This month is one of the best of the year for multi species action. There are still a few bass and crappie in late spawning. White bass and stripers will start congregating in the tailraces, and the catfish and bluegill will be at their prime.
My two favorite picks this month are catfish and bluegill. For eating size catfish there is not a better time of the year to load the cooler. Use chicken livers, cut bait, shrimp, or worms to catch plenty of 1-3 pound fish. In the upper ends of the lakes go to the tailrace and adjacent waters. In mid lake fish gravel bars and ledges of islands and channels. In the deeper lower lake regions, fish bluff walls 15-35 feet deep.
For bedding bluegill and shellcracker try weed lines and log jams on pea gravel bottoms.
The full moon is mid – May so the second weekend should be hot. I start by dragging crickets and worms on drop shot rigs in 2-5 feet of water. If the action is slow work out as deep as 10 feet. Bigger fish will hold out deeper until time to actually spawn.
April is my favorite spring fishing month. Every species can be targeted rather easily this month. Early in the month, smallmouth bass will be the target species. The “ Horseshoe “ below Wilson Dam will begin to load up with spawning bass early in the month. The large flats below Wheeler Dam from the turbines North to the lock will provide the same action. Search for bass bedding in 4-9 feet of water in rock piles and gravel bars.
By mid - month crappie action will be hot in the Second Creek, Bear Creek, and Shoals Creek areas. Search for crappie early in the month along creek ledges, but moving into the shallows to spawn by the middle to end of the month. Target stumps, logs, and brush piles for the best action.
Catfish will start to fire up as the start to fatten up for the spawn next month. Numbers of eating size catfish will be easily obtained in the tailrace of both dams and also along bluff shorelines on Wilson in 20 to 40 feet of water. For the big boys try Hog, Cox, and Peach Islands. Fish ledges and search out timber in 30 to 50 feet of water.
With the river continuing to flood the bass and stripe bite continues to be on fire. White bass are being caught in the eddy pockets from just below the dams up to 2-3 miles downstream. Rockpile recreation area and Safety harbor below Wheeler Dam are two good places to start. Smallmouth bass are being caught in the same general spots. The bass tend to be a little deeper and more on wing walls, points, and larger current breaks.
Catfish bite has been good all week and should get better as the month progresses. Big blues are being caught below Wheeler Dam from the power lines down to near Cox Island. Big chunks of cut skipjack or whole shad are the best bait choices for big fish. Smaller catfish are stacked near the Shoals Creek bridge, Town Creek, and the mouth of McKerinan Creek. Start your search in 25 to 30 feet of water.
Crappie are still a little slow but a few fish are being caught in Shoals Creek on Wilson Lake and Spring and Cypress Creeks just below Wilson Dam. Best bite is 6-12 feet of water on wood cover. Look for the fish to continue to move up as the weather warms. A few good strings were caught by shoreline anglers this week in McFarland Park.