For bass fishing prospects on lakes larger than 1,000 acres, McGee Creek Reservoir in southeast Oklahoma appears to be a promising destination, according to spring electrofishing data released by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Covering 3,800 acres near Atoka, McGee Creek produced almost 139 bass per hour of electrofishing during this year^s surveys. That^s consistent with its performance last year, when it produced 143 bass per hour.
Ranking second was Dripping Springs Lake, which produced 115 bass per hour during this year^s electrofishing bass surveys. Lake Murray, in south-central Oklahoma ranked third with 104 bass per hour.
Ranking fourth was Sooner Lake (78 bass per hour), followed by Lake Texoma (76 bass per hour), Bell Cow Lake (57 pass per hour), Carl Blackwell (50 bass per hour) and Arcadia Lake (50 bass per hour).
If you^re interested in big bass, McGee Creek tops that list, too, based on this year^s results. For each hour of electrofishing, it produced 58 bass per hour longer than 14 inches. That^s a slight jump from 1997, when it produced 50 bass per hour longer than 14 inches.
Lake Texoma, a well-known striper hotspot, ranked second in that category with 38 bass per hour that were longer than 14 inches. It dropped slightly from 1997, when it produced 45 bass per hour over 14 inches. Ranking third was Lake Murray (37 bass per hour over 14 inches), followed by Lake Fuqua (29 bass per hour over 14 inches), Arcadia Lake (29 bass per hour over 14 inches) and Bell Cow (29 bass per hour over 14 inches).
“McGee Creek has a good forage base, good production and good recruitment, all of which indicate a healthy bass fishery,” said Kim Erickson, chief of fisheries for the Department. “From what we^ve seen over the last few years, it^s been a very consistent producer during spring sampling.”
Of lakes larger than 1,000 acres, Dripping Springs Lake produced the only bass that exceeded 10 pounds. It weighed 10.6 pounds. However, three other lakes produced bass larger than eight pounds, including Lake Lawtonka (8.9 pounds), Lake Murray (8.9 pounds) and Lake Fuqua (8.4 pounds. Bell Cow produced one that weighed 7.8 pounds.
Data from the springtime bass survey is divided between that collected from lakes larger than 1,000 acres, and lakes smaller than 1,000 acres. The data is used to determine the health and trends of individual bass fisheries. Regional fisheries management personnel capture bass using electrofishing equipment, and then they weigh and measure each fish before releasing them back into the water unharmed. The information helps biologists determine which lakes might benefit from specialized management techniques such as length and slot limits.
The Department rates a lake as high quality when it produces more than 15 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing. Quality lakes yield more than 10 bass over 14 inches per hour of electrofishing, and those which produce fewer than 10 per hour are considered below average.
In terms of total numbers of bass per hour, lakes that yield more than 60 bass of any size per hour are rated as high quality. Those producing 40 bass or more per hour are considered “quality” lakes, and less than 40 per hour are considered below average.