned trout anglers that it often takes these hatchery-raised trout a day or two to get acclimated to their new surroundings and figure out they’re hungry.
So this weekend should be prime for good trout fishing at Dolese. You need city licenses and permits in addition to a state fishing license and Legacy permit. A state trout license is not needed for Dolese. Other stocking dates this season at Dolese are Feb. 5 and 19.
Since hatchery-raised trout have been fed a diet of pellets high in fish oil, the dough baits like Berkley Power Bait are good choices for trout bait, and you can even rub some tuna fish oil or sardine oil on them to increase your chances of getting a bite.
For artificial baits, lures like Rooster Tails, Super Dupers, Panther Martins, Mepps spinners and tiny spoons are recommended.
Most of the state’s winter areas will be open for trout fishing through March. The trout fishing at Dolese ends Feb. 28.