Skip to main content

Lake of the Arbuckles - Oklahoma

Lake of the Arbuckles - Oklahoma

Bassmaster Elite pro Chris Zaldain is a native southern Californian. When I asked his favorite mid-winter lake for trophies or quality bass, he asked, "Can it be in Oklahoma?" I responded, somewhat skeptically, "Sure." And Zaldain said, "Let's make it Lake of the Arbuckles. It's the best winter bass fishing in the Midwest."

Located in the scenic Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma, this rocky and very clear (6- to 8-foot visibility) reservoir is not your typical Oklahoma fishery. And it's a great place to catch 6-plus largemouth in the middle of winter. Expect air temps in the 40s and 50s, water temp in the low 50s.

//www.in-fisherman.com/files/2016/03/lakeofthearbuckles-chicksaw-country.jpg
Zaldain searches main-lake points with sharp drop-offs to the river channel and off-shore rock piles for clouds of shad on his electronics. Fifteen to 25 feet is the magic depth.

Zaldain temps big bites with a swimbait fished either solo or on an umbrella rig. His swimbait of choice is a Megabass Spark Shad, 4 or 5 inch in albino. Zaldain fishes his umbrella rigs with all swimbaits the same size, ¼ ounce jigheads on the top two arms, ½ ounce jigheads on the bottom arms. Heavy, but he's fishing 15- to 25-feet deep. He prefers rigs with blades for the added flash, but the blades create more lift and, therefore, require a heavier rig. Adjust the presentation to the depth of the bass in the water column, but usually you will be hugging the bottom.

When confronted with sunny and windy conditions, especially a warm south wind, Zaldain looks for a reaction bite in shallower water with a glide-style swimbait, like a Megabass I-Slide in silver salmon color. He looks for 8- to 10-feet deep water near deep water along wave-washed shores. In many spots, he is just moving shoreward on the points he fished with the swimbait or umbrella rig.


Are there other ways to catch aggressive Arbuckle bass? "Sure," said Zaldain, "but save all that diversity stuff for later in the year when the bass are pre-spawn."


Zaldain describes himself as the "why man." "Always ask 'why'. Why did I get bit? Why here? Why not there?" That's how to turn data into information and patterns.

[navionics zoom="8" long="-97.0" lat="34.4"]

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Doug Stange joins Capt. Aron Kastern on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin where they go after whitefish on ice.

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

The In-Fisherman crew head to Lake Erie to catch smallmouth bass.

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

“If that engine starts without my kill switch on, I ain't the one driving it,” Blake Broussard says after ejection video goes viral.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth measurements.Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power Accessories

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

OSG Editorial Staff - January 24, 2021

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more...

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips are tasty and dress up nicely when served in a basket or on a plate with fresh fruit such as grapes and strawberries.Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe Fish Recipes

Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe

In-Fisherman

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips...

The effectiveness of swimbaits and other soft plastics for muskies isn't new.Swimbaits for Muskies Pike & Muskie

Swimbaits for Muskies

Steve Ryan - October 14, 2020

The effectiveness of swimbaits and other soft plastics for muskies isn't new.

See More Trending Articles

More Adventures

Jumbo perch tips for several South Dakota lakes. South Dakota Jumbo Perch Adventures

South Dakota Jumbo Perch

Doug Stange - November 29, 2016

Jumbo perch tips for several South Dakota lakes.

Multispecies in the north country. Lloyd Lake, Saskatchewan, Multispecies Adventures

Lloyd Lake, Saskatchewan, Multispecies

Rob Neumann - March 22, 2017

Multispecies in the north country.

World-class opportunities for blue cats, with 20- to 40-pounders common and chances at fish into the 100-pound range.Wheeler Reservoir, Alabama Blue Catfish Adventures

Wheeler Reservoir, Alabama Blue Catfish

In-Fisherman - May 26, 2016

World-class opportunities for blue cats, with 20- to 40-pounders common and chances at fish...

See More Adventures

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now