Reed Montgomery


By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service


Impounded 1928

Lake Level: full pool / winter

Water Temps: Currently low to mid 50's

Winter (Jan & Feb) on Jordan Lake

Winter officially got underway in Alabama the first week of December, 2006. However you would still think it was late Fall if you were fishing the second week of January. The New Year came in with a bang on the water as well, with water temps reaching 60 degrees!

So how does the rest of the "so called winter" look for anglers here in Alabama on Jordan Lake? Very good. For the next 6 weeks these Coosa River breed of spotted bass and some big largemouth bass are all in a winter pattern and a winter state of mind. March is a prespawn month.


These bass are conditioned to move about at any time to feed during conditions that may arise during incoming cold fronts, or during rainy cloudy periods, on sunny days and week long warming trends. Various situations that involve moving water (current on the main lake from dam discharge in some areas of the lake), shows that these bass in some spots, are often biting better than in other places.

Varied conditions found lake wide can have a tremendous effect on the habits of all Jordan Lake's bass. Conditions of many kinds take place during winter and each condition affects all bass and the meals they feed on, especially when its comes to them eating and putting on the needed fat to make it through a harsh winter.

Jordan Lake is the last lake of six lakes situated on the Coosa River System (that runs from north to south Alabama) and anything is possible for this mid Alabama impoundment created in 1928. With water temperatures currently in the low to mid 50's and air temps close to 60 degrees constantly warming the lakes creeks and backwaters, you can see a difference 5-6 degrees water temps can make.

In various places throughout the lake, warming spots take place on every sunny day this winter. Places such as main lake flats are bathed in an all day sunshine and shielded from high winds. In addition, they are out of the constant, main lake current. Also out of the current are small cuts and pockets such as those found on main lake rock bluffs and the dozens of weed lined, timber filled pockets.

Always keep in mind, evident current found on the lake (just look at moving trot line jugs facing down river) will not heat up like the lakes still backwaters that remain calm, still and constantly bathed in water warming sunshine. Flats found in incoming feeder creeks, bathed in sunshine all day, show that from mid day to late evenings the rising water temperatures do have an effect on these bass.

Anglers may get plenty of bites from bass that become more active when water temps rise 4-5 degrees in a days time. So always return to places such as this (places you may not get a bite in during a cold morning prior to a warm sunny day) for active feeding fish. Just the opposite can occur in these areas when it is colder a few degrees. You may get a few bites early, but often no bites during very cold, cloudy days when water temperatures do not rise significantly.


Lures and the many ways to fish them can involve many choices during both cold front situations and warming trends during winter on Jordan Lake. Most anglers associate this "January and February winter fishing" with a slow, bottom dragging process utilizing various types of lures such as grubs, small worms, lizards and crayfish imitations, jig combos, tube baits, creature baits and finesse lures fished on small jig heads, etc.

Conditions always dictate the use of many different types of lures, lure colors, lure sizes, lure actions and the various ways to fish all of them. Traditionally, most anglers fish slow and think slow during late winter. This is when the winter season slowly winds down and eventually March will bring in prespawn conditions and schools of bass move shallow.

But often in this mid Alabama Lake during the January to February period, the bass will chase down a crankbait, nail a rattletrap or suspending jerkbait, or hit spinnerbaits with a rod jarring strike, even on a cold, winter day. They will even hit a topwater lure, when very active bass are affected by various conditions and at times even a cold front can turn them on!

So "Look" at the conditions prior to your trip and see what's taking place during your planned trip to Jordan Lake. These conditions dictate lure choice. If its been raining for a week this lake can get a lot of rain run-off. There five lakes above Jordan Lake and it all comes done the Coosa River to this last of six lakes.

Spinnerbaits can be lures you throw all day when stained water and swifter current following heavy rains can swell the lake and create conditions where bass cannot see as well. This is when flash, vibration and lure colors come into the picture. Choosing spinnerbaits with gold and silver blades creates flash and more vibration the bigger the blades. Bright colors on the spinnerbaits head, skirt and trailers create various colors.

Crankbaits, rattling lipless lures, and both floating and suspending jerkbaits are all good lures on Jordan Lake during stained water conditions. These lures with rattles and lots of wiggling lure action help draw bass in for strikes in stained water conditions. Colors like chartreuse, white, yellow, lime, red and orange can be seen better and should be included on each lure. Conditions again, may show an angler fishing clear water and fishing with more subtle colored lures and natural lure colors


Current, Lake levels and water clarity play a huge role as well in your daily fishing on Jordan Lake. Anglers can check on Jordan Lake's daily lake levels (normal full pool level is 252.0) and dam discharge schedules for 3 days by calling Alabama Power Company's toll free Lake information center at 1-800-lakes-11.

Always check water generation schedules for both upper Mitchell Lake dam and lower Jordan Lake's (2) dams. Write these water generation scheduled times down and tailor your fishing to each situation created by this current moving through the lake and its tributary creeks.

The current released by these dams affects both spotted bass and largemouth bass during the winter months just like the rest of the year. When they are feeding and water is evidently being generated there are certain places you need to be fishing and evident, current related signs to look for.

For example: If both dams are running all day bass will be tight to cover on the main lake. If the upper lake (Mitchell Lake) dam is running and the lower Jordan Lake dams are not running, then the lake fills up and bass move into flooded waters. If lower dams are running and Mitchell Lake dam is not, then the lakes water levels can fall, moving bass away from the banks and shallow flats.

Dam discharge areas are dangerous so always wear life jackets and outboard motor kill switches when fishing here or any where you fish! Hypothermia kills, so be prepared and be aware throughout your day and always play it safe! Dams are rocky and lures like grubs, small worms, jigs and jigging spoons fool bass every day. But bring plenty of lures, you will lose some in a days time in the swift current found below the dam discharge area.

Bring warm clothes and spare clothing. Have dry fire starting material (wood or paper) on board and a lighter. Always let loved ones at home know where your at and when to expect you home. Cell phones can be life savers. In winter, the life you save could just be your own!

More on fishing Jordan Lake this winter season coming soon...

Good Fishin'

This Jordan Lake report provided by:

Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service

Producer / Host "Fishing Alabama" With Reed Montgomery Radio Show

"6 Years on the Radio / Jan 2005"

Birmingham, Alabama

Call Reeds Guide Service...First! (205) 787-5133

"Over 40 Years Fishing Alabama for Bass and Stripers"



Fish Species: Bass
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Reed Montgomery

About The Author: Captain Reed Montgomery

Company: Reeds Guide Service

Area Reporting: All Alabama Lakes

Bio: Captain Reed Montgomery a Birmingham, Alabama native Guides on all of Alabama\'s Lakes for all species of Bass. Alabamas Oldest Professional Freshwater Guide Service For Over 40 Years. Website

(205) 663-1504
Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Reed Montgomery