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May 2016 Pickwick/Wilson Lake Report

You can pretty much pick your species this month on both Wilson and Pickwick Lakes. Catfish will be wide open on both lakes. On Wilson, fish in the sloughs and along shallow bluff lines. Search for hard bottoms, pea gravel and hard clay are best. Fish will be gorging themselves in preparation for the spawn which will start later this month. Chicken livers, worms, shrimp, and shad guts will all produce plenty of eating size fish. For bigger cats, use whole live shad or larger chunks of cut bait in 25 to 40 feet of water. Look for fish to be holding close to wood cover where available. The best catfishing on Pickwick will be the tailrace of Wilson Dam. Cats will school in large numbers underneath the dams this month. If you prefer to avoid the turbulent waters of the dam, fish the channel ledges and adjacent flats from Pride Landing to Waterloo. Channel catfish will be bedding this month. Search for them along the base of shallow bluff lines and cypress knees. Prepared baits such as Secret 7 and other blood or stink baits work best on these fish.

Smallmouth bass will be post spawn now and pulling back off onto the river and channel ledges. Largemouth bass will be in transition from spawn to post spawn this month. They can still be caught in relatively shallow waters. Bluegills and Shellcrackers will be bedding also. Use crickets and worms for best results. Luck for bedding bream along pea gravel banks with overhanging limbs. Search out coves or pockets on the north or northeastern shorelines for bedding locations. For guided fishing charters for any of these fish contact Captain Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit us on the web at

March 2016 Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forcast

In my opinion March is the absolute best month of the year to catch a trophy smallmouth bass and one of the best months for trophy catfish. This makes it my favorite fishing month of the year. Big smallmouth will be holding on channel ledges, ditches, and humps waiting to move up for the spawn which starts the end of this month. Look for hard bottoms with some wood cover nearby. River ledges from State Line Island to Wilson Dam will hold fish. The key is to find the right bottom and cover. I like to anchor just upstream of the area I want to fish and present a live shad minnow on a Carolina rig to the fish. Fishing stationary versus drifting allows me to put the bait right in the fishes face and eliminates hang-ups.

This is a great time to catch a big blue catfish on Wilson Lake. They are still in their deep wintering holes for the most part but they will begin to feed more aggressively. Isolated structure from Shoals Creek to Town Creek will be your best option. If time allows, ride slowly with your electronics and try to locate schools of large fish. If fishing time is limited target the base of the ledges with wood cover. In the lower lake I fish the 50 to 70 foot water, in the upper portion of the lake fish may be as shallow as 15 feet deep. For the trophy fish I usually anchor and fish large chunks of fresh skipjack or shad. Set up for at least 20 minutes on a spot before giving up on it and moving to another location.

Stripers will start to school up at the base of the dams this month. Fish will locate in the seams between turbines and along rock piles just off the edge of the current. I like to cast a Mister Twister 4” Sassy Shad on a ¾ or 1 ounce lead head. Pearl / Black and Pearl / Blue baits seem to work best. The best time to target Stripers is when the dam is producing maximum power generation.

For guided trips for catfish, bass, or stripers contact Captain Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Brian Barton is a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain. He wants to remind everyone when booking a fishing guide" to make sure they are USCG certified. It's for everyone's safety and it's the law."

Catfishing for Christ