News from the Tennessee Valley Sports


Overall catches of fish have been excellent recently, which means a lot of high-performance bass boats will be on the water. Water levels on Wheeler Lake have dropped some, so be careful of stumps just below the surface — especially if you're in a bass boat traveling more than 70 mph.

Wheeler Lake: The largemouth bass bite is excellent, as slightly cooler temperatures have ignited long feeding periods. Several patterns are working, but grass and rocks are the two main structure items. Lipless crankbaits have produced fast limits when retrieved rapidly in areas with broken patches of grass.

Anglers are finding smallmouth bass at all hours of the day. Soft plastic baits are catching bronzebacks, but the overall bite is from red/craw-colored crankbaits. Casting around rocky outcrops and bumping baits off the structure has worked well.

A few decent crappie catches are coming from Flint, Limestone and Spring Creeks. Drifting with jigs and live minnows across stump flats is one method anglers are using to catch crappie.

Wilson Lake: Drifting shad in the currents below Wheeler Dam have rods bending from hook-ups with smallmouth bass, hybrid stripe, stripers and drum. When drifting bait, bring plenty of extra terminal tackle, as hanging up in the rocks is common.

Look for largemouth bass to be feeding early in the morning in small sloughs and coves off the main river channel. Look for structure such as logjams or large blowdowns and work the area with Texas-rigged plastic worms.

Catfishing is excellent late in the day in the tailrace of Wheeler Dam. Using your boat's sonar unit, watch for areas where the lake bottom makes a sharp change, which in turn can create current breaks. Once you find such an area, mark it with a buoy or landmark and use rooster livers on the bottom.

Pickwick Lake: If you find current, there's a good chance you will find smallmouth bass taking bait.

Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are hooking up regularly in current and riprap.

White bass and hybrid stripe are feeding during early morning and late afternoon hours when current is flowing. If current is flowing around causeway bridges with plenty of rock structure nearby, this is a good place to use chrome-colored, lipless crankbaits.

Lake Guntersville: Anglers are catching largemouth bass in areas where floating grass is extra thick. Anglers are punching the thick grass with large jigs to get to the largemouth bass hiding underneath. When working grass for largemouth bass, extra strong line and rods with plenty of backbone are a good idea.

Crappie catches are on the rise around stump flats that are in water 5 to 15 feet deep. Drifting jigs and live minnows are putting plenty of slabs in the boat.

Paul Stackhouse,
Daily Sports Correspondent

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