Bankhead Lake Impounded 1916
Lake Level: Down one foot
Water Temperature; Late September – Mid 70′s (Oct. – low 60′s / Nov. low 50′s)
Spring Fishing Lake Bankhead
I grew up fishing Bankhead lake. Usually when a lake has been impounded for over 80 years, it has seen its day of excellent fishing. Warrior River Impoundment Bankhead Lake, was dammed up in 1916. This inundated many old farms, houses, roads, bridges, creeks, feeder streams and the incoming Warrior River and Little Warrior River. Barge navigated, from nearby Birmingham to Mobile bay and covered in a variety of weeds, logjams, residentbuilt piers and houses. The old Warrior is still an excellent bass fishery.
Pollution from upriver factories has deteriorated the fertile waters of Warrior river long ago. Garbage has been dumped into tributaries such as the long, winding feeder creek, Valley Creek, flowing out of the city of Bessemer, Alabama. This scenic waterway, has her beauty tarnished, by the uncaring people, that needlessly continue to pollute her waters.
Valley Creek is navigable for more than 10 miles, as it winds its course through rock bluff hills. It is situated in a wonderful countryside atmosphere. The only scar to this natural beauty, is the notable array of floating plastic bottles, baseballs, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls and other floatable objects, strewn for miles along this beautiful, scenic major feeder creek. The Warrior River waterway is proof that mother nature can survive…despite all man does to kill her.
Bankhead Lake in March
Although this Impoundment is kept at full pool yearround the lake level can fluctuate during Spring. Down at times (12 feet), these low, fluctuating, water levels always interrupt shallow water prespawn patterns. With heavy Spring rains, Bankhead Lake can be over full pool during March. High and muddy water, can scatter bass into some very shallow water.
Normal conditions would be full pool with a slight stain to the water, with water temperatures in the midtoupper 60′s. Under these conditions bass will move to shallow, main lake flats, the mouths of cuts and small pockets, along points leading into creeks, around logjams and brush, and in the far back ends of any shallow, backwater feeder creek.
Wood cover can be found throughout this old, winding river. Logjams are piledup on main river flats, along outside river bends, in the mouths of pockets and feeder creeks. These wooden structures can hold schools of prespawn male and female bass in March…with the right conditions. As weeds again turn green, the bass will invade these oxygenproducing homes and spawn, in and around the thicker weed varieties.
Rock bluffs and deep, outside river bends, hold quality spotted bass, year round. In March, many of these deeper dwelling bass, are in 510 feet of water. There are a variety of lures for this situation, but a select few, always get good results. Jigs with pork or crayfish trailers, tube baits, jigging spoons, deepdiving crankbaits and spinnerbaits, are all good from shallow to deep water, along these main river dropoffs, for both species of bass. Its all according to the weather.
Bankhead Lake in April
There are a lot of BIG bass in this old river labeled, Bankhead Lake. Some are caught, weighing in the 10 lb. class and a few are reported each Spring, by some lucky angler fortunate enough to land these hardfighting old river bass. Bass beds are easily spotted during mid to late April, that is with clear water conditions. Finding the biggest bass on the bed, only involves looking for the biggest bed. Always keep in mind during Spring fishing trips. Returning these bass to live and fight another day, is what ensures future generations of bass and bass anglers.
Weeds are in full bloom by April. Many weeds types including lily pads and stands of weeds, will hold bass bedding in nearby areas. Areas out of the main river current, and spots with a slight stain to the water, in 13 feet of flats, are excellent spots to begin your search. Worms, lizards, crayfish, tube baits, grubs and jig combos, are best for fooling some very skittish bass.
Stealth is advised, along with long casts and utilizing polarized sunglasses, for spotting beds. Look for fish movement such as wakes, swirls, boils, water movement, weed movement, muddy spots or any baitfish skipping across the water’s surface. This will indicate bass down below. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, floating worms and lizards, are just a few of the lure choices, for April on the Warrior River. Remember to practice Catch and Release this Spring.
Bankhead Lake in May
When Warrior River bass have bed, they will feed for days. This takes place before regaining strength and returning to deep water or returning to the thick weeds or wood cover they spend most of the summer in. This is when bass go on a feeding rampage and will foolishly hit topwaters, with reckless abandon. Mainlake flats will have scattered schools of shad. Bass are down below these huge baitfish schools, herding them up, generally each morning and late in the evening. Often these voracious bass will feed all day, especially with cloudy, overcast weather. Weekdays show less anglers and boat traffic on the Warrior River.
Rattletraps, rattlin’ spots, crankbaits and jerkbaits will all take these bass. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits will be nailed, along with Zara Super Spooks, popR’s, baby torpedoes, devils horse’s and other propbaits or topwater lures. Around weeds, isolated logs, stumps, brushpiles and laying trees the buzzbait is a proven favorite on the Warrior River.
There are many frogs, mice and rats, that live around the lakes edge. Lures that mimic these small creatures, are high on the list of Big Bass favorites. Big worms, simulate newborn snakes, that bass dine on regularly. Whether they are fished on top weedless or Texasrigged for down on bottom, they are deadly. Worm sizes of 1012 inches are best for enticing the much bigger bass. Also try oversized lizards, big crayfish imitations, and jigs with big pork or plastic trailers, for that BIG bass bite. Keep in mind that by Summer, most morsels have become a little bigger, and so should the choice of your lures.
” Bankhead Lake’s oldest, most qualified licensed guide, fishing this lake for over 40 years.”
Remember, a guided fishing trip with Reeds Guide Service makes a great surprise gift for Birthday’s, Father’s Day, or Christmas (certificates available) or any occasion, for those loved ones that love to fish! See my website www.fishingalabama.com for
Remember, a guided fishing trip with Reeds Guide Service makes a great surprise gift for Birthday’s, Father’s Day, or Christmas (certificates available) or any occasion, for those loved ones that love to fish! Call (205) 663-1504 for reservations. Several boats and qualified professional guides available year round, for multiple parties and corporate guided fishing trips to any lake in Alabama.
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