Regional Reports-Midwest

Lake Texoma

Early on any July morning, the "Striper Armada," 50 to 100 boats strong, sets out on sprawling Lake Texoma following schools of striped bass as they leave the cool, deep waters of the lake's main pool to chase their breakfast. The stripers drive shad along the bluffs and tremendous topwater action ensues. "You'll see a shad blow up out of the water, then you'll see a big washtub-sized boil underneath him," says fisheries biologist Paul Mauck. Concentrate your search for feeding bass around the railroad bridge and the dam on the north-south arm of the lake, on the Red River Arm along the Eisenhower bluffs and in the Two Rivers area. Use a seven-foot rod for extra casting range and be ready to throw shad-colored Pencil Pops or Chug Bug Big Bugs right at the surfacing fish. "Usually the striper will stun a shad before coming back and swallowing it," says Mauck. "That's when you want to have your topwater bait ready to cast right to the fish. Everybody else sees the fish rise, too. Sometimes you can have quite a few people casting to the same fish. It can get frustrating, but that's striper fishing on Texoma." Texoma's stripers range in size from 3 to 20 pounds. Surprisingly, the population is able to reproduce naturally due to the high salinity of the Red River, which flows into the lake. Contact: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (405-521-3851).