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MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Report

As expected, warm weather has brought out many anglers, and boat ramps across North Alabama are beginning to fill up. With the crowds also come frustrations when someone has to wait a long time to launch their boat.

A good idea is to practice driving in a safe, open area with your boat attached. Practicing is especially a good idea when it comes to young drivers trying to back a boat into the water.

Wheeler Lake: Plenty of bank fishermen are having a good time catching fish beneath the U.S. 31 causeway bridges north of the Hudson Bridge. Cane poles and live minnows are all anglers need to catch crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, skipjack and a sauger (jack) or two in the current.

As for crappie catches under the causeway bridges, quantity is not great, but anglers are reeling in fish longer than nine inches.

Night anglers fishing under the bridges have caught catfish in the 2- to 10-pound range regularly. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, cheese (stink) baits and shad guts work well when placed on the bottom.

Anglers are catching largemouth bass along the north ledge of the main river channel from the power lines to Finley Island. Daylight hours are the right times to use a Carolina-rig tipped with a plastic worm in a various assortment of green and brown colors.

White bass are beginning to school around creek mouths early in the morning when current is flowing. Look for the surface action and be prepared to throw chrome-colored, lipless crankbaits. If current isnít flowing, itís a good idea to fish for something else.

Wilson Lake: Anglers are catching a few largemouth bass along the north shore a mile or two west of Wheeler Dam. If you want to cover a lot of ground, spinnerbaits are a good lure to use. If you are in no hurry and want to try and catch big bass, use 10-inch Texas-rigged plastic worms.

Bluegill catches are becoming frequent deep into the creeks around gravel beds. Live redworms are the bait of choice.

Lake Guntersville: Stickbaits and lipless crankbaits are two popular lures to use when fishing for largemouth bass. The best catches are coming in and around submerged grass beds.

A medium retrieve is needed when throwing crankbaits but just the opposite is working for anglers using suspending stickbaits.

The best catches come from anglers dead-sticking the lures.

After making the cast, let the lure sit in place for 20 to 30 seconds or even longer. Afterward, one twitch of the rod tip can produce a reaction strike that requires a swift hook set.

Paul Stackhouse

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