In this article, we’ll outline the best trout fishing spots in Oklahoma, tell you where to fish for trout year-round, and where to find rainbow trout. Additionally, we’ve included the requirements for Oklahoma fishing licenses and the trout stocking dates.
Oklahoma Trout Fishing Map
Best Trout Fishing in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has eight trout waters stocked annually with brown and rainbow trout. These areas are spread throughout the state with Sunset Lake in the panhandle; Perry CCC Lake, Lake Watonga, and Medicine Creek dotted along the mid to western part of the state; and the Lower Illinois River, Robber’s Cave, Blue River, and Lower Mountain Fork River tucked into the southeastern corner of the state.
We’ve reviewed the best spots for trout fishing in Oklahoma so that you can take advantage of some awesome angling.
Blue River is stocked biweekly with rainbow trout from late fall to early spring. It boasts over six miles of stream access perfect for wading. Fly fishing is the best method for catching trout here, but bank fishing is also common.
One of the most popular spots located on the southern end of Blue River is Hughes Crossing. It has a lot of shallow spots great for fly fishing and teeming with prize-winning rainbow trout. There are also campgrounds and restrooms nearby.
Formed from granite shelves, there are half a dozen natural waterfalls. Around these waterfalls in the deeper pockets may lurk some rainbow trout. Every year there is a fishing tournament known as the Blue River Derby. It offers trophies and cash prizes for the best catch in a number of species including brown and rainbow trout.
Medicine Creek is a newer trout stocking area and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks it with rainbow trout biweekly in the wintertime. Bottom fishing with power bait seems to be the most effective for catching these trout. They typically average just shy of two pounds.
While the trout may not be big, they are abundant and located in a beautiful area that offers fishing upriver of two small dams along the creek. A lot of non-residents from places like Missouri, Alaska, and Arkansas enjoy the tranquility of winter fishing in Medicine Creek.
The creek itself is not very large, only measuring about a square mile. However, it ranges in depth from five to eight feet. This hosts deep enough waters to be cool hideouts for trout.
Lower Illinois River
The Lower Illinois River is one of the most popular places to go fishing for trout in Oklahoma. Its waters are stocked weekly with brown and rainbow trout throughout the entire year. Bank or boat fishing are viable options as is flying fishing. There is a chance to catch trout in excess of twenty inches here, so having heavier gear is a must.
Some of the best baits to use in the Lower Illinois River include shad, power eggs, mouse tails, power worms, salmon eggs, and power bait. Some of the best lures for trout fishing here include inline spoons and spinners such as Anglia spinners, super dupers, panther martin spinners, kastmasters, and rooster tails.
The best places to fish for trout along the Lower Illinois River include those near the power plant. The Simp and Helen Watts Management Unit, Gore Landing, River Road, and The Pool are great spots too.
Lower Mountain Fork River
Fly fishing for trout in the Lower Mountain Fork River is sure to be a lucrative experience. This river is stocked year-round with rainbow and brown trout and sustains a healthy reproducing population. It is not uncommon to catch trout measuring at least twenty inches in length here.
Its waters are constantly flowing and keep cool temperatures even in the hot summertime. This makes it a perfect habitat for trout which prefer cool waters. Fly fishing is popular here, but you’ll have to find a more secluded spot for fishing since the river is also commonly used for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing.
In fact, the state record for the largest brown trout in Oklahoma was caught in Lower Mountain Fork River. It weighed almost seventeen and a half pound! With twelve miles of trout waters and gorgeous surrounding scenery such as the Beavers Bend State Park and Ouachita National Forest, Lower Mountain Fork River offers some of the best trout fishing in the state.
Although not as big an area as some other Oklahoma trout waters, the winter trout fishing in Robber’s Cave State Park is worth the visit. With one and a half miles of trout waters, both fly fishing and bank fishing are popular methods of catching the stocked rainbow trout here.
Some of the best trails to take that lead to some awesome fishing spots in Robber’s Cave State Park include Belle Starr Loop Trail, Mountain Trail to Lake Wayne Wallace and Lake Carlton, and Coon Ridge Trail. The best bait to use here includes cheese, worms, salmon eggs, and corn. While the best lures are spoons, small spinners, and maribou jigs.
Sunset Lake located at Thompson Park in the middle of the panhandle of Oklahoma is a seventeen-acre haven for trout. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks fish here every year. Anglers need a special lake permit to fish here in addition to the regularly required Oklahoma fishing license.
Fly fishing, bait basting, and spinning are all popular trout catching methods at Sunset Lake. The best times to fish for trout here are within two hours of sunrise, at midday, and around sunset.
Where Can You Trout Fish Year-Round in Oklahoma?
There are two places in Oklahoma that support year-round trout fishing: the Lower Mountain Fork River and the Lower Illinois River. Rainbow trout is stocked all year long in the Lower Illinois River and both brown and rainbow trout are also stocked all year long in the Lower Mountain Fork River.
Both of these rivers are able to sustain reproducing trout populations and water temperatures and levels in the summertime do not reach critical points that make them unsuitable for trout to thrive. The Lower Illinois River offers almost eight miles of trout fishing waters while the Lower Mountain Fork River offers twelve miles of trout fishing waters.
2022 Trout Stocking Schedule
Trout stocking occurs all year long in the Lower Mountain Fork River and Lower Illinois River. In Medicine Creek and Robber’s Cave, the trout stocking occurs from November 1st to March 15th.
Trout stocking in Perry CCC and Blue River takes place starting November 1st to March 31st. In Veteran’s Park Pond (Jenks) and Edwards & Route 66 (OKC), trout stocking starts December 1st and concludes on February 28th.
Stocking of trout occurs only in the wintertime in most waters because summertime water temperatures are too hot to sustain trout populations. The water levels in most of these water bodies also drop significantly which, along with the high water temperatures, would impact the oxygen levels of the water, making them unfit to stock trout.
Oklahoma Fishing License
Anglers fishing in Oklahoma waters are required to possess an Oklahoma fishing license. It can be obtained through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation or any approved license vendor. The minimum age requirement for an Oklahoma fishing license is sixteen. This goes for Oklahoma residents and residents of 23 other designated states, and fourteen for non-residents.
Veterans, persons with disabilities, and wards of the state have special exemptions for the requirement to possess an Oklahoma fishing license. Purhcase your resident fishing licenses as a two-day, one-year, five-year, or lifetime period. Non-residents purchase their fishing licenses as a one-day, six-day, or one-year period.
In addition to an Oklahoma fishing license for all trout anglers, trout stamps used to be required. However, included in both resident and non-resident fishing licenses are trout stamps now. There is no need to make an extra purchase.
Is there Rainbow Trout in Oklahoma?
While rainbow trout are not native to Oklahoma, they are here. They are stocked annually in all eight major trout waters of the state. This includes Sunset Lake, Perry CCC Lake, Lake Watonga, Lower Illinois River, Robber’s Cave, Medicine Creek, Blue River, and Lower Mountain Fork River.
In the Lower Illinois River and Lower Mountain Fork River, the rainbow trout are stocked all year long and offer the best places to catch rainbow trout. In the other bodies of water, they are only stocked through the wintertime, usually on a weekly or biweekly basis. Notable runners up for good rainbow trout catches include Blue River, Medicine Creek, and Lake Carl Etling.
The state record for the largest rainbow trout ever caught was in the Lower Illinois River. It measured almost thirty inches in length and weighing close to eleven and a half pounds