UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Grand on the Rise

The second event of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division on Grand Lake, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by the City of Grove (Okla.), kicked off this morning out of Wolf Creek Park. The 167 pros and co-anglers in the field will be facing a 100 percent chance of rain and thundershowers for Thursday and Friday with a flood watch in effect.

 

About the fishery

Grand Lake is a classic lowland impoundment of some 46,500 acres. The lake is fed primarily by the Neosho and Elk rivers. Consequently, water level is dictated by rainfall. Grand is a flipper’s dream with plenty of flooded bushes and willows to pitch to. The lower end of the lake features myriad creeks and pockets with lots of developed shoreline in the form of docks and piers.

 

Current conditions

Grand Lake is currently on the rise, and given the rain in the forecast, the water level could continue to rise throughout the event. The lake level is now near the 745-foot mark, which is the threshold for when the flipping bite gets hot, according to local sources. A continued rise into the 746 to 748 range over the next couple of days could turn the event into a red-hot bush-flipping contest.

Water temperatures are in the 60- to 65-degree range, which means bass should be in the mood to spawn, but the recent water rise might have the bass waiting on a little more stability before committing. Water on the lower end has enough visibility to sight-fish, but a forecast for dark clouds and rain might make spotting spawners a challenge.

 

Tactics in play

A jig flipped to anything is always a deadly technique on Grand. With impending rain an old-school spinnerbait bite could develop, as well.

Word is some fish were spotted on beds during practice, so pitching blind to marked beds will probably produce some nice catches the first day, but finding new ones after that will be difficult. If the water continues to rise, the bush and willow flippers should be in heaven. Rising water also mean debris mats in the pockets, and flipping those will be an option as well.

 

Critical factors

- Rising water past the 745-foot elevation mark should turn Grand into a different lake than what anglers experienced in practice. This event might be won on a technique that was not even available in practice.

- Heavy mud pouring into the lake would “blow out” the upper end, rendering it unfishable. With additional rain, the chance for any clearing up of water during the event is unlikely.

 

Dock talk

Last year’s Grand Lake Costa FLW Series winner Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla., believes Grand Lake is a bit behind schedule this year.

“Given the conditions we have right now, this should be an epic willow-flipping event, but I don’t think the fish have quite gotten there yet,” Birge says. “I think the lake needs to stabilize a bit more before the primary wave of fish really moves shallow. In my opinion, these fish are still a lot more prespawn than what they should be right now.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All 167 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: 6:30 a.m. CT

Takeoff Location: Wolf Creek Park, 963 N. 16th Street, Grove, OK

Weigh-In Time: 2:30 p.m.

Weigh-In Location: Days one and two: Wolf Creek Park; Day three: Walmart, 2115 S Main Street, Grove, OK

Tags: grand-lake  flw-series  rob-newell  morning-story  2017-04-20-grand-lake 

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