TALLAPOOSA RIVER IMPOUNDMENT’S
Lake Level: Down 10 feet
Spring Bass Fishing Lake Harris on the Tallapoosa River System
Most anglers nowadays are looking for a real wall hanger (or a replica mount) largemouth bass. Finding a trophy largemouth bass weighing 10 pounds or better, is becoming more and more difficult, even when fishing every major reservoir found throughout the state. This task, many anglers are seeking to complete, could actually take a lifetime or for many…it may never happen at all.
There are thousands of anglers that never even experience the thrill of hooking into a bass exceeding that magical 10 pound mark, much less landing one, when they do. Hooking up with a largemouth bass (hopefully over 10 pounds), is only possible if you are fishing the right lake, with the right offering, at the right time. All of these variables have to come into place to even get a shot at a fish of a lifetime. Truth is, there are only a handful of man made lakes in Alabama where this is possible.
One Lake an angler can really have a good chance of hooking into one of these true, trophy largemouth bass (all throughout the months of March, April and May), is Lake Harris. This 10,660 acre lake situated near the town of Wedowee, in mid Alabama, stretches 27 nautical miles and is Alabama
s youngest impoundment. Lake Harris may be the last body of water to be impounded in Alabama. It was impounded in 1983, backing up the waters of The Little Tallapoosa River and The Big Tallapoosa River. Fishing Lake Harris this spring will help in narrowing your search for a true, trophysized largemouth bass, one exceeding 10 pounds. So, look no more.
Lake Harris, on the upper Tallapoosa River in mideastern Alabama (near the town of Wedowee), has yielded many trophy bass in the 10 pound plus category each Spring. In years past Lake Harris has yielded dozens of largemouth bass in the teens. There are three bass (all exceeding 16 pounds), on record that almost broke the state record, including a 17 pounder found deceased years ago.
March is just the beginning of the many shallowwater visits these monster largemouth bass will make towards the shallows. April will show spawning bass found lake wide on this small Lake. May will show some big aggressive female bass as they come off the beds, hungry and feeding in or very near shallow water.
By May Lake Harris will be back to full pool, after being down over 10 feet this winter. This rising water will spread out postspawn bass in the newly flooded shallows. During this time lake waters are rising, while also warming up each week. Topwater explosions will dominate the postspawn fishing patterns, as some huge bass come off the beds and display some very voracious appetites. So here’s some monthbymonth bass fishing tips, for tackling some of Alabama’s biggest largemouth bass this spring on Lake Harris
Lake Harris in March
With the lake still down in March, your search for these bass will be narrowed as Spring gets underway. However, there is still plenty of deep water for these bass to retreat to when cold fronts and high pressure conditions, send them to the deep. Warming trends, in which you have several consecutive days and nights of warm weather, will move these bass shallow on mainlake and deep creek points. Some bass will forage up in the nearby shallows of these points in small coves and pockets, in search of food and prime bedding sites. With water temperatures in the midtoupper 60′s many BIG bass will bed early…if conditions are right, usually on or near a full moon.
Many of these bass suspend during these prespawn times, so lures such as Pradco
s (www.lurenet.com) Excaliber suspending jerkbaits, Excaliber’s Fat Free Shad crankbaits, Spro’s (www.spro.com) slow rising crankbait 25 and heavy model spinnerbaits, such as The Duce duel arm spinnerbait (www.theduce.com) in the 1/2 to one ounce models, often fool trophy bass when other anglers fail to entice a strike. Spinnerbaits, in halftothreequarters of an ounce models, in colors of chartreuse & white, with BIG willow leaf blade combos of silver and gold, in blade sizes of # 6 to # 8, usually get the Big Bass bite. BIG bass are found throughout Lake Harris, so use Trilene Big Game line in the 1525 pound test category, with these lures.
Lake Harris in April
In anticipation of heavy Spring rains, Lake Harris is often still down for winter pool during April. But as the water level returns to full pool near the end of the month, the bass move up shallower each day. The ticket now is to find the warmest water available and look for shad or baitfish activity and bass busting or feeding on top. With stained to muddy water conditions (often so common during spring) these bass can be very shallow. Coupled with water temperatures consistently rising into the 70′s, spawning bass will be lake wide, usually found in less than 5 feet of water during April.
However, upriver spawning bass can give way to downriver prespawning bass during these times. The much deeper and clearer water at the junction of the big and Little Tallapoosa Rivers at midlake, to the downriver portions, takes longer to warm and can be as much as 510 degrees cooler during April. Many bass will be bedding at these times, both male and female, and two lures will cover both top and bottom dwelling bass in shallow water. For covering a lot of water fast, the Buzzbait will generate a lot of strikes from active bass cruising the shallows. Always include a trailer hook for shortstriking bass. Less active bass bedding near thick wood cover can be enticed to strike with very loud jigs.
Lake Harris in May:
This month is hailed as topwater month among most fishing enthusiasts. Lake Harris is no exception to that rule. After these monster bass bed, many females return to thick cover or deeper water for the Summer, but before they do, they spend some time recuperating and feeding in shallow water. This is when topwater explosions can surprise even veteran anglers, unaware of the heartstopping strikes these 10 pound plus bass display. Best Lures? In May, bass will hit everything in the box, from top to bottom. Still certain model topwater lures, entice more strikes than other surface lures.
Schooling bass during May, can often be just a good cast away, when suddenly surfacing bass attack a school of hapless baitfish. There is one lure you should have rigged for just such an occasion. It is a lure that entices strikes from bass that don’t even know your around. This is due to the long cast’s one can acquire with Pradco
s, Jimmy Houston Signature series Zara Super Spook. It is much heavier than earlier model zara spooks, meaning longer cast’s and less wind resistance. This oversized offering, also has three hooks instead of two, with super sharp Excaliber rotating hooks for more holding power. The Zara Super Spook comes in an awfully, realisticlooking holographic finish, now with a loud rattle chamber and some very distinctlooking eyes. See: www.lurenet.com
There are many lures that will fool these monster bass on Lake Harris during Spring, to many to list for now. As during any outing, its up to the bass to decide on a favorite and the angler to experiment, until he finds the key to unlocking the mystery of the day’s bite. From top to bottom, these bass can be caught with a variety of offerings. See www.spro.com or www.lurenet.com, www.genelarew.com or www.theduce.com for a wide choice of soft plastics, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and trailers and topwater lures.
Texas and Carolinarigged worms of all sizes, lizards, crayfish imitations, jig combos and even small finesse lures are great for these often slow, bottom feeding bass. Crankbaits, rattling lipless lures and hard jerkbaits fool a lot of trophy bass with unexpected, instinct strikes. Topwaters, soft & hard jerkbaits, floating worms, lizards, and of course spinnerbaits of all sizes, are just a few more of the shallowtodeep water offerings to try during the shallow water months of March, April and May.
A few words of caution: There are BIG bass in Lake Harris. Many bass from 1016 pounds have been caught each spring, by the angler fortunate enough to land one of these tackletesting bass. Always bring a good rod, reel and big, long handled landing net. Sharpen or replace all hooks, check your reel’s drag, use 20 to 25 pound test Trilene Big Game line and be prepared. Many anglers just go home with the old tale of, “the one that got away”. Don’t let this season
Big Bass Disaster happen to you, due to these often, overlooked angler errors.
Looking for a real, trophy sized bass this spring? Always call on Reeds Guide Service…first! ” Fishing, guiding and exploring all of Alabama’s lakes for over 40 years,” including Lake Harris, since it was impounded.
Remember, a guided fishing trip with Reeds Guide Service makes a great gift for Birthdays, Fathers day and Christmas (certificates available), for those loved ones that love to fish. Several qualified guides and boats available year round for multiple parties and corporate guided trips.
* Looking for a new or used boat?
Go to: www.airportmarine.com and see their bass tournament trail info found there. Alabama’s best paying tournament trails and annual events!
* Looking for a great bass tournament trail?
Go to: www.airportmarineteamtrail.com
* Looking for the best bass boat in the world?
Go to: www.rangerboats.com
* Looking for fishing rods, reels, fishing tackle and hunting items?
Go to: www.marksoutdoors.com