Lower Illinois Public Fishing and Hunting Area, Simp and Helen Watts Management Unit

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Area Description: The Watts Unit is 320 acres along the Illinois River below Tenkiller Reservoir in Sequoyah County in eastern Oklahoma, approximately four miles north of Gore on Hwy 100 and one miles east on County Road E0990. The river is the dividing line between the oak-hickory forest on the east bank and the pasture land with overgrown fence rows and scattered pecan trees on the west bank. The area has one pond but the focus of fishing is the 3/4 mile stretch of the lower Illinois River that runs through the property.

WMA Driving Directions: From Gore: 3.8 miles northeast on State Hwy 100, watch for the blue ODOT “Watts MU Trout Fishing” sign and follow the arrows approximately 1 mile east on E0990.

Game Species of Interest: 

           Quail: Bobwhite quail may be present . 

            Deer: White-tailed deer may be present. 

            Turkey: Turkeys maybe present. 

            Furbearers: Coyotes and bobcats are available. 

Description of Fish and Wildlife Management Practices:
Fish management currently is trout stocking on a put and take basis. Additional habitat in the form of rock structures and logs may be added and a special management area exists in the lower part of the property. These changes are designed to improve the river to a put, grow and take trout fishery. Wildlife management practices are being formulated at this time.

Nongame Species of Interest: Bald Eagles are frequent visitors to the area.

Camping and Facilities:
The Watts Unit is walk-in only and does not allow camping.

Fishing Opportunities:
The Illinois River is stocked weekly with rainbow trout and with brown trout when they are available, White bass, walleye and the occasional striped bass can be caught in this area. Fishing regulations differ between the upper half and the lower half. The lower portion of the area between the stream gage and the gravel plant is a special management area where harvest and terminal tackle are restricted. Harvest here is limited to trout over 20 inches long and tackle is restricted to artificial lures and flies with barbless hooks only or with live bait using a 3/0 hook or larger, Regulations for the upper portion are the same as the rest of the river.

Hunting Opportunities:
Waterfowl can be hunted in the backwaters of the unit. Other hunting is by archery and shotgun with pellets only during open seasons.

Maps:

Lower Illinois River PFHA - Watts Unit - best general purpose map, pdf format (8.5x11)

  Regulations: Seasons on public lands section of hunting regulations