When Do Catfish Spawn on Lake Texoma [A Complete Guide]

by Ray Roman Updated on Feb 29, 2024

As an avid angler, I’ve always been fascinated by the various fish species found in Lake Texoma, especially catfish. Known for their interesting spawning behaviors, catfish draw many anglers to the lake yearly.

When Do Catfish Spawn on Lake Texoma? By understanding, those interested in catfish angling can plan their trips accordingly to increase their chances of a successful catch.

Spawning typically occurs in late May or early June when water temperatures reach around 75 degrees (source). Catfish prefer to nest in places like hollow logs, overhanging underwater ledges, or holes under mud banks.

During this time, you can find all three primary species of catfish in Lake Texoma – blue, channel, and flathead – actively spawning, making it a prime time for anglers to target these fish (source). So, if you’re planning your next fishing trip to Lake Texoma, don’t forget to consider the spawning season of catfish and make the most of this exciting angling opportunity.

When Do Catfish Spawn On Lake Texoma
When Do Catfish Spawn On Lake Texoma

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Lake Texoma is home to a wide variety of catfish, making it an excellent destination for anglers interested in understanding and targeting these fish during their spawning season.

General Spawning Cycle

In general, catfish spawn between late spring and early summer, when the water temperature is perfect for them to reproduce naturally (Outdoorskilled). At Lake Texoma, this usually occurs when water temperatures range between 70 and 80°F (Strike and Catch).

During this time, catfish migrate from the main body of the lake to smaller streams, creeks, or other areas that provide suitable nesting habitats (Game & Fish).

Once in their preferred spawning area, catfish seek out shallow waters with plenty of cover, such as submerged logs, rocks, and vegetation.

They also prefer a firm bottom, as they lay their eggs on hard surfaces (Getoutdoorssouth). During this period, both male and female catfish work to build nests, which the male will aggressively guard until the eggs are hatched.

Factors Affecting Spawning

Various factors can significantly impact the timing and success of the catfish spawn at Lake Texoma. Among the most critical factors is water temperature.

Fluctuations or dips in water temperature can cause catfish to pause their spawning habits until the temperature returns to acceptable levels (Cast and Spear).

In addition to temperature, water level stability also plays a vital role in catfish spawning. Sudden drops or rises in water levels can disrupt the nesting process, as changing, water levels can either expose nests or fail to provide adequate nesting grounds. Stable water conditions throughout the spawning season significantly increase the likelihood of a successful spawn.

As an angler, understanding these factors can help me adjust my fishing strategies and increase my chances of targeting catfish during their spawning season.

Both timing and location are essential, and by focusing on conditions that favor spawning, such as stable water temperatures and levels, I can improve my odds of a successful catch.

Lake Texoma Overview

In this section, I will provide an overview of Lake Texoma, covering its location, size, and the catfish species that can be found within its waters.

One of the most popular fishing destinations in the United States, Lake Texoma offers anglers an opportunity to catch various species of catfish, making it an excellent destination for fishing enthusiasts.

Location and Size

Lake Texoma is situated on the borders of Texas and Oklahoma and is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. It was formed by the Denison Dam, built in 1944 on the Red River, which is the border between Texas and Oklahoma.

The lake covers an area of roughly 93,000 acres, with a shoreline stretching over 550 miles. Due to its size and proximity to both Dallas and Oklahoma City, this lake is an ideal destination for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities.

Aside from providing excellent fishing opportunities, Lake Texoma is an important source of water supply and hydroelectric power generation, making it a valuable resource for the surrounding communities.

Furthermore, the lake is home to several parks and marinas, offering visitors the chance to engage in various water sports and activities alongside fishing.

Catfish Species Found in Lake Texoma

Three main species of catfish can be found in Lake Texoma: Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, and Flathead Catfish. Each catfish species has unique characteristics and preferred habitats, contributing to the diverse angling opportunities at the lake.

  • Blue Catfish: By far the most common species found in Lake Texoma, Blue Catfish are known to thrive in abundance, especially from November-March when water temperatures drop. Anglers can often find them in river channel bends that offer ample hiding spots for these elusive fish. Blue Catfish can grow considerably, making them a popular target for those seeking a challenging catch.
  • Channel Catfish: Often found in sandy, rocky, or gravelly bottoms of the lake, Channel Catfish are known for their flexible feeding habits, which include feasting on various invertebrates and small fishes. By removing the 12-inch minimum length limit for blue and channel catfish, anglers have more opportunities to catch these species in Lake Texoma.
  • Flathead Catfish: Known for their preference for larger, live prey, they can be found in deep water areas with submerged trees, rocks, or other structures. The 18-inch minimum length limit for Flathead Catfish in Lake Texoma has also been removed, allowing more fishing opportunities for this species as well.

With Lake Texoma’s diverse catfish population and accessible fishing spots, it continues to be a prime destination for anglers of all levels.

By understanding the various species present and their unique habitats, anyone can increase their chances of making a memorable catch in Lake Texoma.

When Do Catfish Spawn on Lake Texoma

In my research about catfish spawning in Lake Texoma, I found that catfish generally spawn between spring and summer in water temperatures between 70 and 80°F.

The spawning season may vary slightly for different catfish species found in the lake, which include Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, and Flathead Catfish. In this section, I will discuss each catfish species’ spawning season.

Spawning Season for Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish spawn in late spring or early summer when water temperatures reach 75°F (source). Male Channel Catfish select dark, secluded nest sites, such as cavities in drift piles, logs, undercut banks, rocks, and cans.

The female lays a golden-yellow gelatinous egg mass in the bottom of the nest, and the male guards and tends to the eggs until they hatch.

In Lake Texoma, Channel Catfish are known to have a diverse diet that includes insects, crayfish, mollusks, and small fish. The wide variety of food sources available in Lake Texoma contributes to the healthy population of Channel Catfish in the lake.

Spawning Season for Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish start spawning when water temperatures rise to around 70°F, typically during late spring and early summer. Like Channel Catfish, male Blue Catfish also search for dark, secluded areas for nesting sites. They fan out a depression in the substrate, usually sand or gravel, to prepare the nest.

Blue Catfish are the largest species of catfish found in Lake Texoma, with the Oklahoma state-record blue cat weighing a massive 118 1/2 pounds (source). This species mainly feeds on other fish, making it a top predator in the lake’s ecosystem.

Spawning Season for Flathead Catfish

Flathead Catfish spawn a bit later than Channel and Blue Catfish, usually when water temperatures reach around 75 to 80°F. The males of this species will also search for dark, secluded nesting areas, such as underwater cavities, logs, and brush piles.

They are known to protect their nests and may even attack nearby intruders.

Flathead Catfish are opportunistic feeders and have a diet mainly consisting of other fish, making them another top predator in Lake Texoma.

The largest Flathead Catfish caught in Oklahoma weighed an impressive 106 pounds (source), showcasing the potential for growth in Lake Texoma’s nutrient-rich waters.

Understanding the spawning season for each catfish species in Lake Texoma can help anglers plan their fishing trips accordingly and increase their chances of success.

With a bit of patience and knowledge about the preferred nesting sites and habits of each species, I can increase my chances of catching these impressive fish during their reproductive season.

Factors Affecting Catfish Spawning in Lake Texoma

As I researched the spawning habits of catfish in Lake Texoma, I found that several factors play a crucial role in determining when and where these fascinating fish reproduce.

In this section, I’ll discuss the influence of water temperature, lake level, habitat, and cover on catfish spawning in Lake Texoma.

Water Temperature

One of the most critical factors affecting catfish spawning is water temperature. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, channel catfish typically spawn when the water temperature reaches 72 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Lake Texoma, this usually occurs between late May and early June, as mentioned by The Oklahoman. The ideal temperature range allows catfish to develop and hatch their eggs optimally, leading to successful reproduction.

Lake Level

Another factor that affects catfish spawning in Lake Texoma is the lake’s water level. Maintaining a stable water level during spawning is essential for catfish to find suitable nesting sites.

Fluctuations in water levels can decrease available spawning sites or wash away nests, negatively impacting the catfish’s reproductive success. Thus, tracking and managing lake levels during the spawning season is crucial for maintaining a healthy catfish population in Lake Texoma.


The availability of proper habitat plays a significant role in catfish spawning. Catfish prefer to create their nests in areas with hollow logs, overhanging underwater ledges, or holes under mud banks, as noted by The Oklahoman.

Providing and maintaining suitable habitats in Lake Texoma is essential for successful catfish reproduction. Efforts to protect and restore natural habitats along the shoreline can help ensure more optimal spawning sites for catfish.


Cover is another essential factor that affects catfish spawning in Lake Texoma. Catfish, especially during the spawning season, require adequate cover to protect their eggs and newly hatched young from predators.

Cover can be found in the form of submerged vegetation, rocks, logs, or other natural structures. By preserving suitable cover along the lake’s shoreline and underwater environments, we can boost the chances of catfish successfully reproducing in Lake Texoma.

In conclusion, various factors such as water temperature, lake level, habitat, and cover influence catfish spawning in Lake Texoma. Understanding these factors and managing them effectively can help ensure a healthy catfish population in the lake for future generations to enjoy.

Fishing Techniques During Spawning Season

As an angler, fishing during the spawning season can be rewarding and challenging. I can improve my catch rate and overall fishing experience by properly understanding catfish behavior in Lake Texoma.

This section will discuss spawning catfish, their preferred baits and lures, and responsible fishing practices to ensure a healthy fish population.

Locating Spawning Catfish

During the spawning season, catfish tend to seek out specific types of cover and water conditions. One of the key aspects of successfully catching catfish in Lake Texoma is knowing where they prefer to spawn.

Typically, catfish spawn around structures such as rocks, logs, or dense vegetation in shallow water. In Lake Texoma, my go-to spots for finding spawning catfish include:

  • Shallow coves and bays with abundant cover
  • Near man-made structures, such as bridges and marinas
  • Along the shoreline where vegetation, rocks, and fallen trees provide ample hiding spots

Baits and Lures

Selecting the right baits and lures can significantly improve my chances of hooking a catfish during the spawning season. Based on my experience and the information provided by Outdoor Skilled, the following baits, and lures have proven effective for spawning catfish in Lake Texoma:

  • Cheeto Puffs
  • Strawberry Starburst (wrapped in salmon egg)
  • Cherry and Lime Starburst
  • Stale Donuts
  • Rapala Shad Crankbaits
  • Raw Jimmy Dean Sausage

I’ve found that combining natural and artificial baits increases my chances of attracting catfish. Experimenting with different baits and lures is essential to identify the best options for effective catfish angling in Lake Texoma.

Responsible Fishing Practices

As an angler who cares about the health of fish populations and the quality of the waterways, I believe we must fish responsibly during the spawning season. This can help protect the fish stocks and ensure sustainable angling for future generations. Here are some responsible fishing practices I implement :

  • Using barbless hooks, which are easier to remove and minimize injury to the fish
  • Practicing catch and release, especially for large, healthy fish that can contribute to the fishery
  • Proper handling of fish, including wetting my hands before touching them and using tools such as fish grippers for a safe release
  • Being mindful of my surroundings and not disturbing spawning areas or sensitive fish habitats

By adhering to responsible fishing practices during the catfish spawning season in Lake Texoma, I can contribute to preserving the overall health of the fishery and protecting the future of angling in the area.

Conclusion When Do Catfish Spawn on Lake Texoma

After researching and gathering information about catfish spawning in Lake Texoma, I have found that a specific time frame and certain conditions trigger this natural event.

Usually, all catfish species spawn sometime between spring and summer when water temperatures range between 70 and 80°F (Strike and Catch).

In the case of Lake Texoma, prime spawning conditions for catfish occur in late May or early June when the water temperature reaches 75°F (The Oklahoman).

Understanding catfish’s specific behaviors and preferences during their spawning season is important. Awareness of these factors can help anglers successfully target catfish populations in the lake.

Catfish prefer to spawn in cracks, crevices, caves, rocky shorelines, or along riprapped areas created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control erosion (Game & Fish).

Lake Texoma itself is home to three varieties of catfish – Blue, Channel, and Flathead (FishingBooker). Blue Catfish are the most common catch, and their abundance increases during the cooler months from November to March. During this time, anglers can focus their efforts on river channel bends that provide ideal hiding spots for these elusive fish.

In conclusion, knowing when catfish spawn in Lake Texoma and being familiar with their preferred spawning habitats can greatly improve angling success.

As an angler, I will use this information to my advantage when planning my next fishing trip to Lake Texoma.

Understanding catfish’s unique behaviors and characteristics during their spawning season can increase my chances of catching these fascinating fish and further enhance my fishing experience.

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Ray Roman
Ray is the founder/author of Go Lake Texoma. He and his wife Tammy live on Lake Texoma. They created this Lake Texoma visitor's guide to help the millions of visitors yearly enjoy all the great things Lake Texoma has to offer.