I think I had lived here in Lawton for a few years before I learned the state-stocked trout in Medicine Creek for licensed anglers to enjoy. Off the cuff, it's such a weird species to expect to find in Oklahoma. Then again, tiger muskie is a huge thing in Northern Oklahoma, and the dammed reservoirs in Eastern Oklahoma produce massive alien-looking spoonbills each year. I suppose trout in SWOK isn't that weird.

In the tailwaters of Lawtonka, the cold winter waters of Medicine Creek overflow with fishery-produced trout. Of those that the state stocks, the overwhelming majority of species is the famous American rainbow trout with the occasional and humble brown trout mixed in. Some lucky anglers even manage to land the storied golden trout, and if you're lucky enough to see one in person, it's obvious how it was bestowed that name.

Before you head off to Academy to buy a traditional fly rod to experience a little different fishing, that's not how it's done in Medicine Creek. That's not to say you can't, but the waters there don't offer the trout fishing you're most familiar with. Down here, and in most of Oklahoma's trout fisheries, fish are caught on small baits tied to spinning reels.

Oklahoma biologists recommend that you start out with the purple nymph colored Powerbait Trout Bait smooshed around a small snelled hook tied with really light line. They recommend monofilament, but fluorocarbon is both invisible to the fish and more sensitive to the bite. As good as it is, that's not the only bait that works though.

Over the years I've seen trout landed using flies, roostertail spinners, and even spoons. It all just depends on how you want to fish and what they'll be biting on that day. As the water conditions change between now and spring, there's not any single bait that works all the time.

Your best bet is to make good use of bait shop knowledge. I know it's can be awkward and most men would rather pull over and ask directions at a gas station, but if the bait shop is selling ten times more of one thing, odds are that might be what they're biting on.

There are several bait shops in the area no matter which direction you're coming from. Several shops from Lawton to Apache, Elgin, and even in Medicine Park. Just ask.

As the weather continues to cool off, it'll be relaxing to sit along the bank some frigid morning, warming your hands by the fire, cooking lunch right out of the creek, sharing in a little peace with the strangers near you. Try it once, see if it fits. Just make sure you brush up on your trout regulations and try not to be the guy that starts the argument that you'd rather eat a carp than a trout. Catch and release is positively OK.

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