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MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Reports

It’s hard to believe that summertime fishing patterns are already taking place on the North Alabama section of the Tennessee River.

Normally, you don’t see these patterns until late July and early August. The drought and extremely hot temperatures have many anglers guessing as to what they should do to catch fish.

With these hot summer days comes a lot of current from TVA on the reservoirs of the Tennessee River.

This current is good for fishing, but it also can be extremely dangerous.

When a swift current is flowing, never tie up your boat to a bridge piling or similar structure. The heavy current can submerge a boat in just a matter of seconds if the conditions are right.

Wheeler Lake: Points with ample structure and plenty of submerged grass are excellent places to throw crankbaits during early morning hours. Design yourself a pattern such as starting shallow and working your way into deeper water. Be sure to dissect the point thoroughly and consider using a second technique such as working topwater lures over the structure.

Catfishing is excellent during nighttime hours when current is flowing. Placing cut-bait or chicken livers on the bottom of the lake in areas where the current changes from one extreme to the other is a popular catfish catching method to use.

Bluegill are being caught near willowfly hatches during early morning and late afternoon hours.

Popping bugs or other flies should attract immediate attention near the hatch.

Wilson Lake: “Some big stripers are being caught in the tailrace of the (Wheeler) dam,” said Tim Bryant of Pat and Tim’s Bait and Tackle at Fishermen’s Resort. “I’ve been seeing some big coolers of them coming in.”

Bryant said that anglers are drifting shiner minnows and shad in the current and some are catching fish trolling.

“Catfish are being caught down river from the dam in 12 to 20 feet of water, and bluegill are biting crickets and redworms around rocks and areas like that,” Bryant said. “They’re catching some largemouths (bass) every now and then around islands but you never know what the day is going to be like. It might be good one day and then slow down.”

Several baits are being used to catch largemouth bass such as Texas-rigged plastic worms, jig-and-pig combinations, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

Pickwick Lake: Rock points are the places to throw swimming jigs for smallmouth bass when current is flowing. The back-current sides of the points are where the bigger smallmouth bass are being caught. Popular colors for the jigs include pearl, chartreuse and pearl/red.

Be sure to let the jig sink deep and then work it toward the surface cranking fast and twitching the rod tip.

White bass and hybrid stripe are being caught in the tailrace of Wilson Dam. Drifting live shad and shiner minnows in the current can bow a rod before you get settled and set the drag.

Bluegill are being caught around boathouses and boat docks that produce an ample amount of shade during afternoon hours. Live crickets and live redworms are the baits of choice.

Lake Guntersville: Just before the sun comes up early in the morning is the time to be working topwater lures through and near floating and submerged grass beds. Plenty of largemouth bass in the 6- to 8-pound range are feeding near the surface around dawn.

The bluegill bite is good around willowfly hatches where popping bugs and live crickets can fill a stringer quick. Also, look for bluegill to be feeding late in the afternoon around rocky outcrops where shade is present.

Paul Stackhouse

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