Grand Lake Fish Species

Officially known as Grand Lake O' the Cherokees, Grand Lake lies in northeastern Oklahoma on Neosho River (Grand River) in the Ozark Mountain foothills. It covers 46,500 surface acres with 1,300 miles of shoreline. Charming Oklahoma towns surround this beautiful angler’s paradise.

What Fish Species Are in Grand Lake?

Predominant fish species in Grand Lake include largemouth, hybrid striped, and white bass, black and white crappie, blue and channel catfish, and paddlefish. Largemouth bass and white crappie fishing dominate Grand Lake. Grand Lake is also known for monster catfish. Other game species like bluegill and walleye, plus more, also attract anglers.

Anglers also go for the smallmouth and spotted bass, bream, alligator gar, sauger, saugeye, green and redear sunfish, and trout in Grand Lake. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) regularly stocks hybrid striped bass, spotted bass, and white bass, and has since 1982.

Biggest Fish in Grand Lake Oklahoma

The biggest paddlefish harvested on a trotline from Grand Lake weighed 134 pounds in 2011. In 2018, Fisherman Rob Rider caught a 121-pound paddlefish. Rob’s paddlefish had a 43-inch girth and measured 52.5 inches from the eye to the fork in the tail.

Monster blue catfish call Grand Lake home, and the limit is one blue cat over 30 inches in length per day. Channel and flathead catfish come in as the next biggest, and most other fish in Grand Lake are under ten pounds, but some hybrid striped bass reach 20 pounds.

Bass Fishing Grand Lake Oklahoma

Fifteen largemouth bass of the ODWC’s top 20 largemouth bass list were caught in the month of March. Anglers consider Grand Lake the best bass fishing lake in Oklahoma based on the numbers of good-sized fish and high catch-rates.

Grand Lake bass prove productive catches year round. At Grand Lake, the popular largemouth bass spend the winter months in deep water, 24 to 30 feet deep. Largemouth bass move into shallow water in the coves when the surface water temperature reaches 60 degrees, usually between mid-April and the first week of May.

Largemouth bass spawn when the water temperature reaches 62 degrees. After spawning, the bass move to the willows and shallow rocky points. As the water temperature approaches 75 degrees, the fish move to deep points, bluffs, underwater brush piles and boat docks until late September or early October. When water temperatures cool to 70 degrees, the bass move back to shallow coves and shallow brush. At approximately 56 degrees, they move back to deeper water.

Hybrid striped bass prefer areas similar to striped bass and white bass, usually travel in large schools in open water, and can grow to 20 pounds by eight or nine years of age. Spotted bass usually follow the same water temperature changes as the largemouth, like rocky ledges, and are usually caught in deeper water than the largemouth. White bass run into the river arms in spring to spawn, and in summer, migrate to open water.

Crappie Fishing Grand Lake Oklahoma

Black and white crappie are available year round at Grand Lake. They spawn in 55-60 degrees water temperatures at two to four feet deep. A good time to fish for crappie is in March along the bank in shallow brush and in April along shallow gravel banks in the coves. Look for deep brush or fish outside or inside fishing docks in 15-25 feet of water during the hot summer months.

Paddlefishing Grand Lake Oklahoma

Grand Lake boasts the most concentrated population of paddlefish in North America. The locals around Grand Lake also call the prehistoric paddlefish a spoonbill, not to be confused with the waterfowl of the same name.  You need a valid Oklahoma fishing license and a free paddlefish permit to catch paddlefish legally.

  • The daily limit is one paddlefish.
  • The annual limit is two paddlefish.
  • You may only keep your one fish on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Catch and release only on Monday and Friday.
  • It is mandatory that within 24 hours of harvesting a fish you report your harvest at the ODWC E-Check system.

You must stop paddlefishing or snagging for the day once you keep a paddlefish, tag the fish immediately with your angler's customer ID number, and report the harvest within 24 hours using the online E-Check system. Paddlefish cannot be caught, kept, and later released under any circumstances.

Catch and release of paddlefish by use of rod and reel, trotlines, and throwlines is allowed year-round. Paddlefish must be released immediately after being caught, unless kept for the daily limit. Anglers fishing trotlines or throwlines must release all paddlefish before leaving their lines, unless keeping one for a daily limit. Paddlefish taken by bowfishing, gigs, spears, and spearguns cannot be released.

Each cleaned paddlefish and its parts, carcass, meat, or eggs must be tagged and kept separate from all other cleaned paddlefish or paddlefish parts. Each person must keep their paddlefish distinctly separate from paddlefish taken by others. Paddlefish and paddlefish parts must remain tagged until the person in possession of the same reaches their residence.

Grand Lake Angler Amenities

Restaurants, stores, bait and tackle shops, camping, RV sites, and lodging are located at or nearby Grand Lake. Bank fishing is popular at the many public use areas around the lake, plus launching for small boats, canoes, and kayaks is available. There are almost two dozen boat ramps that provide easy access to Grand Lake. Boat rental services offer fishing and other types of boats near the lake.

Grand Lake Top Species and Creel Limits

  • Black Crappie: 37 combined white or black/ no size limit.
  • White Crappie: 37 combined white or black/ no size limit.
  • Walleye: 6 limit/ 14″ minimum
  • Sauger: 6 limit/ 14″ minimum
  • Saugeye: 6 limit/ 14″ minimum
  • Trout: See ODWC Regulations
  • Channel Catfish: 15 Combined/ Only one Blue over 30″
  • Blue Catfish: 15 Combined/ Only one Blue over 30″
  • Catfish Flathead: 5 limit no size limit
  • Spotted Bass: no limit or size
  • Striped Bass: 5 limit(except for Lake Texoma) No size limit
  • Striped Hybrid Bass: 20 limit/ Only 5 can be over 30″
  • White Bass: No limit/ No Size Limit
  • Largemouth Bass: 6 per day minimum 14″
  • Smallmouth Bass: 6 per day minimum 14″
  • Alligator Gar: 1 a day/ No size limit

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