UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

A desert snow

With snow covered mountains serving as a scenic backdrop, EverStart Western Division anglers prepared for the start of the opening day of tournament action on Lake Roosevelt.

ROOSEVELT, Ariz. - It's probably a safe bet that when anglers initially circled the Lake Roosevelt tournament on their calendars they didn't foresee that the opening day of tournament action would ultimately resemble a scene from the movie Fargo.

With snow blanketing the landscape as well as plenty of boat decks and key pieces of onboard equipment, EverStart Series Western Division competitors hit the open waters of Lake Roosevelt (in the heart of the Arizona desert) bundled from head to toe in an attempt to come up with some sort of game plan to deal with the frigid conditions that are expected to dominate Thursday's competition.

The scene was truly remarkable. With plenty of saguaro cactus, desert brush and nearby mountain ranges sporting a newly snow-covered cloak - a result of a massive cold-weather front moving across the United States - it is clear that fishing conditions this week are going to be tricky at best and beyond frustrating at worst. Even under ideal conditions, Lake Roosevelt is known to produce a rather stingy quarry. However, throw in below-freezing temperatures at takeoff and couple that with lake levels 30 to 40 feet below normal pool and you have all the makings of a very difficult week of fishing.

EverStart anglers were bundled head to toe as temperatures were below freezing during opening takeoff on Lake Roosevelt."This is going to be the toughest tournament we have all year," said pro Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz. "I knew it was going to be tough coming in here but with the weather we've had and the (current) conditions, nothing is going to be easy this week."

Hite said that while the cold weather is significant, it's only part of the issue.

"From previous tournaments we've had here, the water is down anywhere from 30 to 35 feet, although it has come up some in the last two and a half weeks or so," he said. "But most of that new water is coming from snow melt up in the mountains. And that's not only adding really cold water back into Lake Roosevelt but it's also causing the lake to really muddy up. The lake was relatively clear a few weeks ago but now it's got a lot of stain in it. And I can tell you, fishing cold, muddy water isn't easy."

EverStart Series anglers prepare for takeoff on Lake Roosevelt.The remaining outlook for the rest of the tournament, which runs from Feb. 21-23, doesn't look anymore promising either.

"There is also no real warming coming our way in the near future so the conditions aren't (conducive) to helping those fish get in a real advanced prespawn mode," Hite said. "So you're really just going to put your head down and fish. It's going to be tough mentally."

However, it's also clear that tough tournaments allow the proverbial cream to rise to the top.

"Every tournament can't be a slugfest and I actually kind of like it when the conditions are difficult," said Hite. "Tough fishing is part of fishing. And this week I really think if you can get a limit each day you're going to be in pretty good shape. And if you can catch a limit with two to three good fish - and by good fish I mean 3-pounders - you should be in contention for a title."

EverStart Western Division anglers await the start of takeoff.As far as technique goes, Lake Roosevelt has historically offered both deep and shallow strategies.

"That's what's really nice about this lake," Hite said. "If you want to fish deep you can because this lake has some good structure. If I was fishing deep this week I'd probably go with either a Texas rig or a football jig, mostly because of the stained water. But if the prespawn bite becomes active you can also fish shallow with spinnerbaits, crankbaits or flipping and pitching techniques. But the one thing you probably don't want to do is try to do both. I think it's a lot smarter to settle on one (strategy) and stick with it all day."

While Lake Roosevelt does boast 30 species of fish, including both largemouth and smallmouth bass, Hite believes that largemouth bass will be the dominant (and winning) catch this week.

"It's really hard to target smallmouth bass here," he said. `If you do wind up catching one, it's a real bonus. But you can't just target smallmouth here, it's just too difficult."

Hite said that he believes that 10 pounds a day should be enough to keep anglers in contention for a title.

"Somebody is going to catch a game-changer, a 7- or 8-pounder," he said. "But the key is what you do those other days. And conversely, if you have a bad day and you turn around the next day and catch 12 pounds, you're going to be right back in it. Overall though, like I said, I think this is going to be a really tough tournament. But that's the way I like it."

Tournament logistics

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.

Anglers will take off from the Cholla Recreation site in Roosevelt, Ariz., 7 a.m. each day of competition. Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Cholla Recreation site beginning at 2:30 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 2:30 p.m. at the Cholla Recreation site, located approximately 6 miles north of Roosevelt Dam, in Roosevelt, Ariz.

Bass-fishing fans take note

Takeoff is about to commence on Lake Roosevelt.Want to watch the weigh in live but can't make it in person? Then tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com 2:30 p.m. Mountain time (4:30 p.m. Eastern time) to watch live streaming video and audio of today's opening-round weigh in.

This week's EverStart Series tournament on Roosevelt Lake is being hosted by the Town of Payson, Ariz.

Thursday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:03 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 27 degrees
Expected high temperature: 46 degrees
Water temperature: 51-55 degrees
Wind: From the south-southwest at 5-10 mph
Humidity: 58 percent
Day's outlook: Partly cloudy

Tags: gary-mortenson  morning-story  2013-02-21-roosevelt-lake 

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/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 »