Alabama Lakes May Have the Best Fishing Anywhere This Month
In May in Alabama, the fish are biting. That’s it. The whole story. Bass are just finishing their spawning. Bream are full on in their spawning activities. Crappie are back in open water near structure and eating lots of baby shad. The big catfish are looking for easy meals. The white bass and stripers are back out in open water chasing schools of shad. May is just a fine time to get on the lakes of Alabama and have some fishing fun.
Anglers will need to keep in mind that more boaters of all kinds with varied skill and experience levels will be getting on the water this month as well. This means anglers will need to be aware of pleasure boaters that don’t always look closely at where they’re going. Personal watercraft can present a whole set of problems for anglers, both at the ramps and out on the water. It just takes some patience and consideration to make sure fishing trips stay fun and people don’t get bogged down with boating problems.
Let’s see what some of the best anglers in Alabama can tell us about the fishing this month. It looks very good for anglers.
Our buddy and guide on the big northern lakes, Capt. Brian Barton tells us that May would be a very good time for anglers to get on the water. He says, “May is my favorite month of the year to catch catfish. Water temperatures range from the low to mid 70s with the passage of cold fronts and heavy spring rains gone by this time.”
“For larger fish, I seek out 15 to 40 feet of water in the mid to rear potions of sloughs on the south end of the lake.” — Capt. Brian Barton, fishing guide
Catfish will be feeding heavily in the days leading up to their spawning. Fish can be caught from two to 70 feet of water this month, depending on where you want to fish. To locate shallow fish, check out logjams in cuts along the main riverbank on both sides of the river. Logs stack in the backs of these pockets and cats seek their cover for spawning.
“I fish these areas by rigging spinning tackle with 14-pound-test Vicious monofilament and a 3/0 Mister Twister Keeper red worm hook,” Barton says. “I place a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce sinker about eight to 10 inches under the hook creating a drop-shot rig. Cast the bait up against or just under the floating logs and hold steady keeping a tight line. For larger fish, I seek out 15 to 40 feet of water in the mid to rear potions of sloughs on the south end of the lake.”
Worms, shrimp, shad and skipjack all work well with this application. McKiernan Creek, Wilson Lake Shores and Steenson Hollow will be good places to look for catfish this month.
Pickwick Lake, like Wilson, will be hot for cats throughout the month. Fish will be on top of and along river ledges as well as the tops and backs of humps and mounds in the river channel. Blues will be staging heavily at the base of Wilson Dam this month.
It’s not uncommon for local anglers to catch 50 to 75 fish each day along the tailrace. Eddy pockets and any slack water areas downstream of the dam are likely to be holding cats.
Captain Brian says, “A favorite spot of mine this month is to fish the knees of cypress trees from Seven Mile Island downstream to the Sinking Creek area. Channel cats will often load up in droves for spawning under these trees. I cast worms, prepared baits or chicken livers underneath the trees to catch the fish.”
Capt. Sam Williams says that Lake Eufaula should be clearing up well from early spring and late winter heavy rains and high waters. All kinds of shoreline cover, such as weedbeds, lily pads, and other grass, should be coming along well in May.
The topwater bite for bass at Eufaula should be very good in May. The frog bite in particular should be good. Fish around the grass and other growing structure. Don’t be afraid to throw a weedless frog into the roughest cover possible. Some big bass will be up in the shallows.
In general at Eufaula in May, bass anglers need to start each day with gold-colored lures. For whatever reason, Eufaula bass seem to prefer gold colored lures.
Crappie can be very good in May at Eufaula. Anglers can find the slabs with small jigs in a wide range of colors. Start with chartreuse and then work other colors to see what the crappie prefer on particular days.
It’s always a good day to go catfishing at Eufaula and May is one of the best months for catfish. Big chunks of cut bait fished on the bottom where feeder creeks run into the main lake are great spots to find some big cats.
Our buddy Capt. Lee Pitts spends a lot of time fishing on Weiss Lake and he shares his experience on this fine eastern Alabama reservoir. All kinds of fish are active on Weiss in May. This is a prime time to plan a vacation fishing trip to this great eastern Alabama lake.
He says, “May is about the tail end of crappie spawning. This means that we’ll be shooting deeper docks as the crappie pull off their shallow spawning waters and head out toward deeper open water.”
“We’ll be shooting deeper docks as the crappie pull off their shallow spawning waters and head out toward deeper open water.” – Capt. Lee Pitts, fishing guide
For about two weeks in May, the crappie will be stacked up under certain docks. Anglers may have to look around a bit to find the best deep docks, but when located, the crappie will be thick.
For bass anglers at Weiss Lake, May is a great time to be on the water. Captain Lee tells us that May is the kickoff of a great spinnerbait bite. Also, the topwater bite will really get going.
The bank grass at Weiss along the shallows will hold lots of bass. Captain Lee tells us that anglers can catch bass just about anywhere on topwater lures, especially soft plastic frogs. There will be hot jig and trailer bite on the grass, too. Captain Lee recommends the Gene Larue Wheeler’s Punchout Craw as a trailer on jigs.
In May, bass anglers can’t go far wrong by fishing very shallow water. The bass will be in water much shallower than most anglers think possible. When the trolling motor starts throwing up mud, the angler is getting in good territory for Weiss Lake bass.
Capt. Jake Davis has spent a busy early spring guiding clients on massive Lake Guntersville. He sees May as being a fine month to be on the water.
Captain Jake says, “In May, you’ll have post-spawn bite and the topwater bite will really start to fire up.”
In the middle and later parts of the month, the shad will start their spawn and this really gets the bass feeding. Throwing light-colored willow-leaf spinnerbaits over the flats where the shad gather to spawn is a good bet. Bass will be on the main channel docks. The emerging grass beds will be places to find bass on the feed.
For the topwater bite, anglers can try buzzbaits or Spooks. Throw over emerging grass or along weedlines for good topwater action.
The middle sections of the lake should be very good. The Goose Pond area can be hot in May.
Crappie will be back in the deeper creek mouths. Anglers looking for some real light-tackle fun can find big shellcrackers bedding up on deeper hard-bottom areas and shell banks.
Joe Dunn tells us that May is a transition month for fish and anglers on Millers Ferry Lake. The fish will have completed their spawn and will moving out into deeper water and into a more summer-like pattern.
He says that the crappie will be out of bedding areas and in five to 12 feet of water. Crappie can be caught on Road Runners and tube jigs vertically jigged around stumps and other wood cover. Many of the crappie will be taken on drop-shot rigs baited with live minnows out on the main river channels. Trolling the larger creeks will produce crappie in May if the angler uses live minnows and jigs.
Bass at Millers Ferry will be off the beds by May. Anglers should look around shallow grass with spinnerbaits. Major lake channels will be hot for bass when fishing with crankbaits and soft plastics on Carolina rigs.
A key point for Millers Ferry anglers looking for success is to plan trips around moving water. When the dam is releasing water and there’s some current in the lake, the bass just bite better. Anglers can call the Millers Ferry powerhouse at 334-682-4896 to get water release schedules for each day.
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. Sam Williams
Hawks Fishing Guide Service