Well, we left Thompson in search of Jeff Lugar who started the day in second. Haven't found him yet, but two places left to check.
Brian Volkernick and Noah Wilson from the Eastern Division have four fish and three fish, respectively. Volkernick has about 6 or 7 pounds by his boat driver's estimate, while Wilson's three will go about 4 pounds. They're fishing crankbaits parallel to jetties that run parallel to the channel. They've also picked up fish by cranking around sand bar tips near jetties.
Chase Heaton and Ryan Wood have established the closest thing to a pattern that I've seen so far today. They're fishing near the midpoint of Pool 9 where a half-dozen jetties line up through a mile-long stretch. Heaton just put his second fish in the boat with a silver lipless crankbait. As I was writing the last sentence, Wood caught his fourth keeper today. He estimated his weight at about 7 pounds.
Fishing jetty tips is a tried-and-true technique on the Arkansas River, and the Western Division representatives have found a good place to run this pattern. Without wasting a lot of time running, they're jumping from jetty to jetty in this short stretch, and it seems to be paying off.
Chase Heaton and Ryan Wood of the Western Division are cranking a jetty tip on the main river. Wood has three keepers in the livewell, while Heaton has one. Heaton just bowed up on a fish, but it was a just a big drum. He lost a bass about five casts later. There are obviously some fish on this jetty near the midway point of this pool.
Another small keeper for Thompson. This one a 14-inch largemouth. Thompson caught six fish in the last eight casts with a shaky head. All but one were nonkeepers. But at least things are looking up on the activity front.
The currents are starting to pull, and the sun is popping out. Two things that Doug Thompson wants to see. It may get right out here pretty soon.
Keeper No. 3 in the box for Thompson. A little better at around 2 1/2 pounds .
Two keepers now for Thompson. Both small spots, but two keepers nonetheless. Those go a long way with few big bites. Just ask Jeff Lugar, Thompson's nearest competitor at the start of the day. Lugar only brought four fish to the scales on Day 2 and trailed Thompson at the start of Day 3 by 15 ounces — about the weight of a 12-inch spot.
Rivers are constantly changing. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said you can never step into the same river twice. Well, the Arkansas River has already changed this morning for the JWC contenders. The flow has picked up in Pool 9, presumably the result of an increase in hydropower generation at the dam. As with any river system, these anglers will have to constantly adapt to changing conditions.
Here's a quick update on fishing conditions on Pool 9 of the Arkansas River: It's a few degrees warmer than yesterday's practice, but the river appears to be about a foot lower, and there's not quite as much current. There's still a noticeable flow, but it appears the hydropower plant at the dam isn't cranking as many units as it was during practice. I'm not sure the current will have as much effect as the lower pool level, which could take some small backwater areas out of play.