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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Predicting Unpredictable Beaver Lake

Scott "Hammerbury" Canterbury

Practice for the FLW Tour’s annual stop at Beaver Lake begins on Sunday, April 23, with the tournament kicking off on Thursday the 27th. FLW has been holding Tour events at Beaver Lake since before some of the Tour pros had graduated from their Zebco 33 training reels, which means there’s plenty of history to go on as they prepare for the season’s fifth event. We pretty well know that jigs, crankbaits, finesse rigs and swimbaits will factor into the outcome, but that’s about all anyone can guarantee. Where they’re used and what pattern will win are up in the air. After all, the most predictable part of fishing Beaver Lake is that it’s entirely unpredictable.

The uncertainty stems from several factors, including the lake’s mix of largemouths, smallmouths and spots – any of which can anchor quality bags. Add in a diversity of cover, structure and water clarity, plus the fickle nature of springtime weather in the Ozarks as Mother Nature never seems to have her mind made up when the Tour boats roll into Rogers, Ark.

This season’s bout, which is presented by General Tire and hosted by Visit Rogers, looks like it’ll deliver more of the same, with conditions in flux throughout the weekend. Several inches of rain fell in the region at the end of the workweek, prompting a flood watch on Friday night. An accompanying drop in air temperature possibly dampened what has been a fantastic spring fishing season on Beaver Lake, but the forecast indicates the downturn shouldn’t last long.

If the weatherman’s forecast turns out to be accurate, we should see the air temperature climb back into the 70s by Monday and stay there through the week. More change is coming for the start of the tournament, as storms are in the forecast for Thursday through Saturday, with only a mild drop in air temperature expected.

What’s all that mean? Basically, the pros are in for a weeklong stretch of flip-flopping conditions on top of the spawn, which is already a tumultuous time of transition, and as usual for Beaver, the pro who adjusts best will be the one who walks away with $125,000 after the day-four weigh-in.

Fishing guide and outdoor writer Brad Wiegmann lives on Beaver Lake and will be competing in the tournament as a co-angler. He broke down the current conditions for us, and based on his reports and some research into the winning patterns at Beaver from years past, we pieced together some of the key factors in play this week and predictions regarding how this tournament might be won.

 

Water levels and clarity

The Rogers area received about an inch and a half of rain on Easter evening and another 3 1/2 inches or so on Friday. The lake level has risen more than 2 feet since Thursday, to 1,119.8 feet above mean sea level (as of about noon on Saturday). That’s part of a 4-foot increase since the beginning of April and a 9-foot increase since the beginning of March. Full pool is 1,120.43.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Beaver Lake Water Level and Precipitation Chart

For reference, the water level on Jan. 1, 2016 was about 1,129 and had stabilized at around 1,120 by March, where it remained for last year’s Tour event April 14-17. A dry summer and fall spurred a gradual lowering of the water level that bottomed out at about 1,111. That’s where it stayed until mid-March 2017.

In other words, last season’s tournament was a week earlier on the calendar and on the heels of falling water. This season’s tournament will pair the bass spawn with rising water, which can often lead to a good flipping bite. The upper riverine section could be red-hot for spawning activity, but sight-fishing that far upstream will be greatly impacted by the water clarity and where the lake level settles out.

“We’re getting a lot of floating debris. The water is coming up fast,” Wiegmann says after surveying the lake last Friday afternoon. “There was one tree about 2 feet in diameter that was probably 20 feet long, just at the surface. It was real dry last summer, so it’s been a long time since the water was up. That stuff that was all dry is just floating up.

“Right now [Friday afternoon] the rivers are clear, but probably in a day or two they should get muddy,” he adds. “Both War Eagle and the White will be stained by the time those guys start practicing Sunday. The good news is if you like colored water it’s coming your way. If you like that clear water, that part of the lake just got a lot smaller.”

FLW has seen some extreme high water events in the past, including when Mark Pack won it pitching jigs and cranking flooded roadbeds and boat ramps in May 2008 and when Ray Scheide flipped debris mats to win in May 2009. Those tournaments were obviously later in the spring, and this spike in water level probably won’t reach a point where it’s considered “extreme,” but a few similar patterns could work. With the water rising after a prolonged period of low water, new cover will be flooded, and mats of leaf litter known as “sawdust” and debris in the backs of pockets might provide pros some good areas to flip.

“That will be a good pattern,” says Wiegmann of the shallow setup. “And a Ned rig is going to be good just because those fish should be prime for being on the bed. Even though there’ll be some at all three stages – pre, post and spawning – there’s going to be a lot of them caught on that [Ned rig]. There might be some caught on a drop-shot in the beds.”

 

The spawn

When Clark Wendlandt won at Beaver in late April 2001, sight-fishing was a major part of his victory. In fact, Wendlandt’s success sight-fishing at Beaver in the late 1990s and early 2000s earned him multiple top 10s and the nickname “Mr. Beaver Lake.” The timing is about the same this year. However, in recent years sight-fishing has been pretty much a hit-or-miss affair at Beaver Tour events. The weather conditions or timing haven’t been right, plus it’s just a tough place to sight-fish for multiple days due to fishing pressure and the overall improvement of the fishery. Used to be, an angler could sight-fish 2-pounders and be in good shape. Nowadays, with 15- to 18-pound stringers commonly coming from the dirtier areas upriver where sight-fishing is tough, and big smallmouths being caught in the lower end, there are other patterns that seem to produce bigger results. Lately wins have resulted from fishing for a combination of staging fish – both prespawn and postspawn – and blind-casting in bedding areas.

This time around, Wiegmann expects more of the same. He believes that anyone skilled with a jig will do well for prespawn staging fish. Sight-fishing and bed-fishing without actually looking at the fish on beds will be in play, he adds, but to what degree is yet to be determined. The recent front notwithstanding, conditions certainly look right for it given next week’s forecasted warming trend and the current water temperatures.

“Sixty-eight degrees – that’s what the lake’s water temperature is averaging,” Weigmann adds. “There’ve been days that people have seen 70 degrees already. Saturday’s high air temperature is in the 50s, but 67 on Sunday, 74 on Monday, 80 on Tuesday. They better bring their shorts and sunscreen.”

 

Prairie Creek

“Restocking” Prairie Creek

According to Wiegmann, recent tournaments have been won with some impressive stringers, and there’s a big-bass tournament scheduled for this weekend.

“I don’t even know how many anglers they’re going to have in that, but they’re dropping almost all of them [the fish that are caught] at Prairie Creek,” says Wiegmann. “If someone says they’re going to fish for fish that have been caught before, it’s probably within five miles of Prairie Creek.”

The Tour traditionally takes off from Prairie Creek, and fishing the takeoff creek is a popular strategy at Beaver. The area usually draws a crowd the first two days, and it seems that there’s always a pro or two who makes the cut by fishing there. Probably it won’t be any different this time.

 

Scott Martin

More of the usual options

As has been the case in recent years, top-10 caliber fish will be caught throughout the lake, with smallmouths the dominant species in the lower end, spots and largemouths in the middle, and largemouths upstream.

Weights have steadily improved over the last five seasons or so. Expect to see at least a few stringers surpassing 17 pounds, with most of the top 10 pros catching 15 pounds at least one or two days.

 

Tournament details

Format: All 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: Prairie Creek Recreation Area, 9300 North Park Road, Rogers, AR

Weigh-In Time: 3 p.m. CT on days one and two; 4 p.m. CT on days three and four

Weigh-In Location: Prairie Creek all days

 

Check out the FLW Expo and Evinrude Test Rides

Test rides – Evinrude will be hosting test rides for its popular E-TEC G2 motors at Prairie Creek Recreation Area on Saturday, April 29, from 7 to 11 a.m. All participants will receive a free Evinrude hat. Come demo Evinrude’s most powerful and fuel-efficient two-stroke motor in history.

Expo – The FLW Expo will take place at Prairie Creek on Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from 12 to 4 p.m. Kids’ activities include a Ranger Boat simulator, casting pond and more. Concessions will be available, along with vendors selling tackle and other outdoor gear.

Complete details

 

Tags: beaver-lake  flw-tour  curtis-niedermier  pre-tournament  2017-04-27-beaver-lake 

/tips/2019-02-13-how-to-fish-power-plant-lakes-in-winter

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

Some of the power-plant lakes throughout the Midwest are borderline legendary. If you live near one or are willing to travel to keep your open-water season alive, Colby Schrumpf’s system could work on just about any of them that have grass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-patterns-from-lake-toho

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-top-10-baits-from-toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-11-marshal-program-a-big-hit-for-hughes

Marshal Program a Big Hit for Hughes

Retired minister Dan Hughes made the most money he’s ever banked in a fishing tournament, and he did it without even picking up a rod. The 70-year-old Fitzgerald, Ga., resident was the winner of FLW’s marshal contest at the Tour’s second stop of the season at Lake Toho, presented by Ranger Boats. Paired with John Cox on day one and Chris Neau on day two, Hughes’ pros combined for 41 pounds, 10 ounces during his two days on the water to take home the $2,500 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-10-georgia-s-gross-wins-flw-tour-at-lake-toho-presented-by-ranger-boats

Georgia’s Gross Wins FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 12 ounces, to the scale Sunday... READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-10-toho-day-4-coverage

Toho Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-10-gross-wins-second-tour-title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-09-gross-grabs-toho-lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-09-chickamauga-s-gross-out-front-at-flw-tour-at-lake-toho-presented-by-ranger-boats

Chickamauga’s Gross Out Front at FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After an exciting day of movement atop the leaderboard, FLW Tour pro Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, took the lead Saturday... READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-09-toho-day-3-coverage

Toho Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-08-cox-stays-ahead-on-toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-08-cox-holds-lead-after-day-two-of-flw-tour-at-lake-toho-presented-by-ranger-boats

Cox Holds Lead after Day Two of FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, brought five bass to the scale weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces, to hold the lead after day two of the FLW Tour at Lake Toho presented by Ranger Boats. Cox’s two day total of 10 bass weighing 48-13 will give him... READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-08-toho-day-2-coverage

Toho Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-07-cox-leads-toho-slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-07-cox-catches-31-pound-limit-leads-day-one-of-flw-tour-at-lake-toho-presented-by-ranger-boats

Cox Catches 31-Pound Limit, Leads Day One of FLW Tour at Lake Toho Presented by Ranger Boats

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Pro John Cox of DeBary, Florida, hauled in a massive five-bass limit weighing 31 pounds, 9 ounces – the largest limit ever weighed in FLW... READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-07-toho-day-1-coverage

Toho Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-06-roaming-kissimmee-with-douglas

Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-05-burghoff-checks-out-toho-on-day-2

Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »

/news/2019-02-04-a-look-at-lake-toho

A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-29-spawn-on-the-horizon-at-okeechobee

Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »