Cherokee Nation is home to two of Oklahoma’s “big three” lakes for major fishing competitions. Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees and Lake Tenkiller each reside within the 14-county Cherokee Nation jurisdiction. Those who chase the greatest catch are well rewarded, with pro bass fishermen earning tens of thousands of dollars.
Of course, any angler can tell you there’s far more to fishing than prizes, fame and glory. Amateur anglers never forget their first catch, the first “one that got away” and the taste of the first fish caught by their own rod and reel. Fishing is, like many great things in life, easy to pick up and difficult to master.
Certain Cherokee fishermen feel a deep connection to their heritage when they go out in the morning and drop their first line in the water. Today, Cherokee Nation’s citizens ages 16 and older who live in Oklahoma can enjoy a free hunting and fishing license. The privilege, established in a compact between the state of Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation, allows Cherokees to participate in tribal traditions that have been traced from time immemorial. The Cherokee Nation Fish and Wildlife Association is proud to help carry forward those tribal traditions.
These fishing resources are meant to help new anglers find their way, help old anglers remember an old fishing spot and help pro anglers look ahead to the next tournament. Take a moment to review these resources, and help maintain Cherokee Nation’s extraordinary fishing culture.
And remember—whether your next bite breaks a record or turns into the next “big one that got away” story, fishing provides the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family.
"I was lucky to be introduced to fishing at an early age by my elders - I still use their teachings and guidance while fishing professionally. Some of the best advice I ever received was to be myself and to know I'll make progress simply by doing what I know how to do."
Cherokee Nation citizen, professional angler