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Lake Texoma is a unique striper fishery located one-and-a-half hours north of Dallas, Texas, in the Red River and Washita River watershed. Salt domes 40 miles upstream on the Red River create enough buoyancy to keep striper eggs tumbling downstream during the annual spring spawn. This creates the largest, most dependable natural striped bass spawn of any lake in the country — making Lake Texoma Striper fishing a dream come true.
Texoma is an all-season striper fishery. During summer, huge striper schools make runs in the lower lake that span several miles. Rather than one giant school of stripers, this morning run comprises of countless smaller striper schools pushing schools of juvenile shad. Fishing during the first few hours of daylight is usually best with a method the locals call “hop scotching.”
The drill is to get the boat in position ahead of the action and wait until fish come within casting range. Catching is often frantic for 15 minutes, until all the fish move up the lake. Fishermen have two choices: fire up the boat and get in position ahead of the school or stay put and wait unit the next school of fish passes under the boat.
During early mornings and periods of cloud cover, top water plugs like big Pencil Poppers or Choppo’s provide hot topwater action; however, baits like lead slab spoon weighing between one and two ounces, and ¾ ounce lead head jigs with soft body plastics work well. Slabs are most productive when fished vertically under the boat with a “crank and fall” retrieve.
Keep your thumb on the spook as the bait falls and prepare to engage the reel and set the hook the instant you feel resistance on the line. Live bait is also deadly on stripers during the day when these morning schools on a feeding frenzy disband and congregate along submerged river and creek channels.
Bill Carey and his son Chris, with Striper Express, run the oldest and largest charter service on the lake, offering lodging at Mill Creek Resort, a short walk from the dock. Bill is a storehouse of knowledge on fishing the lake and is always happy assist others.
The current pattern will continue throughout the summer until around October when the gulls return from the coast. Then it’s time to watch the sky for gulls picking up hapless shad driven to the surface by striped bass gorging themselves on protein to sustain through the colder winter months. Some of the bigger stripers of the year can be caught during early winter. This is when fish are in pre-spawn: the females are packed with eggs and feeding on baitfish moving deep along the river channels seeking warmer water.