UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

California gold rush

Boaters get ready to kick off the start of the 2013 EverStart Western Division season on Lake Oroville.

OROVILLE, Calif. - Situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, majestic Lake Oroville is fed by the Feather River which served as one of the main navigation conduits to supply gold miners during the California Gold Rush in the 1800s. But while golden nuggets aren't necessarily the quarry for the 115-boat field that hit the open waters of Lake Oroville shortly after 7:30 Thursday morning, hefty spotted bass and the occasional oversized largemouth could literally translate into a $40,000 payday when all is said and done.

However, landing the tournament's top prize won't be easy. With a crisp early morning temperature just inching over the 30-degree mark, light winds and clear skies serving as backdrop for the opening event of the 2013 EverStart Series Western Division season, anglers will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to dissect the 167 miles of shoreline and nearly 16,000 acres of surface area that comprised Lake Oroville.

But the good news is that the fishery seems to be healthier than ever.

EverStart anglers carefully maneuver their boats before the start of Lake Oroville competition."I grew up fishing this lake and I really consider Lake Oroville to be on the upswing," said EverStart pro Michael Wright. "Five or six years ago I won a tournament here with only 6 pounds on the final day. But now there are fish everywhere. You're not going to see many non limits. I think 95 percent of the field will have limits today, if not more. And I think it's probably going to take 10 to 11 pounds a day just to make the cut and anywhere from 35 to 38 pounds to win."

Lake Oroville is renowned for its healthy spotted bass population. But to win the event, anglers just might have to sneak a few keeper largemouth into their daily limits in order to contend.

"You can catch a lot of fish here but it's the size you have to worry about," said Wright. "The majority of the fish caught will be spotted bass. But you're going to see some largemouths as well and those are probably going to be some of the bigger fish that come to the scales."

Because Oroville doesn't have an overabundance of vegetation to attack, anglers will most likely find success targeting hard cover, points, breaks and anywhere else where there is a dramatic depth change.

"Subtle changes seem to be dynamite for spotted bass," said Wright. "If you find areas where there is a transition from rock to clay, that's a good place to start as well. Personally I'm going to be looking for rocks, isolated hard cover, points, point-breaks and anywhere else the fish can move up or down in the water column fast."

According to a number of pros, a variety of baits should produce results - including the infamous A-rig, large swimbaits and drop-shot techniques.

A panoramic view of Lake Oroville."I think during the first 30 minutes of competition each day reaction baits are going to be key," said Wright. "But once it starts warming up, and the sun really gets overhead, then I'm going to change things up and go with a drop-shot and start throwing tubes and worms as well. I'm definitely going with more of a finesse style as the day progresses."

As always, the key to finding the proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow is to maximize the number of big bites.

"The (Department of Natural Resources) has done a really good job stocking this lake over the past few years so there are plenty of fish," said Wright. "But it's really feast or famine here with regard to getting the big bite. There are some big fish in this lake. The trick is getting them to eat."

Tourney format

During EverStart Series competition, pros supply the boats, fish from the front deck against other pros and control boat movement. Co-anglers fish from the back deck and compete against other co-anglers. Anglers are permitted to weigh in their best five bass each day. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points that determine angler standings. The full field competes on days one and two, with the top-10 pros and top 10 co-anglers advancing to Saturday's final round of competition based on their two-day accumulated weight. Winners ultimately will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all three days.

EverStart Series anglers dip their boats into Lake Oroville.Anglers will take off from the Spillway Launch at the north end of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif., at 7:30 a.m. each day of the three-day competition - which runs from Jan. 17-19. Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Spillway Launch beginning at 3:00 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division in an attempt to land the prestigious Strike King Angler of the Year title and automatic berth into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.

EverStart Series action continues at today's weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at the Spillway Launch at the north end of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif.

This week's EverStart Series event is being hosted by the City of Oroville.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com shortly before 3 p.m. Pacific Time to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

Vital statistics:

As the sun rises, EverStart Series Western Division anglers patiently await the start of the Lake Oroville competition.Sunrise: 7:24 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 31 degrees
Expected high temperature: 61 degrees
Water temperature: 46-48 degrees
Wind: From the north-northwest at 4-5 mph
Humidity: 61 percent
Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2013-01-17-lake-oroville 

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-transition-time-at-1000-islands

Transition Time at 1000 Islands

The second tournament of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division kicked off on 1000 Islands in an event presented by Mercury this morning out of the Clayton Village Ramp. The 137 pros and co-anglers are challenged with the tough task of dissecting not only the massive St. Lawrence River but also Lake Ontario in search of jumbo-size smallmouths. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-20-solving-the-1000-islands-puzzle

Solving the 1000 Islands Puzzle

For its second stop, the 2016 Costa FLW Series Northern Division heads back to the 1000 Islands region of upstate New York for the first time since 2012. The 1000 Islands region includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario and produces some of the best smallmouth fishing on the planet with 4- and 5-pounders being the norm, not the exception. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-forrest-wood-cup-attractions-

Forrest Wood Cup Attractions

Fifty FLW anglers all taking a run at the most coveted title in bass fishing will without doubt take center stage over the course of the four-day Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., Aug. 4-7, but fans won’t have to wait for the daily weigh-in times to soak up all the action. FLW and its sponsors and partners put together a full schedule of additional events to coincide with the 2016 Cup. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-19-2016-icast-wrap-up

2016 ICAST Wrap-up

Even at a distance, ICAST can be a blur of new fishing stuff. Below, we’ve gathered everything we published from the week at ICAST – if you missed something, you can find it here. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-sisk-by-ounces-on-ohio-river

Sisk by Ounces on Ohio River

Marty Sisk of Evansville, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 13 ounces, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament of 2016 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Sisk took home $7,456. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-18-boggs-flipped-shallow-wood-for-title

Boggs Flipped Shallow Wood for Title

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament of 2016 on Old Hickory Lake. Boggs took home $3,028 for his victory. READ MORE »