Bassmaster Magazine has released its third annual rankings of the 100 best bass fishing lakes in the country, and once again three Oklahoma lakes made the list.
However, Konawa Lake is no longer on it, and Fort Gibson has been added. Grand Lake is again the top Oklahoma bass fishing lake, according to the magazine, although it fell from 15th to 19th overall this year.
The magazine called Grand Lake “the best jerkbait lake in the country.” Arbuckle Lake, which the magazine calls the best big bass lake in the state, is ranked 49th in the country.
Fort Gibson Lake is Oklahoma’s new entry on the list, ranked No. 65. Konawa Lake was ranked No. 70 last year, but didn’t make the cut this year.
Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay claimed the top spot.
“Sturgeon Bay is absolutely on fire right now,” said Bassmaster Editor James Hall. “It is beautiful. The smallmouth here are giant — nobody even blinks at 6-pounders. And it’s not unusual for an angler to catch 60 bass per day.”
Texas’ Lake Amistad, once ranked in the top 10, no longer makes the cut.
“We aren’t sure what’s to blame for Amistad’s poor production lately, but this typically awesome fishery is struggling right now,” Hall said.
Fishing should improve as temperatures rise
The warm weather forecast in the next few days should trigger better fishing around the state.
Generally, the best fishing will be later than usual this spring due to colder than normal temperatures. In northeast Oklahoma, the paddlefishing on Grand Lake has been very slow due to lack of rain and water inflow, which prompts spawning runs up the rivers.
“With the weather getting warmer, I think things should really take off in the next few weeks,” said Ken Cunningham, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We are starting to see good reports of black bass fishing in the smaller reservoirs.
“We are getting excellent reports about crappie even though the water temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees. With crappie, the good fishing is primarily east. With the warmer weather, the crappie should take off as well in places like Thunderbird and other fisheries in the central part of the state.”
To view the latest state fishing report, visit Ed Godfrey’s blog at NewsOk.com/sports/outdoors
Noodling tournament set in Durant
The Red River Noodling Shootout will be May 31 as part of the annual Magnolia Festival in Durant.
Noodlers must weigh in no more than three catfish by 6 p.m. at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant. The catfish must have been caught by hand within 48 hours of the deadline. More than $10,000 in cash and prizes are being awarded.
All entries must be received by noon on May 29. For more information, visit www.magnoliafestival.com or call the Durant Chamber of Commerce at (580) 924-0848.
Deadline nearing on controlled hunt applications
Hunters have through May 15 to apply for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s 2014-15 controlled hunts.
Hunters must apply online at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Cost to apply is $5.
Among the most popular hunts each year are the deer and elk hunts on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the archery deer hunts on the grounds of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
Hunts for youth and handicapped individuals also are available.
Fur Bearers Campout, Workshop set
The Oklahoma Fur Bearers Alliance spring campout meeting and trappers workshop has been scheduled for June 6-8 at Red Rock Canyon State Park near Hinton.
Anyone interested in learning about trapping is invited to attend. Demonstrations are scheduled on Saturday, June 7, including activities for kids.
For more information, call R. C. Edgar at 238-0012 or Clifton Ray at 574-2515.
New Overholser Lake record
Tyler Reed of Yukon caught a new lake record striped bass hybrid at Lake Overholser.
Reed caught the 10.7-pound hybrid on April 18 below the dam on a soft plastic bait using a spinning rod and reel.