Lake Eufaula is the go-to place for crappie fishing in Oklahoma
LAKE EUFAULA — Timing is everything.
The sounds of a filet knife whirring in the background while I was crappie fishing left me hopeful but with the realization I had already missed the early morning bite Tuesday on Lake Eufaula.
At the invitation of our friend John Meyer, Gary White and I left Edmond for Duchess Creek on Lake Eufaula Tuesday to crappie fish with Meyer, who has a trailer on the lake. We were hoping to sack them up from the dock where Meyer rents a boat stall.
We made a quick stop by the donut shop and by Academy for some Bobby Garland crappie jigs then were on our way, but by the time we arrived at the lake Tuesday a couple of crappie fishermen already had a basket full of fish.
April is typically the best month for crappie fishing, and Lake Eufaula is the go-to place for many anglers. We were fishing on the north side of the lake, but the south side near Crowder is the real hot spot for crappie.
The town of Crowder has about 300 residents, but that easily doubles daily when the crappie are biting.
“Lots and lots and lots of crappie fishermen right now,” said Dale Motley, owner of the Lakeside One Stop convenience store in Crowder. “Crowder is the crappie capital of the world.”
Motley has owned the store for 17 years. April, May and June are his busiest months of the year because of crappie fishing. Thousands of crappie anglers come through the store during the spring.
The store has a café, sells minnows and crappie jigs, and is often the place local fishing guides meet their customers.
“There are probably 30 to 40 boats being put in at Crowder Point every day right now,” Motley said. “At a normal time of year, there are probably four.”
He’s met crappie anglers from all over the country who have come to Lake Eufaula to fish in the spring.
“I met one (Friday) who came from Michigan to crappie fish,” Motley said. “His grandpa told him this was the place to crappie fish.”
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation originally had scheduled the closure of a bridge near Crowder at this time, but the agency agreed to delay the start of repairs until June 1 because of the crappie season, Motley said.
Crappie anglers on Lake Eufaula are catching bigger fish on average than in recent years, Motley said. The crappie spawn, where the fish move into shallow water, is later this year on the lake, he said.
The fish are scattered, with males being caught in about 3 feet of water at present while most of the big females are still in deeper water, Motley said. But the fishing has been good, he said.
Motley grew up in Crowder and knows the southern waters of Lake Eufaula like the back of his hand.
“Right now, anybody ought to be able to go catch fish, especially if you have a boat and you have any lake knowledge at all,” he said.
Bank anglers are catching crappie, but the best fishing from the shore is still to come, he said.
Motley holds a monthly crappie tournament at his store and gives $40 of Beaver Bottom baits to the angler who catches the largest crappie for the month. The angler catching the biggest of the year gets a new Todd Huckabee fishing pole.
There is no entry fee. Anglers just need to bring the crappie to the store to be weighed, but the fish must be alive.
Right now, the leader for April is a crappie that weighed 2.8 pounds.
“Last year an 82-year-old woman caught a crappie that weighed 3.78 pounds fishing from the bank at Massey Point,” Motley said.
Back on the other side of the lake, a 3-pounder had already been caught this year from Meyer’s dock. Meyer showed me the photo to prove it.
Gary and I planned an overnight stay on our fishing trip, so we got a second shot at the early morning bite on Wednesday, when I was able to catch a 2-pounder on a Bobby Garland Monkey Milk jig.
We didn’t catch any limits, but we were able to bring back enough for a fish fry. And there are still more than two weeks left in April.
C.A.S.T. for Kids event set for Lake Murray
The Lake Murray Yacht Club and C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation have teamed up to take children with disabilities fishing on Saturday, April 20.Since 1991, children with special needs have been matched with volunteers for an outdoor recreational experience through the sport of fishing, said Jim Behnken, the foundation's western regional director.C.A.S.T. stands for Catch a Special Thrill. As many as 40 children will get to go fishing on Lake Murray near Ardmore. Each child will receive a rod and reel, tackle box, T-shirt and photo plaque.Anyone with a boat interested in volunteering should call Ron Fields at 405-830-4410.Participants also will be treated to an Easter egg hunt, sponsored by the Lake Murray Yacht Club, following the fishing and luncheon.For more information, go to www.castforkids.org.