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Hugo Lake tops list of bass tournament lakes

Finding a good bass fishing lake in Oklahoma can be like finding a
snowflake in a blizzard. Good bass fishing can be found just about
anywhere you look in the state.

But according to a recent survey of bass tournament anglers, Hugo Lake in
southeast Oklahoma is one of the best bass fisheries in the state.
With an estimated 1,300 tournaments held each year in the state,
tournament anglers are an important part of the Departmentís fisheries
management team. In the course of their pursuits, they provide biologists
with hundreds of thousands of hours of fishing data every year. And while
this information is of critical importance to biologists, you can use the
same data to help plan your next fishing trip.

Cooperating bass clubs submitted data from more than 727 tournaments from
49 lakes and 91 organizations in 2003. Biologists analyzed the information
and compiled an overall lake ranking based on five fishing quality
factors. Hugo Lake took first place as the stateís best overall tournament
lake, followed by lakes Broken Bow, Okemah, Sardis and Texoma.
Both the average size of bass caught in tournaments and the average
winning weights were up from the previous year. The overall success rate,
which is based on anglers bringing at least one bass to weigh-in, was also
up five percent from 2002.

A total of 33,368 bass were weighed in 2003. Those fish weighed 68,972
pounds, a 16-percent increase from 2002.

The overall ranking isnít the only thing anglers should notice. If youíre
looking for a lake where you can catch a lot of bass, for example, you
should compare lakes in terms of numbers of bass caught per day. In that
category, Broken Bow was the best last year, followed by Hugo and McGee
Creek lakes.

Likewise, if you wanted the best chance of catching a bass larger than
five pounds, you should compare lakes in terms of how long it took to
catch a five-pounder or better. Guthrie Lake was the best lake for big
fish, with tournament anglers taking an average of 27 hours of fishing to
land a fish five pounds or larger.

Copies of this yearís 14-page Oklahoma Bass Tournaments Annual Report
will soon be available free of charge via email by e-mailing Gene
Gilliland at ggillokla@aol.com or by calling him at the Wildlife
Departmentís Fisheries Research Lab at (405)325-7288.





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