"Striped Bass Are Biting All Day Long"

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) report excellent striped bass fishing over the last couple weeks. “Striped bass are biting all day long,” said Trey Hale, Marshall County game warden for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “The best bites are early morning and evening, but fishing is really great right now at Texoma.”

A quick check of the message boards shows that several individuals were having great trips, limiting out on fish and returning several over their limit amounts. Lots of big fish are being released too.

Lake Texoma Striper Guide Bill Miller reported catching a 5-person limit of stripers on Monday of last week by 6:45 in the morning. They were using artificial baits and medium action spinning rods.

Another guide, Striper Express reports that it is not only striper, but sand bass and hybrids all are hot right now.

“The striped bass population is really in good shape right now. And the number of fish over 20 inches has been impressive during the last few weeks,” Matt Mauck, south central fisheries supervisor said.

Surveys indicate that numerous stripers between 13-19 inches are abundant and 15-inch fish should be the most commonly caught by anglers. The Oklahoma state record striper stands at 47 pounds 8 ounces, and was caught on the lower Illinois River in 1996. The Texas state record is 53 pounds caught out of the Brazos River in 1999.

Stripers are voracious predators with a diet consisting mainly of threadfin and gizzard shad.

Anglers are allowed to keep two stripers over 20 inches in length and Mauck is urging anglers to exercise caution once they catch a limit of fish over 20 inches.

“This time of year schools of stripers will often move to deeper water to find cooler temperatures,” Mauck said. “There can be problems when you pull a big fish up quickly from 30 feet or deeper and then release it. Their air bladders cannot compensate for the quick changes in pressure and the fish may die.”

Mauck said the best thing to do is find another school of fish once anglers have caught two big stripers. Information on how to release the pressure on the striper’s air bladder can be found at www.sixoldgeezers.com.

Recent netting data showed that striped bass populations were higher at Lake Texoma than they had been in the previous 15 years. Fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department surveyed the Red and Washita river arms of the 88,000 acre lake which showed an excellent striped bass population. Gill net catch rates, a standardized survey method used by fisheries professionals to measure fish populations, showed the last year’s catch rates were the highest since 1987, and catch rates for large fish (those 20 inches or longer) were the highest since 1985.

Live shad and baitfish are excellent baits for catching big stripers. Other popular baits include white or yellow buck tail jigs, spoons, deep-running crankbaits and flashy spinners. Top water plugs are best when stripers are schooling at the surface. Stripers will also readily consume fly patterns that imitate shad.

Besides getting Texoma fishing reports on ODWC the Department’s Web site — wildlifedepartment.com, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website (TPWD), tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/fishreport. aditional information can be found at www.sixoldgeezers.com.

Those fishing Lake Texoma need either an Oklahoma or Texas annual fishing license, depending on which state’s waters they will be fishing, or anglers can purchase a Lake Texoma Fishing License. The Lake Texoma license allows an angler to fish the entire lake.

Here are some tips for catch are release striper fishing:

Fish as shallow as possible: If fish are in 60 feet water try catching them at 30 feet rather than at a depth of 50 feet, this helps reduce the bends.

When bait fishing, use circle-type hooks, designed for hooking fish in the mouth: One that has been successful is the Mustad “Croker Hook” size 1/0 to 2/0.

Release fish along the side of boat to reduce handling stress. Be sure to wet hands and towels before grabbing the fish. Boga grips are good tools for holding fish while removing hooks.

Cut line and gently release deep hooked fish.

When a limit of big fish (2 fish 20” or longer in length) are caught, move and find a school of smaller box fish rather than staying and releasing fish that want to float. Try to leave space in your limit for a fish or two that can’t be revived.

As a last resort, fizz floating striped bass by using a #18 -1 ½ “ or 2” hypodermic needle. See sixoldgeezers.com for a diagram and explanation. Hold fish in water along side of boat and let air bubble out till bubbles stop and fish swims away.

Slabbing for striper — One of the best ways to catch stripers is the use of live shad. But for some folks, that doesn’t present much of a challenge, and at times getting live bait can be rather difficult. Some anglers prefer to fool a striper by using an imitation bait such as a slab.

Slab spoons are large, heavy spoons that imitate an injured shad and attract a bite from a hungry striper. They are usually jigged up and down from the bottom to the surface while in the vicinity of a school of striped bass.

Using slabs is definitely an art from. To help you better succeed at reeling in a lunker try some of these tips from Ron Ludwig, owner of Prune Picker Slabs, and member of the Six Old Geezers fishing group.

Where and when to use a slab depends on the depth of water you are fishing in, and the way fish are hitting at the time. But here are some suggestions to try.

First of all keep your hooks sharp. “We even sharpen new hooks, and check our hooks all the time we are fishing for a dull point,” said Ludwig. “Carry a hook sharpener with you whenever you go fishing. “

If you have a locator, find the fish using it. If not, watch for fish surfacing on top. On a calm day you will be able to see their splashes quite a way of. If the sea gulls are in, watch for them feeding on the shad the fish are chasing, and fish below the gulls.

When you spot fish surfacing, don’t run in on them. Leave casting distance between you and other boats nearby. And cut the motor and try to coast in, leaving your motor running will chase off the fish.

When you see fish on your locator, in deep water, jig the slab up and down at the depth the fish are in. If they do not hit, try dropping your slab below them and then “burn” your slab in. This will, on occasion, catch the fish if they are not hitting by jigging the slab up and down.

If you are in shallow water (15’-20’), try casting your slab out into, or beyond the fish. Then work the bottom by reeling in and dropping back to the bottom as you retrieve your line. The bigger fish are below the fish feeding on top, picking up stunned shad as they fall. The only problem with this is, you will lose some slabs on the bottom if you happen to be in a rocky or stumpy area, and can not get your slab loose.

Check you line often for cuts by running your thumbnail down the last couple feet of line. Stripers have sharp fins and they can nick you line causing you to lose your lures (and fish), whether it be a slab or an expensive top water plug.

While the slab is dropping, keep a little tension on the line, as the fish will hit the slab on the drop, and you need to feel them hit, and when they hit, set the hook.

Use a medium action rod, not a stiff rod, it will allow you to feel the hit of a fish much better.

Here is another little tip that might sound just a bit crazy, but it does work. If you are marking a few fish, take an old rod and beat the water. This will draw the fish under you if they are in the area. You may have seen others doing this and wondered what the heck they were doing, it really works


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Mostly Sunny

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Mostly Clear

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Hi: 98

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Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/23: 620.12 (+3.12)

Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 75 degrees; 3.56 feet above pool. Striper fishing is great on live bait anchoring on humps in 20-30 feet of water and drifting flats in 15-25 feet of water. Topwaters are working early in the backs of creeks and along river channels. Catfish are good on cut shad and prepared baits. Channels are on the rocks and shallow flats in 10-20 feet of water. Blue catfish are on deep humps in 40-50 feet of water. Bass are slow on shallow crankbaits and top waters early along the banks. Look for bass in the shade during the day near docks in 8-15 feet of water. Shad fry are everywhere so downsize baits to catch numbers. Crappie are slow on jigs and minnows near docks and on brush piles using electronics to spot active fish in 10-18 feet of water. Report by Jacob Orr, Guaranteed Guide Service Lake Texoma. Water level continues to be high. Smaller striped bass are surfacing feeding on shad hitting topwaters and swimbaits. Slab bite is starting to turn on producing better quality fish in big schools in deep water. The slab bite will only improve. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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