UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

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 

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop goes down this week at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. Here's how you can watch the action live. READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Hailing from Ocean Springs, Miss., Andy Niles has now won on Okeechobee two years in a row. In 2019, he picked up the win in the Southeastern Division event on Okeechobee, and this year he got the win in the second Toyota Series Southern Division event of the year. Weighing a total of 44 pounds, 7 ounces, Niles takes home a new Phoenix bass boat for his efforts. Friday was Niles’ son Cooper’s 8th birthday, and though he’s probably not going to get the boat for a present, he’ll at least get a very happy dad. READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee is proving to be just as tense as expected. With the entire top 10 less than 4 pounds apart, anything can happen, and it’s entirely possible that someone in ninth or 10th catches a big bag to come from behind. READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Despite nice weather this week, which has been a rarity for FLW tournaments in Florida this year, the fishing on Okeechobee just hasn’t been what the lake is capable of producing. Still, Okeechobee hammer Brandon Medlock rallied on day two dropping 21 pounds, 7 ounces on the scale to take the lead in the Toyota Series Southern Division event on the Big O with 35 pounds even. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

The weather is still splendid, but day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been tougher than day one. While keepers were pretty easy to come by early yesterday, that hasn’t quite been the case today. Still, the weather is good and there’s plenty of time left for the lake to turn on. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee was great from a fish-catching standpoint, but somewhat lacking from a big fish perspective. In the lead, Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla., put 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the scale. Behind him, three other pros also managed 19 pounds or better, and there is an absolute stack of anglers in the mid-teen range. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been a beauty so far. Takeoff went off without a hitch in the morning, and there’s basically been just a light breeze and sunny skies all day. Though it hasn’t been oppressively hot, it has been quite warm, and after setting down on their first spot, many anglers probably never put their hoodies back on. READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

Tallying up 1,752 points for the season, ETBU beat out Tarleton State-Stephenville by 16 points to earn the Southern Conference School of the Year title. READ MORE »

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

Pre-tournament optimism can be hard to find, but this year, if the weather holds, the fishing might be really good for the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

The annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open returns to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-March for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat, 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship and 20 spots in the all-new Major League Fishing College Faceoff presented by Wiley X in Raleigh, N.C., later this spring. READ MORE »

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

The kickoff event of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division takes place on Douglas Lake on March 7. One of the most scenic lakes in the country, Douglas promises some good prespawn fishing. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

Through two events, the leader of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year race isn’t unexpected, but the standings behind Ron Nelson are in absolute turmoil. With Lake Martin and Cherokee Lake on tap, things could begin to clarify a bit as spotted bass, smallmouths and lakes that actually have rock become factors. So, while we’re about to run through the top contenders, it’s highly likely that the next few events really reshape the standings.  READ MORE »

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Spawning bass and spring break will be the story lines at the Toyota Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu in mid-March. Well, OK … the spawning bass will certainly be the main focus of the anglers. But dealing with traffic from pleasure boaters will definitely contribute to the pros’ decision-making, particularly on the weekend.  READ MORE »

Prespawn Showdown Coming to Ross Barnett

Prespawn Showdown Coming to Ross Barnett

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine kicks off its 2020 Mississippi Division schedule at Ross Barnett Reservoir on March 7. Ross Barnett is an annual early season stop for FLW and the first crack at gaining essential points in the race to qualify for this fall’s Regional. This time around, anglers might have to navigate tricky conditions due to a wet and rainy winter. READ MORE »