Free Shipping: Orders Over $35

Crappie Fishing Destination – Oklahoma’s Eufaula Lake

Oklahoma’s largest reservoir is a legendary crappie fishing destination, with outstanding access for boating and bank-fishing anglers, great catch rates, and strong potential for big crappie. Let’s take a closer look!

Eufaula Lake CrappieEufaula Lake Crappie

“I’ve heard about a good crappie bite on Eufaula.”

There are few words I’d rather hear from Gary Dollahon of Bobby Garland Crappie Baits when he and I are scheming a photo outing. Dollahon lives in Broken Arrow and tracks the bite everywhere within a couple of hours’ drive. We fish various waters together when I make photo excursions to Oklahoma. Each has appeals, but I always like a Eufaula plan because of the variety of offerings and because we also seem to find good fish!

Eufaula Lake is also an iconic crappie fishing destination – nationally acclaimed for its extensive, high-quality offerings – and there’s an undeniable added appeal in spending time on storied waters.

Dollahon has fished Eufaula for more than 30 years, but his interest in the lake goes back much farther because of its legendary status. He grew up in New Mexico and would always hear about Lake Eufaula as a dream destination for crappie and catfish, and he knew several people who would use their vacation time to travel to Oklahoma to fish Like Eufaula. Learning the lake and exploring its crappie fishing were high priorities when he moved to Oklahoma. Fortunately, this lined up well with work objectives. He moved to the area to work for Zebco/Quantum. They were developing a crappie line of products and working with legendary Eufaula guide Todd Huckabee, so Dollahon got his initial education about Eufaula Lake crappie in Huckabee’s boat.

Eufaula Lake, Oklahoma

white crappiewhite crappie

Eufaula Lake, which impound the Canadian River but is fed by several large creeks and rivers, is Oklahoma’s largest reservoir. It spreads across 102,000 acres and has 600 miles of shoreline. It is widely varied in character in different parts of the lake, with substantial variances in average depths, typical water color, and prevalent cover.

Dollahon pointed toward that diversity as one of his favorite things about Eufaula, saying that it’s almost like three or four different lakes. The Deep Fork area at the northern end is usually muddy, and the crappie stay shallow most of the time. The southern end, including the Crowder area, also tends to be dirty, but it offers a variety of depths and cover ranging from buckbrush to rocky points, bridges and standing timer. The mid-section, around the city of Eufaula, is best known for its bridges, including long spans of U.S. Highway 69 north and south of town. The lower main body and Porum area offer clearer and deeper water, overall, with an abundance of deeper wood cover away from the banks.

“However you want to fish for crappie, you can probably go somewhere on the lake and find conditions that allow you to use that technique with good confidence,” Dollahon said.

The lake’s sheer size and the distance between the north and south ends serves to extend good seasonal bites, Dollahon pointed out. Fish at the south end will commonly be a few weeks ahead of fish at the north end in terms of timing of the peak spawn, so an angler often can follow a good bite to other parts of the lake to extend the opportunity to fish the same way and succeed.

Between boat landings, bridge rights-of-way, parks and other recreation areas, Eufaula also offers extensive shoreline access and boat access points that are spread across the lake, preventing the need for long boat runs to reach good fishing areas.

Eufaula Lake Crappie

Eufaula Lake white crappieEufaula Lake white crappie

Eufaula Lake is mostly classified as eutrophic and therefore productive, according to Michael Hollie, the fisheries biologist over the lake for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He noted that the crappie are fast growing, reaching a mean length of 9.2 inches by age 2 and 11.7 inches by age 3.

As is typical for the species, Eufaula Lake populations are cyclical, with spring water levels being the most important variable that impacts the population.

Hollie noted that when water levels during the spawn exceed 586 feet, which is a foot over conservation pool, the amount of inundated cover and vegetation increases, which typically results in good spawning success. That occurred every spring from 2018-2022, but in 2023 the water level barely reached conservation pool.

The relative abundance was down in the most recent Eufaula Lake sampling, which was conducted in 2023, but the abundance of 10-inch plus crappie was the second highest level recorded.

“While relative abundance was lower this year, it isn't necessarily a concern because of the well-known boom-and-bust cycles that tend to accompany crappie populations,” Hollie said.

 Eufaula’s huge reputation and plentiful access for fish by boat and from the bank result in a tremendous amount of fishing pressure, but the lake’ sheer size and productivity, when coupled with good spring water levels more years than not, allow it to continue to support great crappie fishing.

Dollahon has witnessed the cyclical nature of the crappie population. Fishing will be red hot for a few years then not as good for a couple of years (although down years at Eufaula would be great years at some lakes). Over the past couple of years crappie fishing has been excellent.

Dollahon’s fishing experience and reports from other anglers have suggested very numbers of large crappie being caught in the past year or so. He admits he doesn’t know if that’s a product of the population itself or continued advancements in angler knowledge and technology that allow anglers to catch more of the larger fish. He only know that he has been aware of more big fish being caught.

3 Great Approaches for Eufaula Crappie

winter crappie on Eufula Lakewinter crappie on Eufula Lake

Eufaula’s diversity opens many crappie fishing techniques, and the most effective approach varies by season, the area of the lake and conditions. That said, certain tactics consistently produce well. Dollahon suggested three approaches as starting points for different times of the year.

SPRING, Shallow Float Fishing – During the pre-spawn and continuing through the fall, Dollahon has found nothing to be more fun or dependably productive than rigging a Baby Shad or Slab Slay’R beneath a set float and casting around buckbrush, riprap, downed trees, and other shallow cover. Both baits provide nearly constant tail action without being moved much. The water is typically dingy, if not dirty, at that time, so he likes high-vis colors, including Bone White/Chartreuse, Cajun Cricket, Outlaw Special and Black/Hot Pink.

SUMMER/FALL, Bridge Fishing – Once summer sets in, Dollahon turns his attention bridges, especially bridges that span major channels, including the Highway 69 bridges north and south of Eufaula and the Highway 9 crossing of the Canadian River arm. Water running through the dam for hydroelectric power generation creates current during the summer, and the crappie pile up in the eddies formed by the bridge pillars. The key to success is finding the fish’s primary holding depth, which tends to be the same on every pillar. Dollahon likes a Minnow Minder with Its wavering twin tails for this approach. He also likes the Mayfly because aquatic insect are always plentiful in bridge areas.

WINTER, Deep Jig Fishing – During winter, Dollahon focuses more on brush and other cover in deeper water, often in the lower part of the lake. He pointed toward the 18- to 22-foot range as the key zone but said he sometimes fishes cover that’s as deep as 35 feet through winter. He looks for cover and the presence of baitfish and isn’t necessarily worried about targeting specific fish. Dollahon said the new Live Roam’R is ideal for matching baitfish and offering the subtle action that winter demands, and he has found good success rigging it upright and flat. He prefers baitfish colors for this approach pointed toward Monkey Milk, Blue Ice and Live Minnow.

Dollahon pointed toward the Oklahoma Forum on as a great resource for updated Eufaula fishing reports.

Dock Fishing Delight

Belle Starr Marina, located in the lake’s mid-section, has a great dock fishing area with a $5 day-use fee. The docks are open 24 hours a day, with an extensive area of marina docks, an abundance of added cover, a broad range of depths and three heated inside “wells.”

Belle Starr maintains a YouTube Channel with a 24-hour webcam, so you can watch a while to see how the fish are biting before heading out!