Most people don’t plan a fishing trip to a city, but Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner wouldn’t be a bad choice. It often gets overlooked as a good fishing lake simply because of its urban location.
“For a city fishery, it’s probably one of the best in the country,” said David Hughes, owner of Lucky Lure Tackle in Oklahoma City and a Hefner fisherman. “For a lake right in the middle of the city, it’s got a lot of fish in it.
“It’s a good fishing lake. It’s just hard to fish because it’s a big round bowl and the wind is usually blowing so hard you can’t hardly fish it.”
Hefner has long held a reputation as a good walleye lake, even once holding the state record. But the walleye anglers who fish it are a lot like noodlers, Hughes said, because they don’t share a lot of information.
Eight- to 10-pound walleye are frequently caught at Hefner, mostly in the spring, Hughes said. “I still think there is a state record walleye in that lake,” he said.
Walleye and channel catfish are stocked annually in the lake. It’s not uncommon for bass anglers to catch 3- to 5-pound largemouths, and Hefner contains some hybrids that make the journey down from Canton Lake in the North Canadian River.
“It’s got a lot of crappie in it,” Hughes said of Hefner Lake. “They just don’t get very big.”
Now is a good time to catch sand bass on the lake. Hughes said the fish were schooling on piles of shad Tuesday evening.
And lately, the catfishing has been great. June is the month the channel cats and flatheads move into the shallow water to spawn, and Hefner anglers “have been catching them like crazy on just about anything,” Hughes said. “The catfishing has just been awesome.”
Amanda Knight of Chandler caught a 22.6-pound channel catfish on June 19 that was the new Lake Hefner record. And Oklahoma City angler Clint Young, a regular visitor to Hefner Lake, also tells quite the fish story.
Young has caught 137 pounds of channel cats, blues and flatheads during the last three weekends on crankbaits.
Young went fishing along Hefner’s rocky shoreline with the intention of catching walleye on the artificial lures and started ripping the catfish that were nesting in the rocks.
He kept going back and fishing with crankbaits instead of switching to traditional catfish bait, choosing to stick with what was working, even though it cost him several lures.
“If you are going to fish that close to the rocks, you are going to lose some,” said the 56-year-old angler. “I probably lost eight or nine altogether, but I’ve never had anything like this happen before. I had a lot of fun.”
Hughes thinks the catfishing on the lake has never been better. But anglers better hurry to get in on the action. The spawn is winding down, and the catfish will be moving into deeper water, if they haven’t already.