There are 13 Public Use Lakes on the Refuge which provide ample fishing opportunities for both bank and boat anglers. Largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish are likely to be caught in Refuge lakes.
While the primary purpose of the lakes is to provide a perennial water source for Refuge wildlife and serve as the beginnings of the watershed for many surrounding creeks, the Refuge lakes are also intended to provide a quality family fishing experience within serene surroundings. To accomplish these goals, regulations have been set for the lakes to ensure an enjoyable fishing adventure, maintain water quality, and minimize adverse impacts on wildlife species.
Only an Oklahoma State fishing license is required to fish on the Refuge. Fish may be taken with poles and lines or rods and reels. Since wading is permitted when fishing, fishermen may use tube type floaters, life jackets or buoyant vests. Obtaining any type of bait from Refuge lands or waters is prohibited, as is taking of frogs and turtles.
Hand-powered boats are permitted only on Jed Johnson, Rush, Quanah Parker, Elmer Thomas, and French Lakes. Electric trolling motors are permitted on boats 14' or less in length on Jed Johnson, Rush, Elmer Thomas, and Quanah Parker Lakes.
Lake Elmer Thomas is located on the boundary between Fort Sill Military Reservation and the Refuge, and therefore enjoys cooperative management. The lake was drained for dam replacement in 1988, with the new dam completed in 1993. The lake was reopened to fishing in 1995 and all regulations apply to the entire surface area of the lake. Boats of any size are permitted on Lake Elmer Thomas, but a "no wake" speed limit is enforced lake-wide. Personal water craft, such as Jet Skis, Sea-Doos, Wave-Runners etc are prohibited.
Elmer Thomas has been stocked with both Florida and Northern largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass and a variety of other fish species. The Refuge portion of Lake Elmer Thomas features two fishing piers, a double-lane boat ramp with floating boat dock, and multiple artificial fish structures. Information on Fort Sill's recreational facility, Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area (LETRA), can be obtained by contacting the Fort at (580) 442-5541, or by mail at: 7453 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Lawton, OK 73503
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
(Six miles west of the Visitors Center on Hwy. 49
Rt. 1, Box 448
Indiahoma, OK 73552
Come visit us in Lawton, Oklahoma