McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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May 28, 2011

Catfishing is in the air... and at Lake Eufaula

McALESTER — There’s several items to cover this holiday weekend, but let me get in, upfront, a personal thanks to and for the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, the sacrifice of those who gave their all, we remember this holiday  weekend, which is meant to be more than just grilling and time out at the lake.

However, many of us will be out at the lake, and this is a good time of year to do so. I was out at Robbers Cave State Park Thursday evening. I was a bit surprised that there were fewer people out there already than I had expected for the long holiday weekend. However, I’m confident it would be a different picture if I went back out there this morning.

In their annual electrofishing surveys, the Wildlife Department found a ‘shocking’ (all right, I should have resisted the urge) striper just below the Gentle Giant. It was a monster, not in the mythological Volkswagon-sized catfish said to be residing at the base of the dam of your favorite lake, but in comparitive size in a real-world fish.

That was a striper that was 41.5 inches long, wich would give it an estimated weight of 51.5 pounds, based on the measurements taken in the survey. If you (or even better, I) were so lucky as to catch the fish, it would shatter the

existing state striper record by about four pounds.     

That current state record was taken some 15ish years ago, in 1996. That was a striper that weighed 47.5 pounds, and was taken from the Lower Illinois by Louis Parker.

I was up below the dam of Eufaula one time by a man who was specifically after the really large striper he felt there were below the dam. He was, if memory stretches back accurately, seeking a state record there and actually lived in Norman, but came to Eufaula in search of a massive striper.

If you are into bowfishing, there is an event at Lake Eufaula Saturday. That will be the Lake Eufaula Bowfishing Tournament, hosted by the Bowhunting Council of Oklahoma, and will take place at Crowder City Park.

The cost to enter is $30 per team. A team can be made up of up to three adults, and includes a post-weigh-in meal.

Weigh-in time for the tournament is 6 p.m. For more information, contact Chris Parker at 918-470-0003, or Jeff Parker at 918-426-1911.

For catfish fins...err, fans (and who isn’t?) there is a Catfish Festival in Cleveland (that’s Oklahoma, not Ohio, although I think I’ve actually been to both places.) Cleveland is northwest of Tulsa, on the far side of Lake Keystone.

There is a creek/river up there, Bear Creek if memory serves correctly, that’s been on my mental list of ‘want to fish places’ for a number of years.

They’ve got a range of activities, including a catfish contest. Activities with the festival begin at 3 p.m. in Feyodi Park. Weigh-in is at 5 p.m., and there are some top three cash prizes, including $1,000 for the heaviest catfish.

The fish does not have to be caught there, but must be alive at check-in. For specifics, call 918-385-2131, or email myhedges@chamberofclevelandok.com.

And, you don’t even have to be a LeBron fan (or hater) to go to this Cleveland!

Finally, Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, are Free Fishing Days in Oklahoma. No state fishing licenses or permits are required, but some city permits may still apply.

I still have material, but, so as they say in certain venues, to be continued...

Until next week then, Happy Outdoors!

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