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


Smallmouth Time at the 1000 Islands

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division heads to the 1000 Islands area in Upstate New York. Taking off out of Clayton, N.Y., more than 170 pros and co-anglers will have the run of the eastern end of Lake Ontario and as much of the St. Lawrence River as they care to fish.

The event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, runs July 27-29 and is sure to showcase the area’s tremendous smallmouth fishing.


The lake might be off

The eastern end of Lake Ontario has some of the better smallmouth fishing in the world, but recently the St. Lawrence River has been more consistent and sometimes outright better than the lake. Bob Izumi of Milton, Ontario, has won as much as anyone on the big lake and the river. He admits he’s having trouble cracking the lake this year.

“This year I’m not seeing a lot of empty beds in the shallows out in the lake. I think a lot of the smallmouths haven’t spawned this year and won’t,” Izumi says. “There was a little wave of fish that came in this year, but some of the traditional spawning areas don’t have any fish around them at all.

“The funny thing is, on all the deep spots in the lake, I personally haven’t found any bunches of fish yet. Usually this time of year you’ve got both; you have shallow fish that are fairly dependable if it’s sunny and deep fish that are always there.”

In short, Izumi thinks a lot of the fish that should have spawned in Ontario this year simply didn’t. Higher water than usual and a cold spring are the likely culprits if he’s right. On Lake Champlain those conditions pushed the smallmouth spawn back so the “main event” took place during the Northern Division season opener about a month ago. On Ontario, the situation might have stymied the spawn altogether.

Izumi says that with water temps in the lake in the high 60s and low 70s, he’d expect there to be a lot of fish shallow, and even spawning. After failing to find them, he believes that there are simply a lot of lake dwellers in transition, not bunched up shallow or offshore in 28-plus feet of water.


It’s game on in the river

If last week’s Bassmaster Elite Series event proved anything about the 1000 Islands, it proved just how good the river is fishing. Taking out of Waddington, N.Y., the pros weren’t allowed into the lake, and they caught a pile of 20-pound limits anyhow.

“I was keeping an eye on the Elite Series tournament like most of the guys fishing this event, and it showed itself very good,” says Izumi. “I’ve never seen the river kick out that many fish. It used to be you had to fish the lake to have a shot at winning a multi-day tournament, but there’s no question the river is showing itself with this high water.”

Currently, the river is running high, fast and with better clarity than the lake. Izumi thinks the stronger current has triggered the fish in the river to feed more than usual, like they might on a good day of flow on the Tennessee River.

“You’ve got to have some mojo happening to get the five right bites, but there’s no question the 3 1/2- to 4-pound fish bit very good in that tournament,” says Izumi, “which kind of got me worried a bit, because right now it’s fishing too good to ignore.”

In the river, there are all sorts of smallmouth options, from shallower flats of rock, sand and grass to deeper humps and current seams on the main drag.

“From what I understand there were a few fish still on bed in the river not that long ago,” relays Izumi. “But a lot of the shallow fish are just up cruising around. Like many of our smallmouth lakes up north you have three populations of fish: There are deep fish and then shallow fish that basically just cruise around those areas and then wolf packs of deep fish that sometimes come shallow. The nomadic fish can be very big, but everything’s timing and a little bit of lady luck. There are always a few fish shallow – giant fish – but those fish have gotten more educated over the years.”

From the looks of it, a shallow pattern like what led Scott Dobson to victory in 2016 might be a good route to take again. The heavy current can make fishing deep a little harder than usual, and the shallow bite seems to be as good as ever.


Adjustments will be key

Though the winner will almost certainly average more than 20 pounds of smallmouths, he or she might not do it the same way every day.

“I’ve won more money in tournaments here than anywhere else. I love this area, but it throws curveballs every year,” says Izumi. “It’s one of those tournaments that my rod locker is going to be jammed, and I’ll even have four or five largemouth rods just in case.”

For deep and shallow, pretty much everyone will have a drop-shot tied on, but after that there are a lot of options. Swimbaits, spin baits (they partially accounted for both Dobson’s win last year and Kevin VanDam’s win last week on the Elite Series), jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are all options to tempt shallower smallmouths.

One factor to watch closely will be the weather. Conditions were terrible on Monday, with storms and rain pounding the area. Smallmouths are sight feeders, and sunny conditions are the best for finding and catching them at 1000 Islands. It looks like at least two of the three tournament days will be sunny as of now, but an extended stretch of truly nice weather would likely really jump-start the fishing.


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 in each division determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 6:30 a.m. ET

Takeoff Location: Clayton Village Ramp, 750 Mary Street, Clayton, N.Y.

Weigh-In Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Weigh-In Location: Clayton Village Ramp

Complete details

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2017-07-27-1000-islands 


AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »


2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »


Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »


Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »


FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »


Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »


Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »


Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »


Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »


High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »


By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »


2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »


Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »


How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »