Category Archives: Pickwick

History – Florence Barge Canals

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.

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.

Side and Down Image Screen Shot – Bottom Composition

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.

Bottom Composition

Hope this helps you understand units.

Riverton Lock Construction

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.

Side Image Scanning- Old Car or Truck Frame Found

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

Tight lines….

Bluegill and Shellcracker Fishing

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.

PanfishBedsI 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.

Here is a link to a short video I did on this fishing trip: Panfishing May 2015

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.

My Tackle Box – Zoom Centipedes

Here is is a little finesse worm that I’ve caught literally hundreds of big smallmouth bass on over the years. The Zoom Centipede is another of my Go-To lures when I need or want to catch fish. This small worm is a killer for spotted bass, smallmouth, rock bass and largemouth bass.

centipedesAs you can see from the tackle box above there are only a few colors that I use on a regular basis and of these the green pumpkin is the one I use the most.The other colors are watermelon-seed and June-bug for darker conditions. In the next couple of weeks at least on Pickwick Lake tie on one of these little finesse worms and fish them around rocks, pea gravel, downed tree-tops and along rip-rap shoreline and you’ll catch some big fish. When I’m on Wilson Lake I like to fish the pockets and coves that have downed trees and logs in the backs of pockets.

My Setup: Rod, Reel , Line, etc.

The rod I use are the same ones I use when I fish the Shaky-head worms. Mine is a 7′ medium action rod in a good quality graphite model. I like the St. Croix Rage rod paired with either my favorite Shimano Symetre or Quantum Smoke size 2500 reels. I spool these reels with one of my favorite lines Mr. Crappie Hi-Viz 6 pound monofilament line. I’ve used fluorocarbon in the past as well but really like the mono better. Most of the bites are very lite and I’ll see my line twitch or move off to one side or another most of the time so the Hi-Viz line is a benefit for me. I’ve caught hundreds of bass on the Hi-Viz line so the fish does not care if it is visible or not.

As for hooks I like Gamakatsu hooks in size #1 or 1/0 in both the 58410  EWG or the 54111 Round bend models. These are both light wire hooks that are required with the light 6 pound test line I use. The use of the medium action rod instead of the medium heavy rod will keep you fro breaking off the fish on the hook-set by allowing the rod to give instead of the line snapping.

As for weights I in the past only used 1/16 or 1/8 ounce lead slip sinkers but now almost exclusively use tungsten weights. The reason I use the tungsten is for two reasons. The first is that tungsten is more dense than lead which gives it a harder feel that transmits through the line and rod for a more sensitive feel of whats on the bottom. When fished around rocks or gravel you can really feel the difference. Sometimes I’m only feeling the bottom composition and when it feels different or I loose contact of the feel then a fish has picked up the lure off the bottom. The second reason is what i can rock hopping in that I make my cast out onto rocky structure such as boulders or rip-rap. I watch my Hi-Viz line for it to go slack and at the instance that it does I hop the worm off the bottom about 6 inches to a foot not really allowing the worm to settle flat back on the bottom. This causes the tungsten weight to make a clicking sound when it contacts the rocks. When i used the lead slip sinkers the lead was softer and I do not get the clicking sound.

When fishing the Centipede worm I cast out watching my line sink slowly on a semi-slack line. The instance it makes contact I slowly raise my rod tip up and move the worm as I said 6″ or so and repeat for about 6 feet to 12 feet and then reel in and make another cast. I’m usually fishing for active feeding fish or for fish that are on the beds. Almost all the bites are when the worm moves the fish pick them up and move off to one side or the other. Since the worm and light weight hook and weights have almost no feel to them to the fish they seem to hold on to them a long time. When I detect a fish or bite, I slowly reel down and sweep the rod while reeling in the slack line. Since I’m using a light wire hook the fish will set the hook its self. this way you will not likely snap the line of break off the fish. I like my drag a little on the loose side and will loosen the drag and back-reel on a larger fish. I’ve caught a lot of 5 to 6 pound smallmouth using this method over the years.

Good luck and now try out the little Zoom Centipede worm and see if it also becomes one of your Go-To tools in the tool box…