Feeling at home on Beaver Lake

Outside of Northwestern Ontario, if you asked me which lake I could say I’ve spent the most time fishing on over the past several years, it probably would be Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas.
This is my fifth season fishing the FLW Tour and Beaver Lake has been an annual stop on the schedule every year, so I’m really starting to rack up the days on this body of water.
Walmart long has been the title sponsor of the FLW Tour and its head office is in Rogers, Ark., which is on the shores of Beaver Lake. Walmart certainly has had some influence on the Tour visiting Beaver every year–been that way for nearly 20 years that the FLW has existed.
Beaver Lake is not the best lake that I’ve fished in my travels down south over the past several years, but it is a good lake to have a tournament on. The fish do not get that big, but largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass are present in the lake and it has all types of water clarity depending on what you like to fish.
In other words, there are plenty of options for catching fish.
My results at Beaver Lake have been pretty good in my past visits here. In the four events that I’ve fished here, I have cashed a cheque three times, including an 11th-place finish last year, which is my best.
Having some familiarity with the lake certainly contributed to the good event last year, but many anglers in the field have fished 10 or more tournaments at this lake.
One end of the lake traditionally has muddy water, one end is gin clear, and the middle part has stained water. Typically, I fish in the clear water because I feel more comfortable there since it is more like fishing around home.
Over the years, I’ve caught my fish on suspending jerkbaits and finesse baits, for the most part. In the muddy part of the lake, anglers typically catch fish in shallow water flipping bushes or throwing crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
Through a couple days of practice, I’m excited for the tournament to start today (April 27). The fishing seems to be a little tougher than it was last year, but the lake has risen about four feet since the weekend because of a few days of heavy rain.
Many of the bass in the lake are spawning right now, but they are not visible because of the rise in water levels. The word amongst my fishing buddies is that the weights probably will be a little lighter than they have been the past couple of years.
The first day of practice, I fished entirely new water that I had never fished before and managed to find a few good areas, I think.
On my second day of practice, I ran through some of the areas I fished last year and places that have been good in the past. Some of my old spots were good and others were not, which also is typical of this lake.
It seems like every year, the fishing always is a little bit different. That becomes a challenge because it’s hard not to fish spots that have been good in the past. In these tournaments, however, it’s all about fishing where the fish are now.
With one more day left to explore, I was going to look for more areas similar to where I have been catching fish the past couple of days and hopefully I can find a few spots that will produce during the tournament.
The tournament runs through Sunday and everybody can follow the results are flwfishing.com
After a couple of tough events, I’m looking to get my season back on track and win some money, which will make the 17-hour drive home a lot more fun!
Look for my tournament report in next week’s column!