The Tennessee River Impoundment’s
Guntersville Lake Intro
Search for the biggest body of water in Alabama and your travels will cease near the town of Guntersville, Alabama. With 69,100 surface acres of water this 82 mile long lake has a total of 24,450 square miles of drainage.
Guntersville Lake is also loaded with aquatic weeds such as milfoil and hydrilla, which account for such a tremendous bass fishery. Many largemouth bass exceeding 10 pounds are caught each spring.
This is Alabama’s biggest reservoir. Both in size and quality of fishing.
Guntersville Lake in March
Its no secret that bass live out their lives in Guntersville Lake in or near aquatic vegetation. Along with other varieties of weeds and moss, the shallow water-growing milfoil is still slightly dormant during March, but only just below the water’s surface.
New, green growth in this stringy, aquatic vegetation creates a hideout for bass and baitfish. When this milfoil is 1-2 feet beneath the water’s surface, bass can look up for an easy meal.
Lures such as rattletraps, hard bodied jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs, rats, floating worms, lizards and soft plastic jerkbaits, are all devastating on these bass in March. As many as 50 bass, per angler, are caught per day…when conditions are right.
March is also the time to search out isolated spots featuring warm water. Rip-rap on this lake, heats up several degrees by the midday to late evening period. The lower lake dam, bridges, causeways, culverts and boulder-strewn banks, all display these man made rocks lake wide.
Rip-rap rocks are distributed, along wind blown banks or current laden banks to aid in preventing bank erosion. They are as attractive to the bass (as the sun heats the rocks) as they are to the angler.
Hydrilla, a long, leafy-stringy, type of underwater weed, generally grows in deeper water. It can be found as deep as 5-15 feet, much deeper than other, noted shallow growing aquatic weeds, on Guntersville Lake.
In March, new weed growth, attracts bass to suspended in, around and over this oxygen-rich environment. Lures such as jigs with pork or crayfish trailers, Texas-rigged and Carolina-rigged worms, lizards and crayfish imitations are all good.
Vary your line size and lure weights on the jig and on Texas rigged plastics, for fishing at different depths, and experiment with leader lengths on the Carolina rig.
Guntersville Lake in April
The upper lake has the warmest water in early April, especially when stained or very muddy. As lake levels return to full pool, bass will move very shallow when attempting to bed.
Some bass can actually be seen with their backs practically sticking out of the water. That’s when they are bedding, in the newly growing thin strands of grass, or maturing green, milfoil grass.
In some cases, bass will bed in deeper water, often as deep as 5 feet. This usually takes place in much clearer water situations.
Beds can be seen far from shore, usually prepared among offshore milfoil and hydrilla weeds, around stumps, or where rip-rap rocks end on a sandy bottom.
Cover, within this weedy cover, such as stumps, rocks, brush, laying logs, blown-down trees (and a change in the variety of weeds), can draw in the bigger female bass. They often dominate any irregular spawning cover, during April.
This is also the time for roaming schools of Big, female bass, usually accompanied by many smaller, male bass. Both males and females can bunch up, gathering around wood or rock cover, or a sudden bottom change.
Although April shows most bass in very skinny water, many bass can still be found in deeper water, nearby.
Unmolested bass, by the dozens, can be found grouped up on underwater stump rows, sunken brush piles, trees, ledges, points, drop-offs, ditches, rock piles, humps and other bottom irregularities.
Awaiting a chance to move shallow, to bed.
Usually, this takes place, where the bank beating angler’s boat is sitting. By simply backing the boat off the bank a little, and fishing further away from the lakes shoreline, you could discover the mother lode.
Fishing with topwaters, mid-to-deep diving crankbaits, rattletraps and rattlin’ spots, spinnerbaits, floating and suspending jerkbaits, worms, lizards, crayfish imitations and other plastics, is the ticket to getting bites.
Fishing far away from the lakes visible banks (or out from the shallow spawning flats), can often aid an angler in discovering schools of really big bass in April.
Most anglers pass up these deep water hangouts in April, for much more attractive-looking, shallow water cover, situated along the lakes shoreline. Many anglers that really know Guntersville lake, can always be seen fishing far from any shoreline.
Guntersville Lake in May
When these bass come off the beds, you can experience some of the most exciting topwater fishing of the year. When May arrives, all the conditions are just right, for some Big Bass action.
The lake is at full pool by May. Weeds are in full bloom and most bass have already bed and are basically in a post-spawn pattern.
Regardless, the majority of both male and female bass are shallow in May and fishing with weedless lures in 1-5 feet of water, will always generate quality strikes on Guntersville.
The frog and rat craze (that first took place on Guntersville lake many years back), got started with anglers fishing the weedy waters of Guntersville Lake for explosive topwater strikes.
Since then (the 1960′s and 70′s), anglers have discovered many ways to fish plastic imitations of these small creatures…that bass just love.
Several frog and rat models exist today to choose from. Two of my favorites, that have been around for years, are the “Scum Frog” and the “Bassin’ Rat”.
Reason being, is the weedless qualities of these lures. With Eagle Claw’s laser-sharp hooks, that lay snug up against the soft, rubber body of these enticing offerings, you eliminate the frustration of lure hang-ups.
Missed fish, problems associated with other lures that roll over, land upside down or have exposed hooks, become obsolete.
Utilizing long cast’s, fishing with heavy test, Trilene Big Game monofilament line or Berkley fluorocarbon line in the 20-25 pound test category is suggested.
Also you must have sharp hooks on all lures, strong and very stout equipment and nerves of steel. All are needed, when attempting to fool these topwater exploding, largemouth bass of Guntersville Lake.
* Other lures for May, while fishing in and around the many varieties of weeds on Guntersville lake?
The lure list today seems to be virtually endless. Without going into detail, I suggest trying these well known lure types and models.
Buzzbaits (trailer hooks included for short strikes), also try floating worms, floating lizards and subsurface soft jerkbaits.
Spinnerbaits always work on Guntersville lake. Try weedless spoons, all types of rattling lipless lures, floating hard bodied jerkbaits and suspending hard bodied jerkbaits.
These are always great spring time lures on this massive lake, Alabama lake.
* Others? Like said, there are many choices on today’s lure market!
Shallow running crankbaits like many of today’s square lip models, are very good for getting those reaction strikes in shallow weedy waters on Guntersville lake. Fished along weed edges and even fished over weeds growing subsurface they get bass other anglers overlook.
But don’t ever rule out mid runners and deep diving crankbaits either.
Also try popping type topwater lures, prop-baits like the old reliable Heddon baby torpedo or a crazy shad, and of course the Zara Super Spook and Lucky Craft’s Sammie topwaters.
Also in May don’t forget to fish the rip-rap all around the lake.
* Looking for places many anglers overlook in May?
During May many anglers have become accustomed to fishing Guntersville lake’s fishy looking, shallow grassy waters, for some anglers as much as the past month or two.
Many anglers get hung up here and forget about places that do not get as much fishing pressure.
So here’s some suggestions for a change of scenery and perhaps a good chance at targeting some under pressured bass, many other anglers may have overlooked.
Fish Guntersville lakes many piers, all around marinas (bass tournament release sites), boat houses, main-lake flats and main lake points and any major feeder creek first and secondary points.
Also try submerged humps, exposed islands and the mid-to-back ends of any major feeder creeks, fishing in 2-10 feet of water along creek flats that feature a shallow to deep water, winding creek channel.
The same route these previously spawning bass followed when they came into spawn this past spring on Guntersville lake. Alabama’s largest man made impoundment for big largemouth bass!
Remember to practice your C P R this spring. Catch, photo and release these bass this spring.
” The future of fishing, depends on you”
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