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MONDAY, JULY 23, 2007
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North Alabama Fishing Reports

While on the water, itís always a good idea to think negative when it comes to safety. If something wrong can happen, thereís a good chance it will.

Be prepared for anything you can think might happen and prepare for it. If you are prepared for emergencies, chances of having a great day on the water are usually much higher.

Wheeler Lake: Look for largemouth bass to feed near vegetation close to the main river channel. If current is running, the main river channel is a great place to look for current breaks, which attract baitfish.

If you find the baitfish around current breaks, itís a good bet that largemouth bass are going to be close by.

Cranking deep-diving crankbaits up and down the north ledge of the main river channel near Decatur is always a good summer technique when it comes to catching largemouth and smallmouth bass.

One of the secrets here is to dig the lip of the crankbait into the bottom creating mud splotches and grass break-offs in the current. When big bass see this, they tend to come and investigate the disturbance.

Expect to find a few large willowfly hatches after heavy rains hit the Tennessee Valley this past week.

If you find the flies, there should be plenty of hungry bream nearby that will easily feeding on live crickets, live redworms or artificial popping bugs.

Catfishing is good at night when current is flowing. Look for current breaks in depths beyond 15 feet and use chicken livers on the bottom for best results.

Wilson Lake: Catches of catfish have been excellent during late afternoon and evening in the tailrace of Wheeler Dam. An underwater change to the lake bottom where large rocks or other structure is present is a good place to use rooster livers or cut-bait on medium/heavy to heavy tackle.

Drifting live shad or live shiner minnows in the tailrace has produced some decent catches of hybrid stripe, stripers and even a smallmouth bass. Be sure to bring along plenty of extra terminal tackle when using this technique.

Pickwick Lake: If current is flowing, dancing hair-jigs from rock-to-rock along the shoreline has been catching quite a few smallmouth bass recently. If you find or receive several bronzebacks in one area, consider switching over to a spinnerbait and cover the same length of shoreline again.

The result of this could be a smallmouth bass of more than 4 pounds taking the bait.

When current is flowing, try throwing one-quarter-ounce, chrome-colored, lipless crankbaits around rock covered causeways, especially in there is a small bridge or point close by.

This method has succeeded in catching quite a few white bass, hybrid stripe and even some crappie lately.

Lake Guntersville: The summer pattern of throwing topwater lures around floating vegetation is still catching plenty of trophy-sized largemouth bass during early morning hours.

If you miss a few strikes, try a slower presentation, but still be sure you are using topwater lures.

Paul Stackhouse

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