Oklahoma doesn’t usually get as much of the spotlight when it comes to bass fishing, but the Sooner State is a haven of freshwater lakes and rivers where a variety of bass species thrive. The state is home to a number of different types of habitat where largemouth bass and other species can be found.
In this article, we’ll discuss our picks for the best bass fishing lakes in Oklahoma, as well as some of the more effective fishing techniques and lures you can use when fishing here.
Oklahoma Bass Species
Oklahoma lakes are filled with a wide variety of black bass fish species, including largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass. Many anglers flock to lakes in Oklahoma each fall for the state’s excellent crappie fishing opportunities. The state’s lakes are also home to some of the more rare black bass species like sand bass, but the rivers are full of giant striped bass and more common types of fish.
Oklahoma’s climate is somewhat warmer than much of the northern United States, which gives multiple species a longer growing season that results in big bass and big fish of all kinds. One of the great benefits of Oklahoma bass fishing being largely overlooked is that many of the state’s lakes are not as heavily pressured as you often find in other states.
The Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Oklahoma
Lake Texoma is easily one of the top bass fishing destinations in Oklahoma. Located along the Oklahoma-Texas border near southeast Oklahoma, Lake Texoma features nearly 90,000 acres that anglers can explore. As one of the biggest of the state’s lakes, this waterway is also home to a sizable number of striped bass that can be caught using a variety of shad-imitation lures like spinnerbaits and swimbaits.
My favorite spot to fish on Lake Texoma is around the Johnson Creek area where anglers can catch both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Try using a variety of soft plastic worms rigged finesse style around the mouths of creeks for smallies and stick to the lake’s rocky points and submerged brush to catch any largemouth hanging around in the spring and summer.
Lake Eufaula is another outstanding bass fishing destination in Oklahoma. Not to be confused with the lake bearing the same name that’s located along the Georgia-Alabama border, Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula is also a massive waterway with more than 102,000 acres of surface water. This lake features a large amount of submerged structure in many forms, which creates many types of bass fishing opportunities you can take advantage of throughout the year.
Fishing on Lake Eufaula is usually best during the spring and summer and bass anglers will focus on this structure to catch fish using anything from drop-shot techniques to topwater frogs. Lake Eufaula has many sections of shallow cover where bass will hunt for their next meal in low-light hours. My favorite spot to fish on this lake is around Porum Landing where there is both shallow and deep cover for bass to hide in.
Grand Lake is a 46,000-acre body of water that’s situated in northeast Oklahoma. This lake is well-known for its smallmouth bass fishing since the water is very clear throughout much of the year and fish take advantage of the deeper pockets and cool water temperatures.
I have caught smallmouth bass on Grand Lake using a Rat-L-Trap and deep-diving crankbaits in the fall, but these fish will also bite Carolina-rigged soft plastic worms around humps and shelves near deep water. This lake gets a lot of fishing pressure, so finesse lures are always a good option when the bite is slow.
Lake of the Arbuckles, which is often known as Arbuckle Lake, is another waterway that deserves to be mentioned among the top bass lakes in Oklahoma. Arbuckle Lake offers picturesque shorelines and plenty of largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing.
The lake has many deep sections that reach as far as 80 feet, making it ideal for smallmouth bass to thrive around the rocky points and ledges near the dam. During the summer, you can catch largemouth bass in Lake Arbuckle by using Texas-rigged soft plastics to punch through thick vegetation and brush piles.
Keystone Lake is situated near the state capital of Tulsa and features more than 26,000 acres of prime bass fishing habitat. This reservoir is formed by the Arkansas River and is widely known for its abundant numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
The best time of year to fish Keystone Lake is during the cool months of fall or spring when bass are more active due to lower water temperatures. Largemouths will usually hold along the bottom along points or leading into coves and can be caught using swimbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits during the fall. Its proximity to Tulsa means this lake gets a significant number of attention from pleasure boaters, making fishing tough during the daytime in summer.
Lake Tenkiller is nestled in eastern Oklahoma, which is known among locals as “Green Country,” and covers nearly 13,000 acres. The lake is surrounded by the scenic Ozark Mountains, offering anglers an incredible landscape and a very diverse underwater ecosystem consisting of deep channels and creeks that run into the lake.
Most anglers consider soft plastic worms to be the more common go-to lure choice throughout much of the year. I prefer to target any deep water structure such as submerged timber, large boulders or brush piles using shaky heads and Texas-rigged worms. My favorite areas to fish on Lake Tenkiller is around Snake Creek and Standing Rock Creek.
Cedar Lake is very often overlooked among Oklahoma’s best bass fishing destinations due to its size. However, this 86-acre waterway certainly punches above its weight when it comes to producing big bass. The lake is situated in the Ouachita National Forest and is a swimming and fishing-only lake that’s ideal for kayak angling.
There are plenty of opportunities to target underwater structures in and around Cedar Lake and spinnerbaits and crankbaits are usually the number one go-to lure choice when the bite is hot. There is also a great topwater bite throughout the summer and a popper or jitterbug lure works very well when fished around logs or brush piles.
Lake Oologah is another one of the more overlooked bass fishing sites in Oklahoma. This waterway is located in northeastern Oklahoma near the town of Oologah and covers about 29,500 acres. Black bass fishing is very popular here as there are many different types of fish to be caught.
I like to fish Lake Oologah during the spring just before the spawn when hungry bass will strike at just about anything. I have caught multiple largemouth bass that tip the scales at more than 5 pounds using a jerkbait to fish around points during the month of March.
Focus on the area around Verdigris River for the best fishing during the spring and early summer where bass will strike at spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and Rat-L-Traps until the water temperature gets past the 75-degree mark.
Broken Bow Lake
Broken Bow Lake is another top Oklahoma bass fishing destination that’s situated in the Wichita Mountains. There are more than 14,000 acres of surface water on Broken Bow Lake and the water’s depths can be nearly 200 feet in some areas, making these waters ideal for smallmouth bass fishing.
The best fishing takes place around the lake’s submerged timber, rocky structures, and abundant vegetation during the summer months. I like to fish in water that’s at least 15 feet during the hotter months where bass will take refuge around deep structure. The area around Mountain Fork River is typically best and big bass will usually hit anything resembling a shad.
Lake Hudson is one of the more well-known places to catch smallmouth bass in Oklahoma. This body of water is situated near the town of Salina and covers about 12,000 acres, where there are plenty of places where anglers can catch largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.
The best spot to fish on Lake Hudson is around the Pensacola Dam area where there is a great deal of underwater structure. I like to fish Lake Hudson anytime during the spring, summer, or fall as largemouth and smallmouth bass will usually bite a slow-rolled spinnerbait or crankbait. Anglers have caught numerous giant bass around the shallow cover near the lower end of the lake as well.
Lake Eucha is a relatively small body of water that’s best known for its catfish opportunistic, despite having a decent population of largemouth bass. This lake is just under 3,000 acres and offers a more secluded, peaceful fishing experience compared to some of Oklahoma’s more popular bass lakes.
This lake features a number of rocky points where smallmouth will usually congregate during the fall and spring as they prepare for the spawn. A good all-around lure like a chatterbait typically works very well for lakes like Eucha as it allows you to fish in deep and shallow water around all kinds of cover. Of course, soft plastics work very well here when the water temperature rises in the summer as well.
Lake Lawtonka is what many anglers would consider to be a “hidden gem” among the various bass lakes in Oklahoma. This one is not necessarily a massive lake at just under 2,400 acres, but it does feature plenty of deep water and submerged structures where largemouth and smallmouth thrive.
In fact, the state record smallmouth bass was caught in Lake Lawtonka in 2012 and tipped the scales at more than 8 pounds. Bass anglers tend to focus on deep brush piles or steep rock ledges along this waterway and fishing is usually best in the early spring or fall in this small lake. Largemouth bass will often stay near the shallow waters during these months and can be caught on various shad imitations.
Sardis Lake makes a strong case for being among the top bass fishing waterways in the Sooner State. This 14,000-acre body of water sits in southeast Oklahoma and is a popular destination for bass tournament participants. Sardis Lake is known for having Florida strain bass, which tend to grow much faster and larger overall than other species of black bass.
This is another popular lake for boating and skiing, so night fishing in the summer is my favorite time to visit Sardis. Topwater lures are very effective when fished around the shallow structure at night and buzzbaits tend to excite bass and almost force a bite when fishing seems to be slow.
Fort Gibson Lake
We could probably place Fort Gibson Lake higher on our list, but there is a considerable amount of fishing pressure on this lake compared to most others. Fort Gibson Lake is nearly 20,000 acres in size and features mostly shallow water compared to many of the other lakes on our list.
Anglers fishing Fort Gibson Lake will undoubtedly notice the difference in water clarity here as the muddy tone creates ideal conditions to catch black bass species like largemouth. My go-to lures on this lake include just about any kind of Texas-rigged creature bait fished around brush piles or any other type of structure.
Lake Carl Blackwell
Lake Carl Blackwell is located in north-central Oklahoma near the city of Stillwater. This waterway is a small lake that’s roughly 3,300 acres and is known as a good lake for kayak bass fishing. There are lots of structure and cover around the shoreline of Lake Carl Blackwell and plenty of trophy-sized bass to catch.
I prefer to fish using a heavy jig when kayak fishing on Lake Carl Blackwell, but fishing from a bass boat makes it easier to fish with lures that have a higher cast-rate such as spinnerbaits and crankbaits. You can usually coax bigger bass out of heavy cover by fishing a wacky rig just outside brush piles on this lake.
Oklahoma Bass Fishing Rules and Regulations
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recommends anglers keep black bass species of a certain size as a means to cull smaller fish and allow larger ones to grow into the trophy-size category.
Be sure to read up on the rules and regulations when fishing in Oklahoma or any other state’s lakes. Anglers are allowed to keep any largemouth or smallmouth bass that are at least 14 inches from head to tail. The current bag limits on largemouth and smallmouth bass are 6 per day, while anglers may only keep one fish of either species measuring more than 16 inches per day.