The Oregon State University team of Zach MacDonald of Willits, Calif., and Ryan Sparks of Haines, Alaska won the FLW College Fishing Western Conference event on Roosevelt Lake Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 9 pounds even. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Western Conference Invitational tournament.

“It feels really good to get our club’s second win,” said MacDonald, a sophomore majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife. “Ryan and I won an event last year at Lake Shasta, too. We’ve been fishing pretty well, so I just want us to keep it up.”

The Oregon State Beaver bass club is one of the hottest in the country right now. After finishing in 2nd place at the 2012 FLW College Fishing Western Conference Championship at Utah Lake, MacDonald and Sparks followed that up with a 3rd place finish at Lake Oroville in the first Western Conference event of 2013. Their victory today gives them their third consecutive top-3 finish.

“We’d never seen the lake before,” MacDonald said. “Before the event we studied the lake using Google Maps and tried to locate areas that looked right. We fished rocky points from 5- to 15-feet deep throwing 3/8-ounce green pumpkin-colored jigs trailered with a Yamamoto Double Tail Hula Grub. Ryan got one drop-shotting, but four of the five fish that we weighed in came on a jig.”

“I got one drop-shotting a Margarita Mutilator-colored Roboworm,” said Sparks, a junior majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife. “This definitely made the long flight down here worth it.”

The team credited Walmart FLW Tour Chevy pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore. as being one of the keys to their club’s recent success.

“I get to go steelhead trout fishing with Jay once a week,” Sparks said. “He’s a great mentor for our club and we really learn a lot from him. He’s had a lot of success on Beaver Lake, and we’re really looking forward to using some of his tips when we fish the upcoming National Championship there in two months.”

The top 15 teams that advanced to the Western Conference Invitational tournament are:

      1st:  Oregon State University – Zach MacDonald, Willits, Calif., and Ryan Sparks, Haines, Alaska (five bass, 9-0, $2,000)

      2nd: Chico State – Kevin Chen and Koulton Westbrook, both of Vacaville, Calif. (five bass, 7-2, $1,000)

      3rd:  San Jose State University – Anthony Lee, San Jose, Calif., and Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif. (five bass, 6-15, $500)

      4th:  California State University-Chico – Nick Carrico, Oroville, Calif., and Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif. (five bass, 6-10, $500)

      5th:  California State University-Chico – Bo Harkins and Michael Braswell, both of Walnut Creek, Calif. (five bass, 6-7, $500)

      6th:  Utah Valley University – Aaron Warner, Orem, Utah, and Cathleen Martinez, Spanish Fork, Utah (three bass, 5-0)

      7th:  San Jose State University – Russyl Soto, Elk Grove, Calif., and Patrick Friedman, San Jose, Calif. (three bass, 4-9)

      8th:  Sacramento State University – Jeremy Wallimann, Oakdale, Calif., and Joe Perna, Sacramento, Calif. (two bass, 4-6)

      9th:  California  Polytechnic State University – Kyle Greenlaw, Magalia, Calif., and John Zeolla, Oak Park, Calif. (three bass, 4-5)

      10th:                       Humboldt State University – Graeme Lock, Arcata, Calif., and Derrick Hicks, Lincoln, Calif. (one bass, 3-14)

      11th:                       Arizona State University – Daniel Kahoun and Tyler Gaab, both of Chandler, Ariz. (one bass, 3-10)

      12th:                       Arizona State University – Austen Schmalz, Mesa, Calif., Bobby Fletcher, Gilbert, Ariz. (one bass, 3-8)

      13th:                       Nevada State College – Justin Landerman and Josh Gullo, both of Boulder City, Nev. (two bass, 3-6)

      14th:                       University of Colorado-Colorado Springs – Justin Solverson and Petei Decker, both of Colorado Springs, Colo. (two bass, 3-5)

      15th:                       Utah Valley University – Tate Brown, Heber, Utah, and Zachari Taylor, Hansen, Idaho (two bass, 3-0)

Complete results can be found at

Three regular-season qualifying events are held in each conference – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Texas and Western. The top 15 teams from each qualifying tournament will advance to one of five two-day FLW College Fishing Conference Invitational tournaments, where the first-place team wins $4,000 for their club. The top 10 teams from each Conference Invitational advance to the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

The next FLW College Western Conference qualifying tournament is scheduled for May 18 at the California Delta in Bethel Island, Calif., and is hosted by Hook, Line & Sinker Pro Shop.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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