All The Fish Species of Lake Texoma




Every year, millions of fishing licenses are sold in Texas and Oklahoma. It continues to be a prevalent recreation for old and young alike, and Lake Texoma is a favorite destination to fish for sport and for fun. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) lists 28 species of fish that call Lake Texoma home.  

Lake Texoma has striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel and blue cats, black and white crappie. Other fish species found in the lake include types of carp, bluegill, gar and drum.


Lake Texoma Striped Bass (Lake Texoma "Striper")

Lake Texoma has earned the title, “Striper Capital of the World,” because the fish are easy to catch for novices and seasoned anglers alike. 

Striped bass are silvery, shading to olive-green on the back and white on the belly, with seven or eight uninterrupted horizontal stripes on each side of the body. Younger fish may resemble white bass. Striped bass have two distinct tooth patches on the back of the tongue, whereas white bass have one tooth patch. Striped bass have two sharp points on each gill cover, and white bass have one.

The striper is a schooling fish. They group up in big herds. That means you may catch one and then everyone onboard hooks up. They are curious creatures and aggressive feeders. During the spawn the stripers will group up in large schools. 

Thousands of hungry fish are chasing bait and are on a feeding frenzy. Early in the morning they will surface. The fish will corral the bait and will swim to the water surface. 

The stripers attack and splash the water with a vengeance. You can see this splashing from a long distance. 


Lake Texoma Largemouth Bass

At Lake Texoma largemouth bass are the second most sought-after fish.

Largemouth bass are green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. 

They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye. Except for humans, adult largemouth bass are the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem. Fry feed primarily on zooplankton and insect larvae.

Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish. Larger fish prey upon smaller bass.

In Texas spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60°F. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state. Males build the nests in two to eight feet of water. Largemouth bass prefer to nest in quieter, more vegetated water than other black bass, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs. 

The female can lay 2,000 to 43,000 in the nest; the male chases the female away guards the precious eggs. The young, called fry, hatch in five to ten days. Fry remain in a group or "school" near the nest and under the male's watch for several days after hatching. Their lifespan is on average 16 years.

Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. Sometimes several bass will gather in a very small area, but they do not interact. Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They also can be found hiding among plants, roots, or limbs.


Lake Texoma Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass are green with dark vertical bands rather than a horizontal band along the side. There are 13-15 soft rays in the dorsal fin, and the upper jaw never extends beyond the eye. Known maximum size in Texas exceeds 7.5 pounds. 

When water temperatures approach 60°F males move into spawning areas. Nests are usually located near shore in lakes; downstream from boulders or some other obstruction that offers protection against strong current in streams. 

Mature females may contain 2000-15,000 golden yellow eggs. Males may spawn with several females on a single nest. On average each nest contains about 2,500 eggs, but nests may contain as many as 10,000 eggs. 

Eggs hatch in about 10 days if water temperatures are in the mid-50's but can hatch in 2-3 days if temperatures are in the mid-70's Males guard the nest from the time eggs are laid until fry begin to disperse, a period of up to a month. As in black bass, fry begin to feed on zooplankton, switching to insect larvae and finally fish and crayfish as they grow.

Smallmouth bass prefer large clear-water lakes (greater than 100 acres, more than 30 feet deep) and cool streams with clear water and gravel substrate.

Although a large proportion reach maturity within a year, spotted bass found in spawning areas are usually three to four years old. Rock and gravel are usually chosen as suitable spawning areas at water temperatures of 57-74°F. 

Nest depths may vary widely. Females may lay between 1,150 and 47,000 eggs. Males guard the eggs during incubation and for up to four weeks after they have hatched. As young fish grow their diet shifts from zooplankton to insects, and finally to fish and crayfish.

Spotted bass seem to be segregated by habitat type from closely related species. They tend to be found in areas with more current than largemouth bass, and they usually inhabit areas that are too warm, turbid, and sluggish for smallmouth bass.


Lake Texoma White Crappie | Lake Texoma Black Crappie

Crappie, black and white combined, are the most popular panfish in Texas. The crappie group is the third most preferred group overall, ranking behind only “bass” and “catfish.” Crappies are sought after by both bank and boat anglers. There are ample opportunities around boat slips and marinas for angler without boats. 

Typically, minnows are the preferred bait, often producing monumental results when an aggregation is located, usually around submerged trees, boat docks, or other submerged structures. White crappies in excess of 4.5 pounds have been caught throughout various Texas waters.

White crappies are deep-bodied and silvery in color, ranging from silvery-white on the belly to silvery-green or even dark green on the back. White crappie has several vertical bars on the sides. Crappie’s dorsal fins have a maximum of six spines. Males can develop dark coloration in the throat region during the spring spawning season.

The black crappie is easily confused with the white crappie. However, it is deeper bodied than the white crappie, and silvery-green in color. 

There are no distinct vertical bars, rather there are irregular black blotches. The dorsal fin has seven or eight spines. Males do not develop specialized breeding coloration during spawning season.

Like other members of the sunfish family, black crappie are nest builders. They nest in the spring, generally when water temperatures reach 60°F. The biology of black crappie is very similar to that of white crappie. 

Growth in terms of weight is very similar between the two species. White crappie tend to have higher growth rates in terms of length, but black crappie are more robust in body construction. Black crappie adults feed on fewer fish, and more insects and crustaceans, than do white crappie.


Lake Texoma White Bass (Lake Texoma "Sand Bass")

White bass, also known as sand bass, are the fifth most preferred species among licensed Texas anglers. White bass that feed on shad generate much excitement in the fishing community. 

Once a school has been located, successful anglers often fish the surface with spoons or spinners. Bottom fishing at night with live bait may also produce great success. White bass are excellent fighters and are considered superb table fare. 

White Bass as with other true basses, the dorsal fin is clearly double, separated into spiny and soft-rayed portions. White bass are silvery shading from dark-gray or black on the back to white on the belly. Several incomplete lines or stripes run horizontally on each side of the body. Adult white bass resemble young striped bass, and the two are often confused.

White bass are active early spring spawners. Schools of males migrate upstream to spawning areas as much as a month before females. 

There is no nest preparation. Spawning occurs either near the surface, or in midwater. Running water with a gravel or rock substrate is preferred. 

Females rise to the surface and several males crowd around as the eggs and sperm are released. Large females sometimes release nearly a million small eggs during the spawning season. 

After release eggs sink to the bottom and become attached to rocks, hatching in 2-3 days. Fry grow rapidly, feeding on small invertebrates. White bass may grow eight or nine inches during the first year. 

Adults are usually found in schools. Feeding occurs near the surface where fish, crustaceans, and emerging insects are found in abundance. Gizzard and threadfin shad are the preferred food items. White bass more than four years of age are rare.


Lake Texoma Blue Catfish

Blue catfish is the largest freshwater sportfish in Texas. Where mature populations exist, 50-pounders are not unusual. Typically, the largest fish are caught by trotliners, some of whom have landed specimens in excess of 115 pounds.  The Texas rod-and-reel record is 121.5 pounds. 

The blue catfish or Ictalurus is Greek meaning “fish cat”, and furcatus is Latin, meaning “forked”, a reference to the species’ forked tail fin. Blue catfish have a forked tail and are sometimes very similar to channel catfish. However, only the Rio Grande population has dark spots on the back and sides. 

The number of rays in the anal fin is typically 30-35, and coloration is usually slate blue on the back, shading to white on the belly. Blue cats typically range from 20 to 40 pounds in size.


Lake Texoma Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are easily distinguished from all others, except blue catfish, by their deeply forked tail fin. Unlike flathead catfish, the upper jaw projects beyond the lower jaw. Coloration is olive-brown to slate-blue on the back and sides, shading to silvery-white on the belly. 

Typically, numerous small, black spots are present, but may be obscured in large adults. The anal fin has 24-29 soft rays, in contrast to the blue catfish which always has 30 or more rays in the anal fin.

Channel catfish spawn in late spring or early summer when water temperatures reach 75°F. Males select nest sites which are normally dark secluded areas such as cavities in drift piles, logs, undercut banks, rocks, cans, etc. A golden-yellow gelatinous egg mass is deposited in the bottom of the nest. 

Males guard the nest and may actually eat some of the eggs if they are disturbed. The eggs, if not devoured, typically hatch in about a week. Fry will remain in the nest, under the guardianship of the male, for about another week. In clear water, young fish appear to be much more susceptible to predation and survival rates during the first year of life are much lower.

Channel catfish less than 4 inches in length feed primarily on small insects. Adults are largely omnivorous, feeding on insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and even some plant material. Sexual maturity is reached in two or three years in captivity, whereas data from natural populations indicates channel catfish in Texas reach sexual maturity in 3-6 years. Most are mature by the time they reach 12 inches in length.

Channel catfish are most abundant in large streams with low or moderate current.


Lake Texoma Bluegills

Bluegills may be distinguished from other sunfish by the dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin, vertical bars on their sides, and a relatively small mouth. The spiny dorsal fin usually has 10 spines (but may have as many as 11 or as few as 9) and is broadly connected to the soft dorsal. 

The anal fin has three spines. The back and upper sides are usually dark olive-green blending to lavender, brown, copper, or orange on the sides, and reddish-orange or yellow on the belly. Colors are more intense in breeding males, and vertical bars may take on a reddish hue.

Bluegills begin spawning when water temperatures reach about 70°F. Spawning may peak in May or June but continues until water temperatures cool in the fall. Because of their long spawning season, bluegills have very high reproductive potential, which often results in overpopulation in the face of low predation or low fishing pressure. 

Nests are created in shallow water, one to two feet in depth. Gravel substrate is preferred. Fifty or more nests may be crowded into a small area, thus creating a spawning bed. Males guard the nest until the eggs hatch and fry leave. 

Young fish feed on plankton, but as they grow the diet shifts to aquatic insects and their larvae. Up to 50% of their diet may consist of midge larvae.

Bluegills are small fish that are fun to catch on light tackle, especially for children.




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Lake Texoma Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Lake Texoma Weather Forecast

Saturday

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 71

Saturday Night

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 54

Sunday

Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 69

Sunday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 44

Monday

Breezy

Hi: 51

Monday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 42

Tuesday

Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 53

Tuesday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 45


Lake Texoma Water Level (last 30 days)


Water Level on 12/4: 615.64 (-1.36)



Lake Texoma

Fishing Report from TPWD (Dec. 1)

GOOD. Water lightly stained; 57 degrees; 1.41 feet low. Fishing is similar as we enter in December. Striped bass continue to be good all over the lake, with bird action leading the way to the fish. Limits coming in around 1-10 feet of water using slabs, and when the wind up casting Alabama rigs, and swimbaits. Winter is the best time to catch trophy catfish. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors.

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