Oklahoma Bass Fishing – Tips and Techniques

Oklahoma bass fishing

Oklahoma Bass Fishing – Tips and Techniques

This article on Oklahoma bass fishing  shares some awesome tips on fishing in the Sooner state. Oklahoma offers anglers excellent opportunities to catch not only largemouth bass, but smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and striped bass as well. Largemouth bass is king in Oklahoma, just as it is throughout the rest of the country. Anglers fishing tournaments target them over the smallmouth and spotted bass, simply because they are generally heavier. However, having the option to target the other species on a tough day is nice.

Meleah Meadows lives in Norman, Oklahoma, and knows her state waters well. Meleah is a bass tournament angler, having fished in several B.A.S.S. Qualifying and ABA events. She is a well-rounded angler and is generous enough to share her knowledge and experience on Oklahoma bass fishing with us here today.

Oklahoma bass fishing

Bass anglers need several different outfits in order to be successful in Oklahoma, and everywhere else. A 7′ medium action baitcaster with 12 pound braid is great for crankbaits and jerkbaits. Medium and heavy baitcasting outfits with braid or flourocarbon line work well for flipping docks and heavy cover, along with working Carolina rigs in deep water. A spinning rod with 10 pound flourocarbon line works well with lighter baits such as a shaky head. Meleah prefers to use Falcon or G. Loomis rods with a Shimano reel.

The best piece of advice Meleah gives to anglers bass fishing in Oklahoma waters is to be adaptable to the ever-changing conditions. It is not unheard of for a morning to be below freezing then warm up to the mid 80’s. This year in particular was challenging. The unpredictable weather made it difficult to develop reliable patterns. Spots that were productive one day were a muddy mess the next. Speaking of water color, Meleah prefers moderately stained water as it prefers a little camouflage for the line and bait. Oklahoma has a lot of red dirt. This can turn the water the color of chocolate milk. Some anglers like it dirty but it can make fishing tough as it is difficult for bass to locate forage.   Fishing in clear water brings it’s own challenges. Lighter line and tackle may be required. Anglers using braid will have to add a flourocarbon leader to make their offering less visible to the fish. Most Oklahoma lakes are stained, with Tenkiller and Lake Murray being the exceptions.

Oklahoma bass fishing tips; winter

Winter bass fishing in Oklahoma can certainly be challenging. Anglers will catch fewer bass, but the ones they do catch are usually nice ones. Weather will test any angler’s determination and resolve. It gets cold! Bass are cold blooded, which means their body temperature will be the same as the water temperature. Bass do not need to eat much or often when their metabolism is so slow.   Anglers targeting Oklahoma bass in the winter need to scale down their baits and fish SLOW! And by slow, that means painfully slow.

Generally, jigs and jerkbaits will produce some fish. Bass will school up in deep water on the submerged river channel edges, especially with cover. Sometimes these fish will suspend and can be tough to catch. Several sunny days may warm up the shallows enough for fish to move up on and feed a bit. Anglers still need to fish extremely slowly. However, persistent anglers can be rewarded with some quality fish this time of year. And, they will have the water all to themselves!

Oklahoma bass fishing in spring

Spring: spring will find the bass moving up shallow in preparation for their annual spawning. Meleah prefers a spinnerbait for spring Oklahoma bass fishing, especially for pre-spawn fish. It allows her to cover a lot of water relatively quickly. It is also a very versatile lure. Her favorite spinnerbait is manufactured by War Eagle. Her second choice, and first choice when seeking a trophy bass, is a swimbait. This lure is worked slowly, usually with a steady retrieve.

A swimbait does not cover as much water as a spinnerbait, but it will tempt larger fish. A 6 inch bait works well, but anglers seeking a trophy bass will use a bait as long as 10 inches. Meleah prefers to toss a swimbait on an Owner flashy spinner.   Soft plastic baits certainly produce for Oklahoma bass anglers. This is particularly true when fish are located or up on the beds. A Texas rigged plastic worm or creature bait slowly worked through the shallows will produce fish. Other productive baits are a wacky rig or a fluke, either weighted or unweighted.

Summertime Oklahoma bass fishing tips

Summer bass fishing can be challenging. Water temperatures will rise up, approaching 80 degrees. While bass move deep, Oklahoma lakes stratify. At times, there simply is not enough oxygen in the deeper water. When this occurs, the best spots are docks and brush piles in water 8 feet deep to 20 feet deep are usually the best spots to fish. Dusk, dawn, and night are the best times to avoid the heat and catch fish.   Meleah has a two-pronged approach when Oklahoma bass fishing in summertime. She likes to fish a Carolina rig deep.

River channel edges and bends with cover are prime spots. Anglers will encounter large schools of spotted bass at this time of year. Locating one of these schools of spots in deep water can result in fast action! The other pattern Meleah employs in the summer is to flip a soft plastic bait or jig under a dock or some shoreline shade in deeper water. Docks in 10 feet to 15 feet of water are ideal. The further back under the dock the bait can be presented, the better chance for a bite. Top baits are spinnerbaits and tubes.

Oklahoma bass fishing, fall strategies

Meleah loves fall bass fishing! As the water cools, the bass move up and are in the mood to feed. She enjoys power fishing in water around 3 feet deep or shallower with a Jackhammer chatterbait. A shallow diving crankbait such as a Lucky Craft or Rapala works well, too. Meleah uses a medium action rod and light line to maximize the fun. However, she keeps a heavy outfit with a jig tied on when it is time to slow down.   Rip Rap near bridges is an excellent spot to target fall bass in Oklahoma. The rocks hold crawfish and bait fish, which in turn attracts the game fish.

Topwater baits such as Whopper Ploppers, frogs, and buzzbaits are great fun first thing in the morning! Other productive fall spots include flats and coves. Oklahoma largemouth bass anglers have many options when choosing a place to fish. Meleah’s favorite lakes are Texoma, Tenkiller, and Murray. Other productive bass lakes include Grand and Eufaula.

Oklahoma smallmouth bass fishing

Smallmouth bass: Oklahoma smallmouth bass are most often targeted in the eastern Oklahoma Ozark and Ouachita stream systems. Smallies prefer clear, running water with a gravel bottom. Stream smallmouth bass are a lot like trout. They take up ambush spots in the current, places where they can dart out and grab their prey while expending as little energy as possible.

Eddies behind rocks, heads of pools and rapids, and deep holes in outside bends are all top spots. Baits that imitate crawfish such as olive, orange, rootbeer, and black jigs along with small crankbaits work well. Live nightcrawlers, minnows, and crayfish will certainly produce as well. Smallmouth bass are found in Oklahoma lakes as well. The best lakes to target them are Grand, Tenkiller, Murray, Eufaula, Texoma and Broken Bow. Smallmouth in lakes prefer similar habitat to spotted bass. Steep, rocky shorelines, points that drop off, and rip rap are prime spots for smallmmouth bass. Oklahoma offers anglers some world class river smallmouth bass fishing! The top spots include the Mountain Fork River, Illinois River, Glover River, Blue River, Little River, Baron Fork Creek, Arkansas River, Lee Creek, Kiamichi River, and Spavinaw Creek.

Oklahoma spotted bass fishing

Spotted Bass: Oklahoma spotted bass prefer cleaner water than largemouth bass. They are mostly found in these types of waters in Eastern Oklahoma. Spotted bass also prefer more current than largemouth bass and are often found in streams and small rivers. Crayfish make up the majority of their diet, so rocky bottoms and shorelines are prime spots.

Spotted bass will often be found schooled up in deep water. Smaller finesse baits work well on a drop shot or Carolina rig. Spotted bass are a great “backup plan” for anglers in tournaments having a tough time on largemouth bass. The best Oklahoma spotted bass lakes are Tenkiller and Texoma.

Oklahoma striped bass fishing

Striped bass: striped bass and hybrids (a striped bass white bass cross breed) are a bit different in habit than the other bass species. Stripers are an open water fish. While they do relate to structure such as river channel edges and drop offs, they mostly feed on shad and other bait fish in open water. Striped bass fishing is also excellent in the tailwaters of several dams. Lake Eufaula, Texoma, and Murray are great spots. Striped bass require running water to spawn. Several state records were landed in these types of tailwater fisheries.

Striped bass can be taken using a variety of techniques. Trolling with lures or live bait is efficient when they are schooled up in deep water. Striped bass will move shallow to feed in cooler weather and are often incidental catches by largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers. As stated above, rivers are excellent spots to target striped bass.

In conclusion, hopefully this article on Oklahoma bass fishing tips provided some great information that will help both resident and visiting anglers enjoy success! Anglers visiting Oklahoma can find current fishing regulations on state site.

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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