Hot Winter Fisheries

Mountain Fork River, Oklahoma

Location: Southeastern Oklahoma, north of Broken Bow ten miles. The river is three and a half hours northeast of Dallas, Texas.

Species: Stocked rainbow and brown trout with some reproduction. In the park, on Spillway Creek, average sizes run about 9 to 12 inches. In the lower sections, anglers will catch more browns and larger average-sized fish. A two-pound fish is not uncommon.

Equipment: 8- to 9-foot rod for 4- to 6-weight line.

Notes: This twelve-mile tailwater is loaded with a diversity of holding water ranging from pools to runs to wide, lake-like flats, a few riffles, pocket water with plenty of underwater cover, and even some undercut banks. When the water rises, it rises quickly. If you hear the siren, get out immediately. Be aware of the water levels by keeping a rock or tree level in sight. The rocks in the river are slick and the chances of a wader falling are good. Wear felt-soles, use a wading staff, take your time, fish with a buddy, and be careful.


The Ouachita Mountains provide a pleasant backdrop to fishing in the pools and riffles of this small, clear tailwater. In the fall and early winter, the trees and bushes are alive with reds and oranges, and this is when the fishing for rainbow and big brown trout is at its best.

Hoping for a rise

In the lower sections of the river, the cypress trees belie the fact that this tailrace is an excellent trout producer. If the skies are overcast, the trout can be found in the riffles feeding on the surface. If the sun is shining, the trout tend to hide in the head and tail of the pools and off the numerous ledges in the river.

Mountain Fork River has quietly become a popular trout fishing locale for Oklahomans, Texans, and Arkansans, especially from November to March. While most anglers fish Spillway Creek, a diversion of Mountain Fork River, if you want to catch the big ones, if you want to fish the 100-yard wide stretches of the river, if you want to catch lots of trout, then fish downstream of the state park.

Article © Mark D. Willliams, 2000.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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