September 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

As temperatures begin to fall this month the catfish, striper, and bass action will get hotter. September is the official start of the fall live bait fishing season. This years’ shad minnows will now be 2 ½ to 3 inches in length and will perfect size for both cats and smallmouth. Areas to target on Wilson will be the Wheeler dam tailrace and bluff points in the mid lake region. In the tailrace, drift the current seams with enough weight to keep your minnow down near the bottom. Use your trolling motor to keep your boat align with the seam as you drift downstream. When fishing points hook the minnow just under the dorsal fin and use just enough weight to keep the minnow below the surface. Your presentation should be as natural as possible. For numbers of fish, target the south side of the lake from Lime Kiln Hollow to Wilson Lake Shores. For larger fish concentrate on the tailrace region. For trophy catfish use large portions of cut skipjack or shad and troll the ledges in 50 to 70 feet of water off the North side of the lake. The area from Shoals Creek to Wilson Dam produces several 50 pound plus fish at this time of the year.

On Pickwick, focus on the area from Pride Landing to Natchez trace. The entire lake will be good, but I have found more numbers in this portion of the lake. Smallmouth will be holding on the edge of flats and tops of main lake humps. For catfish, fish your minnow’s right along the bottom at the base of the river ledges. Mister Twister Sassy Shad will produce the best striper action. Look for stripers to be the most active in the early morning and late afternoon. The Sheffield rock row upstream to the dam will be a good area to try. For catfish, striper, or live bait bass action contact Captain Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
August 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Depending on the amount of rainfall we receive, water temperatures may reach the mid 80’s this month making fishing difficult. When water temps reach the low 80’s the bite becomes almost entirely at night or during the twilight periods. The midday bite will be best on cloudy or rainy days. Start your search for catfish on gravel bars, humps, and ledges where the current flow is the strongest. Many fish will seek out deeper holes in the river channel to escape the heat. Target humps directly below Wheeler Dam and the North side of Hog and Peach islands. There are also some deep ledges from Lime Kiln Hollow to McKeirnan Creek that will hold fish. The bluff ledges along the North side of the lake from Shoals Creek to Wilson Dam will hold fish in 30 to 50 feet of water. Use cut skipjack, live bream, or shad for the bigger fish. For fryers, the usual night crawlers, chicken livers, and shad guts will be best. The tailrace action below the dams will be good for Stripers and Bass if TVA produces enough current to hold bait fish below the dams. When the dams are at maximum generation try drifting live shad on a split shot rig or anchor and bump a Carolina rig across the bottom. Mister Twister Sassy Shad in pearl / black and white / chrt. tail will do best for the bigger Stripers. Try to plan your excursions for early morning and late afternoons and you should find good action across the lake.

For guide trips for Catfish, Stripers, or Smallmouth Bass contact Master Captain Brian Barton @ 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 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

 This month start your search for catfish in the tailrace of Wilson and Wheeler Dams. Fish will gravitate to the tailrace in great numbers as they prepare for spawning later in the month. Bottom bouncing cut bait, shad guts, or night crawlers will work best. If the dam is not generating power try fishing a slip float in the slack water. Set your float depth about 3 to 4 feet off the bottom and cast along the wall of the dam. Search for larger fish in the middle portions of the lake. Ledges along Hog and Peach islands, Shoal and Four Mile Creeks will be good bets. Here suspend large chunks of cut skipjack 2 to 3 feet off the bottom and slowly troll over the deepest part of the ledge. Late afternoon and early morning will be the best times for hooking up with trophy fish.

Stripers will begin to group in the tailraces of both dams. Use Mister Twister 4 or 5 inch swim baits on a 1 ounce jig head to target these fish. My favorite colors are the natural tones with blue or black back. White with a chartreuse tail works great on cloudy days. Stripers will be aligned in the current seams between turbines directly below the dam. Bounce the jig along the bottom back downstream with the current.

Smallmouth bass will group all along the river ledges, mounds, and rock piles adjacent to the channel at this time. If the dams are generating current, position your boat just upstream of the structure and cast across the current. Fish tend to pull on top or to the front of structure when current is flowing. If water is slack, throw a BoJoLe flutter spoon on a Carloina rig. Work the spoon over the top and off the sides of the structure. As always, live shad are always best when they can be found. For Catfish, Striper, or live bait Smallmouth bass trips 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 Facebook, or www.brianbartonoutdoors.com

 
June 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

 This month start your search for catfish in the tailrace of Wilson and Wheeler Dams. Fish will gravitate to the tailrace in great numbers as they prepare for spawning later in the month. Bottom bouncing cut bait, shad guts, or night crawlers will work best. If the dam is not generating power try fishing a slip float in the slack water. Set your float depth about 3 to 4 feet off the bottom and cast along the wall of the dam. Search for larger fish in the middle portions of the lake. Ledges along Hog and Peach islands, Shoal and Four Mile Creeks will be good bets. Here suspend large chunks of cut skipjack 2 to 3 feet off the bottom and slowly troll over the deepest part of the ledge. Late afternoon and early morning will be the best times for hooking up with trophy fish.

Stripers will begin to group in the tailraces of both dams. Use Mister Twister 4 or 5 inch swim baits on a 1 ounce jig head to target these fish. My favorite colors are the natural tones with blue or black back. White with a chartreuse tail works great on cloudy days. Stripers will be aligned in the current seams between turbines directly below the dam. Bounce the jig along the bottom back downstream with the current.

Smallmouth bass will group all along the river ledges, mounds, and rock piles adjacent to the channel at this time. If the dams are generating current, position your boat just upstream of the structure and cast across the current. Fish tend to pull on top or to the front of structure when current is flowing. If water is slack, throw a BoJoLe flutter spoon on a Carloina rig. Work the spoon over the top and off the sides of the structure. As always, live shad are always best when they can be found. For Catfish, Striper, or live bait Smallmouth bass trips 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 Facebook, or www.brianbartonoutdoors.com

 
May 2015 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

One question I get asked most frequently by folks is, what is your favorite month of the year for catching catfish? I always tell them without hesitation, May. May on the Tennessee River is by far the best month of the year for catching numbers of catfish. Fish are aggressively feeding getting ready for the spawn which starts in mid-May and runs through early summer. Water temps will now be well into the 70’s and fish will be easily caught in shallow water. Target hard bottom flats or gently sloping banks from 10 to 25 feet deep. On Wilson Lake fish will stack up in sloughs all along the lake. This month all traditional catfish baits will work. Old standby’s like chicken livers, minnows, and worms will all do fine. Drifting in the Wheeler Dam tailrace during peak generation periods will be a good choice. Drift along with the current while bumping your bait along the bottom. Most of these fish will be 1 to 2 pound blue cats that make excellent table fare. Another tactic I like to use this month is a fly rod. I target bluff banks along the main lake for this method. Simply take a fly rod and attach a size 1 or 2 hook to the end of the line with no weight. For bait, I prefer a small piece of shrimp. It stays on the hook well when casting and doesn’t get eaten off by small bass and bream like worms or other baits. Cast the shrimp up under the bluff wall and allow it to sink to bottom. Fish will normally take the bait on the first ledge. A 5 pound plus blue or channel cat puts up quite a battle on fly equipment.

Pickwick Lake will be hot this month for catfish. Fish will move out of the river channel up into the creeks and main lake flats in preparation for spawning. Channel cats will be finishing up their spawning in early May and the blues will be headed to the beds. Best bets for channels are cypress knees in the upper portion of the lake. Coffee Slough and the area across from Colbert Steam Plant are loaded with trees in 1 to 4 feet of water. I use a 7 foot BnM medium action spinning rod with 8 pound mono to target these fish. I attach a 1/16 ounce weight just above a Daiichi 1/0 circle hook and bait with shrimp or Team Catfish’s Sudden Impact prepared bait. This is the only prepared bait I have ever used that will catch more fish than natural baits. Cast your bait right against the trees and slowly work back to the boat pulling it up and over the roots of the tree. For blue catfish concentrate along the tops of the river ledge from Second Creek to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Hard bottoms will wood cover nearby will hold plenty of catfish. A slip float rig or three way swivel rig with a small bank sinker will work best on these fish. For catfishing trips contact Captain Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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Catfishing for Christ