History tells us that Oklahoma anglers will be catching big bass in the near future.
The months of February and March have long been the best big bass time in the state.
Of the top 20 largemouth bass caught in this state, as recorded by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the top eight were all taken in February and March, specifically on or after Feb. 27.
Allen Gifford of Davis caught his 14 pound, 8 ounce lunker from Arbuckle Lake two years ago on Feb. 27.
Gifford’s fish is third on the list, just three ounces shy of William Cross’ state record 14-11 from Broken Bow Lake on March 14, 1999.
Oklahoma’s southern lakes typically turn on first, because they get warmer earlier then the rest of the state.
At this time of year, largemouth bass are coming out of winter and moving into the pre-spawn stage where they aggressively start feeding.
Largemouth bass typically spawn in Oklahoma in April. That means February and March are the months they are most active and heaviest because the females are fat with eggs.
Two things primarily spur their feeding frenzy: day length and water temperature.
As the water temperature rises in lakes, so does the metabolism of largemouth bass, said Gene Gilliland, fisheries biologist for the state Wildlife Department.
Basically, bass need more fuel to run their engines because they are burning through calories. The females also need more calories for egg production so they aggressively start feeding.
Fifteen of the state’s top 20 largemouth bass were caught in February and March. Twelve were in the month of March alone (five in the first half of the month and seven in the second half.)
If you throw April in the mix than February, March and April account for 17 fish on the state’s top 20 largemouth bass list.
Water temperatures are generally cooler than normal at this time of year so the big bites may come later this year.
But one’s thing for certain. The lunkers will be biting soon.