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Bass fishing action will heat up soon

Dale Miller of Panama holds the state record largemouth bass he caught from Cedar Lake in 2013. It weighed 14 pounds, 13.7 ounces. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
Dale Miller of Panama holds the state record largemouth bass he caught from Cedar Lake in 2013. It weighed 14 pounds, 13.7 ounces. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

Now is the time to fish for big bass in Oklahoma.

March provides more big bass action than any other month in Oklahoma. The top nine largemouth bass ever caught in Oklahoma waters, according to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s top 20 list, were all caught in March.

And the 10th largemouth bass on the list was caught on the last day of February. Fifteen of the top 20 on the list were caught in March.

Tiny Cedar Lake in Le Flore County in eastern Oklahoma has produced the two biggest fish ever caught in the Sooner state.

Dale Miller’s 14-pound, 13.7-ounce fish caught on March 13 six years ago is the state record. It beat the record set almost exactly one year earlier by Benny Williams Jr., who caught a 14-pound, 12.3-ounce largemouth from Cedar Lake on March 23, 2012.

The most recent addition on the state’s top 20 list was last year’s 13-pound, 6.4-ounce largemouth bass caught on Feb. 10 from Broken Bow Lake, a body of water that has produced four members of the top 20.

It’s tied with Mountain Lake near Ardmore for the most entries in the top 20. All of the fish from Mountain Lake on the top 20 list were caught in the 1990s.

Mountain Lake has kind of fallen off the radar with many Oklahoma bass anglers but still produces healthy bass. Only carry-in boats are allowed, which restricts the access.

Of course, the top 20 list is not a true top 20. Some big bass never get reported by anglers who don’t want to publicize a great fishing hole.

The list also hasn’t been updated to include two 14-pounders caught last March, one from Lake Murray and one from a Bryan County farm pond.

When it comes to bass fishing, Sardis, McGee Creek, Broken Bow, Murray and Arbuckle are the five designated trophy bass lakes.

Each year, they get 100,000 fingerlings of Florida bass put in them by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation because of their big bass potential.

Everyone also knows about the power plant lakes, Sooner and Konawa, but what about sleeper lakes for bass fishing? About 50 lakes in the state have received stockings of Florida bass in recent years.

Picking a fishing hole

After seeking input from state fishery biologists and other bass anglers, here’s a list of lakes that might not cough up a state record but can offer good bass fishing.

BIXHOMA — A small reservoir east of Bixby, the bass population has a good percentage of Florida genetic influence, and state wildlife officials have sampled many bass more than 10 pounds.

ONAPA — A small lake near Lake Eufaula that received some of the first stockings of Florida bass.

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Has a lot of quality fish, but you don’t hear as much about it because the City of Okmulgee doesn’t allow bass tournaments.

SPORTSMAN — You probably won’t catch a 10-pounder at the lake near Seminole, but it consistently has produced nice bass.

TALAWANDA LAKE NO. 1 — The oldest lake in Oklahoma, built in 1902. The 100-acre secluded body of water a few miles north of McAlester has produced 10-pound bass.

DURANT CITY LAKE — It gets stockings of Florida bass and occasionally coughs up a trophy bass.

ARDMORE CITY LAKE — Another lake that gets Florida stockings but is often overshadowed by the other bass fishing lakes in the region.

ELMER THOMAS — Across the road from Lake Lawtonka near Lawton, it’s a no-wake lake that produces good fish.

EUCHA — Just north of Jay, the lake has a knack for growing big bass. Multiple 30-plus pound, five-fish bags have been caught in bass tournaments in the past five years.

BELL COW — The lake near Chandler has a lot of standing timber and will produce 8- to 10-pounders, but you might have to fish a long time for a big bite.

STROUD CITY LAKE — Doesn’t produce very many big bass, but anglers get a lot of bites.

WATONGA — The bass get fat feeding on the rainbow trout stocked there in the winter.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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