April in Oklahoma is the time for casting and blasting

First full month of spring offers great fishing and a promising turkey season
by Ed Godfrey Published: March 30, 2013
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April in Oklahoma is a sportsmen's paradise.

The fish really start biting in April and spring turkey season opens Saturday in most of the state.

Warmer weather and spring rains will trigger white bass and paddlefish to start their annual spawning runs from the lakes to the streams. Crappie and walleye begin moving into the shallow water closer to the shoreline to spawn.

Turkeys

After very low reproduction in 2011 due to the severe drought, the state had a “pretty good reproduction in some areas this past year,” said Rod Smith of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“The combined total of that is just an average total population number, but we are lacking a lot of those 2-year-old birds that we would normally see because of the drought.

“The number of adult toms may be lower overall, but there may be a good number of jakes in a lot of areas.”

The western part of the state offers the best turkey hunting.

“The western tier counties about two deep are usually the best for Rio Grandes,” Smith said.

And in the west, Black Kettle, Packsaddle, Cooper and the Ellis County wildlife management areas are normally the best public lands for turkey hunting.

The birds will still be in large groups on opening day. Decoys often work better earlier in the season while calling may or may not be successful, Smith said.

“It's interesting to me how different toms are when they are with that group of hens,” Smith said. “Sometimes you call a tom and they will walk right away from the group and toward you. And sometimes they won't. They are just real individual how they respond.”

The spring turkey season in southeastern Oklahoma, where state wildlife officials are trying to rebuild the population of the Eastern species of wild turkeys, doesn't open until April 22.

The season ends statewide May 6. Bag limits vary by county.

White bass

When the redbuds and dogwoods begin to bloom, it's a signal that the white bass, or sand bass, are ready to head up the creeks and tributaries from the lakes to spawn.

The spawning runs are usually triggered when the water temperature hits the lower 50s and spring rains cause the water to rise.


by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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