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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Reports

With the North Alabama weather forecast saying there is only a slight chance of rain over the next several days, fishing techniques may take drastic turns in many directions. Wheeler Lake, which normally has water thatís not so clear, may begin to clear up with each passing day without rainfall.

Anglers should carry plenty of artificial tackle, if that is your style of bass fishing, because certain techniques on any given day are anybodyís guess.

Wheeler Lake: The largemouth bass bite is still good with many excellent bags coming out of grass beds near the shoreline. Many anglers are saying to look for grass beds that have yellow flowers on some stems to find the best aquatic vegetation to cast in.

Also, look for grass that has bushes nearby and drop a jig as close as possible to hook up with some kicker fish. The bushes are great places to flip jigs, and while the quantity of bites is not great, the quality of the fish is.

In the grass itself, Texas-rigged pastic lizards and plastic worms are bowing rods constantly. Remember, flipping jigs in the bushes may not be good for quantity, but it is a place to catch quality largemouth bass.

Look for bluegill in shallow water in areas where the bottom is somewhat soft or has small-sized gravel beds below. If you catch one bream in a certain spot, chances are good there will be several more in the vicinity. A good practice is to throw small, in-line spinners on ultralight tackle to find the bluegill and then switch over to live redworms or live crickets. This is a great pattern to utilize if you are fishing with children in a boat or on the bank.

Catfishing has been good in areas with current and rocks. Some of the best catfish stringers are coming from anglers casting from the shore. Live redworms or nightcrawlers attract attention well, as do chicken livers and manufactured catfish baits.

Wilson Lake: Look for some excellent catches of hybrid stripe in the currents below Wheeler Dam. Hybrids and stripers are feeding aggressively at times and a medium-heavy to heavy rod and reel is strongly advised. For best results, drift live shad or large, live, shiner minnows in the current.

Also, by drifting shad in the current, you might catch a few large smallmouth bass. Still, the average bronzeback being caught is between 1 and 2 pounds, but a few in the 4- to 5-pound range are beginning to take bait.

Look for largemouth bass to feed early in the morning in small sloughs and cuts near deep water or the main river channel. If you find a decent-looking slough, there is probably going to be a good point, also. Work crankbaits around the point and then switch over to a Texas-rigged plastic lizard as you ease into the slough.

Pickwick Lake: The smallmouth bass bite is improving with some of the best catches coming right after the sun comes up. Sloughs with current and a gravel bottom have been places where bronzebacks use to chase shad out of deep water into the slough and begin feeding aggressively. Topwater lures such as a chrome-colored Pop-r with a white bucktail attract attention and spinnerbaits or crankbaits will draw the strikes as well.

Largemouth bass are feeding around creek mouths early in the morning when current is flowing. Work crankbaits down the point slopes for best results.

Lake Guntersville: Grass beds on stump flats are great places to throw spinnerbaits if there are submerged stumps nearby. If spinnerbaits are not working, switch over to a crankbait and start bumping the stumps to receive a reaction strike.

Much like Wheeler Lake, flipping jigs in the bushes on Guntersville is getting positive results, also.

Anglers can find bluegill feeding late in the afternoon in large sloughs and creeks with big tree overhangs that produce a lot of shade.

Paul Stackhouse

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