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MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Reports

If you are driving a high-performance bass boat on the river, do everyone a favor and take down the front fighting chair. Removing the chair takes only a few seconds and gives the driver an unobstructed view so the boat can be operated safely, especially in and close to launch areas.

Wheeler Lake: If catching quality largemouth bass is your thing, consider throwing topwater lures such as buzzbaits and plastic rats near floating or submerged vegetation areas near the main river channel. Chances are during early morning hours you may hook a largemouth bass over the 5-pound mark.

Using this technique, donít expect to catch a lot of hawg largemouths, as trophy bass bites have been few and far between lately.

If quantity catches of largemouth bass suit your needs, consider working creek channels with Texas-rigged, seven-inch, twistertail plastic worms or chrome-colored, lipless crankbaits.

Look for creek channels that are lined with stumps and bump structure with your lures during early morning and late afternoon hours for best results.

Bluegill catches during late afternoon hours have been good if you can find a good combination of structure and shade, such as boat docks and boathouses. Live crickets are the bait of choice.

The catfish bite has been excellent during late afternoon and nighttime hours when current is flowing. Whether you are fishing from a boat or off the shore, try to pick out areas where the current makes a sharp turn or swirl. After finding your spot, use chicken livers, nightcrawlers or cutbait on the bottom and make sure you are holding onto your rod or have it tied down and secure, as the big cats can cost you plenty if youíre not prepared.

Wilson Lake: Catching catfish in the tailrace of Wheeler Dam is creating a lot of excitement. Catches have been excellent during afternoon and evening hours by anglers using cut skipjack on the bottom.

Bumping rocks with spinnerbaits at night around small islands is a great way to catch smallmouth bass when current is flowing. Using this technique, you could easily hook a trophy-sized largemouth bass, also.

Pickwick Lake: Small sloughs or pockets just off the main river channel are excellent places to throw topwater lures early in the morning. From dawn to about 9 a.m., smallmouth bass and largemouth bass have been chasing shad out of deep water into these small sloughs, where they are gorging themselves.

If you see shad and minnows leaping from the water, have a chrome-colored Pop-r ready and prepare for some of the finest fishing you will see all year.

Rarely will you see 4-pound-and-over smallmouth bass and largemouth bass the same size schooling together in large numbers. But that is what has been taking place and thereís no slowdown in sight.

Look for willowfly hatches late in the day and have a fly outfit ready with popping bugs as lures. Catching bull bream on a fly rod is a great experience and chances are you will hook into some big fish.

Lake Guntersville: Topwater lures are still attracting strikes from largemouth bass around floating grass beds early in the morning. Starting out with a buzzbait is a good technique to use and then switch over to plastic rats as the sun rises high, making the largemouth bass somewhat lethargic.

Bluegill catches are good around rock bluffs that have bushes or ivy close by. Live crickets are the bait of choice.

Paul Stackhouse

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