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Hugo Lake number one - two years running
March 24, 2005 - Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation -
For the second year in a row, Hugo Lake can claim the title as the best bass fishery in the state according to a survey of bass tournaments. The southeast Oklahoma lake ranked Number One in the recently released 2004 Oklahoma Bass Tournaments Report.

Hugo Lake had the highest average winning weight and anglers took the fewest hours to catch a five-pound or larger bass, according to Gene Gilliland, senior fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"An effective water level management plan and a good reproduction year in 1998 are two of the biggest reasons why anglers fishing at Hugo have been so successful," Gilliland said.

With an estimated 1,200 tournaments held each year in the state, tournament anglers are an important part of the Department's fisheries management team. In the course of their pursuits, they provide biologists with hundreds of thousands of hours of fishing data every year.

Cooperating bass clubs submitted data from more than 637 tournaments from 55 lakes in 2004. Biologists analyzed the information and compiled an overall lake ranking based on five fishing quality factors. Hugo Lake took first place as the state's best overall tournament lake, followed by lakes, Okemah, Greenleaf, Murray and Oologah.

"For the third year in a row, we saw an increase in the both the numbers and size of bass reported at tournaments," Gilliland said. "Several years ago we experienced some slow fishing due to low water levels and the largemouth bass virus. The good news is that most of the lakes appear to be on the rebound now."

Gilliland also points to good reproduction in 2001 and 2002 as another reason so many anglers reported "keeper" sized bass in 2004.

According to Gilliland the report would not have been possible without the cooperation of bass tournament organizations.

"In 2004 we received reports from 91 different organizations, but that is still only 65 percent of the permitted tournaments around the state" Gilliland said. "The more tournament feedback we receive the more information we have to make wise management decisions."

Gilliland said that submitting a report is now easier than ever. Tournament Directors can log on to http://fishlab.ou.edu/bass/tournament.htm, fill in the blanks and click submit.

The 13-page 2004 Oklahoma Bass Tournaments Annual Report is available for viewing or downloading at www.wildlifedepartment.com/bassreports.htm

 

 

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