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Trout Angler Guide: Top Tips & Area Highlights

By: 
Skylar St. Yves
Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Oklahoma offers a diverse array of trout fishing opportunities with rainbows and the occasional brown stocked regularly throughout the winter months. You're never more than a couple hours drive away from your next trout fishing adventure! 

Tulsa has one urban trout pond (Veterans Park) and Oklahoma City has two urban trout ponds (Route 66 Park & Edwards Park) that are stocked from December 1 - February 28. For more information on urban trout pond fishing click here.

CLICK HERE FOR TROUT REGULATIONS

Let's take an in-depth look at each of the state's eight trout areas and how to best fish them.


Sunset Lake

SUNSET LAKE

Oklahoma's newest trout fishery, Sunset Lake is a fishing jewel located in the Panhandle town of Guymon. Easily accessible shoreline and a one-mile trail around the lake make for a bank angler's paradise! Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 11-acres; mostly soft bottom, light vegetation
  • Picnic areas
  • ADA compliant
  • Fishing pier
  • Playground
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 4.5 hours
  • From Tulsa: 5.5 hours
  • From Woodward: 2 hours

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

While trout are ambush predators in moving streams, in the still water of small lakes trout will cruise the shoreline and nearby drop-offs in search of easy meals throughout the day. Occasional caddis and mayfly hatches will bring trout to the surface making for great dry-fly fly fishing opportunities and inline spinning lures always find a fish here and there. But, for the most part, the most effective and consistent way to catch trout in Sunset Lake is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early in the trout season, try multiple spots along the shoreline until you find congregated fish.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Vibric Rooster Tail in frog. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. When the lure hits the water give the rod tip a quick wrist snap to help get the blade spinning. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in hammered copper frog, grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, and Little Cleo Spoons in gold flourescent orange stripe.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 6 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger.
  • Make sure to keep a few size 18-22 mayfly and caddis imitating dry flies in your box on the chance that you find surfacing fish.

Perry CCC

PERRY CCC LAKE

A relic of the New Deal era, Historic Perry CCC Lake is located just south of the North-Central town of Perry. The lake has a few handicap accessible areas as well as decent bank fishing opportunities on 3/4ths of the lake's shoreline. Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 32-acres; mostly soft bottom, submerged rocks/boulders, light vegetation, thick shoreline reeds
  • Boat ramp
  • Picnic areas
  • Playground
  • Fishing piers & jetties
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1 hour
  • From Tulsa: 1.25 hours
  • From Stillwater: 30 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Trout will cruise the shoreline flats and coves as well as nearby drop-offs throughout the day. Occasional midday and evening caddis and mayfly hatches will bring trout to the surface along the shoreline directly across from the boat ramp and the eastern-most cove at the end of the park road. Inline spinning lures and spoons work well in coves and immediately adjacent shorelines. But, like most still water trout fishing, the most effective and consistent way to catch them is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early season efforts at Perry CCC Lake will be best rewarded in the coves adjacent to the boat ramp and the flat along the pavillion shoreline directly across from the boat ramp. January and February begin to see better catch rates along the dam and eastern shorelines.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial


Lake Watonga

LAKE WATONGA (currently closed for dam repairs and renovations; Boecher Lake at Roman Nose State Park is being stocked this season in place of Lake Watonga)

Nestled in the heart of Roman Nose State Park, Lake Watonga has long been a trout fishing hot spot located just north of the Northwestern town of Watonga. Family-friendly park and ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 55-acres; mostly soft bottom, submerged hardwoods, light vegetation
  • Boat ramp
  • Fishing piers/jetties
  • Camping with full RV hookup
  • ADA compliant
  • Country store
  • Lodging
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1.5 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3 hours
  • From Weatherford: 50 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Trout will cruise the shoreline flats and coves as well as nearby drop-offs throughout the day. Inline spinning lures, spoons and super dupers work well along shoreline flats and points. But, like most still water trout fishing, the most effective and consistent way to catch them is to fish off the bottom with PowerBait. Early season efforts at Lake Watonga produce the most bites along the shoreline jettie immediately adjacent to the boat ramp and the flat on the back side of the jettie. Later in the season, trout can be found scattered throughout the lake's shoreline, but the most consistent areas are near points and shallow flats that have nearby drop-offs.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Little Cleo Spoon in gold flourescent orange stripe. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in hammered copper frog, grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, and Kastmaster Spoons in gold, silver, orange and trout patterns.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 6 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger.
  • Make sure to keep a few size 18-22 mayfly and caddis imitating dry flies in your box on the chance that you find surfacing fish.

Blue River

BLUE RIVER

6.25 miles of public wading and bank access make the Blue River Trout Area, located 10 miles north of the South-Central town of Tishomingo, a true gem of public lands. There are a few handicap accessible bank fishing areas around the campgrounds. Muck or hip boots are a must if you don't plan to wear waders. Trails along the river's edge and multiple entrance locations provide ample opportunities for adventurous anglers to find a section of river all to theirself. Native surroundings and relatively deep water along the river banks can create hazardous conditions for children and pets throughout most of the property, but there are several family-friendly fishing areas around the campgrounds.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 31

Profile

  • 6.25-miles; mostly hard bottom, submerged timber, waterfalls, pocket water, riffles, runs, pools, light vegetation
  • Primitive camping areas
  • Latrines
  • Food/supplies at Scotty's Blue River One Stop

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2 hours
  • From Tulsa: 2.75 hours
  • From Ada: 45 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Blue River has lots of different types of river sections to target. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water near waterfalls, tailouts, pocket water and riffle runs. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Seams behind boulders and riffle runs through the pocket water are good places to find multiple fish stacked up. Trout are stocked evenly throughout the public section of river from November through March.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Medicine Creek

MEDICINE CREEK

Meandering through the Wichita Mountains foothills, the Medicine Creek Trout Area, a tailwater of Lake Lawtonka, is located in the quaint Southwestern town of Medicine Park. Scenic trails along the creek offer plenty of easy bank fishing opportunities. There are several handicap accessible fishing spots along the creek. Family-friendly ammenities.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 15

Profile

  • 1 mile; mostly hard bottom, submerged rocks/boulders, light vegetation
  • Primitive camping area
  • Local shops/restaurants
  • Picnic area

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 1.25 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3 hours
  • From Lawton: 20 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

A shallow boulder run through the middle section of the creek is bookended by two long, slow deep runs. Fishing with bait off the bottom is productive all day, but particularly during the midday hours. Anglers have more success with artificial lures and flies during the lowlight morning and evening hours. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Stripping bead and jighead flies is effective for fly anglers. The last section of river near the fish hatchery tends to be the most consistent and productive stretch throughout trout season.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial

  • Editor's Choice: 1/16th ounce Rooster Tail in hammered copper frog. Cast out and reel in with a slow steady retrieve. When the lure hits the water give the rod tip a quick wrist snap to help get the blade spinning. If you need to get to greater depth, add a piece of split shot to the line 8-inches above the lure.
  • Other reliable cast and retrieve lures (1/32nd - 1/8th ounce) include Rooster Tails in grasshopper, black and hammered silver white, Super Dupers in brass/gold prism-lite and rainbow trout, Little Cleo Spoons in gold flourescent orange stripe, and Kastmaster Spoons in gold, silver, orange and trout patterns.
  • Editor's Choice: Size 8 Chocklett's Bugger Changer in Brown, Olive or Black on a 6-weight fly rod, floating line and 9 foot 4x tapered leader with 2 feet of 5x tippet. Cast out and retrieve with quick strips of line.
  • Other good stripping flies (sizes 6, 8, 10 and 12) include Blane Chocklett's ChangersRainy's RJ's Jiggy Worm, Rainy's Carter's RL Dragon Fly, and Bead-Head Woolly Bugger. The water flow is basically stagnant making dry and nymph flies less effective.

Robbers Cave

ROBBERS CAVE

Situated in the scenic woodlands of the San Bois Mountains, the Robbers Cave Trout Area along the Fourche Maline River is located within the Robbers Cave State Park 6.5 miles north of the Southeastern town of Wilburton. Beautiful backdrops accompanied by the sounds of nature make this a must visit destination for trout anglers! The slow flowing shallow waters of this tailwater and ample bank access create a family-friendly fishing environment.

Trout Stocking Season

  • November 1 - March 15

Profile

  • 1.5 miles; mixed hard/soft bottom, light vegetation, submerged rocks/boulders
  • Camping with full RV hookups
  • Equestrian
  • Lodging
  • Gift Shop
  • Hiking
  • Picnic areas
  • Latrines

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2.75 hours
  • From Tulsa: 2 hours
  • From McAlester: 45 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

Long, slow moving runs with scattered submerged rocks/boulders make up most of the trout area. Bait fished off the bottom is productive all day, but particularly during the midday hours. Anglers have more success with artificial lures and flies during the lowlight morning and evening hours. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Stripping bead and jighead flies is effective for fly anglers.

Top option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast straight out and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. On windy days, size up your weight to a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Secondary option: Artificial


Lower Illinois River

LOWER ILLINOIS RIVER

A beautiful tailwater-controlled Ozark stream, the Lower Illinois River Trout Area resides 5 miles north of the East-Central town of Gore. Bank fishing is very limited with a few handicap accessible and family-friendly fishing spots available just downstream of the dam. Most of the river requires the use of waders or hip boots, but once on the river it's easy wading and walking. 

Trout Stocking Season

  • Year-round

Profile

  • 7.75 miles; cobble/gravel bottom, woody laydowns, riffle-pool-run-tailout sections
  • Latrines
  • Camping with full RV hookups at Gore Landing (ADA compliant)
  • Food/shops in nearby Gore

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 2.25 hours
  • From Tulsa: 1.25 hours
  • From Muskogee: 40 minutes

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

With classic riffle-pool-run-tailout sections, the Illinois River has plenty of great trout habitat. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water at the beginning of runs, riffle dump-ins and shallow riffle tailouts. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Ideal trout fishing occurs when water release is between 200 and 600 cfs. Click here for current water levels.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Lower Mountain Fork River

LOWER MOUNTAIN FORK RIVER

Carved into the steep hillsides of the Ouachita Mountains, the Lower Mountain Fork Trout Area, a tailwater-controlled river located 13 miles north of the Southeastern town of Broken Bow, offers stunning views and excellent trout fishing. Forming the heart of Beavers Bend State Park, this area has something for everyone. Extensive flooding in the mid-2010s has drastically altered the river channel, affording new fishing opportunities for anglers who have frequented the river for years. First timers will find a river that takes breathtaking twists, turns and falls over exposed limestone. 

Trout Stocking Season

  • Year-round

Profile

  • 12 miles; hard shoal bottom, mixed cobble/gravel, woody laydowns, light vegetation
  • Camping with full RV hookups
  • Lodging
  • Food/shops in nearby Hochatown and Broken Bow
  • Hiking
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms

Drive Time

  • From OKC: 4 hours
  • From Tulsa: 3.5 hours
  • From Durant: 2.5 hours

Bait & Tackle Nearby

Fishing Tips

The Lower Mountain Fork River features five miles of public access from the base of the Broken Bow Dam downstream to the end of the Beavers Bend State Park. The river features a steep fast-moving section from the base of the dam to the first 259A HWY bridge. Extreme caution should be taken by anglers in this section. The river is much better suited to trout anglers of all skill levels from the first 259A HWY bridge downstream to end of the Beavers Bend State Park. Bait fished off the bottom is productive in slow moving pools, eddies and deep runs. Artificial lures and flies are more effective in the fast moving water at the beginning of runs, fast-moving pools, riffle dump-ins and shallow tailouts. Inline spinners, supers dupers and spoons are great options on light-action tackle. Larger jerkbaits can be used to target big browns and rainbows from the second 259A HWY bridge downstream to the end of the Beavers Bend State Park. Dry flies, nymphs and stripping flies can be equally as effective. Check-in with the local fly shop for current fishing conditions and fly suggestions. The trout area continues for seven miles through mostly private land from the end of the Beavers Bend State Park downstream to the US HWY 70 bridge.

Top option: Artificial

Secondary option: Bait

  • Editor's Choice: PowerBait in nymph, balled in a teardrop shape around a size 10 snelled hook and attached to a snap swivel with a 1/4th or 3/8th ounce casting sinker placed above the swivel on the main line (6- or 8- pound monofilament). Cast 45-degrees downstream and let the weight sink to the bottom. Once the weight has hit the bottom, reel up the slack until the line is tight with the rod tip. Place the rod in a rod holder or hold in hand and wait for a bite. In faster moving water, size up your weight to a 1/2 ounce casting sinker to better keep the line tight to the rod tip, which will help indicate more bites. If you're looking to catch and release, set the hook early before the fish has the opportunity to swallow the hook.
  • Other productive baits include salmon eggs, kernels of corn, and scented trout worms

Trout Fishing Videos

Click the image square above for helpful trout fishing how-to videos.

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