Back to basics at Beaver - Major League Fishing

Back to basics at Beaver

Third Walmart FLW Tour Major delivers challenging conditions
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Beaver Lake's water level has returned to normal and the clarity has greatly improved. Photo by Rob Newell.
April 25, 2012 • Brett Carlson • Archives

ROGERS, Ark. – The wild rollercoaster ride appears to have finally ended. With average lake levels, clear water and stable weather, it looks like northwest Arkansas’ Beaver Lake is back to normal. But that doesn’t mean the bass fishing will be easy at the third Walmart FLW Tour Major of the season.

Approximately one month ago, Beaver sat 6 feet above full pool and had a noticeable stain in most areas of the lake. The Ozarks region saw several days in late March with air temperatures in the upper 80s. Combine the unseasonably warm weather with a full moon and a good number of the lake’s bass spawned. Then Mother Nature dropped the temperatures and the Corps of Engineers dropped the water level. The temperatures have recently rebounded, but it appears the fish, and many of the anglers, are confused.

Ron Shuffield took second place last year on the White River impoundment, but the conditions called for FLW Tour pro Ron Shuffieldheavy coats and jerkbaits, not flip flops and sunscreen. The EverStart pro said the bite this year has been tough and that the fish are in a funk.

“I think the spawn here is 99 percent over, I really do,” said the Bismarck, Ark., veteran. “I came here right after Table Rock and there were all three species of bass up (spawning) and they were everywhere. I think that was the major wave and then the water dropped and shut the spawn down. When you think about it we’ve really had some strange weather; we’re really having our March in April and we had our April in March.”

Shuffield said he’s receiving an average of 50 to 60 bites per day, but he can’t find any one pattern that consistently delivers five keeper bites.

“Last year I was only getting seven to nine bites a day but they were good fish. In three days of practice this year I caught three nice largemouths; that’s it.”

One would think that a shad spawn or topwater bite could develop as the weather warms. But Shuffield has seen no sign of either.

“I’ve got one bite on a topwater and that fish was barely longer than the Spook I caught it on. I think it’s possible the weights this week will be as bad as they ever have been. I’m going to keep an open mind and essentially continue my practice.”

With most bass in the postspawn phase, Beaver Lake is expected to be tough this week on FLW Tour pros.After a decent prefish, local Rogers, Ark., pro Travis Fox is slightly more optimistic than Shuffield and thinks there’s still a few more fish left to spawn.

“I think 80 percent of the spawn is over, but there are a few big fish that haven’t done their thing,” he said. “Personally I’m not a sight-fisherman and I think my time is better spent elsewhere.”

Like Shuffield, Fox hasn’t seen any hints of a developing shad spawn but won’t completely rule it out.

“I think mostly it’s going to be the standard finesse deal. There’s some fish near the bank and there’s some fish offshore. You’re going to see lots and lots of 7- and 8-pound bags. And if you get one of those kicker smallmouths or blacks, that will get you up into double digits. I’m saying it will take 11 pounds a day to make the top 20.”


Anglers will take off from Prairie Creek Park located at 9300 N. Park Rd. in Rogers at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Prairie Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the John Q. Hammons Center located at 3303 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy. in Rogers beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the John Q. Hammons Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways Brent Ehrler shows off the kind of quality largemouths needed to win on Beaver Lake.provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of US94 KAMO-FM Country. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of KNWA. The ATV giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win

In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday’s weigh-in and the top-10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.

On the Web

For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Beaver Lake event. Simply click on the “On the Water Coverage” banner from either the FLW or FLW Tour home pages.

Thursday’s conditions

Sunrise: 6:28 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 67 degrees

Expected high temperature: 85 degrees

Water temperature: 65-67 main lake, 68-72 pockets

Wind: E at 12 mph

Maximum humidity: 60 percent

Day’s outlook: partly cloudy