Arkansas River Striped Bass Stocking
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Posted on Monday Nov 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Kurt do ya'll have any handle on current recruitment of Striper ABOVE Keystone lake? I know there is a limited spawn above Keystone each year, due to the thousands of small fingerlings which show up BELOW Keystone when spring floods occur

When Bill was attempting to make Kaw a Striped Bass fishery those MILLIONS of fingerlings and fry were stocking the entire length of the Arkansas river downstream from flow thru to flow thru event

I have captured quite a few of your Cherokee Hybrids below Keystone and on down this year

Even though it was reported all those Kaw Lake stockings were unsucessful -- actually as far as the river was concerned those stockings were a GREAT success

I sure would like to see a supplemental stocking of Striped Bass below Kaw each year - we will see em from there to Toad Suck lock if ya'll will just do it.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Nov 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM  
Tony, this is something that will be brought up in our annual fisheries division meeting later this winter. Unfortunately, my study does not assess or enumerate striped bass reproduction in any way. However, we also see the juvenile stripers first in keystone, then also below Keystone in the river. We know that Keystone (and Kaw, and the river in between) is important to the entire river fishery.

As far as the hybrids, I have one observation that is interesting for you to chew on. Last year (summer 2009) a friendly angler and my crew collected over 30 hybrids from below Keystone. We all assumed that these fish likely came from Kaw and moved on down the river. However, after aging the fish we found that every last one was too old to have come from a Kaw stocking...all fish were 5 years or older and the first Kaw stocking was 4 years prior. So these hybrids are populating the Keystone tailwaters from somewhere else...but where? Skiatook, Blackwell, Sooner, etc.???? In any case, those fish were taking a long journey to reach the Keystone tailwaters. But in any case, I realize that some of those Kaw hybrids will add to the fishery in the river. Bill W. will continue to stock Kaw in the foreseeable future. I am careful not to state anything about the Kaw hybrid stockings as being unsuccessful, as I beieve that they contribute to a popular fishery (whether it's in the lake, the Kaw tailwaters, or further downstream). Bill W and I have also led the charge to make changes to our hybrid stocking protocol to consider the importance of tailwater fisheries. I have seen 15 pound plus hybrids all over that river, so I know they have great potential. I'm really glad that some of you anglers are able to take advantage of this fantastic fishery (stripers & hybrids).
Posted on Monday Nov 8, 2010 at 11:55 AM  
Thanks Kurt -- just wanted to dispose of the thought that Kaw Striper Stockings in years past were thought of as unsuccessful when in fact they were not as far as the river itself went

Catching is certainly picking up for those who know how to target those river fish -

Caught two 12# hybrids below Kaw myself this spring -- fun stuff !!!

Looking for that 25# hybrid from the Arkansas chain SOON
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Nov 8, 2010 at 10:48 PM  
I wouldn't call the Kaw hybrid stockings unsuccessfull either it's just a matter of that lake is huge and the fish school fairly thick so it can be hard to find them sometimes
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Posted on Tuesday Nov 9, 2010 at 5:49 PM  
dg he's talking about previous years striper stockings in Kaw. They don't stock them in Kaw presently and from what Bill said the stocking weren't producing stripers to speak of in Kaw. Looks to me like Tony is theorizing those past years striper stockings in Kaw were helping downstream below Kaw and even below Keystone, he's saying the young fish go downstream especially in high water flows.

I live up here and from what I hear there are some pretty chucky hybrids in Kaw lake, heard of a 13 lb fish caught on spoon and 7 lb+ caught on topwater in lower lake in late June.

There is no doubt the hybrid fishing below Kaw is better than has been, attributed to annual hybrid stocking in Kaw lake starting 3 or 4 years ago or so. From what I have experienced and heard the stripers below Kaw are less plentiful. So hybrids are up and stripers are down below Kaw in an area capable of producing 30lb+ fish.

I theorize fishing below Kaw 1000' during the spawn which hasn't occured till recent years has adversely impacted the striper population. One things for sure water quality and water flow during the spawn are part of this equation.

Looks to me like stocking stripers below Kaw could help if enough fry or larger survivable fingerlings were stocked. And if Tony is right stocking above Kaw, too. The first year survival(recruitment) and summer survival of bigger fish are a couple of major limiting factors for the real bass that shake their heads and say you ain't bringing me in.
Posted on Tuesday Nov 9, 2010 at 11:10 PM  
dg, may have read you wrong, but you got my ten cents anyway. Kaw has tons of Blues, some big Hybrids and fat sandies,zebra mussels and drum,slab crappie and you wouldn't say it's a bass lake but some guys recently took a 19-20lb sack (2nd place was nothin near that)in a local club tourney. Some of the best public hunting area for at least not an impossibility of a chance for a trophy buck, too.
Posted on Wednesday Nov 10, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
Yes I was speaking to "so called" un-successful STRIPED BASS stockings of late nineties-early 2000s - Hybrids appear to be a win-win for the lake as well as below the dam.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Jan 17, 2011 at 1:28 PM  
NCat Does Kaw still contain walleye? I used to catch some very nice ones in the late 80's and early 90's. We also used to catch sandies till our hands and wrists gave out.
Posted on Monday Jan 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Kurt, I think I recall you saying that it is not possible to distinguish between regular and reciprocal Hybrids outside the lab. Is that true or has my "Oldtimers Disease" kicked in again?
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Posted on Monday Jan 17, 2011 at 3:12 PM  
Kurt may not be able to, but I will lay $100 bucks I can tell by looking at two five pound fish side by side -- its more noticeable as they get bigger.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Jan 17, 2011 at 5:31 PM  
Kirk, a lot of those Keystone tailrace hybrids are flushed out of Sahoma.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Jan 17, 2011 at 8:23 PM  
I cannot reliably tell the difference just by looking at live or freshly dead fish. Some folks tell me they can tell the difference between hybrid crosses, LM bass and Florida bass, etc just by looking...maybe maybe not.

Kaw does have a few walleye, and I have caught several nice fish in the tailwaters. We always see a few in our netting samples.
Posted on Friday Dec 21, 2012 at 11:56 PM  
Kurt, you guys got some stripers stocked from a trade with Colorado a few years back. Was there any feedback -impact/improvement of that on the Keystone striper population? Assume that was an impromtu event based on the trade. Also have you guys got totals on all fish stocking numbers for 2012 to be published? If I was Boone Pickens, I'd sure help $$$ with your hybrid stocking efforts.

It does seem that Keystone will not return to it's hayday for stripers, but in comparing with Texoma, the upstream fishing pressure and a congregated stopping point (Kaw Dam) are two factors not present at Texoma. Of course Texoma has 90k acres and better water quality and two contributing spawing rivers that do not have significant fishing pressure. Sorry to repeat myself.

Dave mentioned above, the abundant forage at Keystone and in one aspect, as long as the stripers have excellent body condition, is it assumable there is room for more? In other words, are we under carring capacity for morones in Keystone?

Keystone proper, below the dam and above up to Kaw dam was very produtive when I started striper fishing in the late 70's and 80's, the hayday. We caught a 6 fish stringer from 31st street in April 1978 that weighed close to 120lbs and the limit was less than 5 fish then. I am thankful that you guys have gone to a 5 fish limit from 15, that is encouraging in the right direction. Part of our problem and not just us, is the stringer, we should have kept none of those uninjured spawners, at least not the females, if I had it to do over again.

Looks like we avoided lake summer kills on Keystone the last few years and do you have any management options for that, such as summer dam release patterns that are working?

Thanks for your input and willingness to share info, on an awesome sport fish. They can grow bigger than your bird dog, in some parts of the state. Appreciate the ongoing striper study and the hard work you guys put in on that!!!

We can salute Tom, Bill and yourself for the successful hybrid fishery in Kaw lake!!! Thanks

ps by the way cbeam, I'm almost two years late answering about Kaw walleye. All I know is someone must have some real secrets about them. ODWC has stocked a ton of walleye(check out past years reports on There's a lot of riprap to fish and a ton of forage to grow 'em big! I do know when we have huge floods, there are lots of walleye in the basin and a bunch of lip licking fishermen after 'em.
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