Bassmaster Elite Series event moves due to high water

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Lake Tenkiller will host the Bassmaster Elite Series after high water levels forced a venue change. Photo by: Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.

Lake Tenkiller will host the Bassmaster Elite Series after high water levels forced a venue change. Photo by: Ronnie Moore/B.A.S.S.

B.A.S.S. officials announced that the Bassmaster Elite Series event scheduled for tomorrow through Sunday on Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma will be held on Lake Tenkiller, also in Oklahoma, due to high water.

The lakes are located just 40 miles apart in Oklahoma. It will be the final regular-season Elite Series event of the year.

“Tenkiller is a very diverse fishery,” Oklahoma Elite angler Luke Palmer told Trade Only in an email. “I believe guys will spread out more and have multiple species to target. It has some really clear water down lake and some slight stain up towards the river. The lake has a lot of fish in it. We are in a tough time of the year since we’ve had some pretty hot weather and the fall transition hasn't really taken place yet. As always this group of guys will get them figured out and we'll see some good bags of fish.”

When the 2019 schedule was first announced, the event was scheduled at Fort Gibson for May 16-19. Heavy rain and flash flooding in the region forced its postponement and ultimately forced the change to a different venue.

“The ongoing high water at Fort Gibson Lake and the uncertainty of dam repairs downstream at Webber Falls really left us no choice,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin in a statement. “We certainly made every effort to hold the event on Fort Gibson Lake, but the conditions just wouldn’t allow it.”

B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon, who notified the 75 Elite Series anglers of the change, said it was imperative to complete a full schedule of nine regular-season events. Leaving Fort Gibson as the tournament venue would have created a greater risk for cancellation.

“Anglers have been working hard all year, jockeying for position in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings,” Weldon said. “They’ve been promised nine events and then the Angler of the Year Championship, and we want to make every effort as an organization to make sure all of those events are held.”

The tournament will determine the final order of the Angler of the Year standings, with only the Top 50 anglers advancing to the AOY Championship scheduled for Sept. 28-Oct. 1 on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair.

This will be B.A.S.S.’s first visit to the 12,900-acre fishery for a major event.

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