Lake Texoma is one of only a handful of lakes in the United States with a naturally reproducing striped bass fishery. (Kelly Adams/ODWC)
Spring fishing is heating up and many anglers are checking their tackle and planning their next Oklahoma fishing adventure. One popular destination, southcentral Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma, offers so many fishing and recreation opportunities it has been nicknamed the “playground of the southwest” and “striped bass capital of the world.”
“Lake Texoma has a phenomenal fishery; this is a great lake for striped and smallmouth bass, and it’s produced some record catfish,” said Billy Bob Walker, Oklahoma Game Warden for Marshall County. “Beyond fishing, this is just a really pretty area that offers a lot of boating and outdoor recreation opportunities.”
The lake spans the Oklahoma-Texas border with at least two-thirds of the reservoir located in Oklahoma. Management of the fishery is shared between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“A resident fishing license is all you need if you plan to just fish the Oklahoma side of the lake. The $12 Lake Texoma license can be added if you want to fish both sides of the lake, above the dam,” Walker said. The Lake Texoma license allows anglers to fish the entire lake without having to purchase a resident or nonresident license. A valid resident or nonresident license is needed to fish below the dam.
“One really cool new thing is that you can buy and carry these licenses on your phone with our new license app.”
Licenses can be purchased through a license dealer, or by creating an account at wildlifedepartment.com. All sportsmen - especially lifetime license holders and returning customers - are urged to sign in to update their information and complete their account setup. The accompanying free mobile app from the Wildlife Department is available for both Apple or Android devices.
“The Wildlife Department works hard to make sure there are high quality fisheries across our state. Texoma is a just one example of that successful work here in southern Oklahoma.”
Lake Texoma Regulation Reminders
Consult the Oklahoma Fishing Guide for other statewide and Texoma-specific regulations.
- Measure fish as several length restrictions are in place for Lake Texoma. Among other length limits, all crappie have a 10-inch minimum length limit, no more than two striped bass may be 20-inches or longer, and no more than one blue catfish may be 30-inches or longer.
- The statewide daily limit of five striped bass applies to the Red River below the dam. Within the first 1,000 feet of water below the dam anglers must attach their name and license number to their stringer, and may use only two rods.
- Angling for alligator gar is suspended on Lake Texoma from May 1 – 31, between the Highway 377 “Willis” bridge upstream to the I-35 bridge. Otherwise the statewide daily limit is one alligator gar. Harvest must be reported to the Wildlife Department at 405-325-7288. This May 1 - 31 closure also includes the Haggerman National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
- To help keep the invasive bighead and silver carp out of Lake Texoma and other Oklahoma lakes, shad collected as bait from the lower Red River below Lake Texoma may not be used in other waterbodies. Stop the spread of other aquatic nuisance species by properly cleaning, draining and drying your boat and other watercraft.