Oklahoma Fishing Guides

Oklahoma Fishing Regulation Changes for 2012

Before heading out to the lake this season, make sure to brush up on the latest changes to the fishing regulations for the Oklahoma lakes listed below:

  • The 13-16-inch slot length limit on large and smallmouth bass at Lake Elmer Thomas was deleted to help increase opportunity for anglers to harvest what is currently a surplus of fish.
  • All the ponds on the Black Kettle National grasslands were added to the list of lakes with a 14-inch length limit on black bass.
  • All Sooner Lake anglers must immediately release all striped bass under 20 inches in length to help manage the fishery for trophy striper fishing opportunities.
  • The daily limit on striped bass at five daily statewide except at Lake Texoma where limits would remain at 10 daily with no more than two measuring greater than 20 inches.
  • Kaw Lake anglers can keep up to 20 striped bass hybrids and/or white bass combined, with no more than five over 20 inches in length. 

Oklahoma Fishing Guides to be Licensed

Fishing guides who operate on Oklahoma waters will be required to purchase a fishing guide license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation beginning July 31.

At its June meeting, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved emergency rules to go into effect July 31 in accordance to Senate Bill 277, which recently was signed by the Governor.

“The new fishing guide license was requested by the fishing guide industry in Oklahoma and will help ensure our state’s fishing guides have a strong set of safety and first-aid skills as well as properly functioning equipment and insurance,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Wildlife Department.

The annual license will cost $132 for both residents and nonresidents, but Wildlife Department officials are only going to charge $66 for the remainder of 2009 since the requirement will only be in effect for half of the year. The license is required of all persons, resident or nonresident, who charge or accept consideration to take someone fishing. The only exemption is for landowners or lessees who provide such services on their own property and those who assist a licensed guide in the same boat.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, fishing guides applying for a license must provide the Wildlife Department with documentation stating they have completed boat training through the National Association of Safe Boating Administrators, which is available readily online or at locations throughout Oklahoma. They also must provide the Wildlife Department with proof of commercial general liability insurance covering services as a fishing guide with policy limits of at least $500,000 per occurrence.

Additionally, fishing guides must maintain current boat inspection by any governmental agency or entity authorized to perform such inspections, and they must be certified by the American Red Cross in CPR and basic first aid.

“Other states, including Texas, have guide license requirements, and I am confident this will benefit our anglers and guides,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department. “We hope to maintain a list of licensed guides to help anglers identify guides and get ‘hooked up,’ so to speak.”

Oklahoma Free Fishing Days

Oklahomans looking to try something new with the family this summer may want to give fishing a try, and they can start June 7-8 during Oklahoma’s Free Fishing Days, which allow people to fish without state fishing licenses or permits (including trout licenses and fishing and hunting legacy permits).

Urban areas across the state offer angling opportunities through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Close to Home Fishing program, which provides quality fishing opportunities without a long drive into the country. Anglers also have access to a number of lakes, rivers, streams and small ponds where they can catch fish all day long as well. And those anglers who just don’t know where to start can turn to the Wildlife Department’s weekly state fishing report to find just the right place to go.

“The Department’s state fishing report reveals inside information on the best places to go angling, when the fish are biting and what baits they are hitting the most,” said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department.

Compiled by Wildlife Department personnel and independent reporters, the reports even include techniques and locations within specific waters to increase angler success. Anglers can receive the fishing report by subscribing to the Department’s weekly news release at www.wildlifedepartment.com/wl_news.htm.
“Fishing in Oklahoma normally requires a license and a fishing and hunting legacy permit, which you can purchase at various sporting good vendors across the state, but Free Fishing Days gives people a chance to just ‘test the waters’ and see if they would enjoy the sport,” Boxrucker said. “We are confident they will.”

Anglers should note that certain city permits may still apply to specific fishing areas during Free Fishing Days.

Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to offer free fishing days over 25 years ago and has since been followed by dozens of other states that have established similar days.

Anglers should be aware of and abide by all Texas fishing license and permit requirements when fishing the Texas portion of Lake Texoma June 7-8. The Texas Free Fishing Day is June 7, so anglers will be able to fish both Texas and Oklahoma portions of the lake for free that day. On June 8, free fishing will only be allowed on the Oklahoma portion of the lake. Anglers must follow all other fishing regulations.

The City of Oklahoma City will exempt all city permit fee on city lakes for Free Fishing Days – Saturday and Sunday only.

Fishing Rules Changes

Recent changes that were approved affect fisherman and several popular fishing spots. The new rule amendments are as follows:

* Paddlefish anglers will be required to attach their paddlefish permit number to their fish, and it will be a requirement for paddlefish viscera to be removed before leaving the state. Additionally, paddlefish anglers will be required to have a free annual paddlefish permit. These paddlefish rules are currently in effect under emergency rules.

* The Illinois River was defined as the area from the confluence of Baron Fork Creek downstream to the Horseshoe Bend boat ramp.

* The boundaries on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System were clarified.

* Spotted bass were exempted from length limits statewide except for certain streams.

* Spotted bass bag limits were removed statewide except for certain streams.

* Alligator gar rules were modified after public hearings to define the closed area, shorten the period of closure and restrict all angling methods.

* The use of non-metallic materials will be allowed where natural materials do not exist for attaching limblines.

For more information, please visit http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/