Bartletts Ferry Fishing Report – June 2007

GON Staff | May 29, 2007

Bartletts Ferry: Level: Down 0.2 feet below full pool. Temp: 71 degrees upriver, 79-80 degrees in the lake. Clarity: Clear.

Slow. Dennis Hudson said the limits in his Tuesday-night pot tournaments are coming in on the light side. The big fish were averaging 3 to 4 pounds late in May, and Dennis said the fish are in a postspawn slump.“With the lack of rain and no generation, there’s no water movement,” he said. “It just shuts down the river fish. It can be tough in this clear water. With a little rain and a little color, this can be a completely different lake.” He said the spots aren’t biting as well as they were early in May, and that he’s been seeing a lot more small, 1 1/2-lb. largemouths. People have been catching them Texas-rigging worms around some of the docks and brushpiles in 6 to 8 feet of water. Green pumpkin should be a good color in the clear water. There has also been a decent topwater bite in the mornings and evenings in the backs of the pockets on small Pop-Rs and Jitterbugs. Two bites that haven’t yet turned on but should pick up soon are the river bite up in the shoals and the grass bite. Upriver, in the moving water around the shoals, people typically start catching some bigger fish that are up in the shoals feeding on shad. Swimming a jig, drifting an unweighted worm, or pulling a buzzbait across the surface should all be effective once that bite turns on. When the water is up, and there is about 2 feet of depth around the grassbeds, Dennis normally has luck this time of year fishing a jig or tube around the grassbeds at Idlehour, Osanippa Creek and on an island down by the dam on the Alabama side. If the bite turns on, a Senko rigged with a 1/8-oz. weight and fluttered around the edges or a Texas-rigged worm will catch fish. Fish will also hit topwater in some of the thinner patches of grass. Dennis suggested pulling a buzzbait or a frog through the sparse grass. He said this usually starts about the first of June and lasts about a month.

Linesides: Good. Look for schools of shad on top, said guide Robert “Smitty” Smith. “Try the main lake near the dam. If you troll for crappie you will no doubt catch some linesides.”

Good.The April cold spell affected patterns by running the spawning crappie off the banks and back into the staging areas. This caused the spawn to last a bit longer than usual. Late in May the fish were working their way back into deeper water, but Smitty said they are taking their time. He was still catching fish on minnow-tipped jigs around docks and brushpiles in 12 to 20 feet of water. The night bite was picking up at the end of May also. Smitty caught nine slabs of about 1 1/2 pounds fishing under lights in the mouth of Halawaka Creek on May 22. The long bridge and powerlines in Halawaka Creek are great all summer. When the fish move out this month, he will start longline trolling for summer crappie, as they will be scattered all over the lake. They will be suspended in deeper water, 15 feet and deeper. “I never fish water deeper than 45 feet, but others swear they catch crappie at depths of over 50 feet,” said Smitty. “I use curly-tail plastics on 1/8-oz. jig heads in hot weather. Troll slow, around 1 mph or even slower. I work the main-ake and main-creek channels. Look for humps and long points on your graph. Crappie will be suspended over structure, not necessarily over cover. The water may be 30 feet deep, but the crappie can be anywhere from 3 feet to 30 feet, according to conditions. Shooting docks works well midday because they hunt shade but, in my opinion, the bigger fish will be deep. Use 1/32-oz. hair jigs for shooting. “Hang onto your rods when trolling or night fishing,” he added, “because those hybrids and stripers will be feeding in the same areas.”

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