Lake Texoma is the twelfth largest lake in the United States and covers 89,000 acres. The only lake in Oklahoma larger than Texoma, is Lake Eufaula with 105,500 acres. Construction began in August 1939 and was completed in February 1944. It is one of the most popular Federal recreation facilities in the country, with more than 6 million visitors annually. In 1999 Texoma ranked first among Corps of Engineers lake projects nationwide. Texoma has over 800 campsites and 40 miles of equestrian trails. Texoma has miles of natural shoreline and beautiful beaches, some only accessible from a boat. The deep water of Lake Texoma allows larger vessels to navigate freely. The large size of the lake also insures a less crowded experience than most other lakes.
While Texoma has little aquatic vegetation, it does offer cover in structures such as rocks/boulders, standing timber, submerged stump beds, channels, rocky bluffs, sandy flats, and rip-rap along Denison Dam and elsewhere. Of the 580 miles of shoreline, there are approximately 9 miles of rip-rap, 50 miles of standing timber, and 50 miles of submersed aquatic vegetation. The remainder is cut banks, sandy beaches, rocky shoreline, and bluffs. A shoreline development ratio of 13.88 indicates an irregular and branched shoreline, which also increases habitat for fish.
Striped Bass Information
In colonial times Striped Bass were so plentiful that at one time they were used to fertilize fields which led to the first conservation law of the new world in 1639 forbidding the use of striped bass as fertilizer.
Striped bass are anadromous, which means they live their adult life in the ocean but travel up freshwater rivers to spawn.
When Santee Cooper Lakes were impounded in the late 1940s in South Carolina, it trapped some striped bass that had gone up river to spawn. These fish not only survived, but thrived on the large number of shad present in the lake. This caught biologist's attention and the fish were transplanted into other land-locked lakes.
Striped bass is a silvery fish that gets its name from the seven or eight dark, continuous stripes along the side of its body.
Female striped bass can mature as early as age 4, however, it takes several years (age 8 or older) for spawning females to reach full productivity.
Spawning is triggered by an increase in water temperature and generally occurs in April, May and early June.
Once a female broadcasts her eggs in the current, they are fertilized by milt ejected from a mature male (age 2 or 3). Depending on the size of the female, one female can lay from 14,000 (3 pounder) to 3,000,000eggs (10 pounder). A thirty pound female is capable of producing as many as five million eggs. In a fast moving current, the eggs hatch out at a considerable distance downstream from the spawining place. At the time of hatching, the tiny transparent fish, less than 1/4 inch long emerges with a heavy yolk sac attached. It derives nourishment from this sac. The fry at this stage is at the mercy of the water currents. Within four to five days, the yolk sac is absorbed and the fry begins to swim and feed on small crustaceans.
The fertilized eggs need to drift downstream with currents to hatch into larvae. A flow velocity in the river of approximately one-foot per second is required to keep the eggs afloat. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it's chances of hatching are reduced because the sediments reduce oxygen exchange between the egg and the surrounding water. This need for flowing water to hatch is the reason Striped Bass don't naturally reproduce in Resorvoirs and lakes across America and must be stocked by the Fisheries Department of each state where Striped Bass are located.
The fact that Lake Texoma has such a long, and strong river current system, enables Stripers to flourish and reproduce naturally here. Stripers have not been stocked in Lake Texoma since the 1970s.
Striped Bass males usually reach sexual maturity at two years. Females can reach maturity at four years. Nearly all of the females are mature at five years of age when they reach a weight of six pounds or a length of twenty-three inches.
Eggs hatch 29 to 80 hours after fertilization, depending on the water temperature, The larvae's survival depends primarily upon events during the first three weeks of life.
Eggs and newly hatched larvae require sufficient turbulence to remain suspended.
The larvae begin feeding on microscopic animals during their downstream jouney.
The mouth forms in two to four days, and the eyes are unpigmented.
The larvae are nourished by a large yold mass. Eggs produced by females weighing 10lbs or more contain greater amounts of yolk and have a greater probability of hatching.
Larvae begin feeding on their own about five days after hatching.
Stiped bass larvae feed primarily on zooplankton in both larval and mature stages, and cladocerans (water fleas).
Adults are piscivorous, or fish eaters. soft ray fish like shad make up their primary diet. They do not like to eat spiny fish for the most part and therefore are not a threat to other species of fish like Black bass and Sand Bass. It has been shown the the population of competing fish DO NOT suffer as a direct result of Striped bass eating the competing fish's fry. The extra shad being consumed by striped bass has also been shown NOT to adversely affect the population of competing fish.
The rumors that Stripers deplete the population of other fish is just a MYTH and has not been verified by any biological survey.
The largest striped bass ever recorded was a 125 pound female from North Carolina, in 1891.
The oldest ever recorded was 31 years of age.
The average 6-year-old female striped bass produces 500,000 eggs, while a 15-year-old can produce over three million eggs.
FISHING TIPS AND TACTICS Channel catfish are taken near the mouths of creeks after a rain, especially in spring and fall. In late spring and early summer, they are found around rocky shores and areas of rip-rap. Best baits are shrimp, blood bait, cut bait, dough bait, and shad gizzards. In summer, try drift-fishing shrimp across flats. Sunfish and large minnows also pay off here.
Blue catfish are caught on many of the same baits; however, these fish migrate downstream or into the main pool area in winter and upstream in the spring.Try juglining with live gizzard shad for bait. A rod and reel baited with live shad on windless winter days works well, too.
Flathead catfish are infrequently caught by rod and reel anglers, but most often by trotlining with live sunfish for bait.
Crappie fishing is best in fall and winter, when fish tend to school in large numbers and concentrate around boat houses, submerged trees, creek channels, and brush piles. While minnows are the bait of choice, crappie are caught on a variety of jigs. The spring spawning season, when they move in shallow, is also an excellent time to fill your creel.
White bass are vulnerable to angling when they migrate upstream on the Red and Washita Rivers or the many tributary streams around Lake Texoma. Two to three weeks prior to the migration, they concentrate around the mouths of the tributary streams and become easy prey. At other times of the year they can be found surfacing around the lake and feeding on threadfin shad. Effective baits include small surface baits in silver, white, yellow or chartreuse; silver spoons; slabs; and minnows.
Striped bass migrate up both major river arms in February, and can usually be located in or near the river channel in the vicinity of the Willis or Roosevelt Bridges. They may take surface lures, but most often they are caught on heavy jigs, slabs, plastic shad, and live gizzard shad. After the spring spawning run, stripers can be caught with shad over flats near the river channel in the main part of the lake. Trolling with deep running lures can also be productive. Stripers surface frequently in summer, fall, and winter, attracting diving sea gulls, who also like to feed on threadfin shad. Surface baits can produce some mighty tackle bustin' strikes, and so can plastic shad retrieved rapidly just under the water's surface.
Largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass can be caught pretty much year round, but they are caught closer to the shoreline and around structure. While largemouth and spotted bass are found lakewide, smallmouths are mostly limited to the bluffs around Eisenhower State Park, Denison Dam and up the Washita River arm to the Willow Springs area. Since all three species spawn in the shallows, that's the best place to fish for them in the spring. Fish around grass and brush with crank baits, surface lures, spinners, and Carolina rigged worms. As the water warms and bass move offshore, switch to Texas rigged worms, deep diving crankbaits, and surface baits early in the morning. Concentrate on submerged structure such as rocks, boulders, stumps, logs, channels, and secondary points. Fall bass fishing can be very exciting on Lake Texoma. Work crank baits around brush and off rocky shorelines for largemouth and spotted bass.
Texoma is known as the Striper Capital of the World.
Stripers were originally a marine or estuarine species. An anadromous spawner (ascends freshwater streams to spawn), striped bass became landlocked in an artificial impoundment near the Atlantic coast. They adapted so well to that environment that many states, including Oklahoma, began transplanting stripers. Striped bass can reach weights of 40 pounds or more.
Free-flowing current in the Red River makes Texoma one of the few lakes in Texas with a self-sustaining population of striped bass, and one of only eight inland freshwater reservoirs worldwide where this species has spawned. A cousin of the white bass, striped bass were first stocked in Lake Texoma by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965. They began spawning in 1974.
Bait I use.
Threadfin Shad: Threadfin shad are the most common shad. They are the easiest to catch. They live in lakes, large rivers, and reservoirs. Although not native to most reservoirs, it has been widely introduced into them as a forage species. Threadfin Shad feed on plankton and range in size from 1 to 6 inches. They are sensitive to cool temperatures, and decrease swimming and schooling activities at temperatures of 45 deg. and below.
Gizzard Shad: Gizzard shad are found in schools, and prefer calm, productive, warm waters. Although they can be found in rivers and streams. Their habitat also includes natural lakes and ponds. They feed almost entirely on microscopic organisms. They are widely abundant in all of the larger streams and lakes. Gizzard shad range in length from 2-14 inches, and are harder to catch than Threadfin shad. You will usually only be able to catch them 1-2 at a time in your cast net. Large Gizzard shad are one of the best live baits for catching trophy Stripers. They are also great as catfish bait, hooked right behind the dorsal fin.
Spotted bass have a minimum length of 14". Combined bag limit for spotted, largemouth and smallmouth bass is 5 fish/day.
For striped bass and hybrid striped bass, the combined daily bag limit is 10. There is no minimum length, but only 2 fish 20" or longer can be retained each day.
White bass have no minimum length and a daily bag of 25 fish.
For blue and channel catfish, minimum length is 12" and daily bag is 15 fish. Only one fish can be 30" or longer
For flathead catfish, the minimum is 20" with a bag limit of 5/day.
Black and white crappie have a 10" minimum length and a combined daily bag of 37 fish.