It’s blasting and casting time in Oklahoma.
April is perhaps the best month of the year for outdoorsmen in Oklahoma. The crappie are spawning, the paddlefish are running and the turkeys are gobbling.
The youth turkey season opens Saturday, the regular spring turkey season opens April 6 and the fishing is heating up across the state with the warmer weather.
April is when the crappie spawn in Oklahoma and on Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma’s most popular crappie spot, the fish are already on the banks. That means it’s doodle-socking time.
Crappie move into shallow water to spawn. They gravitate towards gravel banks with downed logs, stumps and willow bushes.
When that happens, you don’t need a boat to catch a mess of crappie. The fishing on the banks will be fantastic.
Many crappie fishermen on Eufaula like to doodle-sock, wading the shoreline with a long pole and dabbing a jig around brush.
It is a popular method of catching crappie when they are spawning. The wade fishing is usually good for two or three weeks once it starts.
Crappie is Oklahoma’s most popular fish because they are arguably the best to eat.
For my money, there was no better meal growing up than fresh fried crappie, cornbread, fried potatoes and a purple onion from my daddy’s garden. And a gallon of sweet tea to wash it down.
Crappie lake records
The crappie fishing must be picking up because two lake records have been established this week.
On Tuesday, Shanon Pack of Hinton landed a 2.5-pound crappie that is the new lake record for Fort Cobb.
On Monday night, Cory Gray of Choctaw caught a whopper at Wes Watkins near the 74th Street Bridge. He also tells a whopping good fish story.
Gray said he decided at the last minute to take a dozen minnows and one pole rigged for crappie down to Wes Watkins to see if the crappie had come finally come in.
The moon was full but Gray fished for 45 minutes without a bite. He moved to his last spot and made a cast around structure when his lighted bobber disappeared in the moonlight.
“The fish fought hard, diving, pulling, and even taking out a little drag. I was convinced that I had either hooked a small largemouth or a sand bass,” he said. “I wrestled the fish onto the bank. Much to my surprise, gleaming in the moonlight was one of the largest crappie I have laid eyes on. I guess it just reaffirms that you can’t catch ‘em at home.”
The fish weighed 2.7 pounds and is the new crappie record for Wes Watkins Reservoir.
Big Hefner smallmouth
The walleye fishing also is picking up at both Canton and Hefner lakes.
Donnie Jinkens at Canton Lake said the walleye are on the rocks and the fishing has been super there lately, although most of the catches have been small.
On Hefner, an Oklahoma City angler caught a lake record while walleye fishing Monday night, but it wasn’t a walleye.
Brian Suchy of Oklahoma City was fishing a crankbait for walleye along the dam when he landed a 6.5-pound smallmouth bass.
Big McGee Creek bass
Largemouth bass fishing also is getting better. Chuck Justice, who guides on McGee Creek in southeast Oklahoma , reports two 11-pounders caught in recent weeks at McGee and on Saturday, a fisherman landed a 12-pound, 5-ounce largemouth bass. “The warm weather we have been having is starting to turn things around,” he said. “The big fish are really starting to move.”