Fishing on Alabama Lakes helps cure hot weather blues
There are only a few things that we can all depend on happening in Alabama this month. First, there will be some football played. It doesn’t matter if we yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle,” we’ll have some fun on the water this month. Second, there will be some very good fishing on the lakes for anglers to enjoy.
As September moves on, we will transition from summer fishing and get closer to the hot fall bite and cooler weather that most anglers prefer. Since school gets into full flow and kids are in class, the lakes will have much less pleasure boat and jet ski traffic. Anglers will be able to get on with their fishing with a lot less disruption and disturbance and this is always a very good thing.
However, sunburn can still be a consideration. Anglers need to keep using sun block and wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent skin damage from too much sun.
Of course, personal floatation devices are in order every time we go on the water. Anglers should have adequate and well-fitted floatation devices to make sure that a slip and fall into the water doesn’t get more serious than a few wet clothes.
Let’s see what some of the best anglers in Alabama can tell us about the great fishing in September.
Capt. Lee Pitts is enthusiastic about the September prospects for fishing at Weiss Lake. With the changing of weather patterns, anglers and fish alike should find conditions more agreeable.
Captain Lee says that anglers will still face some hot weather, but as the daylight hours get shorter and the air temps lower slightly, this will set up the crappie for fall fishing.
He says, “In September we usually have good luck using a vertical presentation for crappie on Weiss Lake. We either lower live minnows or use jigs over deeper brush piles in 12 to 18 feet of water. As September moves along, the crappie will move to deeper boat docks in the mouths of creeks. This produces some fine dock shooting with jigs far up under the shaded parts of docks.”
He particularly recommends the Yellow Creek and Bay Springs areas of Weiss Lake for early fall fishing because both of these areas have deeper feeder sloughs with lots of cover that the crappie like.
Bass at Weiss will start the annual fall transition and anglers can find good fish in a wide range of locations. Some bass will still be found on deeper ledges in the main body and river channels, but a lot of bass will follow bait up into shallow water.
Captain Lee says, “I love a Talon spinnerbait in shad pattern with gold willow-leaf spinners. I have good luck in September with a Gene Larue Biffle Bug in Okeechobee Craw and green pumpkin colors. A Larue Tattletail worm rigged on a shaky head is also very good at this time.”
When we asked our friend Capt. Jake Davis about the fishing on Lake Guntersville in September, his response was “Oh, boy!”
“Listen for ‘Rice-Krispie’ popping sounds coming from the weeds. That’s shad and bream feeding in the grass.” – Capt. Jake Davis, fishing guide
He tells us that anglers on big Lake Guntersville will be having a hot frog bite and a hot jig punching bite on the massive grass mats that the lake will have in September. The bass will be all up and down the entire lake at this time. Where there is grass, there will be bass. Captain Jake recommends that anglers looking for the best bass should use their ears. He says, “Listen for ‘Rice-Krispie’ popping sounds coming from the weeds. That’s shad and bream feeding in the grass. The bass will be in there feeding on the shad and bream. If there’s no snapping, find another weed bed.”
Capt. Jake likes a Missile Baits D-Bomb in Super Bug colors for punching through the grass mats. Both milfoil and hydrilla weed mats next to the river channel will be prime places to find big bass in September.
For the famous topwater frog bite on Guntersville in September, Captain Jake likes a Pro-Z Frog in Scooby-Doo color. This lure fished on a start and stop retrieve will produce some heart stopping strikes at this time. Bass anglers should start shallow with the topwater fishing and work out as the day warms.
Capt. Sam Williams has good news for anglers thinking about a trip to old Lake Eufaula in September. He says, “The weather will be cooling down and there will be lots of grass and hydrilla all over the lake. The bass will be holding under this grass. The biggest bass will be deep in the weeds.”
Anglers will have good luck punching through the grass with heavy jigs. Captain Sam recommends the Big Bite YoMoma and YoDaddy jigs in hematoma color pattern. Anglers will not want to concentrate totally on the grass at this time because there will still be plenty of good bass holding on deep ledges.
Bream anglers will want to fish around lily pads with live bait for some hot bluegill and shellcracker action in September. Crappie will be on open water trash piles where they will respond well to vertical jigging.
Catfish are always good at Eufaula. Jug fishing in September is a very good way to gather up the main course of a fish fry. Cut bait, especially shad, is best at this time.
September is a true transition time for anglers and fish on Millers Ferry Reservoir. Joe Dunn tells us that anglers may have to do some searching to find the best concentrations of fish.
For crappie, Joe advises us to look out in the main river channels where deep sunken timber and treetops will be holding some good schools of crappie this month. To catch the better crappie, drop live minnows down to reach the fish over the treetops. Remember to keep the minnows just above the holding crappie. The big ones don’t like to move down to reach a bait, but they will move upwards to eat.
Trolling jigs and minnow-tipped jigs can be very productive for Millers Ferry crappie in the fall. As the month moves on, crappie chasers can focus their search on deeper slough mouths where they meet the main lake body. These crappie will be suspending in open water waiting for schools of shad to show up.
Bass anglers will still want to concentrate their efforts out in the deeper ledges along the main river channels. Of course, when water being pulled through the dam creates a little current, the bass fishing is usually best.
Big spinnerbaits worked on the deeper ledges can be very effective here in September. Shad patterns are best since everything will be feeding on the shad.
Catfish will be good. Use cut shad on tight lines. Try live bream to tempt some trophy-sized cats here in September.
Our buddy Brian Barton tells us that anglers who take trips to Wilson and Wheeler lakes will likely need to be in good shape. The big fish start to really show up there in September.
The trophy catfish bite starts in September on the big northwest Alabama Tennessee River lakes. This is especially true on Wilson Lake. The big cats feed more during the day as fall starts. The lower portions of Wilson Lake will be very good for the biggest catfish. Try fishing the main channel ledges. Jackson Island will be very good for the biggest catfish now.
The very best times for fishing Wilson Lake for big catfish will be when the dam is generating and moving a lot of water through the lake. For anglers seeking eating-size cats for a fish fry, try to fish in the dam tailrace in 20 to 40 feet of water.
September means the superior smallmouth bass bite will start up for the fall. Anglers can expect some hot brown bass fishing, especially below Wheeler Dam. For the biggest smallmouths, anglers should drift live shad as close to the bottom in the fast water as possible. Look for ledges and humps in the fast water, which will break the current and give the big smallmouths places to hold out of the current. Swimbaits, Alabama Rigs and rubber-skirted jigs fished close to the bottom will work if live bait is hard to find.
Captain Brian says that some very good stripers can still be found in the cool water holes in feeder creeks, but the stripers will start to migrate out to the main lake near the end of September. Topwaters and big live gizzard shad fished under slip floats will work well in September.
IMPORTANT GUIDE CONTACT INFORMATION
Capt. Brian Barton
Capt. Jake Davis
Mid-South Bass Guide Service
33356 Highway 43
Capt. Lee Pitts
Little River Marina and Lodge Pitt Stop
Capt. Brad Whitehead
Capt. Sam Williams
Hawks Fishing Guide Service