June 2018 Wilson / Pickwick Lake Forecast


            After cooler than normal water temperatures in May, the water is starting to heat up. This means to search for catfish in deeper water. The spawn will start winding down by mid-month and the cats will head for deeper water. Good locations to try are river ledges in 45-70 feet of water. Locate rocks or wood on the ledges and you will find big catfish. For smaller fish target points and bluff lines in 20 to 40 feet of water. Chicken livers, shrimp, and cut baits will be your best baits. Tip of the month, after heavy afternoon downpours, target creek arms or muddy shorelines. Discolored water will attract great numbers of cats in warmer weather.

            For bass start your search on islands and shallow river and creek ledges. Most fish will be holding in 15 to 30 feet of water along ledges and humps. Hog Island and Cox Island on Wilson Lake will be your best bet. On Pickwick, target ledges between the Natchez Trace Parkway bridge and Pickwick Dam. As always, a live shad floated with a slip float or drifted with a split shot and weight are hard to beat for big bass.

            The striper bite should pick up beneath the dams. Check the dam walls for shad activity. If the shad are swimming along the walls of the dam the stripers will be close by. Bream should start their second bedding around the first and end of the month. This is the time of two full moon periods in June. Crickets, small tube lures, and jigs are best for bluegill. If targeting shell crackers, red worms and cut shrimp are best. Search for bedding bream in 1 to 5 feet of water around gravel bars, weed beds, and log jams.

For guide trips for catfish, bream, stripers, or bass contact Captain Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

August 2016 Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forecast
The warm water will make fishing tough at times this month. Like last month, early mornings, late afternoon, and night fishing will be best. Catfish will be holding on tops of ledges, humps, and other structure at night and move off to the deeper water during the day. Try shrimp and squid in the warmer water. I have had better success at times with these baits than traditional offerings. Hog Island, Cox Island, and the upper portion of the old Muscle Shoals Canal will be top choices. This is a great time for nocturnal flathead catfish. Use live shad or big bream fished on a slip float along the wall of the dam at night when the turbines are not running. The faces of both Wheeler and Wilson Dams will have some good flatheads present. The cooler waters at the head of Shoals Creek will be another good place to hang into some good catfish. In the heat of the day fish the bottom of ledges and drop offs in 35 to 45 feet of water. Pickwick Lake catfish will be a little tougher this month, but can still be caught. Concentrate on the upper portion of the lake near the dam where current is present and the water is slightly more oxygenated. In the mid to lower lake regions search for fish at the base of the channel ledges, mounds, and rock rows running parallel with the current flow. I prefer live shad minnows if large enough to catch in a throw net. Cut shad, skipjack, and shad guts will all do equally well. The striper bite should still be hot through Labor Day. Concentrate your efforts from Buck Island to Wilson Dam. Search for surfacing stripers early and late in the day. If the dam is generating strong currents fish from McFarland Park upstream to the dam. I like Mister Twister Striper Lightnin Jigs in the stronger currents. Cast the jigs just upstream then aggressively jerk it up and down off the bottom back to the boat. Red / White and solid White seems to work best. For fishing charters for catfish, stripers, and live bait bass contact Captain Brian Barton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our website at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
July Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forecast
The hot summer temperatures this month will make daytime fishing tough. Your best bet will be early morning, late evening, and nighttime fishing. A thermocline will most likely form by middle or end of the month, causing fish to suspend in the water column. Depending upon condition the thermocline normally forms between 35 and 45 feet deep. Below this level oxygen levels are low making it uncomfortable for fish. Turn the sensitivity all the way up on your electronics to locate the thermocline. It will show as a horizontal line across the units screen. Once it’s located position your baits at or just above that depth. Trolling in open water areas will produce best. I troll between .3 and .6 mph over schools of suspend fish. Fresh cut baits work best for this application. At night, fish livers, guts, worms, and cut baits under a float for smaller fish. July is a great month on Pickwick Lake. Fryer size catfish can be caught readily below Wilson Dam. Search for fish schooling along the walls of the dam. Fish can often be seen schooling on the surface feeding on the newly hatched shad along the dam. Eddy pockets on both sides of the lake from the dam to Riverfront Park will hold channel cats. For big blues, target blowdowns along the main river channel banks. Anchor your boat upstream of the trees and present your baits just upstream and in the end of the trees. Freshly caught cut skipjack will work best. July is the best month of the year for me when it comes to big stripers. Fish will school in open water and the mouths of tributary creeks. If the dam generates good current flow for several days, these fish will school in good numbers in the tailrace. I use live gizzard shad, 4 to 7 inches and skipjack to target these fish. If no live bait is available, Mister Twister RT Slugs and 6” Salty Shads fished on a ¼ ounce lead head will do the trick. Best colors for Pickwick are White Pearl/ Black Back and White Pearl / Blue Back. For fishing charters for catfish, stripers, or live bait bass, 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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
June 2016 Wilson/Pickwick Lake Forecast
JUNE 2016 WILSON / PICKWICK LAKE FORECAST Catfish can be caught from one end of the lake to the other this month. There will be both spawning and post spawn fish located throughout the lake. The Wheeler dam tailrace will be loaded with fryer size fish. Drift chicken livers and shad guts from the dam downstream to Town Creek for best results. For bigger fish try the ends of long points and bluff ledges in 25 to 40 feet of water. The bluffs from Spout Springs to Lime Kiln Hollow will hold some good fish. Peach and Walker Islands will hold some trophy fish. Search for the isolated standing timber then fish straight over the cover with a vertical presentation. Make sure and use heavy equipment so you have the power to wrestle the big boys out of the cover. I use BnM Silver Cat Magnum rods spooled with 85 pound test Hi Vis Vicious braided line with a 50 pound mono leader on a Carolina Rig. A 7/0 or 10/0 Daiichi circle hook is a must for battling big fish out of the heavy cover. Catfish on Pickwick Lake will be more scattered this month. Best bets are the mouths of creeks and the main river channel. I like to anchor on the upstream points of feeder creeks and make long cast into the channel bottoms behind the boat. A Carolina rig is best here. For fishing the main river channel, drifting with a three way swivel rig or bottom bumping rig is best. Keep the boat sideways and drift with the current bumping your bait up and down off the bottom. Largemouth and Smallmouth bass will be positioned on the deep river ledges making them an easy target for live bait fishing. Present live shad at or just above the level the fish are holding and hold on. I use either a split shot and hook or a slip float depending on the current and the depth of the fish. June is one of the best months of the year for good numbers of bass. For guide trips for catfish, live bait bass, or stripers 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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
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 www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.

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