Reed Montgomery

Impounded 1924
Report by:
Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service

Spring on Wilson Lake

Wilson lake, by some standards is a small lake. Sandwiched between upper reservoir Wheeler Lake and lower Tennessee River reservoir Pickwick Lake to the South, Wilson Lake only 15 1/2 miles in length, could be passed up (by those that do not know) for bigger waters nearby. However, anglers should always consider a day of fishing Wilson Lake when they are planning a trip to North Alabama.

This small impoundment of 15,930 surface acres has some very fishy looking water. Wilson lake, now over 80 years since impoundment, is "very big" on all types of fish. Wilson lake may be the most varied fishery in Alabama, holding many different species of freshwater fish. It is loaded with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and a good population of spotted bass as well. Striped bass come in numbers, some weighing from 20-30 pounds (or bigger) have been taken in years past. This goes for hybrid striped bass and white bass as well.

Anglers seeking the famed "brown bass," the smallmouth bass, come from all around the globe to sample her waters for these true tackle testing bass...and rightfully so. The previous world record smallmouth bass came out of Wilson Lake in 1950. It weighed a whopping ten and one half pounds. After over 50 years, there have been many smallmouths taken from 7-10 pounds on Wilson Lake, some that got away.

March on Wilson Lake is all according to the weather. Fishing can be tremendous for weeks at a time with warming trends. But you can always expect a cold front in March in north Alabama, one that can shut them down for a few days. Heavy rains are common during March and often several days of torrential downpours can really muddy up the lake and incoming creeks.

The first week of March this spring season (and a few weeks after that) showed unseasonably warm days of mid 70's and mild nights of mid 50's. Some cold fronts with daytime highs in the 50's occurred, but nothing to serious to severely drop the water temperatures and send the bass back to the deep.

By mid March of this spring season water temperatures were hovering in the mid 60's on Wilson Lake. So, it looks like an early spring, unless of course another severe cold front sneaks in, when anglers least expect it.

As bass of all species move in the creeks, a variety of lures will fool some of the year's biggest largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass. Some bass are still feeding and very active while others are already bedding with the full moon nearby in mid April. Lures are many at this time of year for fooling both largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and an occasional spotted bass or even a striped bass species.

Shallow to deep diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, floating and suspending jerkbaits, rattling lipless lures, topwaters and loads of soft plastics and jigs on bottom, will all fool these prespawn bass of March.

April shows the entire lakes water warming, aquatic weeds in full bloom and Wilson Lake alive with feeding bass, baitfish activity and lots of spawning bass. As waters reach the optimum spawning temperature of 72 degrees bass can actually be seen in the shallows. Feeder creeks, flats on the main lake, flats found in shallow water along rock bluffs, flats in small cuts and pockets, and any point on the main lake or up in feeder creeks, will display the easily seen and freshly made beds for spawning.

The month of May on Wilson Lake (like any Alabama Lake) shows some of the year's best, consistent action, for bass fishing. Especially with the use of topwater lures. Many anglers wonder why topwater lures are often the lures of choice when it comes to bass fishing in May on Wilson Lake and all throughout Alabama.

Well, there are many reasons why you should have several different types of topwaters handy this spring. Maybe even a few extras, just in case a big bass decides to take one away from you.

Most bass have bed by mid May. Many bass are through with the rituals of bedding, some are through guarding the bed against unwanted intruders and now mostly smaller male bass are protecting the small, inch long, newborn baby bass. This is all that's left to keep them in the shallows. All but one other very important factor in the life of all bass. Eating.

For almost a month (from late March, until the first week of May), both the male and female bass of Wilson Lake have been stressed out. Prior to bedding, both male and female bass have eaten well, fattening up for the spawn. But when actually going on the bed they don't eat very much. The bigger female bass lay their eggs, hang around a few days and leave the tending of the nest for the male.

But these much bigger female bass (most anglers are seeking), do stick around and even some male bass can reach a hearty weight of 5 pounds. They both rest during May and recuperate, but still they are constantly watching over their newborn baby bass offspring. Most only eat when irritated or when the occasion provides an easy to catch meal. Like slow moving topwater lures.

After a few weeks of spawning both the male and female bass will regain their strength and make up for lost time at the dinner table. That's why lures that are retrieved on or along the waters surface in shallow water (less than 5 feet deep, but usually around 1-3 feet deep), are at their best during the month of May. May is traditionally known as post spawn time for some very hungry bass on Wilson Lake, the Tennessee river's smallest lake...that is very big on fishing during the spring.

Give it a try this spring and discover some of Wilson Lake's " best fishing of the year " for targeting bass, stripers and other species of freshwater fish. Or always call on Reeds Guide Service...first! (205) 787-5133. " Over 30 Years of Bass and Striper Fishing, Professionally Guiding, Catering to Tournament Anglers...and just fishing and catching whatever bites while exploring beautiful Wilson Lake and all other Alabama Lakes." Several boats and professional guides available year round.

*NOTE* Please Practice C P R Catch, Photo and Release This Spring Season. So Future Anglers Will Have Fish Like We Do Today!

Good Fishin'!

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"
Impounded 1924
Report by:
Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service

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