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Hugo Lake number
one - two years running
March 24, 2005 - Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation - For
the second year in a row, Hugo Lake can claim the title as the
best bass fishery in the state according to a survey of bass
tournaments. The southeast Oklahoma lake ranked Number One in
the recently released 2004 Oklahoma Bass Tournaments Report.
Hugo Lake had the highest average
winning weight and anglers took the fewest hours to catch a five-pound
or larger bass, according to Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries
biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
"An effective water level
management plan and a good reproduction year in 1998 are two
of the biggest reasons why anglers fishing at Hugo have been
so successful," Gilliland said.
With an estimated 1,200 tournaments
held each year in the state, tournament anglers are an important
part of the Department's fisheries management team. In the course
of their pursuits, they provide biologists with hundreds of thousands
of hours of fishing data every year.
Cooperating bass clubs submitted
data from more than 637 tournaments from 55 lakes in 2004. Biologists
analyzed the information and compiled an overall lake ranking
based on five fishing quality factors. Hugo Lake took first place
as the state's best overall tournament lake, followed by lakes,
Okemah, Greenleaf, Murray and Oologah.
"For the third year in
a row, we saw an increase in the both the numbers and size of
bass reported at tournaments," Gilliland said. "Several
years ago we experienced some slow fishing due to low water levels
and the largemouth bass virus. The good news is that most of
the lakes appear to be on the rebound now."
Gilliland also points to good
reproduction in 2001 and 2002 as another reason so many anglers
reported "keeper" sized bass in 2004.
According to Gilliland the report
would not have been possible without the cooperation of bass
"In 2004 we received reports
from 91 different organizations, but that is still only 65 percent
of the permitted tournaments around the state" Gilliland
said. "The more tournament feedback we receive the more
information we have to make wise management decisions."
Gilliland said that submitting
a report is now easier than ever. Tournament Directors can log
on to http://fishlab.ou.edu/bass/tournament.htm, fill in the
blanks and click submit.
The 13-page 2004 Oklahoma Bass
Tournaments Annual Report is available for viewing or downloading
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