2020 Alabama Fishing Forecast & Report

2020 Alabama Fishing Forecast & Report

Pickwick Lake Smallmouth


If you bass fished in Alabama in 2019 you most likely realized how different the fishing was this year! Bass patterns changed and the rule book went out the window!.. What rule book right? December fishing was no different. We had one of the warmest Octobers, coldest Novembers, and back to warm and rainy for December. That usually sets up for confused fish. What does that mean for the fisherman? By the way if you enjoy bass fishing check my podcast out "Guide Talk Live" on iTunes and YouTube!

Well, whenever you go fishing it means you can't rely on any past history on how you plan on catching your fish that day. Some years you can predict the fish are on certain spots to the week and even day sometimes. In 2019 i'm not sure I caught them the same way any given day I went fishing! Except for when they were spawning and on the ledges. Everywhere in between they followed a different path. 

Lake Guntersville

The eel grass on Lake Guntersville has shifted considerably. Mainly from deeper areas like 10-12 to shallower 2-5 feet. The most interesting aspect of that is how its blending into the traditional grass areas of milfoil, hydrilla, and coontail. Other areas its filling in where there used to not be any grass. The newest grass that is taking over during the warmer months is naiad grass!! It looks like this...

Naiad Grass

I personally cannot stand this new grass. I'm optimistic about different habitats for bass, but this one is very inconsistent for me. You CAN catch fish out of it, but its very inconsistent. They don't seem to school up in this new naiad grass. It tends to be one here and one there. Going into 2020 I would definitely be looking to target more grass fish than offshore. You even saw the dominance of that pattern during the Bassmaster Elite series tournament in 2019. The tournament was won shallow when normally it is DOMINATED deep. Keep that in mind going into 2020. Make sure to throw your finesse crankbaits like your Duel Hardcore Shad during the winter months... its a sleeper bait. Check em out on Tackle Warehouse. The trap bite is going to be on fire this year, and if the water is clear throw your True Bass Swimbaits!

Pickwick Lake and Wilson

Pickwick Lake was the one of the most fun lakes I got to fish all year!! The smallmouth fishing was phenomenal. The lake is fishing very strong. When its tough everywhere else to catch 15lbs its taking 21lbs to win events. In the BFL two day this fall there were some of the highest weights we have seen during a fall event. All this is in part to the GRASS BOOM that took place this year. Mostly hydrilla and sparse eel grass. I didn't really see any milfoil this year. The grass is bright green and thick stalks. Signs of a healthy lake... Guess what? Its still there and bright green after Christmas. Watch what happens this spring on Pickwick Lake. Just sayin. Going to be an awesome year for catching big bags on this lake. I bet there is a bag over 30lbs weighed in this spring. Wilson is always awesome. Big smallmouth below the dam and on bluff walls, and giant largemouth everywhere. Literally is one of the best lakes in the state. 

Wheeler Lake

Wheeler is like the red headed step child of the Tennessee River System. It doesn't get talked about if there isn't a big tournament on it. However, it can be one of the most fun lakes to catch numbers of fish. There is actually some big bags being caught more consistently over the last few years. Over 30lbs was weighed in during an Alabama Bass Trail event. 25lbs won the BFL there two years ago. One thing in common with both of those bags were big smallmouth. It is a sleeper lake for sure for catching big fish. They aren't as common as say the other lakes, but giants live there. Its also less pressured than any of the other lakes, so fish are more ready to bite! Good techniques on Wheeler Lake are going to be crankbaits in the winter, swimbaits in the spring, and a shaky head/jig during all months of the year. 

Another huge topic of Wheeler Lake has been the GRASS in 2019. The grass on the Wheeler flats is back... This means that this may be the new power house on the Tennessee River over the next 2-3 years as long as TVA doesn't kill it. Once the fish adjust to their new habitat its going to be reminiscent of the golden days if you ever experienced it. You didn't go to Guntersville, you went to the Wheeler Flats. 

2020 Fishing Forecast

With the current weather pattern and going off of what happened in 2019 i'd say we are in for some awesome bass fishing in 2020! I would absolutely keep an open mind when going fishing. When I say that, I mean try looking in more non traditional places during the stereotypical times of the year. Meaning pre spawn, spawn, and post spawn. Look shallow when they should be deep and look deep when they should be shallow. Then kind of comb over in between and you're going to find fish. Keep it simple, throw a True Bass Swimbait and you'll be just fine ;-) For real, if you're fishing the dam on the Tennessee River throw a True Bass. We have some new colors for 2020, Sexy Rexy and Rexy. Check em out. Also the best cold water offshore swimbait because of how tight it swims. Its very much a natural hollow body swimbait. 

If you're looking for a guide trip send me a message or give me a call! See you on the water.

Ryan Salzman