8 Top-Rated Oklahoma Trout Fishing Lakes and Rivers
Author Anietra Hamper is an avid angler who travels to cast a line into some of the best fishing and trout waters in the United States.
The state of Oklahoma is no stranger to anglers, especially those who are keen on catching some of the state's rainbow and brown trout. Rainbow trout are not native to Oklahoma, but the state has a robust fisheries program that has enabled trout to thrive in the Sooner State waters.
There are two year-round fisheries at the Lower Mountain Fork River and the Lower Illinois River, where trout are stocked every week or two, as long as the water is suitable for trout survival.
The state also has six seasonal fisheries that are stocked by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The seasonal fisheries are stocked from November through March or April, giving anglers an opportunity for winter fishing when it is more difficult to target other species.
Oklahoma Fishing Trail: This is a great way to learn about some of the top fishing waterways in the state. The trail includes six loops throughout Oklahoma organized by species and lakes. Several lakes and rivers popular for trout fishing are located along the trail, making it easy for anglers to specifically target trout or plan a longer visit to take advantage of the abundance of other fishing opportunities in Oklahoma, like bass fishing.
Fish Stocks: Oklahoma also has a unique program called Close to Home Fishing, in which 46 urban ponds and lakes are stocked with fish—meaning that anglers of all skill levels have easy access to fishing opportunities. Since trout thrive in colder water, the stocking program works well in Oklahoma. There are even free trout fishing clinics offered throughout the year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Fishing Gear: Anglers can use similar fishing gear for all the fisheries, as conditions are similar. Ultralight fishing gear with four- to six-pound test line and small hooks can provide some of the best action on the water. Trout are also responsive to regular angling gear using small jigs or spinners and prepared bait or live bait.
Trout fishing regulations, including daily and size limits, restricted areas, and license information is available at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Find the best spots to cast your line with our list of the top Oklahoma trout fishing lakes and rivers.
1. Lower Mountain Fork River
The Lower Mountain Fork River is a year-round trout fishery along a 12-mile stretch north of Broken Bow. The river is on the Oklahoma Fishing Trail and is stocked regularly with rainbow trout and occasionally with fingerling brown trout.
The Lower Mountain Fork River is fantastic for trout fishing because not only is it scenic, but it offers trout anglers a variety of water, from deep pools and riffles to calm stream sections. Nice-sized trout can be caught throughout the year, but your best timeframe to target trophy fish is November through March.
A popular five-mile stretch for anglers lies within Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County, providing easy public access to the water. There is unlimited bank access in the state park and downstream to the dam.
Boat ramps are located above and below the re-regulation dam. For anglers who want to make a weekend trip out of it, there are camping and cabin rentals available within Beavers Bend State Park.
Read More: Best Waterfalls in Oklahoma
2. Lower Illinois River
This is the second year-round trout fishery in Oklahoma that includes a nearly eight-mile section of the Illinois River, from the Tenkiller Ferry Dam to the U.S.64 bridge near Gore in Sequoyah County. Anglers can fish for stocked rainbow trout. Occasionally this river is stocked with fingerling brown trout. One of the best public access points is a one-mile stretch along the Lower Illinois River Public Fishing Area.
There are only a few areas available to fish from the bank on this section of water, so most of the trout fishing will require waders. You can find some family-friendly bank fishing access points just downstream from the dam.
To reach the area, head north on State Highway 100 from Gore about four miles. Turn east onto county road E0990 and travel about one mile to the entrance. There is a designated parking area since the access points are walk-in access only.
There are four other public access points along the designated trout stream, including a popular spot that accesses a pool in the river located immediately below the dam where trout fishing is allowed even during high power generation.
Other public access points are located at the River Road Public Access Area (about six miles downstream from the dam) and The Gore Landing Public Access Area, which has a boat launch ramp and camping facilities.
3. Blue River
The Blue River is a seasonal winter trout fishery that is stocked from November 1 to March 31, giving anglers a chance to throw their line during the colder months.
The Blue River itself is a tributary of the Red River and flows for 140 miles. It is a popular fishery along the Oklahoma Fishing Trail, and it is stocked with rainbow trout about every two weeks.
The trout-designated section is a six-mile stretch that runs through the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area near Tishomingo. The trout stream can be accessed from the bank or by wading. The stream has a series of pools and plunges, giving anglers a variety of depths and techniques to try for brown and rainbow trout.
Primitive camping is available at the Blue River campground, which is also where you can find a few fishing spots that are more suitable for families.
4. Medicine Creek
The Medicine Creek Trout Area runs through the town of Medicine Park and through the foothills of the Wichita Mountains. For anglers who are looking for a peaceful day on the water as much as a great fishing opportunity, Medicine Creek will not disappoint.
This creek is stocked with rainbow trout from November 1 to March 15. The region offers one of the best weekend getaways in Oklahoma, so you can plan several days here just fishing and enjoying the outdoors.
The easiest access points are from the sidewalk on the east side of the creek. There is another public access point north of the State Highway 49 bridge where you will also find parking.
The west side of the creek, while primitive and pristine, is not accessible by foot. Anglers should be aware of some private property in the area and heed "no trespassing" signs. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has camping facilities available.
5. Perry CCC/Lake Perry Park
Lake Perry has become a popular winter trout fishery for rainbow trout, located south of the town of Perry in the north-central part of Oklahoma. This 32-acre lake is stocked from November 1 to March 31, with some of the best catch rates in January and February. Lake Perry is only five miles off interstate 35, so it is a great trout fishery to target if you are looking for quick access to the water.
Most of the shoreline is accessible for bank fishing, and a boat ramp is located on the west side of the lake. Lake Perry is one of the easiest lakes to access for day fishing in the state, but if you are planning a longer trip there is nearby camping and hotel lodging.
6. Robbers Cave
The Robbers Cave trout fishery is a gem because of its versatility. There is ample accessibility; the fishing is great; the scenery is unmatched; wade fishing is possible here; and it is located inside of Robbers Cave State Park, so lodging and other amenities like restrooms are in close proximity.
From the town of Wilburton, go five miles north on State Highway 2 to access the park. The trout fishery is a 1.5-mile stretch located on the south section of the park below Carlton Dam in the Fourche Maline River. There is ample bank access to the water, and wade fishing is available anywhere within the state park.
Winter stocking takes place from November 1 to March 15. There are camping facilities and cabins available at Robbers Cave State Park.
7. Sunset Lake
If you are looking for a spot for trout fishing that has easy accessibility and an abundance of stocked trout, then Sunset Lake in Thompson Park is a nice option. The 17-acre lake is encircled by a paved one-mile trail loop. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout from November 1 to March 31.
For anglers who are new to trout fishing, Sunset Lake offers an easy introduction, so you can focus on technique before heading into more remote streams and rivers in the state.
The park itself is a quiet retreat with plenty of wildlife to see while you are fishing, including elk and buffalo that are often spotted in the distance at the neighboring Game Reserve. The park has picnic areas and restrooms that are easily accessible from the lake.
8. Boecher Lake
Since Lake Watonga has not been stocked for several years due to dam repairs, the state is instead stocking rainbow trout in nearby Boecher Lake. This 20-acre lake sits within Roman Nose State Park and is stocked from November 1 to March 31.
This is a nice lake for families to enjoy because of the surrounding state park and the additional activities to enjoy beyond just trout fishing. The park is located just north of the town of Watonga where you can find lodging and restaurants.
More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com
Trout Fishing Destinations: For more ideas on trout fishing destinations, see our articles on Top Rivers for Trout Fishing in North Carolina, where you can find wonderful opportunities for fishing in the mountains. Also, don't miss our piece on Trout Fishing in Missouri.