Anglers needn’t hang up their gear just because winter’s getting near. There’s still plenty of fishing fun to be found at Oklahoma’s seasonal and year-round trout fishing areas!
Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks trout at six seasonal trout fishing areas across the state, beginning Nov. 1 and continuing into March or April. Those areas are Perry CCC/Lake Perry Park, Robbers Cave, Blue River, Lake Watonga, Medicine Creek and Lake Carl Etling.
In addition to these “cold weather” trout fisheries, the Department also operates two year-round trout fisheries in the Lower Mountain Fork River below Broken Bow dam and in the Lower Illinois River below Tenkiller Ferry Dam. Trout are normally stocked in these areas every week or two, as long as water conditions are conducive to trout survival.
Anglers on the Lower Mountain Fork are currently seeing lower flows of water in the river because of unscheduled repairs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to a release valve at the Broken Bow Lake spillway. The low flows are not due to bridge repairs. Don Groom, Southeast Region Fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department, said trout stocking will continue despite the lower flows, but most stocking will take place in downstream areas rather than in upper areas closer to the dam until repairs to the spillway valve are completed.
Trout, both rainbows and browns, are introduced species to Oklahoma. They thrive in colder waters and make excellent table fare. Using ultralight fishing gear with 4- to 6-pound test line and small hooks can lead to some thrilling action. But anyone can catch trout using regular angling gear with small jigs or spinners, prepared bait or live bait.
Trout fishing is also available from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 at two Close to Home Fishing locations in major urban areas: Oklahoma City's Dolese Youth Park Pond and Jenks' Veterans Park Pond.
Trout anglers must carry a resident or nonresident fishing license while fishing. In addition, trout anglers at Dolese Youth Park Pond must have an Oklahoma City fishing permit.
The Wildlife Department's winter trout fishing areas are:
- Blue River: This river flows through the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area near Tishomingo. Trout stocking season runs Nov. 1 to March 31. From Tishomingo, go 4 miles east on State Highway 78 and then 6 miles north. Bank access and wade fishing is available throughout the area. Primitive camping is allowed at the Blue River campground.
- Lake Carl Etling: This lake is at Black Mesa State Park in Cimarron County. Trout stocking season runs Nov. 1 to April 30. From Boise City, go 28 miles west on U.S. 325. Boat ramps are on the south and east sides of the lake. Primitive and developed camping facilities are available at the park.
- Medicine Creek: This trout fishery runs through the town of Medicine Park from the Gondola Lake Dam on the north to the State Highway 49 bridge on the south. Access is easy from a sidewalk along the creek's east side. Trout stocking season runs from Nov. 1 to March 15. Camping and lodging are available nearby.
- Perry CCC/Lake Perry Park: This 32-acre lake was built in the mid-1930s and offers ample bank access and a boat ramp on the west side of the lake. From Perry, go a mile south on State Highway 86. Trout stocking season runs Nov. 1 to March 31. Lodging is available in Perry.
- Robbers Cave: In Robbers Cave State Park, the Robbers Cave trout fishery is in the Fourche Maline River directly below Carlton Dam to the south boundary of the park. Trout stocking season runs Nov. 1 to March 15. From Wilburton, go 5 miles north on State Highway 2. Bank access and wade fishing is available anywhere within state park boundaries. Camping facilities and cabins are available at the park.
- Lake Watonga: This 55-acre lake is in Roman Nose State Park. Trout stocking season runs Nov. 1 to March 31. From Watonga, go 7 miles north on State Highway 8A. Bank access and a boat ramp are on the west side of the lake. Camping and lodging are available at the park.
Trout fishing regulations, including daily and size limits, restricted areas and maps, can be found in the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide, available at wildlifedepartment.com, in the "OK Fishing and Hunting Guide" mobile app for Apple and Android, or free in print from license dealers statewide.