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Lake Oroville 2016: Rain and youth prevail

By Jason Haley
01/24/16 -- The first leg of the 2016 California Tournament Trail (CTT) pro-am circuit wrapped up January 16-17 at Lake Oroville. After four years of drought, we’re finally having a real winter trying to fill the lake all at once. As the newly crowned amateur champion, Sean Widger of Livermore put it: “It was nasty.” This made fishing, boat-runs, and on-the-water coverage challenging, even during the practice period.
chad Frie, Travis Bounds, Greg Gutierrez with award
(L-R) 2nd place Pro Chad Frie, 1st place Pro Travis Bounds, 3rd place pro Greg Gutierrez

Anglers stuck it out despite the weather, with virtually every boat weighing in, as they should, in a great display of sportsmanship and support. In the end, it was Chico State college angler; Travis Bounds of Roseville getting his first win as a pro taking home $2,600 by edging Chad Frie by the smallest of margins. Well-known veteran, Greg Gutierrez finished third, less than two pounds back, after leading day-one. Danny Cross finished 4th and last year’s AOY, JR Wright, finished 5th in a strong field of 56 pros.

Travis Bounds with award
Travis Bounds

Bounds weighed 22.27 pounds over two days, to 22.24 pounds for Chad Frie, the closest finish to date in the CTT. “Water weight,” said Frie, when asked about it. Bounds’ primary weapon was an A-rig and he bumped around a core area in one of the forks. Frie relied on blades made by D&M Custom Baits, mostly in a single “sweet spot.” Each Pro had double-digit bags both days, which is easier said than done with spotted bass in winter (no matter what the reports say). Frie weighed a big spot both days.

Weights were down, but somewhat customary for this time of year. The final check was taken by Terry DeVincenzi, in 12th-place at 18.56 pounds. He survived a 6.53 bag on day one, and braved the rain to bring in the best bag of the event on day two (over 12 pounds), which included a 3.81 kicker.

Sean Widger with award
Sean Widger

The amateur side was equally tight. Sean Widger won, taking home $1,300 and the trophy. He edged out Austen Schmalz, Jeff Daugherty, and Leo Busolo, who also had two-day totals over 20 pounds. Widger (age 24), is a former college angler from UOP. He practiced with Chad Frie and was finding his better fish in deeper water near steeper rock formations using 4-inch swimbaits. “I’ll probably use it to pay for entries the rest of the year,” he said.

See the complete results from Lake Oroville here

Next up: pre-spawn slug fest at Lake Berryessa, where a 30-pound bag was weighed last season. See you there!

Get signed up for the next event on Lake Berryessa Feb 27th-28th

Bass fishing fans can follow the action on

2016 California Tournament Trail Supporting Sponsors: Powell Rods, BASS ANGLER Magazine, River 2 Sea, Hi's Tackle Box, Konocti Vista Casino, Bass Angler Headquarters, Oroville Chanber of Commerce, Frenzy Baits, Pleasure Cove Marina, Guns Fishing & Other Stuff, G Money Jigs, Pro Point Fishing Lures

About California Tournament Trail (CTT)

CTT provides western anglers a fun and competitive environment with the only shared-weight pro-am circuit on the West Coast. CTT draws the "best of the best" western pros enabling co-anglers to learn the ropes and the pros a high-level Pro-Am tournament environment without breaking the bank. CTT fills the void in West Coast Pro-Am’s. -

Fishing Reports

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


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