These are the results of the annual Striper Gill Net Survey.
In addition the the graphs, Matt has included his views on the overall condition of our striped bass population pertaining to spawns and the current abundance of big fish.
Fisheries staff from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) recently completed annual gillnetting at Lake Texoma. Attached are several figures which illustrate striped bass trend data since 1993 as well as the length frequency of striped bass collected.
The percentage of big fish (>20") in the population has been building in recent years. Currently, 35% of striped bass collected were greater than 20-inches. Striped bass in Lake Texoma are reliant upon timely inflows from the Red and Washita Rivers for successful reproduction as they travel long distances up these rivers on spawning runs. Fluctuations in relative density (catch per net-night) are expected with this population as spawning opportunities vary each year. According to historic inflow data, record setting low inflow conditions have been experienced in recent years. This has resulted in decreased up-river spawning opportunities and success. Currently, the relative density is somewhat below recent years but comparable to what was observed in 2011.
As many people have recently experienced, Lake Texoma is offering up some true trophies. Numerous fish greater than 20-pounds have been caught this winter. With the higher percentage of "overs" (>20-inches) in the population, anglers should be mindful to carefully measure their catch to abide with the harvest regulations. As water temperatures continue to increase, so does the stress on these big fish. Be mindful to carefully handle these fish and realize that catch-and-release mortality can be high in warm/hot water. Avoid the temptation to "camp out" over schools of these large fish and move on once limits of "overs" have been taken.
Hopefully we will see abundant runoff in the watershed this spring that will offer favorable spawning opportunities.
Southcentral Region Supervisor - Fisheries Division
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
2021 Caddo HWY
Caddo, OK 7472