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August 2016 Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forecast
The warm water will make fishing tough at times this month. Like last month, early mornings, late afternoon, and night fishing will be best. Catfish will be holding on tops of ledges, humps, and other structure at night and move off to the deeper water during the day. Try shrimp and squid in the warmer water. I have had better success at times with these baits than traditional offerings. Hog Island, Cox Island, and the upper portion of the old Muscle Shoals Canal will be top choices. This is a great time for nocturnal flathead catfish. Use live shad or big bream fished on a slip float along the wall of the dam at night when the turbines are not running. The faces of both Wheeler and Wilson Dams will have some good flatheads present. The cooler waters at the head of Shoals Creek will be another good place to hang into some good catfish. In the heat of the day fish the bottom of ledges and drop offs in 35 to 45 feet of water. Pickwick Lake catfish will be a little tougher this month, but can still be caught. Concentrate on the upper portion of the lake near the dam where current is present and the water is slightly more oxygenated. In the mid to lower lake regions search for fish at the base of the channel ledges, mounds, and rock rows running parallel with the current flow. I prefer live shad minnows if large enough to catch in a throw net. Cut shad, skipjack, and shad guts will all do equally well. The striper bite should still be hot through Labor Day. Concentrate your efforts from Buck Island to Wilson Dam. Search for surfacing stripers early and late in the day. If the dam is generating strong currents fish from McFarland Park upstream to the dam. I like Mister Twister Striper Lightnin Jigs in the stronger currents. Cast the jigs just upstream then aggressively jerk it up and down off the bottom back to the boat. Red / White and solid White seems to work best. For fishing charters for catfish, stripers, and live bait bass 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 Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forecast
The hot summer temperatures this month will make daytime fishing tough. Your best bet will be early morning, late evening, and nighttime fishing. A thermocline will most likely form by middle or end of the month, causing fish to suspend in the water column. Depending upon condition the thermocline normally forms between 35 and 45 feet deep. Below this level oxygen levels are low making it uncomfortable for fish. Turn the sensitivity all the way up on your electronics to locate the thermocline. It will show as a horizontal line across the units screen. Once it’s located position your baits at or just above that depth. Trolling in open water areas will produce best. I troll between .3 and .6 mph over schools of suspend fish. Fresh cut baits work best for this application. At night, fish livers, guts, worms, and cut baits under a float for smaller fish. July is a great month on Pickwick Lake. Fryer size catfish can be caught readily below Wilson Dam. Search for fish schooling along the walls of the dam. Fish can often be seen schooling on the surface feeding on the newly hatched shad along the dam. Eddy pockets on both sides of the lake from the dam to Riverfront Park will hold channel cats. For big blues, target blowdowns along the main river channel banks. Anchor your boat upstream of the trees and present your baits just upstream and in the end of the trees. Freshly caught cut skipjack will work best. July is the best month of the year for me when it comes to big stripers. Fish will school in open water and the mouths of tributary creeks. If the dam generates good current flow for several days, these fish will school in good numbers in the tailrace. I use live gizzard shad, 4 to 7 inches and skipjack to target these fish. If no live bait is available, Mister Twister RT Slugs and 6” Salty Shads fished on a ¼ ounce lead head will do the trick. Best colors for Pickwick are White Pearl/ Black Back and White Pearl / Blue Back. For fishing charters for catfish, stripers, or live bait bass, contact Captain 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


Brian Barton is a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain. He wants to remind everyone when booking a fishing guide" to make sure they are USCG certified. It's for everyone's safety and it's the law."

Catfishing for Christ