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Reports of cool weather and the onset of hunting season draw many outdoor enthusiasts to the field, but Nov. 1 also marks an important day on the water - the opening day of Oklahoma's winter trout season.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation operates two year-round trout fisheries - at the Lower Mountain Fork River (LMFR) and the Lower Illinois River - but seasonal opportunities exist in several other areas, including Lake Pawhuska, Robbers Cave, Blue River, Lake Watonga and Lake Carl Etling.
Unfortunately, the Quartz Mountain trout fishery in southwest Oklahoma will no longer be stocked with trout as a result of golden alga blooms. Golden alga is a microscopic organism that, under certain conditions, can produce toxins that cause extensive fish kills.
"Once established in a water body, golden alga are there to stay, and it is not possible to predict when the next toxic episode will occur," said Ryan Ryswyk, southwest region fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department.
The Wildlife Department is looking at options to provide trout fishing elsewhere in southwest Oklahoma.
Rainbow trout usually are stocked about every two weeks at most of the state's trout areas during designated trout seasons, while the Lower Illinois River and LMFR below Broken Bow Dam also are occasionally stocked with brown trout.
Trout fishing can be made as challenging or as easy as anglers want it to be. Fly fisherman can catch fish on flies they've tied themselves, but young anglers can sit on the bank with a jar of salmon eggs and have just as much fun, and a lot of success.
Trout anglers must carry a resident or nonresident fishing license, unless exempt.
Trout angling tips as well as daily trout limits, season dates and other trout fishing regulations for each area are available on the Wildlife Department's Web site at wildlifedepartment.com or in the current "Oklahoma Fishing Guide."