Sooner Lake

Lake Sooner is one of Oklahoma's most unusual fisheries. Mostly that is because of the warm water discharge from the Oklahoma Gas and Electric plant.

At 5,000 acres, the lake is too large to be influenced entirely by the warm water, but it is affected enought to sustain Florida-strain largemouth. In fact, Sooner is one of the few lakes in northern Oklahoma stocked with Floridas and regularly yeilding double-digit bass.

Additionally, portions of the lake kept moderate during cold winters also sustain aquatic vegetaion- yet another rarity in Oklahoma because of fluctuating levels in its reservoirs. In Sooner, the level is kept stable with water pumped in from the Arkansas River.

"It might be pond week or it might be coontail. What dominates changes from year to year, but it's typically submerged plants." says Gene Gilliland, a fisheries biologist and avid angler.

In addition to plants, Sooner offers a few rock outcroppings, as well as riprap shoreline, typical cover in ower plant lakes. It doesn't offer much brush or timber.

Forage mostly is gizzard shad, with occasional surgin population of threadfin.

Largemouth share those shad with striper/white bass hybrids. The lake was a real hybrid factory when it was first impunded in 1977, then the vegetaion and the bass came on. This lake has given up a lot of 10-lb bass.

Many of those lunkers are caught by those throwing 4 and 5 inch swimbaits for hybrids in the warmwater discharge during winter.

You have to walk 1.25 miles to get to the discharge canal, but then you can walk the shore and catch hybrids and largemouth. A 12-pounder (largemouth) was caught there by a hybrid fisherman. If a hybrid striper is what you want and a 1 mile walk does not appeal to you, several professionals guide this lake including the reputable Dave Clark of FISH ON Guide Service.

The canal empties into a bay, which dumps into the main lake. Those who want to fish the warmer water by boat must stay below the buoy line.

During summer, locals like to catch largemouth by throwing frogs over the grass. They also might throw crankbait and Carolina rigs along the riprap.

Lying halfway between Stillwater and Ponca City, Sooner receives quite a bit of tournament pressure.

Lake Sooner Trip Check

Location: The lake lies in northern Oklahoma, about 15 miles south of Ponca City and 2 miles east of Interstate 35.

Lodging: nearby Ponca City offers plenty of accommodations. For more information, contact Ponca City Tourism at 866-763-809 or www.poncacitytourism.com.

Local Info: Oklahoma Fishing Guide: FISH ON GUIDE SERVICE

Weighing In

5,000-Acreage of one of Oklahoma's best lakes for both Florida largemouth and striper/white bass hybrids

12-0-Weight of largemouth bass caught just before Chritmas 2006- by a hybrid fisherman

5- Swimbait size (inches popular for catching hybrids and lunker largemouth

1977-The year the first stocking of hybrids occurred at Sooner--and in Oklahoma

Online Content

Lures to Pack: Shad colored crankbaits, as well as swimbaits in 4- and 5-inch sizes; watermelon worms and lizards; black/bluejigs.

Best Times to Go: Winter is a good time to find big largemouth and hybrids in and around the warmwater discharge. Summer is a good time for topwater action.

Techniques: Throw crankbaits and swimbaits in the warmer water of the discharge area, especially during winter. Jigs also will produce. Cast Carolina rigs and crankbaits along rocks and riprap. In summer, throw frogs and other topwaters near and over submerged grasses.