The trout fishing continues to be good on the Lower Mountain Fork River, reports Stratford fly fisherman Donny Carter, who fishes there frequently.
His latest trip was Wednesday and reports another fantastic time.
“I mainly fished the Evening Hole and caught fish on dries, woolly buggers, and nymphs. The trout were very active. You could see trout rising even during the heat of the day.”
Carter said only a few other fishermen were on the river that day and the campground was nearly empty.
“The new area created by the wildlife department after the flood was really producing. Caught trout there on dries and wets.
“In the ‘Bluffs’ area, trout seemed to rise all day long. This area is just above the Evening Hole. Great water.
“The only area that seemed to be slow to me was Spillway. The highlight on that water was catching the browns.
“Caught them on dries. Late that evening, the Bluff area was on fire with rising trout. Unreal fishing. No, the trout were not large, but it was dryfly fishing at it’s finest. I fished there ’til it got dark. Couldn’t see the trout, but could easily hear their splashy rises.”
George Moore of Edmond passed along this photo of a big bull elk that he killed with a bow in New Mexico.
The elk, his largest, scored 444 6/8.
Reader Rick Birge chimed in on Sunday’s column about Oklahoma’s convoluted licensing system.
The state Wildlife Department sells at least 100 hunting and fishing licenses but is looking to reduce that number at the request of state lawmakers.
“Having lived in 6 states over my 35 year airline career, this state takes the title for most monkeyed up that exists,” Birge said in an e-mail.
“Commissioners should look at Arkansas and Missouri for best approach. (A) 1/8-cent general sales tax fixes all. Amazing how improved their states are with all respect to fish/wildlife services after taxes passed.
“Took (Former Gov. Mike) Huckabee in Arkansas a couple attempts but (he) was finally successful.”
Missouri is considered the gold standard when it comes to funding for fish, wildlife and state parks.
Unlike Oklahoma and the majority of states, Missouri has a portion of sales tax revenue dedicated to state parks and its Department of Conservation.
Because of the constant revenue stream, Missouri’s Department of Conservation and parks system are perhaps the best funded and most envied in the nation.
Arkansas also receives sales taxes earmarked for wildlife and Texas receives general appropiations.
But Oklahoma’s Department of Wildlife Conservation gets no state appropiations. Past bills have been introduced in the state Legislature to appropiate tax revenue for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation but it’s never had the political support.
As a result, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is funded almost entirely by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. That’s the primary reason there are so many licenses.
And in this economic climate, that is not going to change in the near future.
Here is this week’s fishing report provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Overholser: August 30. Elevation 2-3 ft. below normal, water clear. White bass being caught on jigs and spinnerbaits along windy shores. Channel catfish being caught on minnows and stinkbaits along the banks. Report submitted by Ron Comer, game warden stationed in Canadian County.
Wes Watkins: August 31. Elevation 1/2 ft. below normal, water 82 and clear to murky. Largemouth bass fair on buzzbaits. Channel catfish slow to fair on chicken liver. Crappie fair on minnows at 20 ft. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.
Bell Cow: August 30. Elevation normal, water clear. Crappie good on minnows and jigs. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.
Carl Blackwell: August 30. Elevation 1/2 ft. below normal, water 74. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs. Saugeye fair trolling with crankbaits. Report submitted by Jon Cunningham, game warden stationed in Payne County.
Chandler: August 30. Elevation normal, water clear. Bass fair on plastic baits. Channel catfish good on cut bait. Crappie good on minnows and jigs. Report submitted by Gary Emmons, game warden stationed in Lincoln County.
Copan: September 1. Elevation below normal, water stained. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 8-10 ft. near submerged structure. Catfish fair on worms and chicken livers below the dam. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.
Eucha: September 1. Elevation 1 1/2 ft. below normal, water 79 and murky. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 12-14 ft. around brush and structure. Largemouth bass fair on topwater lures early morning and late evening. Bluegill fair on crickets and worms around grass beds. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa Fisheries.
Grand: August 31. Elevation normal and dropping, water clear. Largemouth bass good on 10 inch worms and green and red crankbaits shallow and deep. Smallmouth bass fair on spinnerbaits in bright colors in the rivers. White bass good on slab spoons, rooster tails, H & H lures in silver, white and chartreuse and grubs at 8-12 ft. vertical jigging and trolling. Catfish good on juglines and limb lines with night crawlers, goldfish, Secret 7 dip bait and brooders at 20-30 ft. Crappie fair on minnows, Grandpa’s jigs and Bobby Garland baits at 8-12 ft. around docks and brush piles. Report submitted by Grand Lake Sport’s Center.
Greenleaf: September 1. Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on jigs, worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits around rocky points, brush structure and creek channels. Channel catfish good on cut bait on bottom around spillways and grass beds at night. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around fishing docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Hudson: August 31. Elevation normal. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Crappie good on minnows and jigs. Report submitted by Steve Loveland, game warden stationed in Rogers and Mayes counties.
Hulah: September 1. Elevation slightly below normal and murky. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 6-8 ft. near structure. Catfish fair on shad and worms. Report submitted by Joe Alexander, game warden stationed in Washington County.
Kaw: August 31. Blue catfish excellent on juglines and trotlines with fresh cut shad at 3-8 ft. in Coon Creek Flats. White bass good on chrome and black crankbaits trolling sandy points and humps in lower end of lake. Crappie fair on minnows at 10-20 ft. over brush piles in Washunga Bay area. Report submitted by Tracy Daniel, game warden stationed in Kay County.
Lower Illinois: August 31. Elevation normal, water 58 and clear. Largemouth bass good on topwater lures all along the river in weed beds and coves. Striped bass excellent on live shad at 1-2 ft. below Gore Landing. Channel catfish good on cut bait on bottom all along the river. Trout excellent on flies at the surface, rooster tails at 1-3 ft. and on power bait on bottom from the dam to Gore Landing. Report submitted by D. Tracy, Town of Gore.
Oologah: August 30. Elevation normal, water in the upper 70′s and murky. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 15 ft. around brush piles. White bass fair trolling shad colored crankbaits at 10 -15 ft. around main lake points. Blue and channel catfish fair on shad below the dam. Report submitted by Brek Henry, game warden stationed in Rogers County.
Skiatook: August 31. Elevation 1 ft. below normal, water 70s and clear. Largemouth bass fair on soft plastics at 10-15 ft. around brush piles. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair on live shad and drift fishing at 35 ft. and deeper. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 8-15 ft. around standing timber and along creek channels. Report submitted by Paul Welch, game warden stationed in Osage County.
Sooner: August 31. Striped bass hybrids good on live shad and slabs. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.
Spavinaw: September 1. Elevation slightly below normal, water 80 and murky. Crappie fair on jigs and minnows around the dam area. Largemouth bass air on spinnerbaits. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa Fisheries.
Tenkiller: August 30. Elevation 1 ft. below normal, water 82 and clear. Largemouth bass slow with some action on four-inch plastic worms on shaky head jigs. Sunfish good around docks on night crawlers. Catfish fair on cut baits with flip-flops at 24-30 ft. Report by Monte Brooks Cookson Village Resort.
Webbers Falls: September 1. Elevation normal, water murky. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits and crankbaits around brush structure, creek channels and riprap. Channel catfish good on fresh cut bait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around bridges and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Canton: August 30. Elevation 1 ft. below normal. White bass and striped bass good drifting shad, slabs and trolling crankbaits. Channel catfish good on shad and grasshoppers in upper end of lake. Walleye fair drifting night crawlers and shad. Report submitted by Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.
Ft. Supply: August 31. Elevation 1 ft. below normal, water clear. Channel catfish fair on stinkbait and cut bait along the dam. Report submitted by Mark Reichenberger, game warden stationed in Woodward County.
Arbuckle: August 30. Elevation normal, water 82 and stained. Crappie on brush piles at 17-20 ft. using marabou jigs. White bass being caught on rattletraps and curly tails grubs in mid-lake chasing shad during afternoon. Bass being caught on drop-shot, Carolina-rigs and crankbaits off points with some action topwater early morning. Channel catfish being caught on baited holes. Report submitted by Jack Melton.
Blue River: August 25. Elevation normal, water 77 and clear. Bass fair on minnows and flies. Channel, blue and flathead catfish fair to good on liver and worms. Report submitted by Charles Baker, technician at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.
Broken Bow: August 30. Water clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass good on 10 inch worms Texas or Carolina-rigged in motor oil color around structure after dark. Spotted bass schooling topwater early and late. Crappie good on minnows and jigs around structure in the upper end. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Eufaula: August 30. Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits around deep points. White bass good on topwater lures on the flats early and late and trolling crankbaits at mid day. Blue catfish fair on shad along deep flats. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs under bridges and around standing timber. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.
Hugo: August 30. Elevation 1/2 ft. below normal. Bass and crappie fair to good along the river channel on minnows and jigs. Catfish fair on cut bait and sunfish. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Choctaw and Bryan counties.
Konawa: September 1. Elevation normal, water 85 and clear. Largemouth bass good on topwater lures at 5-10 ft. around weed beds and points early and late and on plastic worms around weed beds. Channel catfish good on chicken liver and stinkbaits at 10-15 ft. around points. Report submitted by Daryl Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
McGee Creek: August 30. Elevation normal, water 83 and clear. Largemouth bass good on soft plastic jerk baits at 3-10 ft. and on topwater lures early and late for schooling fish. Crappie good around cedar brush on minnows and jigs. Channel catfish fair on juglines with live bait. Report submitted by Larry Luman, game warden stationed in Atoka County
Murray: September 1. Largemouth and smallmouth bass being caught on various baits early and late. White bass being caught on minnows and jigs. Channel catfish being caught on stinkbaits, worms, shrimp and chicken liver. Report submitted by Jeremy Brothers, game warden stationed in Carter County.
Pine Creek: August 30. Elevation normal and clear. Bass good on spinnerbaits and soft plastic baits around points in depths at 8-10 ft. Crappie excellent on minnows at 8-12 ft. around tops. Catfish fair on chicken liver in various parts of the lake. White bass and largemouth bass being caught below the spillway on rattle traps. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Robert S. Kerr: August 30. Elevation normal, water 81 and murky. Crappie good with the crappie biting on minnows and dark colored jigs while fishing submerged brush piles at 6-12 ft. White bass biting on deep diving crankbaits while trolling the mouth of Big San Bois Creek and the Arkansas River. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 2-5 ft. around grass beds. Catfish good fresh shad and cut bait while slow drift fishing and jug fishing the mud flats and the creek channels of the San Bois and the Arkansas River. Report submitted by Leland Sockey, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
Sardis Lake: August 30.Bass good on spinnerbaits and plugs off of points and around creek channels and on watermelon lizards in grass early mornings best at night. Crappie excellent on pink grubs or green and black around cover and on live minnows off of Jack Fork Bridge, half bridge and tower and in timber on east side of Bohanan Ridge especially at night. Flathead catfish fair on juglines or trotlines with shad, sunfish or goldfish off points close to channels. Blue and channel catfish excellent on juglines and trotlines on cut bait or shrimp or shad off points and close to channels. White bass excellent trolling around islands and east side lake by tower and excellent when found surfacing on lake. Walleye fair trolling around islands on rattletraps. Report submitted by Allen Couch, game warden stationed in Pushmataha County.
Texoma: August 30. Elevation 1 ft. below normal, water 83 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair to good around the riprap. Striped and white bass fair to good on topwater baits from Catfish bay south and west. Channel and blue catfish fair to good on cut bait and worms from Platter Flats south and west and north of the Highway 70 Bridge. Crappie fair on minnows in the Little Glasses creek area. Sunfish good on worms around the fish attractors. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
Wister: August 30. Elevation normal and murky. Largemouth bass good on soft plastic worms, topwater early and late. Crappie fair on small spinnerbaits, pink jigs and minnows. Channel and blue catfish fair on juglines with cut shad and liver. Flathead catfish fair on live sunfish and night crawlers. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in LeFlore County.
Altus-Lugert: August 30. Elevation 23 ft. below normal. Catfish good. Striped bass hybrids fair on minnows. Crappie and walleye are improving to good. Report submitted by Sue Hokanson, Quartz Mountain State Park.
Foss: September 1. Elevation 1/2 ft. below normal, water 78 and clear. Gates closed. Striped bass hybrid fair in deep water with slabs and live bait. Walleye fair along dam while trolling with lures and a small jig. White bass surfacing some in late evenings along dam. Smallmouth bass slow. Report submitted by Eric Puyear, B & K Bait House.
Ft. Cobb: August 30. Elevation 1/3 ft. above normal. Catfish slow to fair on cut baits. Report submitted by James L. Edwards Jr., game warden stationed in Caddo County.
Lawtonka: August 30. Catfish and white bass fair at the pipeline on cut shad and spinnerbaits. Report submitted by Mike Carroll, game warden stationed in Comanche County.
Waurika: August 31. Elevation normal, water murky. Blue catfish slow on cut shad and whole shad. Report submitted by Phillip Cottrill, game warden stationed in Cotton County.
Texans like Oklahoma trout
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is proposing to eliminate the state’s trout license and increasing the price of non-resident fishing licenses to offset the revenue loss.
Forty-two percent of the trout licenses sold in Oklahoma are bought by out of state residents, most of them Texans who frequent the Lower Mountain Fork River.
Trout meeting in OKC
Speaking of trout, the 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Prairie Fly Fishers Club are holding a special joint meeting Tuesday night at Backwoods, 122nd and N. May in Oklahoma City.
State wildlife officials will be discussing the recent flooding and progress of repairs on the Lower Mountain Fork River and the status of the Watts property project on the Lower Illinois River.
The Lower Illinois Public Fishing and Hunting Area – Simp and Helen Watts Management Unit – offers public fishing access for almost a mile of the river.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Free hunting days
Remember, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 5 and 6) are free hunting days in the state.
So if you didn’t make it out for an opening day dove shoot Tuesday, you can do so this weekend without having to buy a state hunting license or HIP permit.
The free hunting, though, is only for Oklahoma residents.
What do Oklahomans hunt the most?
Some statistical information I learned while researching a column on hunting and fishing license sales in Oklahoma.
Among owners of Oklahoma annual hunting licenses, 63 percent are deer hunters.
Next in line are dove (23 percent), turkey (19 percent), waterfowl (16 percent), quail (12 percent) and pheasant (9 percent).
Hogs are not listed because feral hogs are not a game animal and therefore not managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
My guess is there are more hog hunters in Oklahoma than quail hunters these days. Hog hunting may even be more popular than duck hunting in Oklahoma.
Interested in Broken Bow Lake?
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has scheduled a meeting Sept. 14 about its management plan for fishing on Broken Bow Lake.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Lakeview Lodge in Beaver’s Bend State Park.
Drawings for duck blinds on Lake Overholser and Lake Draper will take place next week. The drawing for spots at Overholser begins at 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the Lake Overholser pavilion, 1200 E. Overholser Drive.
The Lake Draper drawing will be at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 at the lake marina, located east of SE 104 and W. Draper Drive. Participants must be at least 18 and hold a current Oklahoma City hunting permit and state hunting license. Permits may be bought prior to the drawings. City permits are $3 per day or $12.50 for the year.
A copy of blind site locations and hunting regulations will be posted at the drawings. All hunting must be from designated blinds. For more information, call the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Lake Overholser patrol station at 789-3746 or the Lake Draper patrol station at 794-5010.
Around the state, registration and drawings for duck blinds at Fort Gibson, Eufaula and Webbers Falls will take place Sept. 19 at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s field office in Porter, located between Wagoner and Muskogee on SH 69.
Registration for Fort Gibson will take place at 7 a.m., with drawings to follow at 8 a.m.
For blinds at Lake Eufaula, registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with drawings at 10:30 a.m.
Registration will begin at noon for Webbers Falls, with drawings at 1 p.m.
Sept. 19 also is the date when duck blind drawings will be held for Waurika and W.D. Mayo lakes, and permits will be issued for Canton Lake on a first-come, first-served basis. For Waurika, drawings will be held at 9 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers office, located at the Waurika Lake dam. Drawings for W.D. Mayo will be held at 10 a.m. at the Spiro City Council chambers in Spiro.
Duck blind permits for Canton Lake will be issued from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Overlook Café on the south end of Canton Lake dam.
Hunters also may be drawn for duck blinds at Ft. Supply. Drawings will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Wildlife Department’s northwest region field office in Woodward.
Applicants must be 16 years of age and must have a current Oklahoma hunting or combination license, a valid state waterfowl license and a federal duck stamp, unless they are exempt.
Additionally, they need a valid Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit. Applicants must be present at the drawings to be eligible.
Oklahoma waterfowlers will be able to hunt pintails and canvasbacks throughout the entire waterfowl season this year as well as take an additional wood duck as part of their daily limit of six ducks.
Reservoirs allowing temporary blinds only (constructed for only one hunt and must be removed at the end of the hunt) include Altus-Lugert, Arbuckle, Birch, Broken Bow, Chouteau (L&D 17), Copan, Fort Cobb, Heyburn, Hugo, Hulah, Kaw, Keystone, Mountain Park, Newt Graham (L&D 18), Oologah, Optima, Pine Creek, Robert S. Kerr (L&D 15), Skiatook, Tenkiller, Texoma and Wister.
No permit is required for temporary blinds.