Future Pro Tour Heads for Gold Country's Oroville Lake

If you were to put together the ingredients necessary to make an awesome fishery you would most likely mix the following: One part bass (lots of blacks, spots, smallies), one part structure (flats, points, creek channels, deep drop offs), a good measure of forage (pond smelt, crayfish), add 4 inflowing rivers, and stir in one multi-ramp launch facility. Oh …and don’t forget the most important ingredient ….add water.

For those anglers familiar with Lake Oroville, the abundance of forage, structure, and most importantly bass, is nothing new. This sprawling Gold Country impoundment is famous throughout the west – and now nationwide, (thanks to the B.A.S.S Western Opens) for the tremendous numbers and size of world-class spotted bass it can produce on a regular basis. What is new, and what many anglers will be surprised to see, as they prepare to compete in the up-coming Future Pro Tour event to be held on Oroville lake Sept 27th, will be a lake that just 9 months ago, was over 210 feet below full-pool, now filled to almost full capacity.

The irony of it all, is that although this year’s “late-spring” rains has added one of those key ingredients to this already robust fishery, the blessing of “adding water” may very well prove itself to be a curse, as many teams counting on low-water conditions to help them put their winning patterns together, race to find other viable options.

“Generally, I do better on this lake in low-water conditions”, said Corky Williams, currently sitting in thirty-eighth place in the overall points standings. “With what me an my team partner Mike Yee will be doing, it would have helped us to better target our fish”…but being a successful tournament angler means adapting to conditions, so we will just have to adjust and make it work”.

Current angler of the year leaders Justin Lucas and Jack Schmidt are optimistic about the “full-pool” conditions that currently exist on the lake. “More water means more areas to run to”, said young Justin. “It also means their will be more cover and brush for the fish to go to, which gives us more options”. Justin and Jack are holding on to a good lead in their pursuit of the Lucky Craft/Future Pro Tour Angler of Year titles, which carries with it paid entry fees into the 2004 Future Pro Tour season, and automatic sponsorship contracts with the Lucky Craft and Reaction Innovations tackle companies.

All anglers will be approaching this event with a level of intensity that can only be brought to bear when something valuable is on the line. And that something of value is a berth is this year’s Future Pro Tour Classic to be held November 15th-16th on Folsom Lake and the California Delta. In addition to receiving the beautiful Future Pro Tour Classic Cup, champions will receive a $15,000 voucher towards the vehicle of their choice from the Peoples/Folsom Lake/Stockton – Chrysler-Jeep-Nissan-Isuzu-Hyundai dealerships.

As the end of summer draws near the cooler water temperatures will follow, creating conditions perfect for topwater and soft-plastic/jig anglers alike. “The current conditions are good”, said David Bryning owner/operator of Paradise Sporting Goods in Oroville. “There are lots of fish (numbers) to be caught but not much size (14-16 inches)”, however, day-by-day as it cools off, fishing will just get better and better”. By end of September, the bite should be wide open”, he added.

As always, there will be an optional pre-registration seminar held the evening before the event featuring one of the west’s top bass professionals – Dave Rush. Dave, a four-time Angler of the Year title holder in multiple major circuits, has several TOC championships under his belt, and has posted two top-ten finishes in B.A.S.S competitions on Lake Oroville. In fact, in the 2001 B.A.S.S Western Open, Dave won a boat for his 3rd place finish in the B.A.S.S Western Open on Lake Oroville.

Dave is recognized by most, as one of the best fishermen on Oroville Lake, and the information he will have to share regarding how to pattern these early fall bass will be extremely valuable, so you don’t want to miss out! The pre-registration seminar will be held at Paradise Sporting Goods 5250 Olive Hwy (530)589-2298 from 5-7pm, and will be open to everyone – even if you don’t fish the event. Food and drinks will be served and there will be a drawing for a very nice prize for all that attend. If you cannot make the seminar, you can still sign up – the morning of the event – at the Spillway ramp from 4am-5:30am.

The host hotel for this event will be the Best Value Inn, 580 Oro Dam Blvd, (530) 533-7070.