Norman Jarrett of Perry, a striper guide on the Lower Illinois River, passed along a photo of this 30-pound striper that he caught recently on Deep Branch Creek.
The big striper was caught on a 6-inch shad. Jarrett said the fish tapped the line a few times and then the line went slack. Thinking he must have a fish on with the striper swimming toward, he reeled up the line fast and hooked the fish.
The big striper came under the boat and Jarrett said his rod was completely bent over in the water.
“I had a terrible time,” he said.
But he still managed to land the fish. As fishing slows elsewhere in the summer heat, the action can heat up on the Lower Illinois River as the cool water of the Lower Illinois trout stream attract stripers from the Arkansas River.
To reach Jarrett, call (580) 336-7140 for information on trips or check out his Web site at www.striperpatrol.com.
I wouldn’t be planning a trip to Lake Fork if I knew where this farm pond was located.
Richard Minyard, secretary of the North OKC Bassmasters club, sent along this photo of the 12 pound, 15-ounce largemouth bass that he caught out of a Shawnee area farm pond on July 4.
I know better than to ask where.
I covered the county and federal courthouses for more than 10 years, writing about dozens of murder trials and other grisly crimes. The only time anyone ever threatened to whip my butt was when I took over the outdoors beat and was doing a story about fishing below the Lake Eufaula dam.
One of the locals didn’t like the fact that I was sharing information about his favorite fishing hole. Never knew that being an outdoor writer could be such a dangerous job?
An additional 3,270 acres in the Ouachita Mountains in LeFlore County near the Arkansas border will be open for public hunting and fishing in the near future.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved an agreement with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service which will allow public hunting and fishing on the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve.
The area will be walk-in only but open in all statewide hunting seasons. The date the new area officially will open for fishing and hunting has not been set.
According to the Nature Conservancy’s Web site, the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve was created in 1989 to benefit neotropical migrant birds.
The birds nest in the summer in large blocks of continuous forest in North America and migrate long distances to Central and South America to spend the winter. Thirty-three species of birds, more than half of them neotropical migrants, nest on the preserve.
Though birds are the focus of the preserve, other animal species found there include black bears, zebra swallowtails, white-tailed deer, timber rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths.
Cucumber Creek is a clear, high-gradient stream flanked to the north by Kiamichi Mountain and to the south by Blue Bouncer Mountain. Lynn Mountain divides Cucumber Creek from the Beech Creek National Scenic Recreation Area, part of the Ouachita National Forest.
The creek is named for the Cucumber magnolia, a small tree native to Eastern forests whose range barely extends into Oklahoma in the Ouachitas.
State wildlife officials want to know if you are catching fish around the fish attractors they put in lakes.
The state Wildlife Department is asking anglers to participate in an online survey on its Web site, www.wildlifedepartment.com.
State wildlife officials want to know if the man-made structures they have put in most Oklahoma lakes – brush piles, spider blocks, tire reefs, etc. – are working.
“We want to get information on who uses them, how often they are used, do they work or do anglers even know they are there,” said Gene Gilliland, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We want to see if we are doing what we need to be doing.”
Want to catch a bass worth $100,000?
The largest amateur bass tournament in the country is less three weeks away and somebody is going to walk away from it with $100,000.
The tournament is close to home. The Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza, held on the Arkansas River in the state of Arkansas from Fort Smith to Dumas, is June 27-29.
The angler catching the biggest bass in the tourney will win $100,000.
The tournament attracts several Oklahoma fisherman each year among a field of around 3,000 anglers. Entry fee is $80 per day to fish in the tournament but that goes up to $90 per day after Thursday.
Anglers can choose to fish one, two or all three days of the tournament. The river is divided into five fishing pools with each pool having an official weigh-in site. Cash prizes are awarded each hour for the biggest fish from each pool.
To learn more or enter the tournament, go to www.arkansasbigbassbonanza.com.
Chuck Justice, who guides on McGee Creek and has caught more double-digit bass than anyone I know, called me Wednesday. He invited me to go fishing sometime this summer, which I am always happy to do.
Then he told me that the bass fishing on some of the lakes in southeastern Oklahoma is better than its ever been in his lifetime. And that is saying something because he is a grandpa.
Now, fishing guides are often prone to hyperbole, but Chuck is usually a pretty straight shooter. But I had to question this one. Better than its ever been in his lifetime?
“Oh, c’mon, Chuck,” I said. “That’s a pretty bold statement.”
“I really believe it,” he answered, then he went on to tell me how he’s never seen better bass fishing on Pine Creek and Hugo lakes.
He told of a day recently when he and a friend caught 70 fish in the Kiamichi River on Hugo Lake in a short time, and many of those were 4- to 7-pounders.
Anglers are having to catch 25 pounds plus to win some bass tournaments on these southeast Oklahoma lakes, he said.
Justice is usually bragging on McGee Creek, and sometimes Sardis, when he calls, but now he was boasting with the same enthusiasm about Pine Creek, Hugo and Broken Bow.
So I called Gene Gilliland, bass tournament angler and fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and asked him what he thought about Chuck’s statement.
“I have heard some stories about some really great days on Pine Creek and Hugo,” Gilliland said. “Hugo has been very good for the last couple of years. Broken Bow has been on the upswing for both largemouth and smallmouth.”
Justice’s theory is high water levels in recent years has provided cover and survival for young bass and now they have grown to catchable sizes.
But he can’t be talking about recent flooding, such as last year’s floods.
Gilliland said a 4-pound bass would be the result of the spawn five or six years ago. But southeastern Oklahoma lakes have been high at times over the past several years, so it wouldn’t surprise Gilliland if the bass population is higher in those lakes.
Justice thinks the bass fishing is better in both quality and quantity (numbers and size of fish) across the board in southeastern Oklahoma, but especially at Hugo and Pine Creek.
But the way to be sure is to check it out for yourself. That’s what I plan to do.
Okies are tearing it up on the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Two weeks ago, Kenyon Hill of Norman won the Pride of Georgia event on Clarks Hill Lake in Columbia County, Ga.. This past weekend, Fred Roumbanis of Bixby captured the Carolina Clash on Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C.
Edwin Evers of Talala finished third in both events. All three Oklahoma anglers are now in the top 10 in the Bassmaster “Angler of the Year” points race.
Hill is sixth, Evers is seventh and Roumbanis is ninth.
Canton Lake’s walleye rodeo produced several new lake records over the weekend.
Justin Norton of Wagoner landed a 7.4-pound largemouth bass; Seven-year-old Raylee Tautfest of Canton caught a 1.5 pound sunfish that is the new lake record; and Corey Newer of Enid caught the big prize, a 9.3-pound walleye that was the biggest walleye of the tournament and the new lake record.
Lake Thunderbird also established a new record on Saturday when Delbert Gault of Newalla caught a 7.1-pound largemouth bass on Hog Creek during the Muscular Dystrophy’s Association “Big Catch” tournament.
Today is the final day of spring turkey season and what a sorry one it was. Stormy weather, howling winds and henned up birds made this spring’s hunting season one of the toughest in memory for many hunters.
Some hunters, of course, had success. But just based on the stories I’ve heard and the number of photos I’ve received from turkey hunters this spring, it appears the number of gobblers killed this year will be way down.
Crappie fishing, however, is picking up on some local lakes. On Monday, two anglers on Lake Thunderbird reported the crappie were on the banks and sent me photos of a couple of ice chests of fish as proof.
At Canton Lake, northwest of Oklahoma City, guide Donnie Jinkens said the best crappie fishing should be in the next couple of weeks.
“The crappie are starting to come in,” he said. “We are just a little ways away.”
The sand bass and hybrid fishing remain strong on Canton by trolling and drifting, and the draft fishing for walleye in the flats has been excellent, he said.
Anglers are also catching crappie off the fishing piers on Oklahoma City lakes – Draper, Hefner and Overhosler – on small minnows and jigs.
You will need a boat, since the pedestrian areas below Hefner Dam are closed, but anglers have been catching walleye by drift fihsing with bottom-bouncing sinkers and earthworms near the dam, said Bob Martin, fishery biologist for the City of Oklahoma City.
Trolling with crankbaits, in-line spinners and minnows and worms are also effectivce for Hefner walleye, he said.
And believe it or not, anglers are still catching rainbow trout at Dolese Youth Park Pond in Oklahoma City, NW 50 and Meridian. Bass Pro Shops had a kids day last weekend at Dolese and kids were catching fish, Martin said.
“If they are biting for kids, they will be biting for adults,” he said.
Anglers fishing on Oklahoma City municipal waters need to remember that a city fishing permit is required in addition to a state fishing license.
At Foss Lake, Eric Puyear of the B & K Bait House reports that fishing for walleye is fair with live bait along rocks on the dam. Hybrids are fair with live bait and white or chartreuse jigs. The sand bass fishing is slow but the catfish are biting on Danny King stink bait.
When I would catch bass out of my father-in-law’s farm pond, he always instructed me to tell others that I caught those fish in a bar ditch.
Well, now that I am an outdoor writer, my job is share such info. So here’s what I’ve heard about where the fish are biting or are expected to be biting this weekend.
The hybrid fishing is hot at Canton, and I’m not just referring to the 23-pound hybrid caught there last weekend.
John Stahl, northwest fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said hot spots for hybrids on Canton right now are the spilling basin and Thunder Road on the north shore.
In the spilling basin, try crappie jigs with a weighted cork and throw to the white water.
Along Thunder Road, on the north shoreline of the lake, fish for hybrids with road runners, purple 3-inch twist tails, night crawlers and cut shad. Throw as far as you can from the bank. Waders are recommended.
The paddlefishing has slowed down at Twin Bridges in northeastern Oklahoma but with recent water releases at Kaw, snagging for spoonbills below the dam is expected to be good real soon.
Jug lining for blue cats at Kaw also is good right now as the lake is full of 4- to 12-pound blues.
Crappie fishing is excellent at Eufaula and on Texoma, anglers are already starting to pick up some stripers on top water. The top water action usually heats up in early May.
As for the bass fishing, I hear the bar ditches are good.
I hate to brag, but I did predict that Canton Lake might be a hot spot for fishing for hybrids and sand bass this weekend.
Well, crappie guide Donnie Jinkens’interrupted my son’s third birthday party with a phone call on Sunday afternoon with a big fish story. A Canton angler had landed a hybrid that was just a few ounces shy of the state record, weighing more than 23 pounds.
“It’s a beautiful fish,” Jinkens said.
Donnie, who owns the Canton Motel and is the official lake record keeper on Canton Lake, is emailing me a photo, which will likely be in next Sunday’s Oklahoman on the Outdoors page. Stay tuned.