Got Fish? We Do

Sign-up for Newsletter

Local Guides

Pickwick/Wilson Lake Fishing Report With Timmy Horton

Pickwick and Wilson Lake Fishing Reports
February 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Water temperatures on the Tennessee River will be the coldest of the year this month. Fish can still be readily caught but angler patience will be needed. For catfish on Wilson Lake, start your search along the steep bluff walls on the North side of the lake. Fish will position along ledges from 40 to 90 feet of water. The old Muscle Shoals Aqueduct in the mouth of Shoals Creek is good this time of the year. Fish vertically in the standing timber from Gray’s Landing to McKernan Creek. This flooded timber holds some big catfish throughout the winter, but anglers must fish stationary to avoid snags. Remember to downsize bait and to give each set at least 30 minutes before moving to another location. Search your electronics for deep schools of bait fish. On sunny days, the catfish will suspend underneath the balls of shad.

Pickwick Lake can be boom or bust this month depending upon the water conditions. If heavy rains and rising, muddying waters occur, search for catfish in the mouths of feeder creeks all along the lake. Fish will move into only a few feet of water to feed on the influx of worms, crawfish, insects, and other invertebrates that are washed in by the heavy rains. The pipelines near Pride Landing and Colbert Steam Plant are good bets if the river is stable. The river channel ledges from Cane Creek to Waterloo will hold plenty of catfish. Use your electronics to locate structure along the ledges then anchor upstream and work baits back to the cover. Stumps and logs traditionally produce better in winter than rocks from my experience. Late February is the one of the best times of the year to land a trophy smallmouth. Fish live shad around cover on gravel bars and tops of ledges in 10-18 feet of water. Drifting or anchoring will both work but I prefer to anchor if Wilson Dam is generating less than 50,000 cfs. When drifting use just enough weight to keep your bait down without constantly dragging the bottom. If anchored, cast at a 45 degree angle in the current and bump the bait along the bottom till it reaches the back of the boat then reel in and repeat the process.

For guided Catfish or live bait Smallmouth Bass fishing, contact Captain Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website at

November 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

This month will be a little more difficult for catching numbers of catfish than the previous months. Passing cold fronts and falling water temps will decrease the activity and mood of the fish. Fish will also begin to school up in large numbers, which means locating them will be more difficult. If anglers can locate a school of fish in a feeding mood the action can be good. The key to catching fish now is to anchor down and fish stationary. Try to present baits right at the fish and leave it as still as possible. Cut the bait size down and use a smaller hook like a 3/0 or 5/0. Cut baits will still be best, along with whole shad minnows. I like to cut the tail off the small shad in colder water. Concentrate on deeper water in the lower 1/3 of the lake. I like the Steenson Hollow area on the south side of the lake in 60 to 80 feet of water. The bluff lines from Indian Springs downstream to Wilson Dam will be good. Here focus on steep ledges and the base of Jackson Island.

Last year December on Pickwick Lake was on fire. Use live shad on the river ledges and holes in river channel to double on both catfish and bass. I like the ledges from Natchez Trace to Brush Creek on both sides of the lake. There are several holes in the river channel that are 3 to 10 feet below the remaining bottom. Anchor just upstream of the hole and allow your bait to drift back into the hole. Fish will normally be positioned at the front end or along the top edge of the hole. Walking bait with a three way swivel or simply a split shot above a hook will both work fine. Drift the main river channel from O’neal Bridge to the head of Seven Mile Island to catch numbers of smallmouth. For catfish concentrate on the base of the bluff line at Sheffield and the rock row near Tuscumbia Landing. Live shad minnows are always best but small cut bait chunks or bait shop shiners will also work. For up to date photos and information visit us on Facebook at Brian Barton Outdoors or the web at

October 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Jase Doss

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 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

September 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website at

July 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

July can be boom or bust for big stringers of catfish. If we get adequate to excessive rainfall to keep the dam’s generating it can be one of the best months of the year for numbers of catfish. By now large numbers of catfish will be congregated at the base of the dams in the cooler more oxygenated water. Fish in the lower lake portion will now likely be suspended near the thermocline so it’s critical to suspend your baits at the level you mark fish on your electronics. As a general rule, the thermocline on Wilson forms about 35 to 40 feet deep. If you’re fishing in waters shallower than these depths, traditional bottom bumping will do fine. If fishing deeper it’s vital to keep baits at or just above the thermocline to find active fish. Soured cut baits and commercial stink baits will produce well in the warmer water temperatures. One pattern that will produce good results is fishing pea gravel bars on the edge of weed lines at night or twilight hours. I prefer a live shad, whole shrimp, or large night crawler for this type of fishing. Position your boat parallel to the weed line and cast down the edge of the weeds. I use a 7 foot B- n- M spinning rod with 10 pound test Vicious mono with a 3/16 ounce split shot for this method. Let your bait lie still for a few seconds then raise the rod and allow the bait to sit still again for 20 to 30 seconds. It’s like plastic worm fishing for bass in slow motion. Make sure and use a quality 1/0 or 3/0 circle hook so you get maximum hookups. The only hooks I use are the Daiichi Circle Bleeding Bait hooks. Other locations to look for fish would include Shoals Creek along the highway bridges, Peach, Cox, and Hog Islands will all have a few fish suspended along the ledges. Fish the bottom of the ledges in the middle of the day and focus on the sides and tops in low light hours. For guided trips contact Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit us on the web at

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 7