Douglas bass should key on shad for divisional

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Douglas Lake will display some Southern hospitality with plenty of action for the divisional competitors this week for the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional.

“The lake should fish really well,” said Elite Series pro Ott DeFoe of his home waters. “The fish will be in all spawning stages then. The majority of the fish, though, will either be spawning or be done spawning. There will still be a few in the prespawn but not very many.”

Spawning banks on Douglas Lake vary from gravel flats to 45-degree shorelines. “The bass spawn on a little bit of everything, except a bluff,” DeFoe said. “They like to spawn on a fairly steep bank, definitely steeper than where bass spawn on a lot of other lakes.”

The Tennessee pro noted the lake level fluctuates about 40 feet each year, but the reservoir should be on the rise during the divisional.

“That is the time of year, the [TVA] is bringing the lake up the most rapidly,” said DeFoe. The rising water floods shoreline vegetation which becomes prime cover for bass remaining in the shallows.

DeFoe’s favorite lures for late April on Douglas are crankbaits, such as a Rapala DT16, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits in colors that best imitate the dominant forage. “The fish on this lake really, really key on shad,” DeFoe said.

The entire lake should produce good numbers of largemouth bass, but the divisional competitors might have to concentrate on the lower end for kicker fish. “The bigger fish typically come from the middle of the lake on down,” said DeFoe. “The middle and upper parts of the lake have really good fish, but you don’t catch a lot of giants there.”

Lake Facts

Forage base: threadfin and gizzard shad

Surface acreage: 30,000 acres

Shoreline mileage: 513 miles

Recent winning weight: 65-4 by Patrick Bone in Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open, April 4-6, 2013

Recent winning lures: deep diving crankbait

Expected water clarity: 1 to 4 feet of visibility

Dominant structure/cover: rocks, shoreline vegetation

Predicted winning weight: 53 pounds, 12 ounces