Extremely High Lake Levels Await Anglers for BASSfest

The plan going into BASSfest was to have the anglers launch on the Texas side of the lake and motor across to Oklahoma for traditional morning takeoffs.But Mother Nature had her own plans

Extremely High Lake Levels Await Anglers for BASSfest
Extremely High Lake Levels Await Anglers for BASSfest

DURANT, Okla. — The plan going into the GEICO Bassmaster BASSfest presented by Choctaw Casino Resort was to have the 108 anglers of the Bassmaster Elite Series launch at the Spillway Ramp on the Texas side of the lake and motor across to East Burns Run in Oklahoma for traditional morning takeoffs.

But Mother Nature had her own plans.

The boat ramp and courtesy dock at East Burns Run are underwater due to heavy rains in the region and lake levels that are more than 9 feet above normal for this time of year. So all takeoff festivities will now be held from the Spillway Ramp near Denison Dam, with B.A.S.S. pontoon vessels taking the place of courtesy docks.

Other than that, everything is on schedule for what has become one the premiere events on the Elite Series schedule.


“We’ve had to make a few changes due to the high water,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “But it’s going to work fine.


“Spectators will certainly still be welcome at the takeoffs, but they’ll need to park at the overlook area and walk down to the ramp due to very limited parking. We really appreciate everyone’s cooperation.”

The full field will compete Wednesday and Thursday, with only the Top 50 advancing to Friday’s semifinal round. The anglers will take a break Saturday for BASSfest activities, including Bassmaster University seminars. Then the Top 12 will fish for the $100,000 first-place prize Sunday.

Lake Texoma — a massive 89,000-acre fishery that is known for producing big tournament limits of bass — could be tough for the anglers to tame due to the high waters. B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland, an Oklahoma native, said the fish are likely to be spread out, and all types of flooded structure could come into play.

“With so much water in the lake, you’re talking about thousands of acres of water that the anglers wouldn’t normally have available to them this time of year,” Gilliland said. “All of the bushes and shoreline structure that people would normally be fishing is 7 or 8 feet beneath the surface.


“You could literally see fish being caught under picnic tables.”

With lots of water being released from Denison Dam, stained water is being pulled from shallow creeks all over the lake. That means the water clarity on most of the lake resembles a cup of coffee with a heavy dose of cream.

That could make it harder to find cooperative fish — and Brannen Parrish of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Tulsa, Okla., said it could add a degree of danger to basic navigation.


“A lot of dead trees and other debris have probably been displaced by the high water, and those things could be anywhere,” Parrish said. “Everyone on the lake will need to be really careful when they’re running.”

Events like BASSfest usually draw crowds of on-the-water spectators anxious to catch a glimpse of the pros in action. But those fans may choose to watch the fishing action on Bassmaster LIVE program, since they will have a hard time finding their way onto the water this week.

The Spillway Ramp is one of the few that is currently open on the lake, and it is being reserved for Elite Series competitors. Most other ramps around the lake are closed out of necessity — because they’re completely under water.

“We don’t close the lake or tell anyone to stay off the lake,” Parrish said. “I’m sure there will be some people out watching because they already had their boat in the water at a marina or because they found a place to put in.

“That’s certainly OK. We just encourage everyone to operate with extreme caution.”

Weigh-ins and the Bassmaster Outdoor Expo will be held daily, Wednesday through Sunday, at 3:30 p.m. at the Choctaw Casino in Durant.

On Saturday, June 11, Bassmaster University will be in full swing beginning at 10 a.m., offering more than 20 must-attend seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros and B.A.S.S. staff. A full schedule of Bassmaster University seminars is available at Bassmaster.com/BASSfest.

The High School All-American weigh-in and the final Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Wild Card presented by Bass Pro Shops weigh-in will take place on the main event stage at Choctaw Casino Resort.

All Bassmaster events are free to the public.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Plano's Charlie Davis and In-Fisherman's Rob Neumann talk about the new Plano Edge Flex as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Rapala OG Slim 6

Rapala OG Slim 6

The 2019 Bassmaster Classic champ Ott Defoe sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner, to talk about Rapala's new OG Slim 6 crankbait. The OG Slim 6 will feature a flat-sided, balsa body, and will dive around 6 feet. Featuring a circuit board lip, the OG Slim 6 deflects off of cover better than traditional plastic lips. Offered in 14 colors and available in tackle stores Fall 2020. MSRP $10.99.

Lew

Lew's Kevin VanDam Fishing Tools

The bass-fishing legend talks about Lew's new tools with In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade show. ICAST

New Freshwater Soft Lures from ICAST 2020

Game & Fish Staff - July 20, 2020

From jigs to swimbaits, there are lots of great new choices unveiled at virtual fishing trade...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

See More Trending Articles

More News

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for record-size paddlefish. Records

World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds

Lynn Burkhead - July 24, 2020

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for...

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote; President Trump expected to sign into law. Conservation & Politics

Great American Outdoors Act Passed By House

Lynn Burkhead - July 23, 2020

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote;...

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation to ever be signed into law. News

President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law

Lynn Burkhead - August 05, 2020

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most...

So far, ICAST still on, but fly-fishing show canceled. Conservation & Politics

COVID-19 Brings Hope, Despair for 2020 Fishing Shows

Lynn Burkhead - April 08, 2020

So far, ICAST still on, but fly-fishing show canceled.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now