UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Anglers Face Up-and-Down Dardanelle

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Mercury and hosted by Russellville Advertising & Promotions kicked off this morning out of Lake Dardanelle State Park. As they vie for the $60,000 top prize, the 190 pros and co-anglers in the field will face morning rain and thunderstorms, which should be followed by moderate temperatures and mostly sunny skies.

 

About the Fishery

An impoundment of the Arkansas River, Dardanelle covers some 34,300 acres with a mix of shallow vegetation and woody shorelines. Popular areas such as Illinois Bayou and Piney Creek hold lots of pockets and flats where spring bass stake out their nesting sites.

There’s some grass in Dardanelle, along with standing timber, stumps, current and a mix of other cover and structure.

 

Current Conditions

Heavy spring rains already had the lake’s clarity and water level riding a roller coaster, but the severe thunderstorms that swept through central Arkansas on Wednesday will no doubt bear great impact on the fishery this week.

“This has been a typical Dardanelle spring where the water fluctuates a bunch, and that really affects the fish on this lake,” says Old Spice pro Greg Bohannan. “You can’t rely too much on what you find in practice because it may be on the bank the next day.

“That’s what’s happening right not,” he adds. “Fluctuating water is having the biggest effect on the fish. It’s making them finicky.”

As Bohannan notes, how the Army Corps of Engineers manages the water will play a significant role in fish positioning and angler access. Some of the lake’s bass have spawned, but many more are staging. Warming weather has them in the mood, but inconsistent water levels have made it tough for the fish to commit to a full-blown spawn.

“The fish want to be really shallow, but sometimes the water level won’t allow them to get there,” Bohannan adds.

The lake’s actually a little below normal pool, but 2-foot fluctuations on Dardanelle are not uncommon for this time of year.

 

Tactics in Play

Versatility will be the name of the game this week, as Dardanelle will likely show her stingy side.

“The guys who will be successful will be the ones that fish what’s in front of them and don’t think too much about practice,” Bohannan says. “The guys who consistently catch them in this tournament are going to have to earn it because they’ll probably have to catch them a little different way every day.”

Terming Dardanelle an “old-school lake,” Bohannan says he expects Colorado-blade spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits and flipping baits to dominate. Don’t expect much in the way of finesse tactics this week.

Veteran Central Division pro Tom Murphy say’s he’ll fish unweighted Yamamoto Senkos, Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless baits and an under-spin with a swimbait trailer.

 

Critical Factors

Water level – Can the fish that want to spawn reach the nesting areas, and can they get their business done before the water drops again?

Water temperature – The water is in the upper 50s now. A lot of sunshine later today plus the warmer rain that fell last night might spur the spawners.

Water clarity – The upriver reaches will be chocolate milk long after the tournament’s done, but Murphy says the tucked-away pockets could hold better water quality. Pockets with drains may suffer from muddy runoff.

 

Dock Talk

One to watch will be Bohannan, who lives just a couple hours northwest of Dardanelle, but he spent a lot of time on the lake during his years at Arkansas Tech in Russellville. A notable power fisherman, Bohannan may find this deal setting up well for him.

We’ll also keep an eye on Jason Lieblong, who swept last year’s Dardanelle event. Piecing together a patchwork of tactics, Lieblong essentially followed Bohannan’s plan of fishing what was in front of him, with a mix of reaction baits and pitching presentations.

Anglers launched in cool, clear conditions. A thunderstorm was forecast to arrive around 8:30. Following the storm, winds should be moderate, and warmer overnight lows could play a big role in convincing a lot of indecisive bass to make their move.

 

Tournament Details

Format: All 190 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7 a.m.

Takeoff Location: Lake Dardanelle State Park, 2428 Marina Road, Russellville, AR 72801

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 and 2 at 3 p.m.; Day 3 at 4 p.m.

Weigh-In Location: Days 1 and 2 at Lake Dardanelle State Park; Day 3 at Walmart, 2409 E. Main St., Russellville, AR 72802

 

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Tags: lake-dardanelle  flw-series  david-a-brown  morning-story  2016-03-31-lake-dardanelle 

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