Here is the weekly fishing report compiled by the Oklahoma Department of Wildife Conservation.
Hefner: February 27. Elevation below normal and rising, water 44-47 and murky. Largemouth bass fair on jerk baits at 6-20 ft. along rocky bank. Smallmouth bass fair on jerk baits and crankbaits at 6-20 ft. along rocky banks. White bass fair on jigs at 12-20 ft. around the dam. Channel catfish slow on cut bait at 30 ft. around the dam. Blue catfish fair on cut bait at 30 ft. around the dam. Crappie fair on jigs at 20-30 ft. around the dam. Walleye slow on crankbaits and grubs at 10-15 ft. around the dam. Report submitted by Lucky Lure Tackle.
Thunderbird: February 26. Elevation 5 ft. below normal, water clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 10 -12 ft. off dam and Willow Creek. Report submitted by Tony Woodruff, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.
Wes Watkins: February 27. Elevation 6 ft. below normal, water clear. Northwest boat ramp is closed due to low water. Largemouth bass fair on shad and worms around windy points. Crappie fair on minnows around deep structure. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.
Birch: February 27. Elevation 8 ft. below normal, water upper 40s and clear. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Crappie good on minnows and jigs over brush piles. Report submitted by David Clay, game warden stationed in Osage County.
Carl Blackwell: February 29. Elevation 6 ft. below normal, water 46 and murky. Crappie fair on jigs. Report submitted by Jon Cunningham, game warden stationed in Payne County.
Eucha: February 28. Elevation slightly above normal, water 49 and clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 14-16 ft. around brush and structure. Largemouth bass fair on plastic baits. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa.
Ft. Gibson: February 24. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 48 and clear. White bass being caught on slabs and spoons 1 ft. off the bottom and are starting to move up the river preparing for the spawn. Largemouth bass fair on crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 5-15 ft. Catfish good on shad and cut bait drifting the main channel. Report submitted by Rick Stafford in Wagoner.
Grand: February 27. Elevation normal, water 50. Largemouth bass good at 10-15 ft. around points. White bass fair up creeks. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 10-15 ft. Report submitted by Kody Moore, game warden stationed in Delaware County.
Greenleaf: February 27. Elevation normal, water 54. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jig-and-worm along shorelines, brush structure and creek channels. Catfish good on fresh cut bait and stinkbait on bottom. Crappie fair on minnow and jigs at 13 ft. around fishing docks and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Hudson: February 26. Elevation normal. Largemouth bass good on plastic baits and crankbaits. Crappie good on small jigs in green and red at 8-10 ft. around brush piles in coves. Report submitted by Steve Loveland, game warden stationed in Rogers and Mayes counties.
Kaw: February 27. Elevation near normal, water 47 and murky. Blue catfish very good on juglines baited with fresh or frozen cut shad at 10 ft. in or near the Arkansas River channel from the Sarge Creek Bridge up stream with the best area being around Coon Creek, and upstream from the Washunga Bay Bridge. White bass being caught on small white curly tail jigs. Crappie fair at 15 ft. around boat slips at both marinas, and on the riprap at Sarge Creek and Washunga bay. Walleye and white bass being caught on small jigs below Kaw dam in the discharge area. The paddlefish that spawn below Kaw Dam spend most of the year, winter; summer and fall in Keystone Lake, in the spring they make a spawning run into the rivers that form the lake. The Arkansas, Cimarron and the Salt fork of the Arkansas Rivers, Depending on preferred water conditions by the paddlefish they choose one of these three rivers to run up and spawn. (The Salt Fork confluences with the Arkansas River 90 miles upstream from Keystone Lake and 8 miles south of Ponca City)The Paddlefish are going to choose the river that has the biggest flow of water with the warmest temperature; Paddlefish spawn between 53 and 60 degrees. A tip that will help knowing approximate surface water temps is the water temperature will be close to overnight low air temps. Report submitted by Larry Green, game warden stationed in Osage County; for more information call 580-761-4097.
Lower Illinois: February 27. Elevation below normal, water 41 and clear. White bass fair on jigs at 1-3 ft. all along the river. Striped bass fair on jigs at 1-4 ft. at the mouth of the river. Channel catfish good on cut bait on bottom all along the river. Crappie fair on jigs at 1-3 ft. all along the river. Trout excellent fly-fishing the surface, on rooster tails at 1-3 ft. and on Power Bait on bottom at the dam, Watts and Gore Landing. Report submitted by D. Tracy, Town of Gore.
Oologah: February 26. Elevation near normal, water 50 and clear. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around brush piles at 12-18 ft. Blue catfish fair on juglines baited with shad at 20-25 ft. near the river channel. Report submitted by Brek Henry, game warden stationed in Rogers County.
Pawhuska: February 28. Trout good on Power Bait and small spinnerbaits. Report submitted by David Clay, game warden stationed in Osage County.
Skiatook: February 27. Elevation 13 ft. below normal, water mid 40s and clear. Largemouth bass fair on soft plastic baits in the back of creeks. White bass and striped bass hybrids fair drifting live shad at 30-40 ft. Report submitted by Paul Welch, game warden stationed in Osage County.
Sooner: February 27. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on slabs and live shad. Catfish fair on cut bait and live bait. Report submitted by Doug Gottschalk, game warden stationed in Noble County.
Spavinaw: February 28. Elevation slightly above normal, water 50 and dingy. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around the dam area. Largemouth bass fair on spinnerbaits. Report submitted by Dwight Moore, City of Tulsa.
Tenkiller: February 28. Elevation normal, water 46 and clear. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fair on crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 10-12 ft. along riprap and creek channels. White bass fair on crankbaits and jigs at 6-8 ft. in creek channels. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 15-20 ft. along riprap and brush piles. Report submitted by Joe Adair, game warden stationed in Cherokee County.
Webbers Falls: February 27. Elevation normal, water murky. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits along creek channels, riprap and brush structure. Catfish good on fresh cut bait and stinkbait drifting mudflats. Crappie good on minnows and jigs in black and purple around bridges and brush structure. Report submitted by Lark Wilson, game warden stationed in Muskogee County.
Canton: February 28. Elevation 10 ft. below normal, water clear. Channel catfish good on shad on lake side of spillway early and late. Report submitted Mark Walker, game warden stationed in Blaine County.
Ft. Supply: February 26. White bass good on jigs and Castmaster lures along the dam. Report submitted by Mark Reichenberger, game warden stationed in Woodward County.
Arbuckle: February 26th, Elevation 3 1/3 ft. below normal, water 50 and stained up creeks to clear on main body. Bass being caught on Alabama-rigs, crankbaits and lizards. Crappie starting to hit around docks and around deeper brush piles in the main lake. White bass good on curly tailed grubs and spoons when chasing shad on warmer afternoons up Buckhorn Creek. Report submitted by Jack Melton.
Blue River: February 28. Elevation normal, water 57 and clear. Trout good on Power Bait, silver spinnerbaits and salmon eggs. Fly-fishing good on brown woolly buggers, zebra midges and elk hair caddis flies. Smallmouth and spotted bass fair on soft plastic lures. Report submitted by Matt Gamble, biologist at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.
Broken Bow: February 26. Elevation normal. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass good on jig-and-pig black #11 around structure. Walleye being caught on rogues and grubs in the upper end of the lake; they are starting to run up river. Report submitted by Dru Polk, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Eufaula: February 26. Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass fair on jerk baits and crankbaits along rocky areas. Blue catfish fair on fresh shad along the flats. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 6-20 ft. along riprap, standing timber and docks with brush. Report submitted by Ed Rodebush, game warden stationed in McIntosh County.
Hugo: February 26. Elevation 1 1/2 ft. above normal, water 53. Crappie fair on minnows along the main river channel. Crappie good on jigs at 9-13 ft. below the dam. Blue catfish good on cut shad below the dam. Report submitted by Jay Harvey, game warden stationed in Choctaw and Bryan counties.
Konawa: February 26. Elevation normal, water 46 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on plastic worms at 4-6 ft. along weed beds. White bass and striped bass hybrids good on minnows and shad at 15 ft. in the discharge canal. Report submitted by Daryl Howser, game warden stationed in Seminole County.
Lower Mt. Fork: February 26. Water 53 and clear. Big rainbows and browns have been caught this week on March Brown Dry flies on smooth water and high stick presentation with nymphs in fast water. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
McGee Creek: February 26. Elevation 1/4 ft. above normal, water 49 and clear. Largemouth bass fair on soft plastic lures and jig-and-pigs at 6-20 ft. Crappie fair at 10-20 ft. around cedar brush just off of main creek channels. Report submitted by Larry Luman, game warden stationed in Atoka County.
Murray: February 28. Water 51 and clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair on soft plastic lures and various other baits. Report submitted by Jeremy Brothers, game warden stationed in Carter County.
Pine Creek: February 26. Elevation normal and dropping, water clear. Bass excellent on spinnerbaits and crankbaits at 15 ft. Crappie good on minnows. Catfish fair to good on liver. Report submitted by Mark Hannah, game warden stationed in McCurtain County.
Robert S. Kerr: February 28. Elevation normal, water murky. Crappie good on minnows and jigs in the Big San Bois arm. Report submitted by Leland Sockey, game warden stationed in Haskell County.
Robert S. Kerr: February 28. Elevation normal, water 48 and murky. White bass fair on jigs and crankbaits at 6-8 ft. in riprap and creek channels. Channel catfish fair on cut bait at 10 ft. on mudflats and creek channels. Blue catfish good on cut bait at 10 ft. on mudflats and creek channels. Flathead catfish fair on cut bait at 10-12 ft. along creek channels. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs at 12-15 ft. along riprap and brush piles. Report submitted by Joe Adair, game warden stationed in Cherokee County.
Sardis: February 25. Elevation slightly below normal. Largemouth bass good on spinnerbaits, swim baits and crankbaits at 6-14 ft. Channel and blue catfish good on cut bait. Crappie good on minnows and jigs at 12-30 ft. Walleye good on trolling at 12-14 ft. Report submitted by Dane Polk, game warden stationed at Pushmataha County.
Texoma: February 26. Elevation 1 ft. above normal, water 48 and mostly clear. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fair to good on plastic combination baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits at 10-15 ft. around the drop-offs and creek channels. Striped and white bass fair to good on live bait, sassy shad and slabs at 15-25 ft. from Alberta Creek to Caney Creek. Channel and blue catfish fair to good on live bait, cut shad and stinkbait at 10-20 ft. from Johnson Creek to Platter Flats. Crappie fair to good on minnows and jigs at 5-15 ft. around the fishing docks with brush and in Glasses, Kansas, and Widow Moore creeks. Paddlefish fair below the dam while generating. Report submitted by Danny Clubb, game warden stationed in Bryan County.
Wister: February 26. Elevation 2 1/2 ft. above normal, water murky. Crappie fair to good on minnows and jigs below the dam. Largemouth bass slow to fair on black 6-inch plastic worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfish fair to good on juglines baited with cut shad and liver. Report submitted by Randy Fennell, game warden stationed in LeFlore County.
Altus-Lugert: February 27. Elevation 26 2/3 ft. below normal and slowly rising. There was a Golden Algae bloom and resultant fish kill below the dam in the North Fork of the Red River where trout are stocked. Crappie, striped bass hybrids and walleye being caught off Hicks Mtn. Report submitted by Sue Hokanson.
Ft. Cobb: February 29. Elevation 3 ft. below normal, water 54 and clear. Crappie slow on minnows around Marina and boat slips late evening and early mornings. Report submitted by Kevin Bean, park ranger at Ft. Cobb State Park.
Tom Steed: February 27. Elevation 6 ft. below normal, water murky. Crappie slow at 20 ft. near the dam. Report submitted by David Smith, game warden stationed in Kiowa County.
Waurika: February 28. Elevation 6 ft. below normal, water murky to muddy. Blue catfish slow to fair on cut shad in the channels. Report submitted by Vince Mesis, game warden stationed in Cotton County.
Bass Pro Shops in Bricktown is holding several fishing seminars this weekend that will be taught by pro bass anglers, including two who finished in the top 10 at last weekend’s Bassmaster Classic.
On Friday at 8 p.m., Edwin Evers of Talala will be talking about how to power fish with finesse baits.
Evers just finished eighth in last weekend’s Bassmaster Classic on the Red River.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., will talk about power fishing in shallow water. Defoe finished fifth in last weekend’s Classic and is the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year.
At 6 p.m. Friday, Bass Pro Shop pro staff member John Maniaci will discuss bass fishing trends.
On Saturday at 2 p.m., former Bassmaster Classic champion Ken Cook will be conducting a seminar on fishing with spinnerbaits.
Also on Saturday, kids will be able to fish for trout at the Bass Pro Shops pond from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Ages 15 and younger can fish. It’s all free and fishing poles and bait are provided.
Volunteers from the Wildlife Department’s aquatic education program will be at the pond all day to assist kids.
Online outdoors chat Friday
Nels Rodefeld of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be joining me for my live online chat Friday from the H&H Shooting Sports Complex. Among the topics of discussion will be pending wildlife-related legislation, prairie chickens and spring fishing. Visit NewsOk.com Friday at 11:30 a.m. to ask questions. The chat will be from 11:30 a.m. until noon.
The 25th annual Backwoods Hunting and Fishing Expo opens Friday at State Fair Park.
The expo runs through Sunday. Tickets are $8 for adults. Ages 10 and younger receive free admission.
Expo hours are noon to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The expo features the Oklahoma Whitetail Wall of Fame and the annual Oklahoma State Turkey Calling Championship, which will be Saturday at noon.
New exhibits this year include The Muzzy 200 Club, a traveling exhibit of some of the most impressive bucks in the world, and Jim Reimer’s World of Outstanding Whitetails.
On Saturday and Sunday, former University of Oklahoma football players Marcus Dupree and Dan Cody will be available to sign autographs and discuss hunting.
Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives this week would deter poaching by increasing the fine and mandating that repeat poachers lose their hunting and fishing licenses.
House Bill 2573 by state Rep. Pat Ownbey would make the penalty for a first offense a fine of $500 to $1,500.
The legislation makes the penalty for a second offense a fine of $1,500 to 2,500, six months in county jail or both and mandates the loss of the poacher’s hunting and fishing licenses for 1 to 10 years.
“Several of my constituents had problems with a repeat poachers on their land, partly because of how weak the current minimum fine is,” said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “One constituent had a horse shot. This is a huge problem and we need a penalty that matches the crime. We’ve got to do a better job of deterring poachers.”
HB 2573 was approved by a vote of 61-33 and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
The following news release came from the Rolling Plains Quail Resarch Ranch in Texas, which is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to study the demise of bobwhite quail populations in Texas and Oklahoma.
ROBY, Texas – Parasitic worms in the eyes and intestines of bobwhite quail have been found at record high levels in Texas bobwhites, according to an ongoing research
And, while researchers caution that their results are preliminary, early findings suggest
the worms could be impairing the quail’s ability to thrive as it historically has across west Texas.
“The quail we’ve analyzed thus far suggest record-high levels of parasitism by eyeworms and
cecal worms” said Dr. Dale Rollins, director for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch (RPQRR).
The Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation recently funded a $2 million study to
evaluate the impacts of diseases and parasites on this area’s struggling quail population.
Research scientists from Texas Tech’s Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas
A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute were
recruited to tackle specific research topics ranging from viruses to parasites.
Eight different research projects are being conducted as part of the research effort, dubbed
“Operation Idiopathic Decline.”
Last summer quail were collected from a total of 21 ranches across west Texas and 10 wildlife management areas in western Oklahoma in conjunction
with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
“Our initial research started in 2009 and we noted high infection rates of eyeworms and cecal
worms here on the RPQRR, a 4,700-acre site just west of Roby, but we didn’t know at the time
how extensive the problem was. Now it appears that the problem extends across the Rolling
Plains, at least,” Rollins said.
“We took blood and tissue samples from nearly 600 quail in 2011 and then sacrificed a smaller
number for complete necropsies. This is the first comprehensive look at disease in quail since
the 1920s” Rollins said.
“About half of the quail we’ve examined thus far had eyeworms, and the average is five worms
per bird. The most we’ve found in one bird’s eyes was 53 worms.
Basically all of the birds have
the cecal worms, with some birds harboring more than 400 such worms” Rollins noted.
Rollins credits Dr. Alan Fedynich, a parasitologist with the Ceasar Kleberg Wildlife Research
Institute at Kingsville and graduate students Stacie Villarreal and Andrea Bruno for their efforts
in the discovery.
Rollins said the eyeworms are about half the diameter of a pencil lead and about a half-inch in
length. The cecal worms are about an inch in length and reside in the gut of the quail.
According to Rollins eyeworms have been reported for bobwhites, but not in such high
“A. S. Jackson, a quail biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, found eyeworms in
bobwhites back in the early 1960s, but our data over the past three years suggest the infections
have become more severe.
He noted that some of the birds he examined did exhibit bleeding around the eyes when worm numbers approached fifteen worms per bird. He also expressed
concern that the birds’ vision may have been impaired” Rollins said.
“When you’ve got as many potential enemies as a quail has, any impairment of your vision is a
handicap” Rollins added.
Rick Snipes of Aspermont serves as the President of the board of directors for the Rolling Plains
Quail Research Foundation. His ranch has received many awards for its excellent quail habitat,
and, as recently as 2008, routinely produced 30 coveys per day. And yet, good habitat has not
spared his property from the decline.
“These findings are highly disturbing to me and will be to any quail hunter. Our ranch is
managed solely for the benefit of bobwhites, yet we have not shot a bird in two years, except
for research,.” he said.
As a seasoned quail hunter, Snipes has seen the ups and downs that are inherent in Texas quail
populations, and appreciates the ever-important weather conditions that drive quail
abundance. Like any quail hunter, he has become a keen weather watcher.
”But 2010 puzzles me, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We had perfect weather
and birds were everywhere in July, yet come September they were gone. A mystery? You bet,
and one the long term nature of our research is aimed squarely at solving,” he remarked.
Snipes referenced a precedent observed in red grouse in Scotland, in this case with cecal
“Red grouse that harbored high numbers of cecal worms were more likely to be killed by
predators” he noted. “The number of cecal worms we’re observing in our bobwhites may be
having a similar effect. And that’s on top of the eyeworm situation!”
Rollins said the research team is already making plans for “Phase 2” which will test various
alternatives to reduce parasite numbers. Future studies will also focus on the ecology of the
“The eyeworms infect quail via an ‘intermediate host’ which we suspect is either grasshoppers
or cockroaches. When a quail eats an infected grasshopper the larval worms move quickly into
the quail’s eyes, taking up residence around the eye itself.”
Rollins stresses that the parasites may not be the proverbial smoking gun, but they are a
suspect worthy of greater scrutiny.
“The value of longer-term research efforts like this one is that we can see how worm numbers
change over successive years as a result of changing weather. Who knows, maybe last
summer’s hot, dry weather reduced the parasite’s abundance” he offer ed. “Only time, and
additional research, will tell” Rollins said.
Snipes said the funding for the studies came strictly from private donations from concerned
“West Texas is the ‘Alamo’ of bobwhite conservation, and quail hunters are committed to
seeking a solution to quail decline” said Snipes. “But we’re going to need more help as we
West Texas is historically renowned as some of the best quail hunting anywhere, but
populations of the iconic game bird have fallen to record low levels since 2008. According to
Rollins, no one knows exactly why populations of the once abundant game bird have dropped
in recent years.
“Everyone has their favorite theory about what’s causing quail populations to decline,
everything from varmints to fire ants, but none of them account for declines across the board.
In most areas you can explain the decline by citing habitat loss, but that doesn’t hold water
across large areas of west Texas and western Oklahoma—the scenery out here just hasn’t
changed that much. And certainly not that drastically in the past five years” he added. “We
realize that the record drought and heat in 2011 created a quail’s nightmare last summer, but
we’re more concerned about why we had a bust in 2010 which was an ideal summer for quail
Rollins says it’s not only quail hunters who should be concerned.
“The income generated by quail hunting is substantial, and especially important to struggling
rural communities which capitalize on an influx of orange-clad quail hunters and their pointing
dogs, and the dollars they bring. Quail hunters in Texas spent an average of $8,600 dollars in
pursuit of quail in 2010, and half of that was spent in the destination county” Rollins said, citing figures from a recent survey.
Join Bob Wiebelt, president of the Bow Hunting Council of Oklahoma, and myself Friday for a live chat on NewsOk.com about the outdoors and bow hunting in Oklahoma.
The chat begins at 11:30 a.m. and goes until noon at the H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City. Of if you prefer, drop by and see us at the store. We can talk about anything outdoors but will be discussing bow hunting in Oklahoma, and crossbow issue and the activities and role of the Bow Hunting Council, which is the voice for many bow hunters in the state.
Musician Kevin Fowler, most known for the song “Beer, Bait and Ammo”, will be performing Saturday night at the Wormy Dog Saloon in Bricktown.
All proceeds from Fowler’s performance is going to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Tickets are $20 and can be bought at the door. Fowler is expected to take the stage at 9 p.m.
Fly fishing school
Anglers interested in learning how to fly fish can enroll in the Illinois River Fly Fishing School on Feb. 24 and 25.
The clinic will be based out of Tenkiller State Park and will include hands-on practice on the banks of the Illinois River.
The clinic costs $150. For more information, call Mark Patton at 340-1992.
Bass fishing school
Rose State College’s “Bass Fishing Techniques” adult education classes begin Feb. 7. The first class in the four week course will be taught by former Bassmaster Classic champion Ken Cook.
Rose State prefers participants pre-enroll for the classes by calling 733-7392 but people can pay at the door. Cost is $89 for the four sessions. Classes the following weeks (Feb. 13, 21 and 28) will be taught by Tommy Biffle, Don Iovino and Jeff Kriet.
The classes begin at 7 each night at the Tom Steed Center on the Rose State campus.