Need to plan your fishing destinations for 2012? To help you select from the diverse fishing opportunities our state has to offer, here’s a look at some the best angling trips for each month of the year.
You might not be willing to take all of the trips profiled here, but maybe you can explore a few new fishing destinations to build strong positive memories on the water.
One of Bama’s best crappie waters, Weiss Lake has hot fishing even in the depths of winter.
The warm-water discharge pipe on the Chattooga River near State Route 68 and the spring in Spring Creek provide anglers unique opportunities to catch a limit of crappie quickly on cold winter days. When the weather turns frigid, fish congregate in huge numbers in these warmer waters and are much easier to catch.
At the discharge pipe, fish two 1/6-ounce deer-hair jigs under a FB3 pear-shaped float with an 8-foot Float-N-Fly rod. To fish Spring Creek, troll 1/32-ounce jigs on long poles in shallow water at less than a mile per hour.
To book a day of guided crappie fishing, call Jason Tucker at (256) 997-7263 or visit his Web site at www.guntersvillebassfishing.com.
This is also the month to catch giant blue catfish on Wheeler Lake as anglers catch 50-pounders in winter. Bait 7/0 circle hooks with fresh skipjack herring and prepare for a fight.
On Millers Ferry, largemouth bass begin to stage at major creek mouths.
Jones Bluff Lake
While the weather remains cold, Alabama spotted bass continue to feed voraciously on Jones Bluff. It’s the best time to target these cold-water brawlers, as the trophy-size 6-pounders disappear once temperatures moderate.
As the first reservoir on the Alabama River, Jones Bluff’s riverine banks and current create excellent habitat for growing large spots.
These football shaped fighters feed on humps and gravel bars at depths of 6 to 15 feet in the current. Current is important, as it causes the spots to feed. The best section of the lake to fish is from Swift Creek to the dam.
For fishing updates, visit Big Bass Bait and Tackle in Prattville on State Route 14 west, or call (334) 365-0600.
Bass fishermen on the Mobile Delta are catching more fish than in recent history. The bass don’t grow big there, but they offer excellent fishing in February.
Sauger spawn this month on the Tennessee River and concentrate in the tailraces.
Sheepshead is great fish for families to target in March. They are plentiful in Mobile Bay, hard fighting and often easy to find. Sheepshead are also a challenge to catch as they are exceptional bait-stealers.
The fish range in size between 3 and 9 pounds and are delicious.
Captain DeJuan Tedder of Fort Morgan reported the best fishing occurs during an incoming tide as water visibility is high, and fish can see the bait. If the water is not muddy, fishing is also good on an outgoing tide. Since sheepshead hug structure, Tedder recommends fishing any of the gas rigs in the bay.
For a guided sheepshead trip, telephone Captain Tedder at (251) 978-9711 or visit his Web site at www.gulfadventures.net.
In March on Aliceville crappie spawn in small open pockets in the aquatic vegetation along the shoreline. Probe the pockets with jigs set 18 inches below a bobber.
Also this month, the best place to catch stripers is in Lake Martin’s feeder creeks.
Jon Hornsby, a retired Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources fisheries biologist who fishes Yates frequently, reported that the small impoundment is an exceptionally good shellcracker fishery.
“In fact,” he said, “Yates is one of, if not, the best bream fishing lakes in Alabama. Roughly one out of every 19 redear sunfish weighs a pound or more.”
Cold water discharged from the Lake Martin Dam prolongs the spawning period for bream, so anglers can catch bedding shellcrackers from April through early July.
“Shellcrackers spawn in the coves and small cuts off the main lake, as well as Channahatchee, Coon and Sougahatchee creeks,” Hornsby reported.
Yates covers 1,980 acres, is near Tallassee and is below Lake Martin on the Tallapoosa River. The largest boat ramp is at Yates Dam Park off CR 44.
Pickwick Lake offers amazing largemouth fishing throughout spring, and April is no exception. Anglers report fast action with fish weighing up to 4 pounds.
The cobia migration off our Orange Beach is an opportunity to sight fish for the hard-fighting brown bombers
Check out page two for the best bets for Alabama fishing for May, June, July and August