UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

The fourth stop of the 2019 FLW Tour is presented by Mercury at Grand Lake. Though the Tour last hit the big Oklahoma lake in 2013, Grand sees plenty of tournament action, especially in the spring, and it never fails to deliver drama.

 

Grand is situated in northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished. The 46,500-acre reservoir is the largest impoundment on the Neosho River (which is also called the Grand River, particularly below Grand Lake), and the lake is a bit more than an hour or so from Tulsa.

Though technically in the Ozarks, the lake is a bit of a combo between a prairie lake and a true Ozark impoundment. It’s flatter and shallower than Beaver Lake and Table Rock, but you can still mistake large sections of it for the Ozarks very easily.

 

The split nature of the lake is shared by its tributaries to an extent. Flowing from Kansas in the north, the Neosho River is the primary tributary. Meeting up with it near the top of the lake, the Spring River also flows from Kansas and the western edge of Missouri. The part of the lake fed primarily by the Neosho is notably dirtier, and the upper reaches of it feature a lot of permanently shallow water strewn with laydowns. In years past, pros have pulled good finishes and good days from truly upriver stuff, most notably when Sammy Burks ran up to clean backwaters for a third-place finish in the 2016 Costa FLW Series event.

 

Entering the lake to the north of Sailboat Bridge, the Elk River is the clearest-running large tributary of Grand and flows from the east out of the Missouri Ozarks. The Elk has a reputation as a big tournament producer, and many lake tournaments have been won in it. However, you can say that about many sections of Grand. Because of Elk’s proximity to takeoff and the color of the water, you can expect it to get plenty of pressure this week.

 

Serving as one of the most identifiable landmarks on grand, Sailboat Bridge crosses the lake just to the north of Grove. The majority of the lake is below the bridge. While it’s likely that most of the weight will come from below it, the bridge is still a good marker for where you’re at on the lake. It’s also just minutes from takeoff, which is at Wolf Creek Park, in the back of Wolf Creek.

Wolf Creek itself is known for good fishing and for a lot of release fish. It’d be no surprise to see someone make the top 10 – or even win it – fishing almost entirely in Wolf, as the population there is so good. If you wanted to compare it to something in the Ozarks, you might think of Prairie Creek on Beaver Lake (another popular community hole close to takeoff), though the two look quite different.

 

The midsection of Grand offers a lot of variety, with big creeks that are nearly their own systems and plenty of smaller stuff close to the main lake. like most of the lake, there’s a lot of history of success there, and some of the locals believe that’s where the best population of fish in the lake lives. The water color in the midsection is pretty dirty this week, but there’s some variation depending on which creek you poke into and how far back you go.

 

The lower end of Grand is the clearest water outside of the Elk, and it’s got plenty of fish in it. Back in 2015, when the water was super clear, Bradley Hallman waylaid them on a Spook to lock down a Costa FLW Series win. Now, the main drag of the lower end is fairly dirty, but many of the creeks have plenty of clean water in them.

 

The Pensacola Dam was built on the Neosho between 1938 and 1940 and was the first hydroelectric facility constructed in Oklahoma. It is one of the longer buttress dams you’ll find, and has a generation station at its west end. A primary spillway and two secondary spillways are located to the east.

 

Paddlefish

The Neosho River and its associated lakes comprise one of the primary paddlefish (sometimes called spoonbill) fisheries in the country. It’s a fish that Oklahoma is known for, and the fishery is tightly regulated, with a limit of one per day and just two per year. Austin Wilson snagged a small one in pre-practice on a swimbait, and anglers targeting them usually snag them with big barbless trebles. Paddlefish are filter feeders, thus necessitating snagging, and there have been reports of specimens up to 55 years old and more than 7 feet long. Outside of the American paddlefish, the only other species is the Chinese paddlefish, which can grow up to 9 feet long. Sturgeons and paddlefish both belong to the same family, and their eggs are highly prized for caviar.

Oklahoma paddlefish regulations

 

One consistent report from practice is that a lot of the fish are probably suspended at the moment. You can find bait on your graph seemingly everywhere, but most of it doesn’t seem to be accompanied by bass. Though umbrella rigs are not allowed, they would probably play pretty strong if they were. If anyone does figure out how to effectively target the bass that aren’t on the bank, good things could happen pretty quick.

 

Grand is over full pool right now, but it’s not necessarily high enough to be useful to anglers that want to flip. Though there is more water on shoreline wood up the river, bushes and things like that aren’t really in water that is deep enough for a lot of bass to get in them. The water has ticked down each day during practice, and it seems like that trend will continue. Though, due to rain up in Kansas and rain in the forecast at Grand, that’s not a guarantee. If a flipping bite does develop, there are good odds that it happens during the event or will only be discovered by a handful of anglers.

 

As for the actual cover on the lake, the most prevalent options are docks, rock and wood. Grand has plenty of brush piles, tons of rock and a pile of docks. Most of the docks are floaters with cables behind them, and historically a lot of fish are caught from the backs of docks, requiring circus-style shenanigans to land them.

 

Sheldon Collings

Though a lot of anglers have been a bit disgruntled by practice, weights should still be good, and there’s a chance that the switch could flip to the right side any day of the tournament. The lake is fully prespawn, which means that all the fish are fat and happy, so when you do catch one, it usually is going to go a long way at weigh-in.

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-03-28-grand-lake 

Previewing Dale Hollow

Previewing Dale Hollow

When the Toyota Series Central Division wraps up its season on Dale Hollow Lake next week – a lake known for its smallmouth fishing, thanks in big part for producing the world record smallmouth back in 1955 – its anglers probably won’t be weighing in masses of brown fish. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

The top finishers in the recent Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn caught the lake when the shallow bite was just picking up. Sticking shallow around hydrilla with a wake bait, Aaron Johnson stayed consistent and won the event. Behind Johnson, there was a lot of room for pros to fish to their strengths, though there’s no doubt that shallow eventually won out. READ MORE »

Templeton Tops Co-Anglers

Templeton Tops Co-Anglers

Weighing five fish for 12 pounds, 4 ounces, co-angler Anthony Templeton of Beckville, Texas, rocketed up from fifth place to win the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. With a total of 28-3, Templeton takes home a new Phoenix bass boat worth $33,500 and his first winner’s trophy with FLW. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Our crew on the water hasn’t had very good luck tracking the top pros down in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, but the fishing has still been pretty good. With the entire top 10 within striking distance, it’s still anyone’s game, and the good fishing today could help someone run into a mega-bag. READ MORE »

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Going into the final day, Blake Schroeder was just 3 ounces ahead of Aaron Johnson in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Tight to the end, both anglers brought more than 18 pounds to the scale, but Johnson’s 18-14 bag boosted his total to 54-14 and earned him the win. For the victory, Johnson takes home $31,751 and the second FLW win of his career. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition, it’s looking like the shallow grass bite is the deal in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Leading the way, Blake Schroeder had tallied a pair of 18-pound bags from shallow grass, and the pros behind him aren’t slacking on the grass game either. Heading into the final day, it’s going to be a true shootout for the win, with a Texas-sized kicker a bite away for everyone in the field. READ MORE »

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Climbing from fourth to first, Blake Schroeder took over the lead in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn with his second-consecutive 18-pound bag. Weighing 18-3 on day one, the Texas pro put an even 18 pounds on the scale on day two for a 36-3 total. Behind him, the weights are stacked, and five other pros are within 5 pounds going into the final day on the big Texas lake. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn has been exactly as forecast. Somewhat chilly, with scattered rain and wind in the morning, it’s starting to brighten up now. Though most fished with jackets and bibs on in the morning, it’s now very comfortable and the sun is out pretty steadily. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn offered pretty good fishing and a lot of options. Anglers in the top 10 fished deep, shallow and in between to catch their fish, and no one pattern dominated the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Taking the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, Cole Moore weighed an even 21 pounds to kick things off. Though the fishing was not really up to the massive heights it can reach on Rayburn, it was far from bad, and plenty of pros put together limits in the teens both shallow and deep. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event has been beautiful so far, with mild weather and apparently decent fishing. Though Rayburn isn’t kicking them out like it can, there seem to be plenty of ways to catch fish and at least one pro has seen some success. READ MORE »

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Fall Showdown Starts at Rayburn

Takeoff for day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division finale on Sam Rayburn was about as perfect as it gets. Light wind paired with crisp, comfortable temperatures and plenty of sun provided an auspicious beginning to the Toyota Series event on the sprawling Texas reservoir. READ MORE »

Southwestern Division Wraps on Rayburn

Southwestern Division Wraps on Rayburn

The Toyota Series Southwestern Division will wrap up its season this week at Sam Rayburn. Hosted by the Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

How to Catch Bass with Shrimp

How to Catch Bass with Shrimp

Bradley Dortch, who grew up on the Tensaw River and the Mobile Delta, says throwing shrimp for bass is a winner, and a viable tournament technique if you use plastic ones. It all has to do with the seasonal movement of the forage. READ MORE »

Plains Division Heads to the Ozarks

Plains Division Heads to the Ozarks

The 2020 Toyota Series Plains Division will continue with a tournament this weekend in Osage Beach, Missouri, with the Toyota Series at Lake of the Ozarks. Hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Norman

Top 10 Baits from Lake Norman

The Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman was a fall grinder. With the lake in fall transition and turnover occurring throughout the lake, some of the popular lure choices included shaky heads, jigs, buzzbaits and jerkbaits. Here is a closer look at the best baits of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

Eastern Finale Set for Norman  

Eastern Finale Set for Norman  

The Toyota Series Eastern Division will wrap up its season this week at Lake Norman. Hosted by Visit Lake Norman, Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »