8 Fish to Catch in McCurtain County, And Where to Catch Them

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fishing in mccurtain county

“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” – Herbert Hoover

We fish for many reasons: to escape, to think, to connect with nature, to connect with each other, and, of course, to catch fish.

McCurtain County is an angler’s dream. There’s no shortage of trawling opportunities and no shortage of fish varieties. Here are eight different fish populating McCurtain County, and in which bodies of water you can find them.

Be sure to consult the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fishing Guide to know which fish and locations are designated as catch-and-release only.


Largemouth Bass

Where: Broken Bow Lake, Glover River, The Red Slough, Upper Mountain Fork River

When: May – March

Once hooked, this especially feisty sunfish puts up quite a fight and can catch some major air in the process. So, of course, they’re a prized conquest for fishers looking for a challenge.


Smallmouth Bass


Where: Broken Bow Lake, Glover River, The Red Slough, Upper Mountain Fork River

When: May – March

 In 1881, Dr. James Henshall wrote of the smallmouth bass: “[It is] ounce for ounce and pound for pound the gamest fish that swims.” As much as its largemouth cousin puts up a fight, the smallmouth is even more combative, and will bounce and shake across the topwater to break free. Good luck.



Where: Broken Bow Lake

When: Year-round

Some of the best fried catfish in Oklahoma can be found in the restaurants of McCurtain County, so it’s hardly surprising that the catfishing at Broken Bow Lake is equally impressive. Fun fact: thanks to their barbels (whiskers), these channel catfish have super-palates—unusually attuned senses of taste and smell that allow the creatures to sniff out food in unlikely corners.



Where: Broken Bow Lake, Pine Creek Lake, The Red Slough

When: Year round

Compared to bass, crappie are relatively easy to catch, due in large part to their diverse diet and predictable feeding patterns (they eat at dawn and dusk, in open water and near the shore). The most common method of catching them is through “Spider Rigging,” in which the fisher has multiple rods surrounding them, increasing the likelihood of a bite.



Where: Broken Bow Lake, Glover River

When: Year round

“Perch” is the family name encompassing a variety of diminutive fish that are known for putting up a fight. Though they can be caught by a variety of fishing methods, perch are great for fly fishing, and the Glover River is a prime spot.


Brown Trout

Where: Lower Mountain Fork River

When: Year round 

Today, the European-native brown trout, one of the most popular sport-fishing species, is found all over the globe. It was first introduced to the U.S. in 1863, via eggs from the German Fishing Society. In Oklahoma, anglers flock to the Lower Mountain Fork River, known for its abundance of brown trout and optimal fly fishing conditions.


Rainbow Trout

Where: Lower Mountain Fork River, Lower Illinois River

When: Year round

The more popular, colorful cousin of the brown trout, the rainbow trout is predatory and indiscriminate, eating anything it can catch. Popular angling methods include spinning, casting and trolling with lures. It’s also a fighter, leaping and wriggling once hooked.



Where: Broken Bow Lake, Upper Mountain Fork River

When: May – March

The walleye is named for the unique outward placement of its eyes, its line of vision appearing as if its looking at imagined walls to its left and right. The eyes also serve as clues for night fishers, who can spot the walleye beneath the water’s surface because of its reflective “eyeshine” (similar to a cat). Convenient, since the walleye is a nocturnal feeder.

Learn more about the ample fishing opportunities in McCurtain County here, then book a cabin to start planning your next excursion.

Good luck, and tight lines.

plan your trip in mccurtain county

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