Thinking of a trip for some epic trout fishing in Oklahoma? Whether you’re a local or you’re coming from out of state, Oklahoma offers some great opportunities for trout fishing throughout the year.
From abundantly stocked rivers and lakes for brilliant winter trout fishing to the year-round opportunities from the two major trout rivers, the best fishing in Oklahoma rivals any in the US.
We’ve got you covered with this rundown of everything you could ever need to know about trout fishing in Oklahoma. From the license you’ll need to the fishing regulations and the best lakes in Oklahoma, you’ll find it here!
Title image courtesy of Broken Bow Lake Guide
Oklahoma Fishing License
To fish in Oklahoma, you’ll need a resident or nonresident fishing license as applicable. However, there’s no need to purchase a trout permit as this is included in the fishing license.
The Oklahoma Wildlife Department has made it really easy for you to buy your fishing license with a brand new mobile app. You can purchase your license online here – there’s a $3 processing fee.
Alternatively, you can buy it from any of the 700+ license dealers across the state, including bait shops, convenience stores, sporting goods stores and more. If you need any fly fishing accessories to get the job done head over to our recommendations. You can also register with Field and Stream discounts for price reductions and cashback on gear nationwide.
Oklahoma Fishing Regulations
You’ll need to know the Oklahoma fishing regulations before you set out, but don’t worry – they’re pretty straightforward.
Anyone fishing in Oklahoma waters must have a fishing license. The daily limit is 6 rainbow trout and 6 brown trout, generally with no minimum size limit. But do take care, because certain sections of the Blue River, Lower Mountain Fork, and the Lower Illinois River have special regulations.
No culling (releasing fish caught earlier in the day) is allowed and you’re limited to catching fish with just one rod and reel. Take note that it’s artificial lures and flies only.
You can check out the Official Regulation Guide for 2018-2019 to find out more.
Oklahoma Fishing Report
You’ll want to have an idea of the OK fishing report before you head on out. You can find more or less regular Oklahoma fishing reports on the Wildlife Department’s website for the lakes and rivers across the state.
It’s updated most frequently – generally once a week – from the months of March to June which make up the peak fishing season in Oklahoma. You’ll find the Blue River fishing report here too.
But even outside of these times, you’ll find trouts fishing report from dedicated anglers and county game wardens who venture out to relate back the temperature, clarity, and elevation of the water and also how the fish are behaving. It’s a really useful resource to take a quick look at before your fishing trip.
Best Flies for Oklahoma
You want to have your fly box stocked with the best flies for the lakes and rivers in Oklahoma so that you’ll be reeling in a whopper in no time! You’ve probably heard it before but we’ll say it again: You’ve got to match the hatch! You’ll want to imitate the local insects as closely as possible to get those trout biting.
We recommend the Woolly Bugger, as always – it’s so versatile that it’s a must for trout fishing in Oklahoma.
The Gold Bead Pheasant Tale Nymph and the Parachute Adams imitate the mayfly nymph and the adult mayfly respectively. Mayfly nymphs can be found in all freshwater rivers and lakes, so these flies are a great choice to go for. You can see exactly when the insects will be hatching with the handy hatch chart here, so you’ll know which fly to pick when for the best chance of sucess.
Another great fly to have is the San Juan worm, which works particularly well in the Oklahoma tailwaters. Because it’s eye-catching and bright, the fish go crazy for this one.
Best Trout Fishing Lakes & Rivers in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has a generous trout stocking program which you definitely want to take advantage of! For year-round fishing in Oklahoma, your best bets are the two major trout rivers, the Lower Mountain Fork and the Lower Illinois Rivers. Both of these rivers receive regular trout stocking every week to two weeks throughout the year. The winter trout fishing opportunities are also impressive, with six seasonal fisheries and two easy-to-access urban trout fishing locations too.
Lower Illinois River
The Lower Illinois River is one of only two year-round fisheries in Oklahoma. The views are stunning, it’s teeming with wildlife and the fly fishing is excellent. You’ll find healthy numbers of both brown and rainbow trout in this amazing trout stream. With weekly fish stockings and 5 public access points, you’ve got a great chance of catching a trout or two.
Popular spots for fishing on the Lower Illinois River include the mile-long Lower Illinois Public Fishing Area, the public access area at River Road, and another public access area at Gore Landing, which boasts a campsite too.
There are some special regulations to be aware of. Click through to check out the full regulations for yourself.
Lower Mountain Fork River
With 12 miles of trout stream and frequent stockings of rainbow and brown trout, this river is a favourite of many fly fishers, and for good reason. The Oklahoma fish respond well to anglers, the river banks are easy to access and there are plenty of great little spots to set up for the day.
There are great access points at Beavers Bend Park and again at Presbyterian Falls. You can fish at any point along the 5 miles of river stretching through the Beavers Bend Park. It never gets too busy, so you can get lost in your fishing without having to elbow your way through the crowds for a fishing spot!
This river is divided into Blue Zones and Red Zones, with their own specific regulations. The first Red Zone spans from the first bridge across the Highway to the second bridge after Broken Bow Dam, and the second Red Zone stretches between the Dam at State Park and the Rough Branch Creek mouth. Here, you’re limited to one rainbow trout of more than 20″ and you may only use artificial flies and lures and barbless hooks.
The daily bag limit for brown trout anywhere on this river is 1 per day per person, again with a minimum size of 20″. In the Blue Zones, you can fish with bait and barbed hooks.
Take a look for yourself at some fly fishing on the Lower Mountain Fork River early on in the 2018-2019 season.
Although this river isn’t stocked year round, you should try to plan a visit any time from November through to March. During this period, you can take advantage of the regular trout stockings which take place every other week. The Blue River runs for 140 miles, but for trout fishing, you’ll want to head to the section near Tishmingo.
The Blue River fishing is rated as some of the best in the state, with sparkling, pure water, free access to the banks, and more than 6 miles of designated trout waters to practice your fly fishing in. The river has great character, with several small waterfalls, small pools, and varying depths. You can play around and try out the different spots and some new techniques here. Make sure you check the Blue River fishing report before you head out, as the stocking schedule can change according to the water temperature.
If you’re in southeast Oklahoma, the Blue River is the ideal location for you. But with the tempting option of free camping here, many avid trout fishermen and women make the journey to try out the waters on the Blue River. Why not pitch up for a few days and hone your fly fishing skills? You’ll be sure to take back an impressive haul of trout after a Blue River fishing trip!
It’s not the largest lake at just 55 acres, but Lake Watonga is still a great spot if you’re hoping to catch some trout. Lake Watonga is located in the Roman Nose State Park in central Oklahoma, and you can camp here if you’ll be staying for a few days.
Thanks to regular stockings throughout the winter and early spring months, the fly fishing possibilities make it worth a visit. If you fancy a challenge, why not take part in the trout fishing tournaments that are held here each spring?
Lake Carl Etling
You can find this lake in the Black Mesa State Park, Kenton, just 30 miles from Boise City. The setting is calm and quiet, and it’s definitely one of the best lakes in Oklahoma for fly fishing for trout.
The Wildlife Department stock rainbow trout in Lake Carl Etling from the beginning of November through to the end of April every year. You’ll be spoilt for choice with over 5 miles of banks. Our top tip is to head for the south bank berms.
Robber’s Cave State Park
Robber’s Cave is a tempting location for anglers: Healthy trout populations, easy river access throughout the State Park, the possibility for wading, and plenty of amenities nearby. Robber’s Cave State Park is located in Latimer County, just 5 miles north of Wilburton.
Robber’s Cave is stocked between November 1 and March 15. You’ll find the best trout fishing area downstream from Carlton Dam
Medicine Creek is the place to head to if you want to get away from the bustle and enjoy the peace and quiet of a day out on the river, fly fishing for trout. Go for the designated trout area downstream from Gondola Lake Dam all the way to the State Highway 49 bridge.
This area is also stocked regularly throughout the winter, and you can camp nearby at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge if you’ll be in the area for more than a day. The sidewalk that follows the east bank of Medicine Creek and the car park near State Highway 49 bridge are the best access points. Take note that a lot of the west bank is private property, so be careful not to trespass.
See for yourself what a gem the Medicine Creek in Oklahoma is!
Dolese Park Pond, Oklahoma City & Veterans Park Pond, Jenks
The Sooner State runs a ‘Close to Home Fishing’ program to make fishing more accessible to everyone, especially those living in urban areas and larger cities. Not everyone has the opportunity of the means to travel out to the lakes and rivers.
Thanks to this program, there are trout fishing opportunities at Dolese Park Pond in Dolese Youth Park, OK City, as well. You can snag some decent-sized trout here from December 1 through to February 28, though make sure you follow the special regulations in place in these areas. You may only use one rod and reel per person, and the daily limit is six trout each day. Neither wading nor culling is allowed, and you’ll need a state fishing license before you cast your line here.
There’s everything you need to know about fly fishing for trout in Oklahoma. We’ve covered the Oklahoma fishing regulations and the trout fishing report. You know where to find the best fishing in Oklahoma and what license you’ll need. So what are you waiting for? Here are the steps you need to take so that you’re ready for your next trip to catch some Oklahoma fish:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found it helpful in planning your next trout fishing trip in Oklahoma. Why not drop me a comment below to let me know which fishing spot you like the look of best?
Or if you’ve got any questions, just pop them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to get back to you. Now get out there and make the most of the amazing trout fishing locations that Oklahoma has to offer!