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Get a bite after midnight

As the dog days of summer heat up the Oklahoma landscape, fishing at night can be a great alternative to fishing in the heat of the day.

“Not only is it cooler and more comfortable at night for anglers, many popular fish species such as bass, catfish and crappie become more active after the sun goes down,” said Barry Bolton, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

When heading out after dark, underwater structure is the place to be for crappie and catfish, and bass often move up into shallow water looking for unsuspecting baitfish or crayfish. Whether in a lawn chair or in a boat, just about any lake or pond can produce good stringers of fish between sunset and sunrise.

According to Bolton, with a few notable exceptions, night fishing tackle and techniques are basically the same as those used for fishing during the daylight hours. Here are a few tips that may make your night fishing excursions more enjoyable.

Obviously, no nocturnal angler should leave for a fishing trip without a dependable source of light. The cover of darkness can make even simple tasks like re-tying a hook into a challenging endeavor. Flashlights and lanterns are essential items and headlamps are particularly useful as they allow the fishermen to have free use of both hands. Some anglers use florescent black lights when night fishing to allow them to see without spooking fish.

As the winds calm down at night, try using a topwater plug. There’s nothing much more exciting than catching a big bass on at topwater lure at night. When fishing in deeper water try lures with contrasting colors to help them stand out in dark water.

Be sure to include a camera with a flash in your fishing gear - you never know when you might catch “The Big One.” A plastic freezer bag works well for keeping your camera and other equipment dry.

Safety is the most important thing to remember when fishing at night. When fishing from a boat, wear your life jacket and make sure all running lights are in good working order before putting your boat in the water.

For more information about Oklahoma fishing opportunities, log on to or pick up a copy of the “2003 Oklahoma Fishing Guide.”