SAN ANTONIO, TX (October 10, 2023) – The playing field for the upcoming AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on October 14-15 will be Lake Dardanelle.  Located in Russellville, AR, this fishery along the Arkansas River is comprised of 34,000 acres of surface water which boasts 315 miles of shoreline loaded with abundant fish-holding cover that makes it one of the top tournament bass fishing destinations in the country.   The 2023 AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open will mark five years in which the Association of Collegiate Anglers has contested this event here during the fall of the year.

This year’s event on the  Arkansas River fishery presents prime fall-time conditions as temperatures begin to drop and leaves start to change colors.  Weather is always a key variable to keep an eye on leading up to this tournament and it factors large in how teams will attack this fishery.  During the week, and through the end of official practice, temperatures will remain constant.  The average daily high will reach into the mid-80’s, with nightly lows dipping into the upper 50’s.

A light cold front should push into the area Friday evening, before the start of the event, which will change the conditions.  Saturday’s projected high is 72 degrees, with winds out of the north at 10-15 miles per hour.  Sunday is forecasted to be very similar, and both days are expected to have little to no cloud cover.

During the fall of the year, the bass in Lake Dardanelle have a wide option of places to choose to set up on.  From shoreline grass to lily pad fields, rocks, and timber…each of these areas offer great spots for anglers to target to catch fish.

For the rocky shorelines, a crankbait in a shad pattern will be a popular choice amongst these elite college anglers.  Options such as the SPRO Little John, and Little John MD will be great for bouncing off the rocks and cover to trigger bites.  When anglers are able to locate balls of bait in the backs of creeks and along rocky shorelines, burning a crankbait through those areas will warrant keeper bites.

Lake Dardanelle’s abundant shoreline vegetation and wood cover are great places to flip soft plastics.  Baits like the Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog and BFE are the ideal choices for flipping this heavy cover.  When bass are holding more tightly to cover and become difficult to trick into biting, downsizing to a finesse presentation will be a key player.  This is when a bait like the Scentsation SoMolly rigged on a drop shot will factor in.

Along with the baits and presentations mentioned above, swimbaits and topwaters are also going to be very popular offerings.  Shad imitating style lures are what have dominated this event in the past, and this year should play out very similarly.

To match these presentations, the proper fishing line will allow these anglers to get the best action out of their baits and land more fish.  For cranking, Sunline Crank FC in 10-12 lb. test is going to be a good selection.  When it comes to finesse fishing, using FC Leader on a spinning setup will be the ideal combo.

Lake Dardanelle in the fall always provides this elite field with great fish catching opportunities.  Anglers will spread out from one end of the lake to the other and find biting bass.  Whether that be out on the main river channel, or in the vary backs of the many creeks and bayous along this Arkansas River fishery, plenty of bait and feeding bass abound.

Be sure and follow the live blog at, as well as all of the social channels, to see how the event unfolds.   Weigh-in will be streamed live each day, with Day 1 starting at 3:00 PM and Day 2 at 1:00 PM.

The post Lake Preview: Lake Dardanelle Primed for Fantastic Fall Fishing appeared first on Collegiate Bass Championship.

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