Fishing Reports

Timmy Hortons Home Lake Pickwick Lake

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This month expect to find fish pretty much anywhere on Wilson Lake. Early month water temperatures are usually in the mid to lower 50’s which can place catfish at about any depth. Start you’re your search in the middle to lower portion of the lake in the 40 to 50 foot range and move from there. For the most part shad schools will be much deeper now so catfish don’t have to suspend as much to find food. This makes for a more easy location of the fish. The flats and humps between the mouth of Shoals Creek and the Robert Trent Golf course are good this time of year. The huge flats between McKiernan Creek and Wilson Lake Shores produces several trophy fish during early winter. Here locate an isolated piece of standing timber and fish vertically just outside and upstream of the timber. The best method for fishing this time of year is to rig a Carolina rig and fish vertically just above the depth the fish are holding. Cut baits are always best, but live minnows work really well in the colder water. For numbers or smaller fish concentrate on the bluff walls on both sides of the lake. These fish will be suspended or laying on ledges from 15 to 60 feet deep.

Pickwick Lake is traditionally tough in December. Cold temperatures and rainfall will determine your success this month, for they determine how much water Wilson and Pickwick Dams release. When current is present, anchor in holes and depressions along the main river channel. On the upper end of the lake the Keller Bluff and Pride Landing areas are good. In the mid- lake region, which is my personal favorite at this time of year, fish between Mulberry Creek and Brush Creek. The lake has numerous depressions along the river channel in this region. It doesn’t take much to hold a few catfish. Often a depression only 2 to 3 feet deeper than the surrounding bottom will hold plenty of fish. Locate the area you wish to fish then anchor 40 to 50 feet upstream of the hole. Then either use a large enough weight to hold your bait on the bottom and cast into the depression or simply bump bottom and walk your bait to the fish. Either way you will want to fish from a stationary position. Use slightly smaller baits when fishing stronger currents. Large pieces of bait tend to create more resistance and may cause you to miss subtle strikes.

For trip information contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 

 

This month the catfish bite on Wilson should be pretty good. Last year February was the best month through early summer for catching numbers of smaller fish. One key to success this month will be the rainfall. If we receive flooding rains creating high water levels with strong current, you can catch catfish by the cooler fulls. If heavy rains do not occur, fishing will still be good during times of maximum current release from Wilson and Wheeler dams. Fish locations will be much the same as last month. Fish will be holding on ledges, bases of bluff lines, and sharp contour lines on islands and humps. Locate the shad schools with your electronics then search for the fish underneath them. There will be fish holding in the tailwaters of the dam. To catch these fish, drift downstream of the dam with small pieces of cut shad or skipjack. For the larger fish go down the river. On the South side of the lake, look for fish in the 20 to 45 foot range along the ledges. Good areas are the bluffs ½ mile up and downstream of Gargis Hollow. On the North side of the lake target the river channel ledges from Four Mile Creek to Shoals Creek. Any of the old river locking structure should hold a few fish.

I tactic to try for cats this month is fishing a Bojole Flutter Spoon. I started using these spoons years ago to catch skipjack for bait below the power dams. I have found they are deadly at times on catfish in cold water. I use a white or chartreuse spoon with a 1 ½ to 2 inch strip of skipjack filet attached to the hook. For fish in open water with little hangy cover cast the spoon out and allow it to fall on a tight line down into the fish. Slowly retrieve the spoon while twitching the rod top a few inches. If fish are holding in tight cover lower the spoon down about 2 to 3 feet above the top of the cover and twitch the spoon vertically on a tight line. I have line counters on all my reels which helps me to position the bait at the proper depth. When cats are aggressive they will bite with rod jarring strength so hold your rod tightly while jigging.

For trip info contact Brian Barton at brianbartonoutdoors@aol.com or visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

This month look for catfish on Wilson Lake to start locating themselves in their winter hideouts. Most fish will start to stage or group up on deep points, bases of bluff banks, and deeper holes, and downstream points of humps in the main lake. Once water temperatures drop below the 50* mark it’s best to anchor down over the top of the fish and fish vertically. I use smaller pieces of cut shad and skipjack then in the preceding months due to the fish will be less aggressive in the cooler water. Fish will also be more difficult to locate with your electronics because they will often be lying flat on the bottom in deep depressions or holes. Start your search for fish on the lower 1/3 of the lake from Shoals Creek downstream to Wilson Dam. Likely targets would be the river channel ledges and deep bluff banks on the North side of the lake. The east of point of Darby Hollow is always good for one or two fish this time of year even on the slowest days. To catch these fish I use an 8 ft. BnM medium action rod and bait casting reel spooled with 80 lb. test Vicious braided line. I place a 2 to 3 oz. egg sinker above a barrel swivel, then attach a 3 to 4 foot 50 lb. test mono leader with a 7/0 Daichii circle hook. I place a small red float about ½ way between the hook and swivel to float the bait just off the bottom. Best baits are shad minnows, cut shad or skipjack at this time of the year. An important thing to remember is to be patient. I have let my baits lay in one spot as long as thirty minutes this time of the year before a fish takes my offering.

On Pickwick Lake the lower portion will be your best bet for numbers and larger cats. The dams generation schedule will determine feast or famine on Pickwick. Try to fish when the dams are releasing the maximum flow. The bases of the main river ledges are good places to start. The section from Natchez trace bridge to Brush Creek are hard to beat. On the south side of the lake fish the old Muscle Shoals canal system. The canal averages about 30 feet of water in it’s bottom and rises to near the surface at winter pool on the sides. If you can locate any structure that provides a horizontal current break it could hold lots of fish. The secret here is to anchor down and fish slow. On further down the lake try the base of steep river ledges and holes in the main channel from Bear Creek to Yellow Creek. Commercial fisherman harvest lots of eating size cats on trotlines throughout the winter months in this portion of the lake. December is often boom or bust. The bright side is it’s one of the top months of the year for a big cat on either lake.

brianbartonoutdoors@aol.com  www.brianbartonoutdoors.com  256-412-0969

This is the best of the fall months on Wilson Lake. Water temperatures should range from the mid 60’s down to the upper 50’s by the end of the month. As the water temperature cools the shad schools will bunch tighter and begin to descend into the water column. Catfish will be anywhere from 10 to 100 feet deep this month. The most active fish will be two to three feet of the bottom in the mid to lower lake regions regardless of depth. This is a great time to catch trophy cats. Use whole shad four to six inches long or large chunks of cut skipjack. Fish just off the bottom anchored or at a very slow troll ( .1 to .3 mph ) over ledges, humps, or along any significant contour line change. Watch your electronics closely. If you see the larger fish suspended up off the bottom adjust your baits accordingly. My favorite locations are the islands between the mouth of Shoals Creek and Gargis Hollow. Try to locate the greatest concentration of baitfish and fish close by. Other good locations will be the ledges of Shoal Creek near the mouth at the main lake and along the base of the bluff lines along the north shore between Shoal Creek and Indian Springs. It’s important to remember that it’s possible to hang into a 50, 60, 70 pound or larger fish at this time of the year. Make sure you have the proper gear before tangling with possibly the fish of a lifetime. I always equip with a sturdy B-n-M rod, spooled with Vicious 80 pound test braided line and a razor sharp 7/0 Daiichi bleeding bait hook. For numbers of fish, try using your favorite cat bait in smaller portions in the mouths of the sloughs and along the flats on the South side of the lake. Target 15 to 30 feet of water depending upon weather and water conditions. These cats should bite aggressively once located.

On Pickwick, search for numbers of cats in the middle to lower portion of the lake. Drifting shad minnows and cut bait in the river channel from the Kroger Island area to Bear Creek should produce plenty of action. If current flow is low try anchoring over deep holes or on top of the river ledges and fish vertically up the ledge. The pea gravel bars along the shorelines will produce good numbers of Channel cats early in the month. Locating the fish will be the key. If you’re not getting bites keep searching. For tangling with a trophy cat try the tailrace below Wilson Dam. Most of the cats will have migrated downstream for the winter, but there are always some big fish that remain under the dam throughout the winter season. Best places to fish will be in idle water along the face of the dam. Use fresh, large chunks of bait near the bottom.

For trip information contact Master Captain Brian Barton@ brianbartonoutdoors@aol.com or visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

Catfish Report

This is one of my favorite months of the year for catching catfish on Wilson Lake. Water temperatures will ease back to the upper 60’s this month and that will fire the cats up. Wilson and Pickwick Lakes have an excellent shad hatch this year and that should lead to great fall fishing. Best bets on Wilson for numbers of fish will be the area just downstream of Wheeler Dam and the base of the dam itself. A slip float rig fished along the base of the spillways and lock area will be hard to beat. I use a B-n-M medium action spinning rod ( prototype) spooled with 12 lb. test Vicious Ultimate fishing line to target these fish. Most of the fish will be in the one to three pound range so heavy tackle is not required. My bait of choice is a lively shad minnow attached through the lips on a 3/0 Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook. If you cannot collect shad minnows try store bought minnows or small fresh shrimp. Set your float depth two to three feet above the bottom. Make a long cast and allow your offering to sit still a minute or so, then reel a few turns of the handle and allow it to sit still again. Most strikes occur as soon as your float stops movement. Other good choices are the ledges of Hog Island and the flats in the mouth of Town Creek. Here I use the same tackle but go to a drop shot style rig with a ½ to ¾ ounce split shot 18 inches under my hook. Slowly bump the bottom with this rig while drifting downstream.

For big catfish head down the lake to the Shoals Creek area and to the South toward the Robert Trent Jones clubhouse. These flats range from 50 to 65 feet deep and have numerous humps and other topographic features. Here I switch to Vicious 80 lb. test braided line with a 50 lb. test mono leader. I tie a Carolina rig with a 2 to 3 ounce sinker about 3 to 4 feet above a 7/0 Daiichi circle hook. I attach a golf ball size float about half way between the swivel and hook in order to float my bait up off the bottom. Bait of choice here is a chunk of cut skipjack 3 to 5 inches in length. When fishing this pattern, I’m fishing for 20 pound plus fish so I use much larger baits. Trolling at .3 to .4 mph over contour usually works best, however if the bite is slow an anchor down approach is your best bet.

Pickwick Lake will be good from one end to the other. Cats can be caught in the tailrace below Wilson Dam is big numbers. Here anchoring in eddy currents usually produces best. For drifters, grab some minnows and drift from the Singing River Bridge to the Seven Mile Island area. Your likely to boat some good smallmouth and hybrids as an added bonus in this area with lively minnows. Further downstream, try the river ledges from Kroger Island down to Waterloo. Shad will bunch up in large schools along the river ledges and the cats will be just below waiting on an easy meal. To catch these fish drift or use your trolling motor to move downstream while keeping your bait a few feet of the bottom. Wherever you fish this month carry an extra cooler because the bite should be great. For fishing tips or fishing trip information visit
www.brianbartonoutdoors.com
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Pickwick/Wilson Lake Fishing Guide

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