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Smallmouth bass action heating up
- and that's not all
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
March 11, 2005- Start thinking of excuses now, because you are going to want to get out of work soon to take advantage of the great fishing across the state.

"The fishing is beginning to pick up right now and over the next few weeks it should just get better, especially if the weather cooperates," said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

If you don't believe Erickson, just ask Kenny Wythe and Todd Hollies. The duo recently caught four smallmouth bass with a total weight of 23.71 pounds to win a recent bass tournament at Lake Eufaula. It was one of the largest stringers of smallmouth ever weighed in at a tournament in Oklahoma, but it did not even include the big fish of the tournament. Jeff Belote caught a smallmouth bass tipping the scales at 6.77 pounds.

Erickson added that anglers also have good opportunities to hook a smallmouth bass at Texoma, Skiatook, Murray and Lawtonka lakes.

But smallmouths certainly are not the only fish biting in early spring. Anglers are reporting that crappie are beginning to move to structure closer to the bank in prelude to the annual spawn.

"Once the water temperature hits the upper 50s, crappie will begin moving into shallow water to spawn. If you can time it right, there is no better time to go crappie fishing," Erickson said.

While many anglers are watching the thermometer, others are watching the rain gauge.

"Several popular fish such as white bass and paddlefish move up rivers and creeks to spawn. These movements are often triggered by a rainfall event in early spring," Erickson said.

No matter what species you like to fish for the most, the important thing is make the time to go - and take a new angler with you while you're at it. You can follow the latest fishing reports at wildlifedepartment.com/fishrpt.htm and for complete regulations pick up a copy of the "2005 Oklahoma Fishing Guide."

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