Fishing Reports

Timmy Hortons Home Lake Pickwick Lake

Norm Brown

As the water slowly cools this month catfish will become more active. Large shad schools will start to rise in the water column and the fish will be just underneath them. A good tactic this month will be to fish a slip float rig along deep points and bluff walls where you locate baitfish. Set your float depth two to five feet deeper than the depth of the bait. Jugging is also good in the early fall. Set jugs in the same places in the early morning and late evening hours for the best action. Live or freshly harvested shad minnows will be the best bait. Small bream, fresh shrimp, and cut bait will also work well. Fish will be distributed all over the lake. Use your electronics to find the greatest concentrations. Start your search on the North side of the lake from Shoals Creek to the Wilson Dam in 40 to 70 feet of water. For anglers comfortable with fishing the tailrace there will be plenty of fish below Wilson and Wheeler Dams when TVA is generating current.

This month will find large numbers of smallmouth and white bass in both tailraces also. Live shad or bait shop shiners will both provide plenty of action on these fish. Use medium action spinning tackle with 8 to 10 pound test line for drifting. I like a small Daiichi circle hook and split shot when drifting. Use a weight size that will allow you to feed 50 to 60 feet of line off the reel and still remain just off the bottom when drifting. This method will catch plenty of channel cats on Wilson Lake between Big Nance Creek and Town Creek in the middle portion of the lake.

For catfish, live bait smallmouth and striper trips, contact Captain Brian Barton at or visit our website at

This month is my favorite month of the year to catch catfish. Water temperatures will range from the low to mid 70’s and the passage of cold fronts and heavy spring rains are pretty much gone by this time. Cats will be feeding heavily in the days leading up to spawning. Fish can be caught from 2 to 70 feet of water this month depending upon where you want to fish. To locate shallow fish check out log jams in cuts along the main river bank on both sides of the river. Logs stack in the back of these pockets and cats seek their cover out for spawning. I fish these areas by rigging spinning tackle with 14 lb test Vicious mono and a 3/0 Mister Twister Keeper red worm hook. I place a 1/16 or 1/8 oz. sinker about 8 to 10 inches under the hook creating a drop shot rig. Cast your bait up against or just under the floating logs and hold steady keeping a tight line. Worms, shrimp, shad or skipjack all work well with this application. For larger fish seek out 15 to 40 feet of water in the mid to rear portions of sloughs on the south end of the lake. McKeirnan Creek, Wilson Lake Shores, and Steenson Hollow among others will have cats this month. To fish these areas I rig heavy bait casting tackle with 65 lb Vicious braid and use a two hook rig. I attach a 6 foot leader of 30 to 40 lb. mono with a 2 to 4 oz. sinker on the bottom. I place the upper hook about 4 feet above the sinker with the lower hook riding 12 to 16 inches above the sinker. This rig allows me to troll my baits behind the boat while eliminating most snags with the hooks up of the bottom. One important tip for trolling on Wilson is to troll East to West across the sloughs and North to South in the main lake. Wilson is full of old abandoned trotlines and by trolling with the direction the lines are running as opposed to across them will prevent a lot of hook loses.

Pickwick Lake, like Wilson will be hot for cats throughout the month. Fish will be on top of and along river ledges, as well as the tops and backs of humps and mounds in the river channel. Blues will be staging heavily at the base of Wilson Dam this month. Its not uncommon for local anglers to catch 50 to 75 fish a day along the tailrace. Eddy pockets and any slack water areas downstream of the dam are likely to be holding cats. A favorite spot of mine this month is to fish the knees of Cypress trees from Seven Mile Island downstream to the Sinking Creek area. Channel cats will often load up in droves under these trees for spawning. Cast worms, prepared baits, or chicken livers underneath the trees to catch the fish. I use a slip float rig set about 6” above the bottom on 10 lb. mono on spinning tackle in these areas. The rock rows along Kroger Island will be a hot spot to search for blues as well as the flats downstream of the Natchez Trace bridge. Check out Brian Barton Outdoors on the web at or email for trip information.

April is a great month to fill the cooler with catfish. As the water warms to near the 70 degree mark, fish will start moving shallower and become much more active. All catfish will begin feeding more heavily in order to build up body fat and raise energy levels for the upcoming spawn. I start my search in the mouth of coves and long gravel points that extend from the shoreline to the main lake. The more gradual the contour of the point the better for holding numbers of fish. This is the best time of year to pull jigs for catfish. I tie two Mister Twister ½ ounce Striper Jigs about two feet apart and tip with a large crappie shiner or small shad. I use line counters to place the jigs two to three feet of the bottom or at the depth that I’m marking fish. Troll the jigs .3 to .5 mph being careful to follow the same depth contour. The great thing about this method is you’re likely to catch several crappie and a few bass while fishing.

My favorite locations for trolling are Shoals Creek, McKernian Creek, and the Town Creek flats. Both offer numerous points and gravel bars that will be holding fish. For trophy cats, try fishing along the drop-offs on Cox and Peach Island. Hog Island and the creek channel ledges along the Highway 72 bridge will hold some big fish also. For big cats anchor or spot lock directly over the cover you want to fish and use a vertical presentation. Whole shad or large chunks of cut skipjack will be the best baits. If flooding rains occur head to the dam. Anytime the dams are spilling water it draws catfish like a magnet to the base of the dams for feeding.

For trip information contact us at, visit us on the web at, or call 256-412-0969.

This month the catfish will begin to move out of their winter staging areas in search of food to prepare for the upcoming spawn. As the water begins to warm this month shad schools will begin to position themselves along long points and flats. One good area to start your search for catfish is the area between Wilson Lake Shores and McKeirnan Creek. This flat should hold good numbers of fish. Start your search in 40 to 50 feet of water and move shallower until you locate fish. Other good areas to try are the large flat behind Hog Island, the mouth of Town Creek, and the flats in front of Turtle Point Country Club. Search for isolated cover, rock or wood, then fish just above or beside the structure. Best baits will be cut bait, chicken livers, live shad minnows, or shrimp.

For trophy fish I like the area in front of Wilson Dam. Both ledges of Jackson Island extend over a mile upstream and have several steep drops where big fish should be located. Slowly troll whole shad or large chunks of skipjack about two feet off the bottom along the ledges. Deep holes along the bluff walls on both sides of the lake will be good places to try. Search for holes that are five feet or deeper than the surrounding bottom and fish straight down in the deepest part of the hole for trophy fish. The big fish are later moving shallow in the spring than the smaller fish will be so they will still be in their winter patterns for most of the month.

March is absolutely the best month of the year to land a trophy smallmouth bass on live bait in the Wheeler and Wilson Dam tailraces. Last year we caught fish over 7 pounds drifting live shad. Live shad can be caught in cast nets in the flats in the back of most coves and at most boat ramp areas. Keep them lively in a well oxygenated tank by adding one pound of salt for every twenty gallons of water. Search for fish in eddy pools and back currents from just below the dams to a mile or so downstream. Ten fish limits of thirty pounds and more are very common this month.

If interested in catfish or live bait fishing for smallmouth this month, contact Brian Barton at or visit our website at

This month should be good for catfish on Wilson and Pickwick Lakes. We have seen good rainfall totals the past two months so flow in the river should be high. Cat anglers have found November and December to be feast or famine. The abundant shad hatch this summer has given the catfish plenty of food and the bite has been somewhat slow as a result. This month we should see some shad kill due to cold weather and this will make for better fishing conditions later in the month. Focus your fishing on deep drops and ledges in the main lake. Isolated wood cover is an extra bonus if found near a drop off. When fishing the upper section of the lake search for fish in 25 to 40 feet of water. In the lower lake fish may be located at the bases of ledges as deep as 90 feet. Use your electronics to locate deep shad schools and fish just beneath the bait. Fish will be lethargic so it’s important to anchor down and fish slow. If fish are located on your electronics give them at least thirty minutes to bite before moving to another location. Cut skipjack, shad and minnows are your best bet for baits.

The tailrace of both Wheeler and Wilson Dams will hold fish. Try to locate on the edge of a current break and bump the bottom with a three way swivel rig right underneath the boat. Both dams have had great striper action the last couple weeks. If you can get live gizzard shad five to six inches in length and keep them lively you can experience some great Striper action. Try motoring within fifty yards or so of the dam and drift back downstream a quarter mile or till you see a reduction in current. Keep moving right or left each drift until fish are located. A 1/8 ounce split shot placed above the shad should keep your bait at the correct depth. Big Stripers, Smallmouth, and Catfish all can be taken at this time.

For live bait Smallmouth, Striper, or Catfish action contact Brian Barton at or visit our website at


Pickwick/Wilson Lake Fishing Guide

colbert main header