Skip to content

ODWC offers fishing tips for summer

The Sooner State has some excellent fishing in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, but also in urban waters designated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as “Close to Home Fishing” locations.

Follow the link for a list of more than 35 Close to Home Fishing lakes across the state that are periodically stocked with fish to help make some magnificent memories!

Fishing Regulations, Go Outdoors


Mobile App

Updated annually, the Oklahoma Fishing Regulations Guide is your definitive source for information related to fishing in the state. Of course, anglers need to know and follow the rules, which are outlined in the free guide that is found on the Department website or in print at license vendors across the state.

The guide also provides a “Where to Fish” map, an FAQ page, a list of state-record catches, and guidance on how to help stop invasive species.

The Regulations Guide is also available on the new Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app. The app makes it easier to not only purchase your license but also access regulations and upcoming events.

You can download the Go Outdoors Oklahoma app on your Apple or Android devices.

The following are year round license requirements and general information related to fishing year round in the state of Oklahoma.

License Requirements

An Oklahoma resident or nonresident fishing license is required of all persons who take, attempt to take or possess fish or other aquatic dwelling organisms by any method in Oklahoma.

Persons fishing the Red River must have a valid Oklahoma fishing license unless exempt.

In addition, persons fishing on waters located within the Honobia Creek or Three Rivers Wildlife Management Areas must have a valid Land Access Permit, unless exempt.

Persons residing in another state who own land in Oklahoma but do not live on that land, and are fishing on that land, must purchase a nonresident fishing license.

All required licenses or written evidence of exemption and identification must be carried on your person while fishing.

License Exemptions

The following persons are exempt from a fishing license:


• Residents under 16 years old.

• Resident owners or tenants, their spouses,parents, grandparents, children and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses who fish in private ponds on land owned or leased by such owner or tenant.

• Resident disabled veterans with 60 percent or more disability. Call State Department of Veterans Affairs, (888) 655-2838 to acquire proof of exemption.

• Any person who fishes with pole and line, trotline or throw line in streams, natural ponds and mine pits in or forming the boundary of the county in which he is a bona fide resident, when using any bait other than commercial or artificial bait, blood, stink bait, cut fish, and shrimp.

• Residents having a proven disability rendering them nonambulatory and confined to wheelchairs as certified by a duly qualified physician.

• The following persons are exempt from the purchase of the Land Access Permit (Honobia Creek and Three Rivers WMAs): Any Oklahoma resident who on the first day of the current calendar year was younger than 18, or anyone 64 or older. All nonresidents are required to purchase an $85 annual Land Access Permit (no exemptions).


• Nonresidents under 14 years old.

• Nonresidents under 16 years old who reside in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas or Wisconsin.

• Nonresidents 65 and older who are residents of Texas. (Valid ID required.)


• Any person legally blind or physically impaired who is unable to properly use fishing apparatus and one accompanying companion while the blind or physically impaired person is fishing.

• Persons under 18 who are in legal and physical custody of the State of Oklahoma or its agencies by court order.

• Persons under 18 who are in the custody of a child care facility as defined by Title 10 O.S., Section 402.

• Persons fishing during Oklahoma’s Free Fishing Days.

• Any patient of a state institution in Oklahoma established for the care and treatment of mental illness or alcohol or drug dependency or any person developmentally disabled residing in any group home or other institution or persons developmentally disabled when accompanied by an attendant of such institution or legal guardian or when fishing on institutional property.

• Job Corps trainees of this state, having a proper identification card.

• Any person participating in an aquatic education event or clinic sanctioned by the Wildlife Department

General Regulations

Game Fish: Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass; black and white crappie; rainbow and brown trout; sauger, saugeye and walleye; white and striped bass; blue and channel catfish. Species not listed are nongame fish.

It is unlawful to:

• Fish without carrying a license or written evidence that you are exempt.

• Fish upon the land of another without consent of the owner, lessee or occupant of that land. Anglers must obtain permission to enter any posted or occupied land or land primarily devoted to farming, ranching or forestry purposes. Nothing in this guide shall be interpreted as permitting fishing or allowing access into any area, public or private, without permission from the owners or custodian as required by law, this includes lands with rivers and/or creeks flowing through them. Consent is not valid for more than one year, unless the owner, lessee, or occupant specifically grants consent for a specified period of time.

• Catch fish that are dead or die as a result of angling from any waters of the state, and not remove those fish and bury or burn them, except nothing will prevent anglers from returning fish remains, meaning any fish that has been filleted or has had the entrails removed, to lakes and reservoirs (any fish that does not meet length requirements must be returned to the water immediately). No person may bury or burn any dead fish where it will become exposed through erosion or where that land is at any time subject to overflow.

• Sell, barter or trade fish, frogs or turtles, except with a commercial license.

• Enter, swim, wade, operate a boat or a float or floating device in any safety zone (the water area below any dam for a distance of 50 yards from base of the dam).

• Use, operate or park vehicles not registered for use on public roadways under Vehicle Code 47 O.S. 1971, 15-101 through 15-114, on lands owned or managed by the Wildlife Department.

• Possess fish, or parts thereof, taken by another person without written information which includes the taker’s name, address, customer ID number or lifetime license number, date taken, and number and kind of fish, plus name and address of person receiving those fish.

• Use and/or place into lakes and reservoirs of this state any container, including but not limited to drums, cans, tubs, boxes or barrels which attract, entice or lure fish into an open cavity within the container.

• Use or possess any controlled and/or dangerous substance as defined in 63 O.S., Section 2-101 on any lands or waterways subject to the control of the Wildlife Department.

• Use Jet Skis, jet boats and other similar nonpropeller-driven watercraft in the upper Illinois River above the confluence with Baron Fork Creek.

• Tamper with the trotline, throwline, jugline or limbline of another person without permission from that person.

• Stock aquatic organisms in any public waters including streams and rivers without written consent from the Wildlife Department director.

• Possess a game fish, hybrid striped bass or flathead catfish that has been filleted or had its head or tail removed while actively engaging in fishing.

• Possess fish in a tailwater without keeping their fish separate, marked with their name and customer ID number or lifetime license number. See Tailwaters section in the “Public Fishing Waters” special regulations.

• Use at any time in the waters of this state for taking, catching, capturing or killing any game or nongame fish with any of the following: any rotenone or other poison, dynamite or other explosive, or any electrical device used for shocking purpose.

• Have in his or her possession while in the field more than one daily limit of any fish species regardless of method of take. Nonresidents cannot have more than two days’ limit in his or her possession at any time regardless of method of take. Daily limits are for 24-hour periods (midnight to midnight).

Department Fishing Areas — PUBLIC USE RESTRICTIONS

• Alcoholic Beverages/Controlled Substances

• Beer and other alcoholic beverages are not allowed (as defined in O.S. Title 37, Section 163.1), except at designated camping and parking areas on any lands or waterways subject to control of ODWC. No person shall use any controlled dangerous substance (as defined in O.S. 63, Section 2-101) on any lands or waterways subject to control of ODWC.

• Boats & Motors – Must comply with existing state boat regulations and boat operators must obey Oklahoma State Boat Laws. All boats must be operated at no-wake speed (six miles per hour or less) and may not be left on the water or at areas longer than the limit on camping. No boats allowed at Doc Hollis Lake.

• Camping – Limited to three days, except at the Lower Illinois River PFHA, Kiamichi River Access Area and Arcadia CEA where no camping is permitted, and at Lakes Watonga and Carl Etling where camping is limited to 14 consecutive days, and at Blue River PFHA where camping is restricted to 14 days in a 30-consecutive-day period.

Camping is permitted only in designated camping areas. Quiet shall be maintained in camping areas between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Operation or use of any audio-producing device including radios, televisions and musical instruments or motorized equipment used in such a manner as to reasonably annoy or endanger persons at any time or exceed state or local laws governing noise levels is prohibited.

• Disorderly Conduct – No person shall use threatening, abusive or indecent language, participate in disorderly assemblage nor publicly appear nude or intoxicated on any lands owned and managed by the Wildlife Department.

• Dogs – Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times, except when used to hunt during legal open seasons on those areas where hunting is permitted.

• Fireworks/Explosive Devices – Possession or use of explosive devices, including fireworks and firecrackers, is prohibited.

• Fishing – Fishing is permitted at all times in accordance with regulations. “Closed areas” may be designated for purposes of safety and/ or security. After 10 p.m. and until 5 a.m., all Wildlife Department fishing areas are restricted to fishing and hunting (when applicable) related activities only.

No person may fish with more than two poles, except during trout seasons at Designated Trout Areas when only one pole per person is allowed. Trotlines, throwlines, limblines, juglines, nets, seines, yo-yos, spearguns, noodling and capture of bait fishes by any method is prohibited, except cast nets may be used to take bait for personal use only at Lake Carl Etling. Lake Dahlgren (Lexington WMA) and Doc Hollis Lake (Sandy Sanders WMA) are closed to fishing during designated controlled hunts (check Public Hunting Lands: Special Area Regulations for dates).

• Glass beverage containers – Are prohibited at Department fishing areas, except in designated camping and parking areas.

• Hunting – Hunting is permitted on the following lakes: Hall, Jap Beaver, Burtschi, Nanih Waiya, Ozzie Cobb, Schooler, Evans Chambers, American Horse and Vanderwork during open hunting seasons from Sept. 1 through spring turkey season, including migratory bird seasons.

Hunting is restricted to shotguns, muzzleloaders and bows only (no muzzleloaders allowed at Schooler, Ozzie Cobb or Nanih Waiya). These lakes are closed to antlerless deer harvest, except during archery season. Hunting regulations and restrictions for lakes Dahlgren, Doc Hollis and Vincent are the same as those listed for Lexington WMA (Dahlgren), Sandy Sanders WMA (Doc Hollis) and Ellis County WMA (Vincent).

Hunting and shooting other than provided above is prohibited. “Closed areas” may be designated for purposes of safety and/ or security. Trapping is prohibited.

Leave a Comment