You can pretty much pick your species this month on both Wilson and Pickwick Lakes. Catfish will be wide open on both lakes. On Wilson, fish in the sloughs and along shallow bluff lines. Search for hard bottoms, pea gravel and hard clay are best. Fish will be gorging themselves in preparation for the spawn which will start later this month. Chicken livers, worms, shrimp, and shad guts will all produce plenty of eating size fish. For bigger cats, use whole live shad or larger chunks of cut bait in 25 to 40 feet of water. Look for fish to be holding close to wood cover where available. The best catfishing on Pickwick will be the tailrace of Wilson Dam. Cats will school in large numbers underneath the dams this month. If you prefer to avoid the turbulent waters of the dam, fish the channel ledges and adjacent flats from Pride Landing to Waterloo. Channel catfish will be bedding this month. Search for them along the base of shallow bluff lines and cypress knees. Prepared baits such as Secret 7 and other blood or stink baits work best on these fish.
Smallmouth bass will be post spawn now and pulling back off onto the river and channel ledges. Largemouth bass will be in transition from spawn to post spawn this month. They can still be caught in relatively shallow waters. Bluegills and Shellcrackers will be bedding also. Use crickets and worms for best results. Luck for bedding bream along pea gravel banks with overhanging limbs. Search out coves or pockets on the north or northeastern shorelines for bedding locations. For guided fishing charters for any of these fish contact Captain Brian Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
Scotty Hull has at least 1,500 reasons to be happy about the only fish he caught during the Fishlife Big Bass Battle on Pickwick Lake.
The 7.93-pounds largemouth bass earned Hull cash prizes totaling $1,500. He earned $500 for catching the largest bass during the first weigh-in period for the tournament that was held Saturday, April 16 out of Riverfront Park in Sheffield. Hull also received a $1,000 bonus for catching the largest bass overall for the tournament. Each of the anglers catching the largest bass during the seven one-hour weigh-in periods received $500.
“It feels good to win,” said Hull, of Summertown, Tenn. “The money is going to come in handy, because the motor on boat went out after I had caught that fish. Now I can use the money to help pay for getting it fixed.”
Hull caught the winning bass early and then spent the rest of day wondering if anyone would catch a larger fish. “It was nerve racking.”
Hull caught the big bass while fishing near Wilson Dam in an area of Pickwick Lake known as The Horseshoe. It was the largest bass Hull has ever caught.
Jody Harrison, founder and CEO of Fishlife, said Pickwick Lake is an amazing fishery. Carson Nash won the second weigh-in period with a 7.25-pounds largemouth bass and Chad Brewer won the third period with a 6.42-pounds largemouth bass. All of the weigh-in period winning fish weighed at least 4.45 pounds.
“We had people turning fish loose that would be considered big bass on a lot of lakes because they knew the bass were not big enough to win up here. Pickwick is a great lake,” Harrison said.
Susann Hamlin, CEO and President of Colbert County Tourism, said the Big Bass Battle format was a great way to showcase Pickwick Lake. “The size of the bass caught during the Fishlife tournament confirms that our lakes, Pickwick and Wilson, are some of the best lakes in the country.”
Pickwick Lake in northwest Alabama belies the notion that all good things must come to an end. Completed in 1938, the bass fishing in this storied 47,500-acre Tennessee River reservoir is better than ever.
Bassmaster Elite Series tournament angler Timmy Horton was a fishing guide at Pickwick before he became one of the top bass pros in the country. He still fishes Pickwick often and is astounded by what the lake is producing.
“Last spring you had to have 30 pounds to have a shot at winning any bass tournament here,” Horton says. “A 20-pound limit no longer gives you bragging rights at Pickwick.”
Electrofishing by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources found that Pickwick’s largemouth bass were fatter than bass from other Alabama reservoirs in 2008. That was a harbinger of better things to come. Read More