June 2013 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

This month look for catfish to be near shallow water. Historically, on Wilson Lake the catfish spawn runs from mid- May through the entire month of June. Few can be found spawning from just a few feet deep down to 30 feet or even deeper if the water remains clear. Last year we caught fish from 42 feet of water in early June with eggs being released when we landed them in the boat.

There will be two distinct patterns for fish this month. For larger fish, search for the bedding fish on flats and the tops of off shore humps in 15 to 30 feet of water. Good locations to try will be Hog, Peach, and Cox Islands. Also check the flats along the Turtle Point area, as well as the Eastern side of Shoals Creek near the mouth. I find more fish on softer bottoms at this time of year than rock or bluff lined bottoms. For bigger fish use large chunks of cut skipjack fished near the bottom with as light a sinker as possible.

For smaller fish start your search ½ to ¾ way up in the sloughs and creeks. Flats, long tapering points, and deep cuts along the bank will all hold some fish. Fish will search out weed beds, logs, and other cover to locate near while spawning. Make sure to fish any piers or boat houses with wooden post or large logs washed up underneath. One of my favorite ways to catch these fish is to cast a BoJoLe flutter spoon or a 1/0 Mister Twister weed less worm hook with a small piece of shrimp or strip of cut bait. Both rigs allow me to present my offering in heavy cover and snags with minimum hang ups. For trip information visit www.brianbartonoutdoors.com or call 256-412-0969.

 
July 2013 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

July can be a tough month for cats on Wilson Lake. As the water warms near the 80 degree mark a distinct thermocline will develop in the across the lower half of the lake. It usually forms at 35 to 45 feet deep. When this happens the oxygen levels below that depth are not adequate to support fish for long periods of time. Your best bet will be to concentrate on the upper third of the lake in areas where current is the strongest. Fish the sides and bases of humps from Gargis Hollow to Wheeler Dam. Fish will pull up on the humps when the current is flowing and tend to rest along the sides when the water is still. Blow downs along bluffs will be good locations to search for catfish. The tree will provide shade from the summer sun. If you can find a tree in 15-25 feet of water it should hold fish. For smaller fish try fishing along the weed lines in the sloughs. In the early morning and late afternoon hours smaller fish will search the edge of the weed lines for snails, mussels, and other invertebrates. The headwaters of Shoals and Blue Water Creeks will also be good places to search for fish. Fish will gravitate to these areas in search of cooler water. This month cut your baits smaller in size. It’s a good time to experiment with stink baits and soured baits as well. Chicken livers and night crawlers are always good summertime baits.

 
May 2013 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

May is without a doubt the number one month of the year to catch numbers of fish on Wilson Lake. Fish can be caught from dam to dam in water as shallow as 3 feet and down as deep as 80 feet. If the dams are generating current the tailrace below Wheeler dam is hard to beat. Bump bottom with small pieces of cut bait, crawlers, shrimp, or shad guts to catch a cooler full of cats. Fishing is good from the power line down to the mouth of Town Creek. In the mid lake region try humps and islands in the 20 to 40 foot range. Fish will be on top or front of the humps when current is flowing. In slack current try the bases and backsides of the structure. This is the area your most likely to tie into a trophy fish. Make sure your using good quality equipment like BnM Silver Cat rods and Vicious braided line. I like the 80 pound test Hi Vis Yellow when hooking up with big fish. Make sure at least one rod is baited with a whole shad or fist size chunk of cut bait.

On the lower end Sholas Creek will still produce fish. The large flats in the mouth and along the creek channel toward Highway 72 bridge should load up with spawning fish. Here start your search in 10 to 15 feet of water and work deeper to you locate aggressive fish. On the South side of the lake McKernan Creek and all the major sloughs will hold a few fish. Search for flat or gradual sloping bottoms with rock or pea gravel. These are the area the blue ctas will set up on to spawn. Also, historically I have found more fish on the East side of these sloughs than the West with all other factors being equal. Slow troll or anchor down both will produce fish in these areas. For trip info contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
April 2013 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

When fishing for catfish in April on Wilson Lake you only need to remember one word “bluffs.” For whatever reason this month catfish group up along bluff walls from one end of the lake to the other. Channel catfish will be spawning on the top shelves near the bank in 2 to 15 feet of water. When these fish go to their bedding areas you can fill a cooler quickly once they are located. To catch these fish I use a 7 foot medium action BnM spinning rod spooled with 8 pound Vicious mono and a Mister Twister weighted worm hook. I rig a small piece of shrimp, rooster liver, or prepared cheese bait on the hook weed less and cast it all the way to the shoreline. Let the bait remain still for about 30 seconds, if no strike, slowly raise your rod tip and move the bait a few feet and let it sit again. Repeat this action till your bait falls off the bluff ledge then reel in and cast again. Most often strikes occur immediately after the bait comes to a stop.

For blue catfish back away from the bank and search for them in 15 to 50 feet of water. As a general rule the fish in less than 20 feet of water will be near the bottom, while those in deeper water tend to be more suspended. These fish will average 1 to 10 pounds in size. Drive along the bluff until you locate good numbers of fish on your electronics. Make sure and note the depth you’re seeing most of the fish. Once the average depth is established slow troll .2 to .5 mph back across the fish setting your baits at the depth you saw the fish on your electronics. This is where reels with line counters or line counters that attach to your rod are critical. For blues nothing beats fresh cut skipjack or shad. Fresh shad minnows will also work if their kept iced so they remain firm. Fish the bluffs on Wilson lake this month and there should be no shortage of fish for your next fish fry. For trip information contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
March 2013 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

This month should be hot for catfish on Wilson Lake. The river has been at or near flood stage for early part of February and the catfish have been on a feeding frenzy. If water color continues to remain stained look for fish in shallower than normal water. Search the North side of the lake along flats and drop-offs in 15 to 30 feet of water. Fish should be scattered all along the Turtle Point and Lock Six area. For smaller fish try in Shoals Creek from the Highway 72 bridge upstream to Emerald Beach area. Concentrate your efforts on humps and tops of the creek channel ledge. One method I use for smaller fish in this area is to tie a BoJoLe flutter spoon on 8 pound test Ultimate Vicious mono and jig it vertically beside the bridge piers. Add a crappie shiner or small thin strip of skipjack or shad to the spoon for scent. Slowly raise the spoon 18 to 24 inches vertically allowing it to fall on a tight line. It’s important to use a quality rod like the 7 foot medium action BnM Silver Cat Series with a soft tip so you can detect even the softest bites.

In the main lake try more conventional catfish techniques. With water temperatures still in the low to mid 50’s your best bet will be to anchor down over the fish and present your lures vertically or slow troll at .2 to .3 mph over the flats. Look for shad schools on your electronics and the cats want be far below. Mouths of creeks on both sides of the lake will now hold fish. Also, try long tapering points from deep to shallower water. The same structure that provides spawning routes the crappie and bass are also used by catfish. Key in on any wood, rock or other structure you locate in these areas. For trip info contact Brian Barton at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

 
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