Reed Montgomery


By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service


Impounded 1923

Lake level: full pool (for winter)

Winter on Mitchell Lake

Mitchell Lake on the lower Coosa River System. Its a lake you hear very little about during winter. Its also a lake the worlds touring pros never get a chance to sample. Maybe soon.

This 14 mile long impoundment is not that big of a lake but it fishes big! Even during the winter months of December, January and February the anglers fishing Mitchell Lake for spotted bass and largemouth bass say it is comparable to any other Alabama Lake.

There are dozens of Coosa River spotted bass taken each winter exceeding 5 pounds, some up to 7 pounds or better! Even largemouth bass exceeding 5 pounds are very common and some exceeding 8 pounds have been taken in winters past by persistent anglers that frequent this mid Alabama Lake, despite the conditions.

But the conditions play a huge role in your "catching" or your going home with the old tale of, "their not biting today," during the winter months on Mitchell Lake. Knowing where to be during either cold fronts or warming trends -- can aid you in your search for Mitchell Lakes spotted bass and largemouth bass.


Fishing any lake in Alabama when the mercury drops has its limits. Especially following a cold front. So what is a really bad cold front in Alabama? Several very cold nights in the teens, coupled with a very cold morning in the low to mid 20's, with midday highs only reaching the mid 40's. Then strong, bone chilling, high northerly winds of 15-25 M.P.H. That's a severe cold front!

These conditions can be downright miserable. They are often followed by bright, bluebird skies and then sunny, high pressure conditions the rest of the day. This is when an angler then knows he has his work cut out for him. Knowledgeable anglers (unless tournament fishing) know better. They just stay home and await better conditions. Some anglers just can't do that.

Many anglers come from out of state, planning a fishing trip, and then, must deal with the prevailing they must fish or leave! So like any severe weather, winter time fishing trip, getting out of the wind and in the sun, and getting a late start is the beginning of their game plan.

Arriving at Mitchell Lake about 7-9 a.m. will show warming waters, the sun out and less of a chill in the air when you take that first boat ride to your fishing destination. Most anglers launch at midlake at Higgins Ferry Public launch, so you only have 7-8 miles either way and your at the dam!

Dress warm and make that run up to the lakes headwaters, fishing just below upper Lay Lake dam. Even during winter bass that are forced to live out the cold days of January and February get used to feeding in this cold, swift water.

Lures such as small worms, lizards, crayfish imitations, small tube baits or even small, compact sized worms on jig heads or small jig combos (all lures on the small size), will fool these sluggish bass into biting. That is with a very slow presentation. You must fish slow, even pausing these lures on the bottom for even getting bites when its very cold.

* There are loads of lures that work in winter. Even when its cold try fishing with spoons, grubs, tailspinners, deep diving crankbaits, lipless lures and try dropping heavy spinnerbaits along the lakes bottom.


Or you can go south, towards Mitchell Lake dam or head far back up in major feeder creeks like Weogufka Creek or Hatchet Creeks, for as far 10 miles or more. Warming trends send anglers up in the creeks fishing flats, grass, stumps and other wood cover and rocky banks.

Warming trends also send the bass on a feeding spree. They know its time to feed and fatten up when water temperatures rise a few degrees. This can mean lots of big bass action in the shallows and big largemouth bass coming up to feed, while the opportunity is there on Mitchell Lake.

Water temps can rise into the upper 50's (or even low 60's) with several warm nights and warm days during these winter warming trends. Some warming trends can last for a week or two with midday highs in the 70's and this really gets the bass into shallow weeds and around rocks and wood cover.

They will be hitting topwater lures, spinnerbaits and other weedless lures as the water warming sun gets better each day. Even a cloudy day with rain following several days of sunshine, can really be a "big bass day" and often, less anglers there to share this winter bassin' with you!

Check out Mitchell Lake this winter and see the many ways you can find to fool its largemouth bass, spotted bass and even an occasional striped bass. Or call on Reeds Guide Service...first! "Over 30 years fishing Mitchell Lake for bass and stripers."

Thanks, Good fishin' and be safe this winter on Alabama's Lakes!

This 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