Oklahoma Kayak Fishing – (List Of Lakes And Rivers To Kayak In OKC)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: December 1, 2022
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In the United States, the state of Oklahoma is one of the best places for kayaking. The Illinois river, Mountain Fork River, Kiamichi River, Lake Eufaula, Lake Texoma, Quanah Parker Lake, and Flint Creek are some of the best destinations in Oklahoma for kayak fishing.

Key Takeaways

  • Oklahoma holds a length of more than 167,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • Oklahoma has more than 200 lakes, which concludes with more than 1300 square miles of water surface
  • Illinois River, Tahlequah is a good starting point for beginner kayaking and it offers spectacular scenery with more than 250 species of birds.
  • Mountain Fork River is the best white-water stream in Oklahoma stream and it is rated class two white water for its rapids
  • Washita River houses class two and class three rapids depending on the weather conditions, which makes it challenging for kayakers

Not the lakes and rivers are only great for fishing, but they are also perfect for adventure-seekers. For that, the best kind of adventure one can have in Oklahoma is kayak fishing. Kayak fishing can fill your heart with satisfaction and also can fill your stomach. This makes it the best recreational activity in Oklahoma. 

Oklahoma Kayak Fishing The Top Kayaking Destinations

Places To Look For

Kayaking can fit any mood or purpose as per your preference. Either you can go on an adventure, or just relax and absorb the natural scenery around you. It also depends on your experience with a kayak. Thankfully the rivers, streams, lakes, and creeks are suited for kayakers of all experience levels from beginners to advanced. Below are the most suitable destinations for kayaking and fishing. 

Rivers For kayaking: 

1. Illinois River, Tahlequah: Illinois is a gently flowing river, which makes it a good starting point for beginner kayaking. However, there are certain portions of the river which are full of rapids. The rapids may challenge a beginner, but most of them are fairly easy to paddle through. There are a number of outfitters and rentals alongside the river in parallel to highway 10. The bookings are open from May to October every year, but you can paddle year-round with a private kayak. Your kayak needs registration with the state. The river offers spectacular scenery with more than 250 species of birds. If you’re lucky, you can even spot bald eagles. 

2. Mountain Fork River: This river is probably the best white-water stream in Oklahoma for a number of reasons. Before that, you should contact the local rentals and outfitters to know about the suitable conditions for paddling. The best stretch for paddling is below the hydroelectric dam. The stream is rated class two white water for its rapids, which can be challenging for starters but exciting for seasoned kayakers. There are plenty of drop-off points on the river for you to get started. You can paddle any time of the year, but the conditions in summer suit everyone. 

3. Kiamichi River: Close to the mountain Fork river, the Kiamichi river offers great paddling experiences with class one and class two rapids in some parts. For safe kayaking, you may contact the river campground to know about the paddling conditions. The reason behind that is, the river expands from heavy rain and can have some class three rapids, which won’t suit beginners. The river campground is the best place to start. You will find a lot of outfitters around that place. Kiamichi river also offers full-moon night kayaking, an exhilarating experience that can be hard to forget.

4. Washita River: This river is quieter than the other rivers because of very few rentals and outfitters along the banks. Still, new rentals are starting up, making Washita river a great place to avoid the paddling crowd and practice in the rapids. The river houses class two and class three rapids depending on the weather conditions, which makes it challenging for kayakers. The stretch before Turner falls suits the best for kayaking, but there are fewer drop-off points compared to other rivers. The best time for paddling on the Washita River is in the fall and early summer before the water dries up due to intense heat. Most of the rentals are open during that season. 

There Are Several Lakes And Water Bodies That Can Cater To Your Fishing And Kayaking Preferences. 

1. Lake Eufaula: Lake Eufaula is fed by three rivers and has miles of shoreline. For that reason, you will see the terrain change as you come down from north to south. This state park hosts some great launch sites, but you can also use any boat deck to launch your kayak. The lake offers splendid views of natural vegetation and wildlife. This makes this calm lake an ideal spot for kayaking. 

2. Lake Texoma: Lake Texoma is one of the most popular fishing spots in Oklahoma. It is located at the southern border of Oklahoma and Texas and is very famous for canoeing and kayaking. You can catch many species of fish, including varieties of Bass and trophy-sized blue channel catfish. As the lake is on the state border, you need official permits for floating and fishing. 

3. Quanah Parker Lake: This lake in Wichita Mountain life refuge is very beautiful for its surroundings. A few people go there, it can be a quiet attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. The lake is small, with only an 89-acre surface, spanning around three miles. If you like fishing in quiet, mountain-clad locations, this place is just for you. 

4. Flint Creek: It is a very tiny stream in northeast Oklahoma. Mild current, surrounded by flora and fauna, makes it an off-beat place for paddling and fishing. 

There are several Government-sponsored and regulated places where you get to experience the joy of kayaking. Most of the places are national reserves and theme parks. Among them, Oklahoma City Boathouse District is known for national kayaking and canoeing training. 

1. Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a famous destination for all kinds of water activities, including kayaking. In addition, they have a smaller lake specifically for elderly people and families. 

2. Beavers Bend State Resort Park in southeast Oklahoma near Texas offers kayaking for all age groups and experience levels. 

3. There’s a waterway called the Glover River, which is the main attraction for experienced kayakers. 

4. The Broken Bow Lake at the center provides a good view of the surroundings and the fishing experience. 

5. Elephant Rock Nature Park is another place great for kayaking. The place is just seventy-five minutes away from Tulsa, which makes it great for a day’s trip. The 210acre park offers rentals and also lodging facilities if you want to stay overnight. That makes it affordable for a weekend plan. There are lots of activities to engage in, including fishing. 

6. Lake McMurtry Natural Resource and Recreation Centre provides kayaking experiences for ages five and above. They also make sure about all the safety measures necessary. With its diverse nature, this spot is popular for fishing. 

With all of that, there are plenty of privately owned lakes and natural swamps, creeks, and canals to enjoy kayaking. 

Do You Need A Permit For Kayaking In Oklahoma? 

Permit For Kayaking In Oklahoma

There are laws for kayaking in Oklahoma which are set by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and Oklahoma Tax Commission. The laws are enforced by Oklahoma Law Enforcement. The rules depend mainly on the type of kayak or boat and the kayaker’s qualification. 

Oklahoma kayaking Laws: 

1. The law considers hand-paddled, non-motorized vessels to be kayaks and canoes. Thus, any non-motorized, human-powered kayaks are exempt from registration. 

2. Any motorized vessel with a power of more than 10hp must be registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission on a yearly basis. This is a general rule with some exceptions.

3. Every vessel operator must carry their boating safety education certificate and photo identification card while operating on the water. 

4. Anyone less than the age of twelve is prohibited from operating any kind of motorized vessel.

5. Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol is illegal. The alcohol content threshold is 0.08% or above. However, these laws do not apply to any non-motorized, hand-paddled kayaks or vessels. If the property belongs to a state park, additional rules may apply. 

6. All manually paddled and motorized vessels must carry the required safety gear for operating on the water. It is mandatory to carry personal flotation devices (PFD). 

7. A whistle must be attached to a canoe or kayak for signaling purposes. 

8. An operator must follow specific rules while operating on federally-controlled waters. 

These are the basic rules for kayaking in Oklahoma. However, they don’t represent the actual laws and are for information purposes only. If you want to know about the laws in detail, you should contact an attorney or the referred Governing bodies. 

Is Night Kayaking Legal?

Night kayaking is referred to as kayaks operating between sunrise and sunset. The state waterway regulatory agency has some guidelines to follow for night kayakers. While the rules are easier for manually-paddled kayakers, there are some safety measurements required. 

1. You must consider the night vision of your fellow kayakers. The usage of high-powered lights is prohibited at night for kayaks. You can carry a hand-held, waterproof flashlight in case of an emergency or signaling requirements. 

2. Do not use lights if not required, and try to adapt to the natural lighting conditions. Haphazard usage of light can impair other operators’ vision. If two vessels are close, you can use the light to avoid a collision. 

3. Each state has specific rules for night paddling. Also, you should not consider the minimum requirements as optimum. 

4. It is important to be visible to other boat and kayak operators. You should have a high-visibility flag mounted on your vessel while paddling or fishing. 

You must follow these rules in general to ensure swift paddling and security. 

What Is The Point Of Kayaking?

What Is The Point Of Kayaking

Kayaking Is A Low Impact Activity That Can Benefit You In Many Ways.

1. Kayaking can improve your aerobic fitness.

2. It increases your arm, back, and shoulder muscle strength.

3. It improves your balance.

4. It improves your decision-making capabilities.

5. Kayaking helps counter cardiovascular diseases.

6. Kayaking and fishing are good recreational activities that improve focus and overall mental health. 


Kayak fishing is a popular recreational activity that has many good effects on us. There is a kayaking experience fitted to every age and skill level. Oklahoma is one of the best places to enjoy kayaking. You must follow some basic rules while paddling to be safe and secure. With all that, it is an experience to cherish. Happy kayaking!


  • https://www.oklahomakayakanglers.com/
  • https://oklahomakayak.com/collections/fishing
  • https://tourneyx.com/app/category/ok—oklahoma-kayak-anglers

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