September 30, 2017
Our source for Wilson and Pickwick lakes, Gary Harlan, told us, "Schooling activity is picking up every day; most are small (10"-14") fish. There are more shad on the lake than I have ever seen. We have been catching them pretty good, numbers wise, bigger fish are elusive but seem to be grouped up when you find them. I look for the bite to do nothing but get better as the water cools off. We should have some cooler temps not to long after this article hits the shelves. The schooling activity should really pick up then. Top water baits like the KVD Splash and the Sexy Dawg from Strike King stay tied on my rods this time of year. The schools are moving pretty fast right now and not staying up very long but that should change as the water cools and drops. While the water is falling during the annual draw down the bite may be inconsistent and tough at times. Once TVA gets the lake to winter pool level and the lake settles down fishing will definitely improve. Crappie fishing should pick up as well as the water cools. Look for them to move to shallower brush in 7-10' of water.
As the lake level drops many of the shallow humps and bars will be out of the water of dangerously shallow. If you are unfamiliar with Pickwick please use caution when boating. Hypothermia is a danger we all need to be aware of it can happen in water as warm as 70 degrees. Please wear your PFDs especially when fishing alone. Good luck!"
Capt. Gary Harlan W/Roger Stegall Professional Guide Service LLC; www.fishpickwick.com.
Our source for Wilson Lake, Brian Barton, told us, "September marks the official start of the fall trophy catfish season on Wilson Lake. As the water begins to cool the big cats will begin feeding and moving more during the daylight hours. Start your quest for big blues on the lower portion of the lake. Main channel ledges from Shoals Creek to Wilson Dam are my favorites. Jackson Island will produce some of the largest fish of the fall. Search for fish and deep schools of bait on your electronics. Once fish are found troll fresh cut bait directly over them at .3 to .7 mph. Try to plan your excursions when the dams are generating maximum power. The presence of current always positions fish upstream and usually in feeding mode. For those searching for eating size fish, go to the Wheeler tailrace or bluff lines in the middle portion of the lake. 20 to 40 feet of water will hold the greatest number of fish in the main lake.
For smallmouth bass head to the Wheeler tailrace. Although October is considered the peak bass run below the dams, fish start showing up in good numbers by mid-September. Drift live shad below the dams for best results. Drift seams and current lines, while keeping your bait as close to the bottom as possible. If live bait is not an option, cast swimbaits, an Alabama rig, or bounce a rubber skirted jig along the bottom while drifting. Best action for artificial lures will be early and late in the day.
Some good stripers can still be caught in the creeks. Fish will slowly begin to migrate back out into the main lake near the end of the month. Top water lures and big live gizzard shad fish under a slip float will be your best options."
For catfish, bass, or striper trips with Master Captain Brian Barton email [email protected] or visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.