I made a spur of the moment fishing trip yesterday on Pickwick Lake as I was hearing about all the big fish that are being caught right now. The weather was pretty nice with the low in the morning at 41* and a high of around 58*. There were very few clouds in the sky and the wind shifted during the day. The wind was blowing out of the north when I started but shifted out of the WNW as the day progressed. The water was very muddy as TVA was running current through the lakes at about 245,000 cfs, we have had a lot of rain this past week. The water temperature was 57* to 58* in the area I was fishing.The key for me was to find clear water running into the lake mixing with the muddy water. These areas seemed to be holding the shad in the shallow warm water. I did notice several time shad flicking on top and if I threw to those areas I would either get a bite or catch a fish.
The best lures for me were two primary lures one was a Squarebill 1.5 crankbait in my Hunger Pang pattern and the other was a Rattle Trap I painted in the Dark Crystal Craw pattern. I fished these two lures about 95 percent of the day. I did catch one fish on each of the following , an 1/8 ounce shaky-head with a Zoom Green Pumpkin Trick Worm and one on a Texas rigged Vibe tail Speed worm. I had a couple hit a spinnerbait but did not hook either one even though I had a trailer hook on it.BER Custom Lure Painting – Hunger Pang.BER Custom Lure Painting – Dark Crystal Craw
I ended up catching a total of 27 bass with most of them in the 15″ range. My best bass pushed 5 pounds. Overall it was good day of fishing since this is the first trip out since the first week of December from last year.
While doing a little research at the library this week I ran across some history about Pickwick and the canal systems.
Before TVA took over the operations of the Tennessee River there were canals all up and down the river from Florence because of the Mussel Shoals also called Muscle Shoals. These were not navigational sections of the river because of the low water over these rocks and the rapid descent of this portion of the river.
After the dam was built and the shoals inundated there were a series of canals that were built up to Wilson Dam. When the original two stage lock was built the original canal shown in light blue below was used to get to the locks. But after the start of construction on the new larger single lift lock the canal was rerouted up to the original lock.
Note: Click on Thumbnail to get an enlarged image.
In the above photo you can see the all three canals that were used during the new lock construction. The canal colored yellow above is now closed on both ends and is in the middle of Patton Island. The one in blue is now the location of the Florence Port or what we called Fuzzy Feeds canal.
In the above photo you can see where the canals were dammed off and the other canals rerouted.
Here you can see a photo of all three of the canals in this aerial view photo. You can also see the construction of the new larger and longer single lift lock.
In this photo you can see where Dam #1 was located and also the new existing canal. If you notice you can see the old swing railroad bridge that was used for the trains crossing the river into Florence from Colbert County.
In this photo you can see that the Dam #1 was removed and the existing lift canal is still in place.
In this final photo you can see that the swing bridge was replaced with the lift bridge for the railroads. This bridge was also removed and all railroad traffic was stopped crossing the river into Florence.
In this series of Side Image and Down Image scans on my Blog I’m trying and teach you what you are looking at while scanning with your Side Image and Down Image. This one will be of bottom composition.
If you notice the dark color in the screen shot is a mud or muck bottom. The sonar signal is absorbed in the soft material where the hard bottom in this case gravel and rock is hard and the sonar signal returns very quickly thus a brighter color on your screen.
I had a chance to get out on Pickwick Lake yesterday and do a little fishing and side image recording with my Humminbird Onix 10 SI Cross Touch. While i was scanning in the back of Bear Creek I scanned these old railroad tracks. These tracks are part of the construction of the old canal system that starts t the mouth of First Creek on Wheeler Lake and runs all the way to Waterloo, Alabama. If you want to scan the tracks for yourself I posted the GPS coordinates on the photo.
You can see the train the used the tracks now located under Pickwick Lake.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Historical Photo: This is a graveling crane and stone yard at Riverson, Ala., which is supporting the Colbert Shoals Canal project Nov. 8, 1895.
Here is a drawing of the canal lock that is submerged under Pickwick Lake that is across the river from Waterloo.
Construction of the Riverton canal, as you can see there was a lot of manual labor involved in the construction.
Setting the stones used in the construction of the lock. Most of the stones were cut from quarries up and down the Tennessee River. Keller quarry was one such place and you can still see some of the cut stones located there to this day.
Stones set in place as part of the Riverton canal.
Upriver entrance going into the entrance of the Riverton lock.
Down river gate exiting from the Riverton lock.
Humminbird Onix Side Image scan of the old Riverton Lock.
If you want to take a look at the lock with your Side and down Image units here is the GPS coordinates: N34.53.851 – W088.04.048 enjoy.
I like to record from my Side Image and Down Image units as I’m fishing. I usually try to spend the last 15 minutes or so of my day on the water recording what my units is scanning. If you don’t know how to do this there are a few older blogs on this site that will show you what you need and how to do it. Just do a search for RECORDING from the search bar on the right side of the screen.
As it was recording yesterday I found this old auto frame in Pickwick Lake. To me it looks like the frame might be the only thing left. Since it is upside down I can’t tell if it’s a truck or car frame. I’ll try to get a better image of it the next time I’m in the area. If you would like to take a look at it here are the GPS coordinates: N 34 46.333 – W087 42.199
I had a chance to make a fishing trip a couple of weeks ago for bluegill and shellcrackers. Since I have not had a chance to do much fishing in the past few months because of an family medical issue I knew I’d have to take advantage of all my resources. In this case it was time of year, moon phase, electronics and talking to my fishing buddies. I had to work until about 4:00 p.m. so the time on the water was limited.
I launched my boat at the boat ramp turned on my Humminbird Onix side image and started scanning as I left the ramp area. About 30 yards from the ramp I found a bluegill bed and marked it with a waypoint. I figured I’d be able to fish this on the way back to the ramp if there were no other boats around. More on this later.
I ran down river a couple of miles and started scanning cuts and pockets that has gravel or sandy bottoms and I found what I was looking for. As you look at the photo image below you can clearly see all the beds off a point that was on a gravel bar.
I pulled down current and dropped my anchor. The tackle I used was a 6′ medium action rod spooled with 4 pound Mr. Crappie Hi-Viz line. As for the lure it was a 1/32 or 1/16 ounce unpainted lead head rigged with a Big Bite Baits 1.5″ Panfish Minnow. the best colors were blue and silver and chartreuse brown but did not really matter. I caught 65 fish off this one bed, but I released everyone of them.
As I returned to the ramp that I was going to fish the bed I found there I ran into a fishing buddy and told him about that bed. I showed him where it was and in doing so I made 7 cast and caught 5 bluegill off that bed before I loaded my boat up and headed home. Man does electronics make fishing a lot easier these days.