There’s never been a better time for spring fishing in Oklahoma, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won’t want to miss.
Largemouths, Farm Ponds
Blizzards and ice storms are still a possibility in Oklahoma in March, but typical March weather includes some mild and sunny days during which the bass in farm ponds get really aggressive in the sun-warmed shallows and can provide excellent springtime angling action.
A variety of lures can produce action. Typically it’s a little too early for plastic worms to be effective, but crankbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits can be good choices. My favorite lures for March pond bassin’ are 1/8-ounce spinnerbaits or big Beetle Spin lures.
Carrying a small thermometer to test the water temperature can sometimes be a good way to tell the best areas to fish.
White Bass, Lake Headwaters
Most of Oklahoma’s large lakes contain sand bass, more widely known as white bass, and beginning in late March and continuing into April, legions of sand bass head upstream to the flowing creeks and rivers at the lakes’ headwaters to spawn.
Tenkiller, Fort Gibson, Grand, Eufaula, Texoma, Hugo, Broken Bow, Kaw, Keystone … really just about any big lake in Oklahoma, as well as some of the smaller ones, have lots of springtime sand bass spawning action in the upper reaches.
Crankbaits may be the most widely used lures. Jigging spoons, which are used a lot during other times of the year for catching sandies, are typically less effective during the spawn. But jigs and a variety of spinners can produce a lot of action.
Farther up the rivers, the sand bass on their spawning runs may also run into smaller creeks. I recall catching dozens of sand bass each evening while fishing from the bank where Stillwater Creek runs into the Cimarron River many miles above Lake Keystone, and I’ve caught lots of sand bass in creeks several miles above where those creeks empty into the Arkansas River, both upstream and downstream from Tulsa.
Bluegills, Municipal Lakes
Many Oklahoma towns have water supply reservoirs ranging from 5 or 6 acres up to a few hundred acres in size. Many of those lakes have relatively clear water and harbor abundant populations of bluegills, redears and green sunfish.
There are a few larger lakes, as well as numerous private-land watershed lakes, that also offer excellent sunfish action, but I’ve had good luck plying the waters of medium to small municipal lakes to catch sunfish, especially around the full-moon periods of April, May and June when the bulk of the sunfish spawning activity takes place.
I’ve caught them on fly tackle with nymphs and streamers and on spinning and spin-casting tackle with a variety of jigs, spinners and natural baits. But the best bait I know of for sacking up a lot of sunfish in a hurry is a cricket — the gray cricket sold in some bait shops.
Nightcrawlers, earthworms and grubworms also work, but crickets are often the best, if you can find a bait shop near you that supplies them.
I’ve known a few anglers who raised their own crickets, keeping a cricket box in a garage or barn so that they’d have a ready supply for bluegill fishing.
Tulsa’s Lake Eucha is a pretty good sunfish lake. Stillwell’s city lake is also good, as is Sapulpa’s Pretty Water Lake. There are dozens of others, throughout the state, that also hold a lot of sunfish.
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