Lake Texoma is a vast body of water, covering 89,000 acres.
There is so much wonderfully diverse fishing opportunity that
I will not attempt that small book at this time. Rather, I'll
cover the smaller fishery of the tail race and striped bass,
A thumbnail of history and then I'll "un-digress." Lake Texoma
was completed in 1944. Striped bass were introduced in 1965 and
since then things have taken off. The Red River provides one of
the few venues for striper spawning in the nation. Along with
Santee-Cooper Reservoir in South Carolina, Texoma is one of
the few spots this side of the Rockies where a viable freshwater
Stripers are one of the most popular game fish in Texas. Stats
can be queried up so I'll leave that you, dear reader, and your
I'll tell this tale from my perspective, relate the data I have
acquired by fishing and talking to other anglers. As I mentioned
above, Texoma contains a viable, growing population of stripers.
So many that the limit is set to encourage removal of small fish.
To quote Texas Parks and Wildlife; "For striped bass and hybrid
striped bass, no minimum length limit; daily bag=10 and possession
limit=20. Only two striped or hybrid striped bass 20 inches or
greater may be retained each day. Culling of striped bass and
hybrid striped bass is prohibited." And below the dam, in the
Red River "For striped bass and hybrid striped bass, no minimum
length limit and daily bag=5. Culling of striped bass is prohibited."
Let's get our fish on!
For a few weeks now there have been reports of fierce fish fights,
backings exposed, flylines lost, fingers rubbed raw. Horror stories
to get the blood moving no?! Oh yes. Seems that back in early summer,
in the midst of the heavy catch-up rains that we received, the flood
gates were literally opened and many stripers were poured into the
Red. All sizes from massive to mundane. As weather cooled off the
stripers began moving up under the dam in earnest, feeding on the
shad that were flushed through when the generating turbines were
running. Both the fly fishing and hardware tackle boards were alive
and hopping with tales of large numbers of really big fish! This
year I missed the big blitz but did get in enough time to make me
want to go back for more.
This past Wednesday Mick McCorcle and I made our way to the river.
We unloaded, geared up and got in the water around 10:00 AM. I
intended to try my hand at spey casting and was thusly rigged.
Without going into the details I don't believe that spey will
work out on a slow rolling river like the wadeable Red. Weight
forward floating was not the way to go this time. The other
fellows were all fishing sink tips or intermediate sink lines
and were hooking up regularly. Scott Bridgess who guides fly
trips on Texoma came down and fished with us. Scott is an Amnesia
and lead core man, all the way, joking that he cannot cast a regular
fly line! (Someday Scott, we'll get you on a two weight and some
nymphs after bluegills.) These fish are not all that big as stripers
go, Boga-ing at two to four pounds. But they fight nicely on a
smaller, eight weight or less, rod. The action was off and on,
I traded out with Mick and got some luck on his sink tip. The
cumbersome solution for floating line was extra long leader/tippet
combo which managed to get the fly down there.
I slipped and fell in! Walking on rocks in flowing water is not my
forte'. I fell forward enough to get water in the bib pouch of my
waders. Fortunately my camera is waterproof to a degree and was not
damaged. But I chickened out and left it back at the truck when we
went in to eat lunch. The secret for me was to look for smaller
rocks in groups and try to stick with them as much as possible. The
larger, massive, smooth rocks grow a slick coat of algae and slime
and tend to present more of a challenge. I don't want that challenge.
Stay shallow, the fastest way to a location is not always a straight
Lunch was fine, we ate some energy bars, drinks and chatted for a
while. Scott Bridgess was revealing his tips and strategies on
lakeside stripers as well as a lively demonstration of how a
striper hunts and eats, what it sees and what it goes for. How
it attacks, kills and consumes bait. Knowledge is power and
after some time with Scott one has some power.
We hit the water again, I lost several flies and then my only
add-on sink tip. Back to floating line again! Arrrgh! Some
other fly anglers were out this day. We visited for a bit, talked
while we fished. Like getting caught up with a friend yet you
never saw this person before. I like that. The fish were coming
and going, seemed to be moving in and out of the gut we were fishing.
Then Mick moved over, tied on a gray Cat's Whisker and proceeded
to hook a fish on every single cast for I really don't know how
long. He had earned it. He has spent the last few months getting
his family moved up here to Collin County from Boerne and had not
been fishing in some while. Huzzah! Fish on! Finally the light
started fading, the horn sounded to signal generation and we all
cleared off. It was time for us family guys to head back down the
road to home. The fellows who stuck around hustled down to the
restricted area wire and reported catching big fish as the rushing
water signaled shad feasting time. All in all a good day on the water.
I'd been up to the Red the Sunday before and had gotten blown
off the river by thirty mile per hour winds. Dan and I fished
up until it was just too crazy windy to even try catching any
longer. That had been a windy day overall. A fellow on the
Blue River hear Tishomingo posted that he'd been sitting on
a rock watching his pal fish and was blown in!
If you get a chance to fish this tail water fishery I strongly
recommend it. Check for generation schedules if you want to hit
that cycle and go for big ones. Otherwise be prepared to wade
and have an Oklahoma license. The entire Red River and its
shoreline are Oklahoma territory with the exception of a small
strip from the dam face to a small creek a few hundred yards
down stream. ~ Robin