Go Catching, Not Fishing: “The EXCITING Ponds of Willows at Watson” ~ 8 DIFFERENT SPECIES!

Child Fishing at the RV Park

When we travel, we all look for those places that have that little something extra. Sometimes that looks like a playground or nearby attraction. Other times, you are looking to truly connect with the nature around you, and fishing can be the answer! Willows at Watson RV Park – Experience Broken Bow offers not only great wide lots and full hook-ups, but so much more.

When you pull into the park, the first thing you’ll see are the beautiful Kiamichi Mountains to the North. And whether you pull into the upper Terrace or the Valley below, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss the giant pond on the property. At more than seven acres, it is a prominent feature of our beautiful grounds and as a guest, you’ll have full access to it! You may choose to bring your kayak and paddle around at sunset while the frogs chime on in full-chorus. If you’re one to want to connect a little deeper with nature, this awesome pond will certainly not disappoint.

No matter if you’re three years old of 95, there is a special joy that comes from catching a fish. Below, I’m going to describe the top species of fish in our pond. If you’re really lucky, maybe you can catch one of everything!

BREAM

Usually when you think about fishing for panfish, you think cork, bobber and a worm while you sit and read, waiting for a bite. You can definitely do that here, but you may not get very far into the first page before your bobber runs off across the pond. The sunfish here are large and in charge.

This pond used to be home to a fish farm. Each individual pond along the banks of the main pond played host to a different species of panfish. Eventually, with the help of beavers, floods and birds, the ponds flowed into each other and the ponds were cross-populated and the result is an EXCITING combination of at least four different species of bream. Green Sunfish, Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker), Redbreast Sunfish and Bluegill give you a great mix of fun fish to catch!

Typical size:

Size will vary between species, but we have many trophy-sized bream up to 10”! They go for nearly a pound!

WHAT BAIT SHOULD I USE?

Live Bait:

Fishing with earthworms, grubworms, crickets, or grasshoppers are always great choices. Just make sure you use a small hook.

Artificial:

Except for Green Sunfish, most species of bream have small mouths. We suggest using a 1/16-1/8oz jig-head with a white or black curly-tail grub. You can also use just about any kind of crappie jig trailer and get a bite under a cork. April-July is spawning season for these guys and the hundreds of bream beds along the banks make that obvious.

LARGEMOUTH BASS

Largemouth Bass

If you are looking for something a bit more active, you should aim to go fishing for pound-for-pound, one of the most hard-fighting fresh water fish out there. I firmly believe that due to the high number of bream in the pond, the size of the largemouth bass is stunted, but the population surely isn’t. They love to hide along the edges of the pond under the floating grass or in the lay-down trees along the bank. They are super aggressive and may startle you when they come out of nowhere and eat your bait!

Typical Size:

Since the bream make a meal of most of the bait fish, the average bass will be around 10-14” and should weight between 1-2.5lbs.

WHAT BAIT SHOULD I USE?

Live Bait:

Worms or minnows are sure to get their attention.

Artificial Lures:

Just about any time of the year, you can catch them on full-size curly tailed grubs on a 1/4 oz jig head in white or chartreuse. They also love shallow running crankbaits (1-3’) in white, spinnerbaits or rooster tails. If it’s really tough, try a wacky worm rig using a senko-style bait or a Texas rigged trick worm. Just keep that line slack and watch for it to jump before setting the hook! Topwaters like Pop-R’s and Torpedoes from April-October are a blast too!

White Crappie

Most folks I talk to want to target one specific species in our pond… Crappie. Our crappie population is strong and these guys get HUGE! We have caught them upwards of 2.5lbs! In the springtime, you can find them in the mid-depth water from 3-6’ spawning, but in the summer and winter, they will be out deeper in the 10+ foot range. They might just be the best fight of all the species in the pond!

SPECIAL TARGET:

Magnolia or “Mohawk” Crappie

Catching a Magnolia (Mohawk) Crappie is a treat for most of our guests and many times, it’s a breed of crappie they have never seen before! A Magnolia crappie is a hybridized crappie that has a very distinct black line going down its head and crossing their lips. It’s certainly not hard to pick them out when you catch them. In most lakes, these are fairly hard to come by, but our pond is full of them and they get really big! Make sure you take a picture and tag us on Instagram if you catch one of these beauties!

Typical Size:

In the main pond, we rarely catch them under 10” and most range from 11-16” which will weight on average 1-2lbs.

WHAT BAIT SHOULD I USE?

Live Bait:

Minnows are the bait of choice for crappie, although they may occasionally eat a worm.

Artificial Lures:

Once again, a curly tailed grub in white is very likely to get a bite from a crappie. I also love to throw a small hand-tied hair jig under a small cork and pop the cork across the mid-depth water or even down to 6-8’ during the summer. They also eat small minnow-style swimbaits and rooster tails. The thing you have to remember about crappie is their eyes are on top of their heads and they feed upwards. If you run the bait below them, it may keep them from biting. Keeping your baits higher in the water column will give you the best shot at catching them!

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

If there is a species you can target while sitting back and reading a book, this would be it. Our Channel Catfish were stocked about four years ago and now are reaching a size that is really fun to catch! They’re relatively easy to catch and put up a great fight! Just remember, you might need to increase the size of your fishing line to accommodate a bigger battle.

Typical Size:

Our kitties are typically 18-24” and can be as big as 4-5lbs! There are tales of giant catfish in the pond up to 30lbs so don’t be surprised if you get your line snapped and your heart broken by a Watson, OK legend.

WHAT BAIT SHOULD I USE?

Live Bait:

Catfish will eat just about anything. If you want to go the live bait route, minnows or small bream could certainly get it done. Worms are a great option as well. Other options that are not necessarily “live” would include dog food pellets, stink-bait, hot dogs and chicken livers.

Artificial:

They aren’t typically caught on artificial lures, but in the early summer when they start to spawn, they roam the shallows and are extremely aggressive towards crappie jigs, topwater lures and small crankbaits.

We keep this pond well fed just for our guests and truly hope you will come and experience not just the pond, but all of the surround beauty that southeastern Oklahoma has to offer. Just remember that all of our fishing is catch-photo-release so that guests can have a blast catching them for years to come! If you’re looking for an RV spot that has that little something extra, we recommend that you give us a try!

Like Flyfishing? These are amazing fish to catch on dry or wet flies. Sharpen up your skills before you head down to Beavers Bend State Park to try and trick the trout.

Coy Greathouse

Coy Greathouse

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About Willows at Watson

It’s all about connection. 

Connection with our families, our friends, nature, and yes, even connection to our work.

To capture this connection, sometimes you need an escape, a soft place to land—so you can focus on what matters most.

This is Willows at Watson.

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