Texoma ranked ahead of Grand for bass fishing by Bassmaster Magazine
Only two Oklahoma lakes made Bassmaster Magazine's 2017 rankings of the top 100 bass fishing lakes in the country.
The magazine now divides its top 100 list into the top 25 lakes in four different regions. In the Central Region, just Lake Texoma and Grand Lake made the cut from Oklahoma.
Two years ago, Oklahoma had five lakes ranked by the magazine. That number fell to three last year.
Lake Hudson was dropped this year. Lake Konawa and Arbuckle Lake, once mainstays on the list, hasn't been ranked for two years now.
Grand Lake, which had a four-year run as one of the top 20 bass lakes in the country fell to 18th in the Central Region after being ranked eighth last year.
Lake Texoma, which appeared for the first time on Bassmaster Magazine's list last year as the 23rd best bass lake in the Central Region, jumped to No. 18.
Texoma's ranking ahead of Grand for bass fishing is a surprise considering Grand has been the site of two Bassmaster Classics and several Elite Series events over the years.
“It has come on pretty strong in the last few years,” said Gene Gilliland of Norman, conservation director for B.A.S.S. “It's producing some really quality bass and has for several years now.”
About Texoma, Bassmaster.com stated: “This remains a stout fishery, offering plenty of options and lots of solid bass to catch. The USA Fishing Trails circuit has stopped here twice this spring, and both events were won with 19-plus pound limits. The February event was won with 20.06 pounds, and big fish (which was part of the third-place bag) pushed the scales to 7.77 pounds.”
The black bass fishing on Texoma often gets overshadowed by the outstanding striped bass fishery.
BASSfest was held on Lake Texoma last summer and more major bass tournaments would be held on the lake if there were better facilities, Gilliland said.
“I think the only thing that really prevents Texoma from being much higher on the radar of a lot of people is the fact the facilities, especially on the Oklahoma side, are just not there for having large tournaments,” Gilliland said.
“So, it doesn't get the exposure a Grand Lake does or Guntersville (Alabama) or some of those top tier places that tournaments go. The quality of fishing is there. The facilities are just not up to par.”
As far as diversity, Texoma stands out. Like Don Wallace used to tell to me, “You can always catch something on Texoma.”
Texoma's menu of stripers, white bass, trophy blue catfish, crappie, black bass, etc., is next to none.
As far as Grand Lake, Bassmaster.com said: “This lake continues to impress, producing hefty tournament limits. A BFL event in April featured two 21-pound sacks, and the Top 5 anglers had to average 3 pounds just to make the cut. Also in April, a USA Fishing Trails event was won with 20.25 pounds, and in March, it took 27.87 pounds to win a Nichols Marine team event. That limit included an 8.86 pound anchor.”
Bassmaster Magazine bases its rankings on bass tournament results, spring electrofishing surveys on lakes by state wildlife agencies, and interviews with BASS Nation members, state biologists and conservation directors.
The rankings are compiled using a mix of science and subjectivity.
What's interesting about this year's Central Region rankings is the additions of Lake Waco, Texas at No. 19 and Millwood Lake, Arkansas, at No. 20.
“(Lake Waco) surprised me,” Gilliland said.
Millwood Lake is near the Oklahoma and Louisiana state line in far southwest Arkansas.
“Talking to one of the Arkansas biologists a few weeks ago, he said, ‘Man, it's just been on fire for bass,'” Gilliland said.
Bassmaster Magazine's list is largely based on bass tournament results, so if a good bass lake doesn't allow tournament fishing, it's unlikely to be mentioned.
“One that comes to mind in Oklahoma is Dripping Springs,” Gilliland said. “Because of the regulations there (City of Okmulgee), they don't allow bass tournaments. It's a great lake and it's got a tremendous trophy bass potential, but it's one that doesn't get on the typical radar of magazines.”
Bassmaster Magazine's top bass fishing lake in the Central Region was Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota. It was followed by two Texas lakes, Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Falcon Lake.
Texas had 11 lakes in the top 25 counting Toledo Bend and Caddo, which it shares with Louisiana, and Texoma, which it shares with Oklahoma. The majority of Texoma's waters, however, are in Oklahoma.
To view the complete list of rankings for each region, visit bassmaster.com.