12 Great Bass Fishing Lakes in Oklahoma

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Oklahoma has more miles of freshwater shorelines than the entire East Coast, so anglers are sure to find incredible fishing across the Sooner State. 

Largemouth bass are by far the state’s most popular species of game fish, and several lakes in Oklahoma offer trophy-sized smallmouth and spotted bass.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) manages for better bass fishing opportunities across the state. They stock Florida Strain largemouth and place artificial brush piles in many lakes.

The opportunity to catch multiple Oklahoma lunkers with the winning stringers typically over 15 pounds for a single day is why it’s common for professional bass fishing circuits to regularly make a stop at an Oklahoma lake. 

That also means Oklahoma lakes are heavily pressured and require unique approaches to catch the biggest bass that lurk below the water’s surface. 

After reading this article, you will know where the best bass fishing in Oklahoma takes place and how to catch more bass at these locations.

How to Catch Bass in Oklahoma

Like in other states, the best bass fishing strategies for Oklahoma come down to external factors. The season in which you are fishing is one of the biggest of those factors.

While fishing conditions and best approaches also change day to day, the following tactics will set you on a solid foundation to start your bass fishing, depending on the season.

Spring Bass Fishing

During the months of March, April and May, the bass spawn reaches its peak. Bass are at their largest and most aggressive, so it’s the time of the year that offers the highest percentage chances at catching several big bass in one outing. 

The best lures to use during the spring are Senkos, swimming worms and top waters.

Bass will be looking to spawn, so shallow sandy or pea gravel flats will be the most likely place to find them.

Experiment with how you rig the lures for the best results. For example, you can start by Texas rigging the Senko, but if you’re not getting consistent bites, then try wacky rigging it.

Summer Bass Fishing

Summertime fishing in Oklahoma begins in June and continues through the dog days of summer.

The spawn has ended, and the water temperatures are reaching their peak.

The bass have probably moved offshore into deeper and cooler water, and overall they are less aggressive than they were during the spring.

The best lures for this time of year are deep-diving crankbaits, jigs and large soft plastic worms.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and depth ranges throughout the day.

On especially hot days, look for shady water. Bass use shade to stay cool, just like we do. 

Fall Bass Fishing

While it can still get hot, September marks the beginning of fall fishing in Oklahoma.

Furthermore, October and November are prime hunting season in Oklahoma, and fewer people are usually on the lakes fishing.

Fall is an excellent time to go fishing, with less competition at a time when the bass are becoming more aggressive again to store enough calories to make it through the winter.

Bass will begin to move back shallow during this time of year as the water temperatures begin to decline.

The best lures for fall bass fishing in Oklahoma are square bill crankbaits, frogs and spinnerbaits.

Because the bass are feeding so aggressively, if the bite slows down a subtle change of color or lure can quickly re-ignite the feeding frenzy.

Winter Bass Fishing

During the winter, Oklahoma bass fishing is at its least pressured state. Most anglers are hunting or taking care of family matters off of the water.

The months of December, January and February are some of the toughest months to catch bass, but if you do manage to get one to bite, it’s quite often a good one. 

Bass fishing in the winter in Oklahoma means you’re throwing lures like a Jerkbait, Alabama-Rig or flat-sided crankbait.

On warmer days, the bass might be shallow but near ledges or drop-offs so they can quickly get back to open water.

On especially cold days, don’t be afraid to look for bass in open water along steep depth changes.

The weather and water clarity will determine the colors you should be throwing but don’t forget the water is cold so the fish will be moving slower and so should your lure.

An angler's hands cradle a live largemouth bass just above the water of a boat's live well.
Photo courtesy of Wesley Littlefield

More Bass Fishing Methods

Read up on some additional productive ways to catch these great game fish in our Bass Fishing: Simple How-To Techniques and Tips.

Oklahoma’s Top 5 Trophy Bass Lakes

Listing all the bass fishing lakes in Oklahoma would require writing an article no one would want to read.

So instead, we are getting right to the five best Oklahoma lakes for the biggest bass, and then we’ll also uncover a good bunch more that are worth your attention if you like to catch bass.

The following locations come from personal experience and researching the lakes that consistently produce the most and largest bass in Oklahoma. They are all accessible to the public, so anyone who follows the suggestions in this article has a shot at catching a giant Oklahoma bass from one of these lakes.

Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees 

Commonly known as Grand Lake, or simply Grand by the locals, this huge reservoir at times has been ranked among the very best bass fishing lakes in the country by Bassmaster Magazine.

It also consistently makes the roster for the elite bass fishing circuits to fish, so you might want to time your trip for times when the competition isn’t quite so stiff.

Still, the lake is the third largest in Oklahoma, covering 46,500 surface acres, so there’s plenty of room to hold lots of hungry bass even when the bass boats are especially thick.

Located in northeastern Oklahoma, there are many houses for rent and resorts around the lake where you can stay, and in some places you also can rent a boat.

There are private boat docks all around the lake, and a few are available to the public for a small fee. The best way to catch bass at Grand is from a boat because there is so much water to cover.

While fish are caught all around the lake, there are locations where you are more likely to catch bass than others.

The docks are extremely pressured but still offer the chance at landing some fish. Some of the best fishing takes place in the creeks and rivers that flow into the lake. 

Because it’s a large lake, the best practice is to break the lake down into sections and fish those sections. It would take an angler a lifetime to thoroughly fish the entire lake.

Swimming, boating, and of course, fishing are the most common activities to do at the massive lake.

There’s plenty more to catch at Grand Lake, including some of the best catfishing in Oklahoma.

More: Grand Lake Fishing

Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake is a small 86-acre lake surrounded by hardwood and pine trees located in the Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma.

There are two fishing docks accessible from the campground, but if you want a chance at one of the monster bass, you likely will need to bring a small boat or kayak. Motors larger than 7½ horsepower are not allowed on the lake. 

Don’t let this lake’s size fool you. Cedar Lake has had two state-record largemouth bass come from it’s waters, with each of them weighing over 14 pounds. That’s why it easily made the top 5 best bass fishing lakes in Oklahoma.

The best time to catch a monster bass will be in the spring, but the lake is accessible year-round. It is a small and heavily pressured lake, which makes the fishing tough, but the ODWC stocks it regularly with largemouth and bluegill.

Hiking, picnicking, swimming, horseback riding (you must bring your own horse), and fishing are all fun activities you can do at Cedar Lake.

The campground offers primitive and electric camping with RV sites available. The restrooms are flush toilets and are a place for warm showers. 

Lake Lawtonka

Located in southwest Oklahoma, just north of Lawton, Lake Lawtonka offers anglers in this part of the state some of the best bass fishing in the Sooner State. There are two campgrounds, both with bathrooms and showers on site.

It’s an unusual lake for Oklahoma because it’s a rocky lake fed by small streams and it’s relatively clear. The lake is just under 2,400 acres in size, so it’s not a large lake by Oklahoma standards, but it offers plenty of fishing opportunities.

Lawtonka Lake has produced a state record smallmouth bass weighing over 8 pounds. The lake also has quality largemouth and also made our roundup of best crappie fishing lakes in Oklahoma.

In addition to the fishing, a day use swimming beach is also open to the public, and boating and various water sports are also popular.

Hiking in the Wichita Mountains is a short drive away, as Mount Scott looms over the lake. The lake is easily visible from the gates of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge where campgrounds are also available.

More: Lake Lawtonka Fishing

Chimney Rock Lake

Known to local anglers as “The Pumpback,” Chimney Rock Lake is one of northeast Oklahoma’s hidden fishing gems.

The lake is a smallish 712-acre reservoir created by pumping water from nearby Lake Hudson uphill behind the W.R Holway Reservoir dam to generate power for local communities.

What makes this lake so unique is that swimming is not permitted in the lake and gas powered motors are not allowed on the lake, only electric motors.

It’s not uncommon to see a bass boat with no gas motor but three trolling motors cruising across the lake. The lake of big horsepower boats makes it a prime location for kayak and canoe anglers. 

The Pumpback offers anglers the opportunity to catch both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Another unique feature this lake offers is its depth. It’s well over 100 feet in many areas of the lake, but the water depth regularly changes because water is regularly pumped in and out.

The edges of the lake are relatively steep but if you get further into a creek they will flatten off slightly.

The lake has two cement boat ramps and is managed by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA).

Broken Bow Lake

Located in southeast Oklahoma, Broken Bow Lake is a prime fishing location for many species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass.

If you look at a list of the top 20 biggest largemouth bass caught in Oklahoma, you will see Broken Bow Lake scattered all over it.

Not only does it produce big fish, it produces lots of big fish.

The smallmouth also grow to incredible sizes as well, so if smallmouth fishing is more your style then don’t pass up Broken Bow Lake for these hard-fighting, aggressive bass.

Broken Bow is one of Oklahoma’s bigger reservoirs, covering 14,000 acres. The water is clearer than many of the state’s lakes, with varying depths and underwater structure so the fish have plenty of options available to them.

There are plenty of camping and cabin rental opportunities near the lake at Beavers Bend State Park and surrounding communities.

If you’re looking to combine other fishing opportunities on your trip, the Lower Mountain Fork River in the state park below the reservoir is easily one of the best trout fishing spots in Oklahoma.

Swimming, scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, boating and (naturally) fishing are several of the activities available at the lake.

More: Broken Bow Lake Fishing

Honorable Mentions

As we mentioned above, there are many quality bass fishing lakes in Oklahoma and we can’t possibly list them all. The following are several that barely missed my top 5 list but are more than worth checking out, especially if you’re nearby.

Tenkiller Lake

Tenkiller Ferry Lake, located near Tahlequah, is a clear blue lake that’s rare for Oklahoma. It has excellent fishing for multiple species, especially largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Tenkiller is the fifth-largest lake in Oklahoma, which means there’s plenty of places for fish to hide.

Using a boat is going to give you the best chance at catching multiple bass while you’re at the lake. The best bass fishing takes place around underwater structures and throughout the creeks that feed into the lake.

Out in the open, and especially downstream in the Lower Illinois River, you have a shot at an even bigger bass species because these are among the best striped bass fishing spots in Oklahoma.

There’s camping, hiking, swimming, scuba diving, boating and watersports all available at the lake, which makes it a prime destination for people during the summer months when many visitors are looking to stay cool.

Lake Eucha

Lake Eucha is a fishing-only lake, so you will only have to worry about other fishing boats without all the water sports you’ll find at most reservoirs. It’s a medium-sized lake covering over 2,800 acres in northeast Oklahoma. 

Camping, hiking and fishing are the primary activities available at the lake. The water is used as Tulsa’s drinking water, so swimming is not allowed. 

The fishing is excellent at Lake Eucha, with Florida-strain largemouth bass being stocked since 2016. This means there are lots of big fish available to catch all over the lake.

There are fishing docks open to the public but the best opportunities come by boat in the coves and creeks that feed into the lake.

Spavinaw Lake

This medium-sized lake of 1,584 acres, located in northeast Oklahoma, is an excellent location for anglers. Swimming and water sports are not allowed on the lake, which means less boat traffic.

There’s a boat ramp, fishing docks and hiking trail maintained by the city of Tulsa available to visitors for a small fee. Kayak fishing is popular on Spavinaw because of its size and fewer boats on the water.

Lots of largemouth bass are caught every year in Spavinaw Lake, with plenty over 3 pounds.

It’s best to find the type of structure the fish are preferring that day. Once you have that down, the lake is small enough that you can get from one end to the other fairly quickly to find likely spots where bass are biting.

Lake Hudson

Another fantastic fishing lake located in northeast Oklahoma is Lake Hudson. Just south of the Grand Lake Dam, it’s no surprise Hudson offers anglers the opportunity to catch a load of quality bass.

Largemouth and spotted bass are the common black bass species available in the lake and a primary target for anglers partaking in one of the many tournaments that take place on Hudson.

Crappies are another game fish that are abundant in the lake that many anglers pursue, and the nearby area offers some of Oklahoma’s best paddlefish snagging waters.

The GRDA manages the lake and boat ramps. There are plenty of things to do at Lake Hudson, including camping, swimming, boating and water sports, as well as fishing. 

Arbuckle Lake

The southeast section of the Sooner State has many outstanding bass fishing locations, and the Lake of the Arbuckles certainly belongs on that list.

The lake is home to trophy-sized largemouth and smallmouth bass. Florida-strain largemouth bass are stocked on an annual basis and account for most of the largest fish bass caught here.

Fish the creeks and main lake points for the best opportunities for catching bass.

At 2,350 acres, Arbuckle Lake is a medium-sized lake and can become crowded during the summer months with excessive boating activity. Visiting during non-summer months is best for fishing, or waking up early and beating the crowd to the water is another option.

The National Parks Service manages the campgrounds, boat ramps, fishing docks, and swimming area at Arbuckle.

Lake Texoma

The second-largest lake in the Sooner State is located on the Texas border near Ardmore.

While it’s known for world-class striped bass fishing, it’s becoming a high-quality largemouth bass lake, with spotted bass and smallmouth bass numbers growing.

Covering this lake’s 88,000 acres in a single trip is impossible, so breaking this lake down into sections and fishing those sections will give you the greatest amount of success while bass fishing.

We suggest starting with the mouths of creeks and thoroughly fishing the entire creeks to figure out where the fish are and what structure to which they are relating. Solving that will show you where to fish next.

Lake Texoma State Park has camping, hiking, swimming and fishing available to visitors. The privately owned marina offers guide services and fuel to anglers, with the boat ramp located nearby.

Lake Texoma also made our list of the best bass fishing lakes near Dallas-Fort Worth and has some of the better white bass fishing in Oklahoma.

More: Lake Texoma Fishing

Sardis Lake

Roughly 14,000 acres in size, in southeastern Oklahoma, Sardis Lake holds some of the largest bass in the state.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers manages three campgrounds, a swimming beach, fishing docks and boat ramps. Boating and skiing are common summer activities on the lake but don’t forget about the black bass fishing.

Finding the creek channels and main lake points will be key to finding fish most of the year. Smallmouth bass and both native and Florida-strain largemouth all inhabit Sardis Lake, with many reaching true trophy size.