Winter Fishing for BIG SMALLMOUTH on Pickwick Lake

Winter Fishing for BIG SMALLMOUTH on Pickwick Lake!

Its all about the grind.

Fishing during the winter for big smallmouth can be some of the slowest fishing you have ever endured; while also being some of the most rewarding fishing you have ever done! I want you to start your day out fishing expecting to get 2-5 bites. That way you are already mentally prepared for fishing as hard as you need to get those few bites. Accept it, and you will be one step closer to catching some 6lb smallmouth!

Its all about the grind during the winter when fishing for smallmouth. The fish feed unpredictively and the baits they decide to eat change daily as well. That combination leaves you with a new code to crack each day you drop the boat in the water. I am going to pass on the most consistent baits and times I have found for catching these big smallmouth in the winter months on Pickwick Lake. 

The Baits

  1. Crankbait
  2. Alabama Rig
  3. Finesse Lures


Lets dive in to the crankbaits. There are two types of crankbaits that I am going to have in my box during the winter. I am going to have a hard wobbling, x'ing motion crankbait, such as a wiggle wart style. Or I am going to have a tight wobbling crank like a shad rap. My favorite option for the hard wobbling is a Hardcore Medium Runner (MR) in Crawfish. 


Hardcore Crankbait Medium Runner


This crankbait is amazing and has caught several in the 5-7lb class for me this winter. It is actually a blend of wiggle wart and dt 6. Its a beautiful crankbait that runs true out of the package. The best part of this crankbait is its weight transfer system. It is the farthest casting medium runner that I have ever thrown. Another color that is amazing is the Chart Blue back when the water gets stained. 

The reason a crankbait does so well in the winter is because it truly gets a reaction bite out of a fish not wanting to feed. Bang it into rocks as irregular as possible, and bring a lure knocker to get it out when it hangs. Because it is definitely going to hang up!

SETUP: Throw it on 12lb Yozuri Topknot on a 6.3:1 gear ration, or anything with a 28 inches per turn (IPT). I use a 7'6'' Medium Crankbait rod, Dobyns. 

The Alabama Rig

The Alabama Rig is one of the all time best lures to commit to during the winter time because it catches suspended fish so well during the winter months. To keep this short and sweet lets talk about baits on the rig. Throw as light of jig heads as you can get away with. I throw 1/16th ounce or 1/8th ounce heads. We want to fish it as slow as possible. The baits I put behind the jig heads are the True Bass Swimbaits 3.5, Keitech 2.8, and a smoke grub. Sometimes I will mix and match, but generally I stick with one all around bait with the rig. I throw it on the original Andy Poss Alabama Rig available on


SETUP65lb Yozuri Super line, 6.3:1 reel, 7'6'' Heavy rod with Moderate action.

Finnesse Lures

The last option is going to be to finesse the fish into biting your bait. The best option I have found for this is a light shaky head or a ned rig. Its super simple. Throw green pumpkin and fish it slow on light line. 1/5 ounce is usually the weight I go for during the winter. Bring a lot of jig heads and neds because the rocks on this lake are going to eat your bait alive! The smallmouth will too... oh and the drum!! Yikes! They are fun to fight though. 

SETUP: 10lb hi vis yellow Yozuri Super Line, 7' medium action spinning rod, with 2500 series spinning reel. 8-10lb Yozuri top knot leader

I hope this helps narrow down your selections for lures to fish when chasing big brown fish during the winter!! I have a hard time slowing down so I tend to crank and throw the Alabam Rig for them, but I know people that catch them great going finesse. Choose your strength and GRIND IT OUT!

Tight Lines.

CPT Ryan Salzman

Alabama Bass Guide


pickwick lake smallmouth