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Pickwick/Wilson Lake Fishing Report With Timmy Horton

Pickwick and Wilson Lake Fishing Reports
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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
June 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for trip information.

 
May 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for trip information.

 
April 2014 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com, or call 256-412-0969.

 
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