Oklahoma Offering Free Fishing Days

Oklahoma Offering Free Fishing Days
Oklahoma Offering Free Fishing Days

Reports of good angling from all over the state indicate summer fishing is coming into full swing, and Oklahoma anglers can get in on the action for free June 4-5 during Free Fishing Days. A state fishing license is usually required for most anglers to go fishing, but during Free Fishing Days, a license will not be required to fish in Oklahoma.

Anglers who don't know where to start can turn to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's weekly state fishing report to find just the right place to go. This week's report says largemouth bass fishing is good at Lake Arcadia in Edmond on crankbaits and spinnerbaits; channel catfish angling is good at Lake Hefner, and the Lake Overholser report says crappie fishing is good all over the lake. In the northwest, reports for Canton Lake show good walleye fishing on night crawlers in the upper end of the lake; Bluegill fishing is good on worms and crickets around grass beds at northeast Oklahoma's Lake Eucha; and white bass are being caught on topwater lures and wiggle-tailed 1/8-oz. grubs at Lake Arbuckle; and in the southwest, Ft. Cobb anglers are catching saugeye on crankbaits and night crawlers in the mornings and evenings. A saugeye is a hybrid cross between a walleye and a sauger that are raised at Wildlife Department fish hatcheries and stocked at various lakes.

"Fort Cobb has been a great place to saugeye fish for the last few years," said Ryan Ryswyk, southwest region fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department. "In fact, it holds the current state record saugeye at 10 pounds 10 ounces caught in 2006. Saugeye are great tasting fish just like the walleye but are able to better tolerate the muddy water found in many Oklahoma lakes."

Every week the fishing report provides a listing of lakes and the current state of angling success at that location. The reports are compiled by Wildlife Department employees and volunteers and cover lakes and other waters throughout every region in the state. Information such as lake levels, water temperatures, species being caught, locations with best fishing action and successful baits is included in the reports.

"Free fishing days are great for anyone just wanting to try their luck at fishing for the first time or just wanting to get back into it again," said Damon Springer, Aquatic Resource Education coordinator for the Wildlife Department. Springer also said anglers can use Free Fishing Days as an inexpensive way to take someone to fishing and a great opportunity for families "to get out and enjoy something together in the outdoors."

Oklahoma offers fishing in lakes and rivers, but also in urban waters designated by the Wildlife Department as "Close to Home Fishing" locations. Although state fishing licenses are not required during Free Fishing Days, anglers should note that certain city permits may still apply to specific fishing areas. Additionally, anglers fishing Lake Texoma should be aware that Free Fishing Days applies for all of the lake on June 4 but only on Oklahoma portions of the lake on June 5. This week's fishing report says largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is good now at Texoma on deep-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic combination baits. Additionally, good fishing at Texoma is being reported for striped bass, white bass, crappie, sunfish, blue catfish and channel catfish.

Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to offer free fishing days about 30 years ago and has since been followed by dozens of other states that have established similar days.

For more information about fishing in Oklahoma, log on to the Wildlife Department's website at www.wildlifedepartment.com.

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