Wilson Lake Impounded 1925
Lake level: maybe down (winter pool) varies w/rain
Winter Fishing Lake Wilson
The Tennessee River System consists of four, man made impoundments, all situated in Northwest Alabama. There is Guntersville Lake, Alabama’s largest reservoir at 82 miles in length. Right below it is Wheeler Lake, Alabama’s second largest reservoir, about 74 miles long.
Then there is Wilson Lake, the smallest reservoir on the Tennessee River System, featuring only 15 navigable miles in length. Right below Wilson Lake is Pickwick Lake, about 50 miles long, from Wilson dam to Pickwick dam.
So with these facts in mind, most anglers visiting north Alabama for the first time would immediately ignore the smallest lake (Wilson Lake), and start making plans to head for one of the larger reservoirs. That would be just fine…most of the year.
But to ignore Wilson Lake during the winter months could be a big mistake. Especially if your a single fish angler, looking to just boat one true, trophy-sized smallmouth bass. Lets say a twelve pounder. Yes, they do exist, for all of these Tennessee River Reservoirs have aged, with each lake now over 50 years since impoundment.
Wilson Lake once held the world record smallmouth bass. But it was caught. That monster brown bass weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces. It was taken by a most fortunate angler a long, long, time ago, in the year 1950. Since then, that previous world record smallmouth bass record was eventually broken in Tennessee with an 11 pound plus smallmouth bass.
I say, ” lets not wait another 50 years, its time to see another true, trophy sized smallmouth bass taken out of one of Alabama’s Tennessee River Reservoirs.”
Wilson Lake, or upstream Wheeler Lake, or even downstream Pickwick Lake could give up that next smallmouth bass of a lifetime. That is, if that angler is prepared for the fight of a lifetime and he/she eventually wins. For so many, “would be world record holders” have already tried and been beaten. Everything must be in perfect working order to land such a fish.
Experienced anglers and any trusty, Boy Scout all know. Its called, ” being prepared. ” Fooling one of these crafty, brown bass into biting, is just one of the first few steps towards eventually having those rare bragging rights, that are only rewarded after landing such a bass. Many other reason exists, as to why so many anglers have failed (in all of these years), in breaking this hard-to-break world record.
From the very end of that extra sharp hook to the butt of the handle of the rod your using, all things “breakable” must be checked. Or last of all, your heart could get broken. There are many tales floating around the old U.S.of A. about, ” the one that got away ” and many of those fishing tales originated on this mighty, Tennessee River System. So don’t let yours be added to this long, ever growing list of would-be heroes. Like said, “be prepared” when you come to Wilson Lake, or any lake for that matter.
Wilson Lake is a small lake. It is only 15 miles long, it consists of 15,930 surface acres of water and Wilson lake features only 150 miles of shoreline. Shoreline, that’s the lakes banks, where most anglers usually concentrate their efforts when bass fishing on Wilson Lake.
Feeder creeks exists throughout the lake, some creeks small by most standards and others slightly bigger, with all creeks featuring a winding creek channel loaded with fish holding cover, leading far back in the scenic countryside to provide you a nice backdrop when fishing these tributaries.
Near the lakes headwaters is Big Nance Creek and Bluewater Creek, both creeks featuring loads of wood cover like log jams, laying trees, stumps, brush and even resident planted Christmas trees. There are plenty of visible rocks, man made rip-rap rocks, boulders and rock bluffs. These are winding creek channels that feature decent, navigable depths to about midways of these creeks, year round.
Other feeder creeks worth investigating found down stream, are Town Creek, more of a flatland creek featuring wood cover like piers, trees, logs, stumps and a bonus, “aquatic weeds”, all found at mid lake. McCerman Creek is near the lower lake’s Wilson lake dam. Shoal Creek, Six Mile Creek and Four Mile Creek (across the lake from McCerman creek), are near Wilson Lake dam and they all hold good concentrations of both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass all throughout the winter months.
Anglers seeking smallmouth bass in relatively deeper water sanctuaries can begin their search in Wilson Lake’s headwaters, situated right below massive, Wheeler lake dam. Not all that deep at 5-15 foot depths, but these current laden waters are homes to some of Wilson lake’s biggest smallmouth bass ever taken on record. Including one memorable smallmouth, that of my father’s.
An 8 1/2 pound bronzeback beauty that, as told by my Uncle Harold (God rest both of their weary soles), jumped “head high” at least a half dozen times, before they boated it. They were drifting in the current of these swift, tailrace waters on a cold, rainy miserable winter day when my father hooked into this fighting ball of fury. It was fooled on a jigging spoon.
That memory (although I was not there, I feel like I was my Uncle told it so many times), of that jumping brown bass, a smallmouth bass all trophy bass anglers seek, will live on in the minds of many other anglers still alive today. Anglers of yesterday, “old timers” as they say, that saw pictures of it posted everywhere in Alabama.
Like said, “shorelines are where most anglers fish.” Or even below dams can be community holes. Even rock bluffs. But old river channel drop-offs, ledges, submerged humps, old ridges, underwater islands and rock piles, are just a few of the places for the more serious, trophy bass angler to explore this winter. I truly believe there is an awful lot of untapped deep water in Wilson Lake’s deeper sections. Places that could hold and eventually give up another, ” World Record Smallmouth Bass. ” Could it be yours?
Explore Wilson Lake this winter season. But you may get lonely. There is some miserable weather in north Alabama during the months of late December, January and February. But also keep in mind, there are more trophy smallmouth bass taken on these lakes in these winter months, than during any of the other seasons combined.
So sometimes you have got to brave the elements to get your just rewards. At times your search will only produce a few bites on these cold, miserable days of winter. But it could show your efforts to produce the fish of lifetime, eventually laying in the bottom of the boat and isn’t that what its all about?
Always call on Reeds Guide Service…first! Alabama’s oldest, most well known statewide, freshwater fishing guide service. ” Fishing and guiding on every lake in Alabama for over 40 years.” Licensed and insured. Several professional guides and boats available year round for multiple parties and corporate guided trips to any lake in Alabama, year round.
Planning a trip to Wilson Lake this spring? Always call on Reeds Guide Service…first!
” Over 40 Years Fishing and Guiding on Wilson Lake and other Alabama Lakes for bass and stripers”. Remember, a guided fishing trip with Reeds Guide Service makes a great surprise gift for Birthday’s, Father’s Day and Christmas (certificates available), for those loved ones that love to fish. Several boats and qualified guides available, year round.
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