The Skiatook Fishery
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Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
I've been guiding at Skiatook for eleven years. 2010 is the best year by far for Hybrids, in that time frame. I'm sure that I'm a better fisherman now than I was back then, but I attribute most of this success to the management of the lake by ODWC. Great work gentlemen!! The "Hybrid Story" is one I never tire of telling my clients. I LOVE FRANKENFISH!!!
Steve Carroll Hybrid/Striper Guide Skiatook Lake Fishing Guides, Lowrance Pro Staff, Zebco Brands Pro Staff, Yeti Pro Staff, Costa Del Mar Pro Staff, Mercury/Motor Guide Pro Team.

Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
I've got to agree with Steve 100% here, I've only fished Skiatook for 3 years but this year is by far the easiest I've found to put on fish and not only find them but I don't think I've caught a hybrid smaller than 3lbs this year
Resident forum pirate... YARRR
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Do you think the more conservative bag limit is working? We had a biologist meeting yesterday and discussed some of the regulations like the 5 fish limit and only 2 over 20". The goal is to produce some quality-sized fish on a regular basis. Thanks for your feedback!
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
I think it is fine. We could be wipeing out a bunch of big fish this year if it was not in place. Somedays its hard to get your limit under the 20".
I don't believe in Miracles, I rely on them.
Dave Clark Hybrid/Striper/Sandbass Guide
YETI Pro staff,
Pro Staff Baitbuster Cast nets 1.5lbs per foot and six panel
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM  
I think the only change I would possibly look at is changing from 2 over 20" to 2 over 22" or something like that, like Dave said sometimes it's actually hard to catch them under 20"
Resident forum pirate... YARRR
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM  
a 5 fish limit is perfect! I beleive that if the ODWC would have went with the proposed 20 fish limit 7 or 8 years ago it would have killed skiatook!! keep up the good work fella's!!

no matter what lake I fish in Oklahoma its a 5 fish limit!! (unless specified different in the regs)

also, the new blue cat regulation is great!! we wont see anything for years to come, but its in place!! Hopefully in 10 years we will see(catch) some bigger fish on a day to day basis!!!

Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Yes Kuk the conservative limit works -- PLEASE look at all limits on Morones and adjust them to reasonable levels. 20 with five over 20" fork length is still TOO high in other lakes.

Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM  
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 2:40 PM  
I think the 5 fish with two over 20" is an inspired plan which has really helped the fishery. I think it should be statewide.
Steve Carroll Hybrid/Striper Guide Skiatook Lake Fishing Guides, Lowrance Pro Staff, Zebco Brands Pro Staff, Yeti Pro Staff, Costa Del Mar Pro Staff, Mercury/Motor Guide Pro Team.

Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 2:58 PM  
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
The biggest barrier to reducing the hybrid limit statewide is angler fish identification. The 20 fish daily limit is in place because ODWC feels that many anglers cannot differentiate between hybrids and white bass (especially with smaller fish). If the hybrid/white bass limit was reduced to 5 fish daily, we would be hammered by white bass anglers for such a small daily limit.

This is a subject which I just brought up to the Fish division admin yesterday, and its likely to be debated by biologists at a future meeting. We allow anglers to identify largemouth bass and spotted bass with different regs, but not Morone species.
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Thats almost funny Kuk, when even Trained ODWC wardens and biologists cannot tell at times Case in Point The law should address WANTON disregard in clear cases of a person who knows better, --- with someone who just made a mistake in ID training not citations should be in order for the Warden who finds a fisherman at fault. Ok I will shut up
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM  
I'm not in charge of enforcement...heck, I'm not even in charge of Fisheries. I'm just a simple biologist.

White bass removal will not really affect hybrids. I was just referring to the regulation on most hybrid lakes of 20 white bass and/or hybrids. I think angling pressure/harvest has a lot to do with hybrid population structure. Skiatook needs a 5 fish limit because of so much fishing pressure. Waurika (low fishing pressure) does not need that reg, yet still produces lots of huge hybrids.
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 4:52 PM  
while on the topic of limits (somewhat) what's the limit on white bass out of Ft. Gibson if there even is one? going to be up there this weekend and intend on catching a metric crap ton of them but wanna know how many I can toss in the freezer
Resident forum pirate... YARRR
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
You're too humble Kuk!
You're the OFFICIAL RESIDENT Notebook biologist!!!!!

Skiatook gets hammered beyond my imagination.
But the next state record is going to be one of your hybrid, coming from the Arkansas!
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 5:51 PM  
Size Matters Kuk -- I hope ODWC brass understands that -- even the perception that a five fish limit matters or has any real effect on the size of fish being caught -- it matters to US the hard core fishermen -- maybe less so to the less avid angler --

The Field of Dreams so to speak -- when word gets out that Oklahoma is producing one of the best US hybrid fisheries, people will sit up take notice and come here to sample it, just like folks flock to Lake Fork in East Texas for big largemouth - the more Guides publicize it the more folks will want to fish for them -- not much in freswater except for Striped Bass which fight as hard as a big hybrid.

As much as a five fish limit may or may not matter , I think the question that should be answered is "Why does ANYONE need 80 - 5# fish to take home (say a family of four), I know for a fact unless its for one big fish fry, some of those fish won't be utilized as food -- Long John Silvers/Red Lobster is right around the corner and too convenient - no fish to clean, oil to boil, or mess to clean up. Conservation and letting them grow to larger sizes would benefit the entire state -- not just Skiatook.
Posted on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 9:42 PM  
Tony your going to get me in trouble again! The limit of five over is so dumb. Ok could have a great fishery with 2 over but we don't matter most people were happy with 10lb fish they would be happy with 2 not five but if you guide and thats the limit you have to do your best to get it. We can't win though we are just fisherman and we really don't understand what is happening on the water. Sorry Kuk but reallly can't understand the thinking when I have seen the best striped bass fisherys in Ok go to hell because of over harvest. I was part of the probem for a long time but have seen what is happening and know my grandson will never have a chance for a forty pounder unless he leaves the state. Rant over
Posted on Wednesday May 26, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
There is a lot of work being done to better understand striper populations right now. It may or may not lead to regulation changes. All I can say is that stripers grow big very quickly in the Arkansas system (Eufaula & Lower Illinois included) and that there is A LOT OF FISH. I laid hands on a 40 pound female last week and released her with a tag implanted. I have seen countless 20 to 30 pound fish in two years. There is a huge issue when it comes to what anglers think a trophy striper is. I would bet that most users of this website would put that mark over 30 pounds. But if I surveyed 1000 anglers along the Arkansas system, I would bet that trophy size would be closer to 20 pounds. That's just the difference between ultra-avid anglers (most of you) and the average angler.

I am in the middle of a 4-year project to better understand these tailwater fisheries. If change is to come, it will be in the next 2 to 3 years, not tomorrow. The only promise I can make is that I am doing everything I can to provide the best data/analysis possible for ODWC to make decisions.

Tony, I would love to agree with you about non-residents flocking to OK to fish hybrids, but ODWC has not seen that in our license sales. We already have great hybrid waters (Skiatook, Waurika, Arkansas River, etc.) which do not draw people from other states. It's not a knock on you or anyone else here, but you all simply need to realize that 99% of anglers in North America are not as crazy about fishing as you all are. 99% of anglers would not spend the $$ to take 3 days off of work and go to a fishing destination. I wish we had more avid anglers, but the fact is that the average angler in OK buys a license about every other year. This website provides a VERY skewed distribution of the most avid anglers, not a genuine picture of average OK anglers. And that is a huge compliment to Falcon and his work on this site.
Posted on Wednesday May 26, 2010 at 7:25 PM  
In part I would agree with you Kuk, but you were not around in the late seventies when Oklahoma WAS a trophy Striper destination -- the Tenkiller , Eufaula area was NATIONALLY famous long before Tennessee took that title away, you could EXPECT 30+ pound striped bass for every eight hours on the water, I challenge anyone to catch a 30# Striper in Oklahoma in a year of hard fishing now - hundreds of Texas trophy Striped Bass hunters maintained out of state Fishing License - when the over harvest wiped the big fish out -- these same anglers spent their money in Arkansas or Tennessee.

If you ever get the opportunity stop on at Texoma Tackle and talk to the owner or Barlows Tackle in Dallas and talk to the guys who were around , even the Okiebug owners -- it was a fraternity of elite trophy hunters -- no doubt about that -- but there were a LOT of us.

I would also agree that MOST areas of the Arkansas river through Oklahoma a 20# fish IS a trophy size for the particular water, however there ARE resident populations below Eufaula and to a lesser extent the Lower Illinois that should be protected, the ONLY areas that HAVE the capability to produce 30+ pound Striped Bass, that is a unique niche and there is no control of overharvested big Striper. Take the little ones and let the big ones GROW.

As far as license sales go, who actually generates ODWC the MOST revenue? -- those of us who have some expendable income, or the every other year license holder -- I think by and large the AVID angler does way more to support Oklahoma fisheries.
Posted on Wednesday Jun 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM  
Great discussion on hybrid regulations everyone! The ODWC is making regulation changes for 2011 that will make it less confusing for anglers in Oklahoma! What Kuk said is true, depending on the lake, different hybrid regulations need to be in place. We look at fishing pressure, stocking rates, body condition and forage abundance before making harvest regulations for each lake. Sooner is a great example as to a reservoir that would NOT in my opinion be a candidate for a 5 fish limit. With a 20 fish per day limit, our catch rates (abundances of hybrids) have not decreased over many years. The body condition of hybrids on Sooner are marginal to average at best, indicating a low density forage supply. Threadfin shad have always been limited in Sooner according to our data. Guides tell me how many thousand hybrids they harvest each year. If the ODWC reduced the limit to 5 hybrids at Sooner, the body conditions and growth rates would decline and more emmaciated bellies and "Skeleton fish" would be on the end of your lines. The abundance of hybrids would increase, but the quality of fish would not be satisfactory. For simplicity, if the ODWC did restrict hybrid limits to 5 per day, I would reduce the number of hybrids stocked into Sooner Lake dramically, in order to maintain quality. That would not be a win-win situation for the angler.
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