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MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Reports

More and more outdoor enthusiasts are taking to the water now that area water temperatures are going up.

Warmer weather also brings afternoon thunderstorms, which can create life-threatening situations if boaters fail to use common sense and hit the water anyway. Always check the local forecast before embarking on any trip — including bank fishing — and be prepared to seek shelter immediately if the weather turns the least bit ominous.

Wheeler Lake: With the recent rainfall, Wheeler Reservoir appears to be returning to normal as water clarity is back to being slightly dinged. This makes it difficult for anglers who want to sight-fish for bedding bass.

One pattern working now is casting Texas-rig plastic lizards and plastic worms in and around shoreline grass beds. Some anglers are catching bigger largemouth bass in the grass near Cowford and Round Island Creek. Watermelon/seed-colored plastic baits are working well.

The catfish bite is good at night around rock and concrete structure when current is flowing.

Also, some big cats are being caught around discharge pipes and curves in the river channel. Cut skipjack, nightcrawlers and chicken livers are excellent baits to use.

Crappie catches are fair in the creeks around thick shoreline structure. Live minnows are your best bet for a decent stringer.

A few good stringers of bream are being caught around rock bluffs and other rock structure during late afternoon hours. Use small, in-line spinners to locate the fish and switch over to live redworms or live crickets.

Wilson Lake: It appears that smallmouth bass are beginning to feed around rocky islands and other like structure during nighttime hours.

Dark-colored spinnerbaits can make for an interesting night of fishing.

Look for largemouth bass to feed early in the morning around shoreline grass beds. It is a little bit early for aggressive bites using buzzbaits, so Texas-rigged plastic lizards and plastic worms are being used for the best bags of largemouth bass.

A few decent catches of hybrids and stripers are still coming from deep-water creeks. When current is flowing, anglers are catching big fish near the creek mouths using live shad and large shiner minnows.

The catfish bite is excellent in the tailrace of Wheeler Dam. Rooster livers, nightcrawlers, cut skipjack, shad guts and manufactured catfish baits are all working well when placed on or near the lake bottom.

Pickwick Lake: The smallmouth bass bite is improving every week with the best bags coming during early morning hours near submerged and semi-submerged rock formations. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are attracting attention and expect the strike to be aggressive.

Donít overlook logs and branches piled up in the back of creeks when fishing for largemouth bass. A properly placed jig-and-pig combination can hook-up on a kicker largemouth in a hurry.

Anglers are catching bluegill late in the afternoon around tree overhangs in the creeks. Look for areas with a soft or small gravel bottom and use live crickets for bait.

Lake Guntersville: Largemouth bass are still feeding on shad on and near stump flats that have grass nearby. Spinnerbaits appear to be the best method of catching a good bag.

If youíre looking for bluegill, try in coves off of the main river channel. Also, try casting in small cut-throughs when a mild current is flowing. Use small spinners to locate the fish and then switch to live redworms and live crickets for best results.

Paul Stackhouse

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